Relationship between Major Personality Traits and Managerial Performance: Moderating Effects of Derailing Traits

By Robie, Chet; Brown, Douglas J. et al. | International Journal of Management, March 2008 | Go to article overview

Relationship between Major Personality Traits and Managerial Performance: Moderating Effects of Derailing Traits


Robie, Chet, Brown, Douglas J., Bly, Paul R., International Journal of Management


In this study of 144 executives (45%) and middle-level managers (55%) we investigated the moderating effects of a derailing trait composite measure on the relations between five major personality dimensions and boss ratings of overall performance, advancement potential, and career difficulty risk. The five major personality traits measured were openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and emotional stability. A derailing trait is one that is associated with unexpected failure to reach a top position in an organization. The derailing trail composite was composed of five scales including: ego-centered, intimidating, manipulating, micro-managing, and passive-aggressive. Although received wisdom is that a "lack of character" is always detrimental to performance, the results of the study suggested that high scores on derailing traits will typically lead to higher performance ratings when examined across the executive success factors spectrum. Even though derailing traits moderated the relations between several of the personality factors and advancement potential and almost all of the personality factors and career risk difficulty, the expected level of performance for those high in derailing traits is typically much higher at low levels of the personality factors and virtually the same at high levels of the personality factors. The results suggest that derailment traits may actually be more functional than we previously thought. Implications for practice are noted.

The behavior of top level executives impacts the organizational bottom line. Top level executives impact top management team dynamics which in turn affects organizational performance (Peterson, Smith, Martorana, & Owens, 2003). Several studies have also shown direct effects for top level executive behavior on fiscal organizational performance indicators (Koene, Vogelaar, & Sorters, 2002; Russell, 2001). On the other hand, in one study of nearly four hundred of the Fortune 1000 companies, 47 percent of executives and managers rated their company's overall leadership capacity as fair or poor, only 8 percent rated it as excellent (Csoka, 1998). Furthermore, Howard (2001) forecasts a coming shortage of leaders based upon increased demand triggered by economic growth, retirement of current executives, and decreasing supply primarily a result of downsizing initiatives which have eradicated whole layers of middle management. Taken together, this suggests that research that examines what leads to executive success is a critical area of inquiry for organizational scholars.

Previous research on the topic of leadership derailment (McCaIl & Lombardo, 1983; Van Velsor & Leslie, 1995) suggests that those who arrive at top levels, as well as those who derail before reaching the strategic apex (or fail after arriving) are extremely bright. Most executive assessments therefore have a heavy emphasis on measurement of interpersonal functioning. However, Sperry (1999) has noted that corporate clients are much less convinced of the efficacy and predictive value of typical executive psychological assessment methods than they were a decade ago. Moreover, corporate clients point to reported derailment figures of up to 50% (Hogan & Sinclair, 1997) in questioning the value of current personality assessments. Character assessment is therefore suggested as an adjunct to traditional personality assessment to guard against ineffective executive hiring (Hogan & Sinclair, 1997; Leonard, 1997; Sperry, 1997; Sperry, 1999). Character assessment is defined somewhat differently by the different authors as they each tap different theoretical frameworks. However, the commonalities appear to be: ( 1 ) character is typically not measured by normal-range personality measures, (2) character is an enduring pattern of behavior, and (3) there is an implication but never direct statement that the lack of character will be detrimental to organizational functioning. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Relationship between Major Personality Traits and Managerial Performance: Moderating Effects of Derailing Traits
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.