This paper explores personality profile of Indian managers and identifies the personality
factors that contribute to managerial effectiveness. Managers were measured on 23
dimensions of personality, out of which 19 factors were found to be significant
contributors to managerial effectiveness. The California Psychological inventory (revised
– Gough 1989) and a 3600 rating scale were used to identify personality attributes. The
‘senior nomination’, ‘managerial performance rating scale’ and the ‘managerial potential’
(MP) scale of the CPI were used to identify overall effectiveness.

The effective managers scored higher on all the CPI scales with an exception of the
femininity scale. In general, effective managers were ‘highly ambitious, task assertive,
responsible, resourceful, more dominant, better team players, had high self regard, were
more responsible, confident, created positive impression on others, role bound, self
controlled, negotiable, achieved by conforming to the systemic boundaries, intelligent
and task focused as compared to the less effective managers achieved via conformance,
exercise higher self control, conformed to systematic norms and boundaries and were
socially effective’ Effective managers were city, based, they hailed from nuclear families
and were mostly first born. In all, the sample consisted of 120 managers (including
appraises and raters) belonging to the senior, middle and junior cadre of ,management.
The study was based on 35 managers belonging to five private, large Indian organizations.
The t-test , reliability coefficient, chi-square and the discriminant analysis formed the
main statistical tools. 100% of the cases were classified correctly by the discriminant
technique, thus making it a useful study in predicting managerial effectiveness.

The implications of these findings for predicting and identifying people with necessary
bags of skills, right man right job fit and identifying development needs ( for future
development ) are discussed.


Managerial Effectiveness is a complex and multifaceted phenomenon. A number of variables
and factors are likely to influence effectiveness – factor such as on-the-job behavior, managerial
effectiveness criteria, personal characteristics, organizational culture, policies, role the manager
is expected to play. Thus, in order to predict develop or nature effectiveness of a manager, a
number of studies have focused on the accomplishment of goals and results (Drucker1961,
Guion, 1965; Reddin 1974). Other have focused on the characteristic, traits and skills of the
individual manager (Ghiseli 1971; Bennis 1984). Still others stress appropriate behaviors and
action (Mintzberg 1971; Koprowski 1981). Then there is the situational view of effectiveness,
which states that mangers are effective in different ways at different times (Mintzberg)1975).
Boyatzis proposed the job effectiveness model (1982) which that poports that individual
competency is an important determinant of effective performance. The individual performance
is an output of the complex interaction between his personality make-up, which includes skills,
behavioral attributes and motivation, the job demands, and the organizational culture.

Among the Indian studies, Garg & Parikh (1978) identified that the root of individual
identity lies in the primary group of socialization, beliefs and value being internalized.
Structure of traditional families restricts the individual to be a son forever. Chatopadhayay
(1975) has thrown light on the relationship conflict of Indian managers, which emphasize
dependency, and not interdependency that results in high level of failure, poor self image
and feeling of being rewarded only when imitating persons of authority. This dependency
permeates into the organizational setup where the role of a thinker and a decision maker
at every juncture is played by the senior..

Garg (1978) stressed that the roots of the symbolic identity and psychological role models
lie in the traditional ethos of the agrarian society and is deeply embedded in the individual.

Joshi(1995) studied personal and organizational factor contributors to managerial
effectiveness and found that effective managers are more experimental, venturesome,
humble, considerate, practical, suspicious, reserved and conscientious using the 16PF test.
Seven 16 PF factors discriminated the effective and not so effective managerial groups.

Amongst the foreign studies, Osborn and Osborn (1992) found the successful managers
scored higher on twelve scales of the CPI (Do, Sy, Sa, Wb, Re, So, Sc, Gi, Ac, De and Fm).
Rawls and Rawls (1974) identified eight parameters that successful managers differed
significantly on as compared to less successful managers.

Much of the research is limited to what managers do or what are their roles (Steward
1967, Mintzberg 1971, Das 1991). Some researches have equated seniority with effectiveness
while for others success and effectiveness are used as synonymously.

The Study

One of the major objectives of the study was to identify characteristics of effective managers
working in Indian organization.

