Dissertation: Likeability Is Effected by Management

Pages: 60 (17400 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 60  ·  Level: Doctorate  ·  Topic: Leadership  ·  Buy This Paper


[. . .] The best leaders are able to balance the emotional and the logical, underscoring the need for continual improvement and innovation to ensure challenging objectives are accomplished (Den, Deanne & Belschak, 2012). Theorists and researchers alike show that just creating a culture of trust and transparency is not enough, team members want someone to hold them to a standard of what they can achieve, and help them get to that level of attainment when and if they need help (Cavazotte, Moreno & Hickmann, 2012). The leader emerges as coach and mentor, a person capable of creating the combination of transformational factors that gain subordinates' commitment to a challenging goal or vision, while being transparent and trustworthy enough to gain cooperation, all underscored by a high level of EI (Cavazotte, Moreno & Hickmann, 2012). Likeability in this context is the glue that unifies the Venn diagram of items in Figure 1 together; it is the catalyst that keeps an organization moving forward and morale at a level that is resilient enough to setbacks, negativity and the inevitable challenges that occur when teams and entire organizations are challenged with a difficult goal.

Statement of Problem

A lack of awareness of how important likeability is in management has been illustrated by Pink (2011), Holmes (2007), and Sanders (2006). However, no phenomenological study has discovered the diverse ways that likeability is discerned and appreciated in the international workplace. A phenomenological study of likeability in the international workplace would help to highlight how likeability is displayed by different cultures in a cross-cultural environment and how that display can lead to a more effective management style. It would deepen our understanding of expectations regarding likeability, the effects of management likeability on employees, and the socio-business value of being likeable in the international workplace.

Pink (2011) and Sanders (2006) have shown that likeability is a major factor in achieving business success, yet Holmes (2007) has shown that business leaders fail to fully consider the ramifications of likeability in the workforce. Pink (2011) highlights a serious lack of drive on the part of employees, which is directly related to their feeling of "connectedness" to management. Holmes (2007) argues that many business leaders suffer from an inability to maintain "likeability," a fault which limits their success in the workplace. Unfortunately, little research has been done that can verify these reports. Management analysts and business administrators may "intuit" a sense of how likeability is a powerful management tool, but academic research which supports this intuition could help to raise awareness of the importance of likeability. This lack of awareness is due to several assumptions which grow organically from the modern Weber-based bureaucratic system of business governance -- a system that stipulates that a successful business is one which operates according to the "right" mechanics (Macionis, 2006). Weber-based bureaucracies overlook the importance and value of human interaction and human likeability, even as they emphasize the need for communication and creativity (Macionis, 2006). However, if likeability is not being communicated and human empathy and sympathy is not a part of a team's creative core that business will not be running at optimum levels (Holmes, 2007). Because businesses are operated by humans and not by machines, likeability plays a crucial role in business administration all over the world.

The problem addressed in the current study is the lack of awareness of the impact of likeability in the international environment. Studies have shown that a lack of managerial likeability can lead to a number of outcomes -- insufficient sales, de-motivation in the workplace environment, disunity, mission deviation, and stagnation in terms of personal/professional growth and development (Bhargava, 2012; Holmes, 2007).

Porter and Kramer (2011) have shown that businesses are failing to consider the needs of their customers -- a factor which leads inevitably to diminished returns. Uniting "business and society" is key to business success (Porter, Kramer, 2011), which means that an adhesive is necessary. That adhesive is rooted in human empathy and sympathy -- in other words, human "connectedness." Thus, likeability affects businesses not only internally but externally as well. A sense of "shared value" among business leaders, employees, and consumers is essential; without it, organizations are in dire straits and the entire system of capitalism effectively handcuffed (Porter, Kramer, 2011; Holmes, 2007).

Moreover, Pink (2011) has shown that 50% of employers are not "engaged" in their jobs and that 20% are "actively disengaged" as a result of having no connectedness to management (p. 109). Connectedness is one of the core aspects of likeability -- and an awareness of such could help cut the estimated $300 billion annually lost because of disengagement (Pink, 2011, p. 109).

Yet, understanding likeability in the international workplace is not as simple as one might immediately think. In the international environment, likeability in managers is a complicated phenomenon that raises issues of gender in the workplace (Bolino, Turnley, 2003), issues of social cognition (Vonk, 1999), issues of cross-cultural relevance (Wardrope, 2005), and pragmatic principles of communication (Sanders, 2005). According to Sanders (2005) likeability is virtually synonymous with good communication and management success, because conversation, communication, and receptivity are all supported by likeability and friendliness. Yet likeability factors are determined by behavioral norms which are not the same for genders in different cultures (Wardrope, 2005) -- and that is a point that raises questions about the way in which positive traits in male and female managers are perceived by employees in the international environment (Bolino, Turnley, 2003). Understanding the degree to which likeability plays a part in successful business operations in the international environment depends upon understanding the way in which likeability is perceived by the international community. And that is a difficult question in today's hyper-global workforce, affected by political, environmental, economical, and social factors on multiple levels.

Moroever, the lack of awareness of likeability in the international workforce is threatening the collapse of capitalism (Porter, Kramer, 2011). Likeability factors not only into how managers connect with employees but also into how businesses connect with consumers. A better awareness of how management can better connect with employees, facilitate their drive, and establish greater connectedness would help companies to save billions all around the world in the long-term (Porter, Kramer, 2011; Pink, 2011).

This study will also seek to discover the set of skills and attributes that make a person likable in the professional context no matter the culture. Researchers have already indicated that such attributes as selflessness and modesty are helpful in giving good impressions and establishing likeability (Bergman, Westerman, Daly, 2010; Blickle, Diekmann, Schneider, 2012). But this study focuses on discovering how likeability is manifested in the cross-cultural international workforce. It should afford others in management positions the opportunity to identify those skills most necessary to a successful manager, and help them both to acquire and to demonstrate them. A phenomenological approach will be used to understand the impact of likeable managers on the international workplace environment.

The conceptual framework of this study is based on the impact of transformational management, trust (authenticity, transparency), and Emotional Intelligence as elements of managerial likeability: the purpose of this framework is to determine how these elements help to explain management likeability across cultures.

Research Questions

This will be a phenomenological study based on interviews and observation.

The two research questions are:

A. How does likeability of a leader influence a team's performance?

i. What are the tangible effects, if any?

ii. What are the intangible effects?

B. What are the common characteristics and attributes of a manager that would be perceived as likable across cultures?

i. How is the Hofstede Model of Cultural Dimensions helpful and/or relevant in this study?

ii. What are the common features that work across cultures?

iii. What are the features that do not work across cultures?

Purpose Statement

The purpose of this phenomenological study is to discover the ways in which managerial likeability is manifested in the international workplace and how likeability is discerned by employees or effected by managers in that environment.

Significance of the study

The potential value of the study to the field of management analysis is found in the idea that likeability is a crucial factor in management success -- and that in the international workplace environment, understanding the factors which determine likeability can lead to greater success in that workplace. Researchers interested in the field of likeability scholarship and management analysis may find this study useful for its examination of the interrationship of likeability, cross-cultural norms, and the likeability factors of transformational leadership, trust, and EI.

Another potential value of the study is that it may allow managers to better and more effectively use their time. In the Chet Holmes model of management, effective time management goes hand-in-hand with demonstrating likeability, transparency, authenticity, trust and Emotional Intelligence. Likeability,… [END OF PREVIEW]

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