Objective :

The primary objectives of the study was :

1. To establish the reliability of rating as a criterion to study personality of managers.
2. To study the congruence between self-rating, cross-rating and actual test scores of
Indian managers.
3. To study the congruence between the criteria of managerial performance used in
the study namely: nominations by senior managers, managerial performance rating
scale and the managerial potential scale of the C.P.I.
4. To trace the relationship between personality factors and managerial performance.
5. To investigate the possibility of predictive output based on the assessment of
personality dimensions and managerial performance effectiveness across various
groups of managers.

Approach and Methodology

120 managers were identified for the main study from 5 large private Indian organizations
around Ahmedabad. It was an incidental sample of senior, middle and junior managerial
levels after the initial pilot study.


After an extensive review of the literature on personality assessment tools, the CPI was
selected, as the reliability and validity scores were found high and adequate.
The CPI is based on two construct namely – Eysenck’s Model of Personality on which
Gough based his 20-factors of Personality and Vernon’s Personality Dimensions on which
he based the vector 1 and vector 2 classificatory grids of lifestyles. Vector-3 assessed the
psychological competency and is similar to the Maslow test and need of self – actualization.
When the three vector models are used they represent four life styles namely – alpha,
beta, gamma and delta. For each life style there are 7 levels of possible integration.

The 20 traits of the folk scales highlight five broad areas of personality dimensions namely :
–  Interpersonal effectiveness, social adequacy, poise, self-assurance, initiative and
–  Overall personal adjustment, mental health and social conformity.
–  Degree of independence of thought and action.
–  General sensitivity, dependency needs and aesthetic interests.
–  Conventionality and adherence to social norms and expectations.

The third category of scales for the inventory is composed of special scales measures of
use like the managerial potential (mp) scale, which was developed by Gough (1984) to
assess interest and talent for managerial pursuits.

Data Collection Procedures

The research consisted of two phases :
1. Identifying the universe that involved the pilot study.
2. Systematic study with questionnaire construction and questionnaire administration.
3. All the four questionnaires i.e. the Demographic Data Sheet, Personality Rating
Scales, Performance Effectiveness Rating Scales and the California Psychological
Inventory were personally administered individually to avoid extraneous factors.
Since the researcher assured confidentiality managers felt at ease and openly
expressed their viewpoint.

Analysis of Data

The data was analyzed using the following two methods :
1. Percentages, chi-squares, means, standard deviations and “t” tests to determine
the significance of difference between two sets of means on individual variables.
2. The statistical technique of discriminant analysis to study the difference between
the two groups with respect to different variables simultaneously.

Results and Discussion

Personality Profiles of Indian Managers :
The C.P.I was administered to managers and the major findings in terms of the mean,
range-standard deviation are stated in Annexure 1.

Findings indicate that an Indian Manager can be described as :
1.  Task-assertive
2.  Is under-utilized, overly engaged, is capable of working under condition of
minimum recognition
3.  Visibility and attention
4.  Is his job as a concept of duty and not out of need fulfillment
5.  Achieves without creating stress and work by projecting themselves against
6.  Is slow to adapt to change and innovation
7.  Prefers working under conditions which are predictable and have known and
concrete parameters

Reliability Analysis was tabulated for raters to establish the reliability of rating scales
as a criterion to study the personality of managers :

Each manager was rated by three cross – raters (seniors, colleague and junior) and himself
on the same. The Cronback’s Alpha Correlation Coefficient was computed for the selfratings
and the cross- ratings. The results of the correlation are given in Annexure 2A. The
table indicates the junior and senior ratings have the highest reliability coefficients.

Correlational Matrix: –

The co-efficient of correlation of raters is statistically significant for all categories thus
establishing a positive relationship between co-raters as given in Annexure 2B.

Profile of an Effective Indian Manager highlights that he: –

  1.  Takes initiative for a task in the organization and an initiative to relate to people.
  2. Has a good image of himself and are conforming to superiors.
  3. Shows low flexibility and finds it difficult to adjust to change and innovation.
  4. Is quite capable of taking decisions related to work, yet wait for orders from above. He plays the leadership role and exercises authority downwards, not upwards.

On the other hand a Less Effective Manager is who:

  1. Is subdued, whose energy and enthusiasm has been taken away due to the
    upbringing and socialization both in primary and work systems.
  2. Is self-absorbed and get marginalized.
  3. Under utilizes his potential.
  4. Is overly sensitive and ends up sacrificing and submitting himself to the expectations
    of others, hence experiences non-fulfillment. He plays proxy roles and end-up
    pleasing authority, people and the systems.

A Comparative Study Between Effective and Less Effective Indian Managers :

A comparison can be made between the effective managers and the less-effective managers
on the personality and the performance of managers. The following results are given in
Annexure 3.

Discriminant Analysis :

Discriminant analysis was applied to weight and linearly combine the discriminating
variables in some fashion so that the groups are forced to be as statistically distinct as
possible. Findings indicate that effective managers take greater initiative on tasks and in
relating to people. They are intellectually superior, are highly ambitious, strive hard to be
successful and are independent. They are very optimistic about their future, have a good
ego integration and high self-realization.

They possess good potential to excel as good managers. The groups are very distant from
each other concerned and there is a difference in the direction (variables of group 1 are
contributing positively and the variables of the other group are contributing that they are
contributing that they are distinct from the influence of each others.

In order to get a clearer picture of the distribution of factors, the findings are presented
graphically in the form of a histogram given in Annexure 4. Significantly, if these results
are applied to new cases, the chances of managers being classified into the group 1 category
of the predicted group membership is 100%, and the chances of managers being classified
into the group 2 category of the predicted group membership is 100%.

In other words 100% of the managers belonging to the group 1 category of the predicted
membership group are “effective managers”, and 100% of the managers belonging to the
group 2 category of the predicted membership group are “less-effective managers”. (Refer
to Annexure 5)

Conclusion and Implication

Apart from the qualitative and quantitative analysis, the research also provided insight
and reflections upon the psyche of an Indian Manager that is distinct and unique from the
managers across the world. The findings highlighted the linkages between the clinical
influences, the formation of the personality and managerial effectiveness.

The significant findings with relation to the Indian culture are as follows: High scores on
the dominance scale is reflected in the managers’ tendency to control and exercise authority
on others. The patriarchal family set up attributes a tremendous significance to respecting
seniority especially age related seniority. This tendency permeates into the organizational
structure and directly reflects in delayed decision-making and a tendency to postpone
and leave problem solving taking initiatives to seniors. As the managers grow up the
hierarchy, his exercise of control, power and authority gets legitimized. This creates a
culture of actor hood and spectator hood (juniors).

Secondly, managers have scored significantly higher scores on achievement via conformity
over achievement via independence. This can be understood as a consequence of the feudal
system. It made Indians most comfortable with dependencies especially emotional.
Translation of such dependency manifests itself in structural hierarchy determining
relationships and expectations around roles. Disowned parenthood, role fixedness and
duty bound role reinforces elements of dependency on the system/institution. Although
managers are capable of taking initiative and independent decisions that are task related,
it is considered a virtue for seniors to take the lead.

A son is considered a son through out his life and this position determines his role in life.
The organization is seen as an extension of the family and hence the emotive maps lie in
these primary systems and are carried forward to the secondary systems. A good son
becomes a good and obedient employee to his senior. Being independent and autonomous
is not considered as an asset, rather it is viewed as detrimental to growth prospects and
seen as self-centeredness.

Indian culture lays emphasis on traditional values and conventional roles. It is very difficult
to break away from the deeply embedded value system and traditions that ability to take
risks, try new paths takes innovative steps at work are not valued. Managers scoring low,
on the flexibility scale substantiates this finding.

In India the culture and the mode of disciplining is essentially via negative reinforcement
which means the person is punished for doing wrong rather than rewarded for doing
right. This constricts a manager’s ability and inclination to take risks and hampers his
creativity. Fear of failure is characteristic of Indian managers. This contributes to low
productivity and under utilization of potentials. Being in the good book of seniors is valued
more than accomplishing the task. High scores on good impressions and socialization
substantiate this peculiarity of an Indian manager.

Social presence and capacity for status score are low. The self-drive and initiative is low
and is dictated by what is expected and appropriate managerially and culturally. The
“followers” and spectators” role comes naturally to managers at the middle and junior
levels. They do not value themselves unless valued by their seniors. Deployment of their
potential would depend on who is the senior. Relationships gets personalized, therefore
energy and resources gets consumed in maintaining or at least managing these
relationships. Often times one hears manager say that whatever I do, I still can not win
the appreciation and affection of my boss. This struggle continues in vain.

Lastly the Indian managers people orientation is higher than task orientation,
Preoccupations specially with seniors and higher-ups are time and energy consuming.
This phenomenon is grossly prevalent across organizations.

Although this is a reality with many managers in the Indian context, managers are at a
threshold of change where the approach is shifting towards being more professional. The
new context calls for a qualitative change in the mindsets. The shift is happening but the
change has to be faster and backed by individual conviction as well.

Lessons to be drawn as HR consultants.

The above stated ground realities need to be kept in mind while deciding the appropriate
HR consultants have to add value to people process. That means the challenge is to work
with the mind sets and transform the base unit of the organization as well as to design
systems and structures so that the change is experienced at the individual, functional and
organizational level in simultaneity.

Intervention Unit
HR Tool Managerial Functional Organisational
Development And change Individual to be goal, tasks and objective Focused. Collective development For effective linkages Transforming organisational culture to strategic & goal focus.
Recruitment Induction for Organisational role taking Functional fit and working in groups & teams Working in a formal work culture & ethos.
Appraising Employees Open & healthy feed back for realistic appraisals for development and improvement. Identifying performance and talent for accountability And results. Development of super star performers, performers and identifying mediocrity
Reward and Compensation Awarding Performance initiative and involvement Rewarding group and team performance and commitment Designing remuneration packages for performance and excellence
Career paths and career Designing Mapping individuals career path Mentoring people to take up roles of higher responsibility Succession planning across levels of the organization.

Although HR development has always been a hallmark of Indian Owner Manager
Organizations( due to the influence of joint family system), It stood for very different
values. It is time redefine the values. Our culture has advocated ‘parity’, ‘equality’ and
‘oneness’ in the eyes of the patriarch.

Modern management aims to go beyond the meaning held in our collective conscious
and foster new meanings and directionality at the individual, collective and organizational
levels. We need to draw lessons and keep our past in our mind but we also need to go
further and debate, confront and question some of the earlier practices. This will help us
to discover newer meanings without borrowing from aping the west.

Where do we go from here?

In conclusion the focus of transformation from the past to the present ought to be proactive,
thought through restorative. In some of the change and development studies by Pro. Parikh I J
the following are some of the transformation in Indian Managers:

1. “ From centralized dependency to beginnings of autonomy and interdependency.

2. From helplessness and immobility of collectivities to confidence and self-esteem.

3. Personalized Performance appraisals to professional and team appraisals.

4. From a culture of frozen energy to energy made available and flowing in the
necessary directions.

5. From a structure holding the organization frozen and captive to a live structure
supportive of change and mobility.

6. From a process of shedding past historical baggage to initiating management process
of action initiatives.

7. From a system with few initiatives to many initiatives creating a flux in the system
to a system where anxiety in people has been transformed to a flow of energy in a
coherent and convergent direction”.

Reference of Books

Bennis, W(1984). The 4 competencies of leadership. Training and Development journal, 4

August. Boyatzis. R. E. (1982). Competent Manager: A Model for Effective Performance.
New York, John. Willey & Sons.

Chattopadhyay, G.P. (1975). Dependence of Indian Culture: From Mud – huts t company
Broad Rooms Economic & Political weekly, 10 (22), 30-38.

Chattopadhyay, S. (1994). Communication , Motivation & Organisational Climate. SEDME, 1 (2), 159.

Garg. P.K, & Parikh, I.J. (1976) A study of Indian Youth at cross – Roads of culture. New
Delhi, Vision Books.

Gough. H. G. (1989) The Clifornia Psychological Inventory. In C.S. Newmark (ED.) Major
Psychological Assessment Instruments (Vol. 2,67 – 98). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Gough H. G. (1985) A work Orientation Scale for te California Psychological Inventory.
Journal of Applied Psychological, Vol. 69, no.2, 233 – 40.

Gough H.G. (1992). CPI Administrator’s Guide. Consulting Psychologists Press, Inc, Palo
Alto, CA 94303.

Reddin. B. (1988). Managerial Style Made Effective. Tata Mc.Graw – Hill. New Delhi.

Rawls D.J. & Rawls J.R. (1968). Personality Characteristics and Personal History Data of
Successful & Less – Successful Executives. Psychological Reports, 23, 1032 – 1034.

Das, H. (1991). The Nature of Managerial Work in India: A preliminary Investigation.
ASCI Journal of Mangement, Vol. 21, No. 1, 1 –13

Dayal, 1 (1984). Effective Management: Looking Within (AIMA Editorial Team). Indian
Management, Vol. 23 No. 24, .24-25.

Drucker, P. F. (1961). Management Tasks, Responsibilities and Practice, Harper & Row, New York.
Ghiselli, E.E. (1971). Explorations in Managerial talent, Goodyear Publishing, California.

Guion, R.M. (1965) Personal Testing, McGraw Hill, New York.

Joshi, Rama J. (1991). Managerial Effectiveness: As Perceived by Chief Executives. Indian
Journal of Industrial Relations, Vol 27, No. 1, July, 61 – 82

Mintzberg, H. (1975). The Manager’s Job: Folklore and Fact. Harvard Business Review,
Vol.53, July-August, 49-61.

Annexure 1

Scale Range Mean Std. Deviation
Dominance 42-76 57.69 10.15
Capacity for Status 34-62 49.49 08.35
Sociability 32-68 51.66 08.77
Self Acceptance 31-68 47.94 10.16
Independence 28-67 53.97 08.23
Empathy 30-73 48.11 09.01
Responsibility 35-62 48.77 07.27
Socialization 35-66 52.06 06.99
Self- Control 32- 66 51.86 08.23
Good Impressions 38-73 54.57 09.26
Communality 32-61 46.46 06.50
Sense of well being 29.62 48.63 08.97
Tolerance 30-54 42.69 06.12
Ach. Via Conformance 35-71 51.86 08.49
Ach.Via Independence 34-58 47.11 06.95
Intellectual Efficiency 31-60 46.83 07.69
Psychological M.ness 22-66 49.57 10.17
Flexibility 26-66 40.29 09.76
Femininity 28-72 50.37 11.31
Vector1 09-24 14.78 03.63
Vector2 21-34 27.91 01.86
Vector3 20-45 38.45 07.98

Annexure 2A

Reliability Analysis :

Ratings Alpha Standardized Items Alpha
Self .62 63
Senior .72 .73
Colleague .58 .56
Junior .73 .74

Annexure 2B

Co-relation Matrix :

P.S. .006* .01* .09* .001*
SF-R .37 .06* .04*
SR-R .001* .07*
CR .0014*
* Indicates statistically significant correlations

Annexure 3

Compriative profile of the Effective Indian managers :
Most Effective Mgrs. n = 16 Less Effective Mgrs. n=19

Subscale Scores SD Scores SD t – level
Dominance 66 5.2 51 8.2 .001
Cap. for Status 55 6.4 45 3.9 .001
Sociability 55 5.3 49 10.3 .05
Soc.- Presence 48 9.4 44 10.7 n.s.
Self – Accp 53 7.8 44 7.1 .001
Independence 58 4.7 51 9.2 .009
Empathy 52 6.0 45 9.9 .02
Respons 51 8.0 47 5.9 .05
Socialization 55 6.8 50 6.6 .05
Self Control 56 9.3 49 6.6 .01
Good Impression 58 9.0 51 8.4 .03
Communality 46 6.4 47 6.7 n.s.
Well Being 53 5.9 45 9.1 .002
Tolerance 46 5.1 40 5.7 .004
Ach. Conf. 57 7.1 48 7.2 .001
Ach. Indp. 51 5.1 44 6.9 .004
Intell. Eff. 51 5.1 43 7.1 .001
Psycho. Mind. 53 10.1 43 9.5 n.s.
Flexibility 44 10.0 37 8.4 .03
Feminity/Masculinity 46 11.8 54 9.5 .03

Annexure 4

Classification result : Annexure 5

Actual Group No. of cases Predicted Group Membership
1 2
High Effectiveness 16 16 0
100% 0%
Low Effectiveness 19 0 19
0% 100%

– Dr. Nimrat Singh