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Integrating Management Competencies Development with an Organizational Culture Formation

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The paper presents the first results of the IGA/2012/7 project “Versatility of Organizational Management and its Reflection in the Area of Organizational Culture“. The paper tries to answer in particular a question if there exist and what are the relations between a process of management competencies development and process of organizational culture creation and change. The research is based upon two methods: (1) Leadership Versatility Index® (LVI ®) and Denison Organizational Culture Survey (DOCS). The research data are presented in a form of two cases. Qualitative analysis of these data has led to two preliminary conclusions: (1) Some of the research expectations concerning an existence of the relations between organization´s management versatility and organizational culture might be confirmed in a future; (2) DOCS data can bring a new light on the LVI ® results and on the process of management competencies development. They help managers to understand that a change and development of their management competencies is not their personal business but a need with important strategic consequences for the whole organization. Reliable answers to all research questions and hypothesises are conditioned by a statistical analysis of the data collected in more organizations, however.
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Organizacija, Volume 46
Research papers Number 5, September-October 2013
Karel Pavlica1, Eva Jarošová2, Robert B. Kaiser3
1Škoda Auto University, Department of Managerial Psychology and Sociology, Na Karmeli 1457, 293 01 Mladá Boleslav,
Czech Republic, karel.pavlica@skoda-auto.cz
2University of Economics, Prague, Department of Managerial Psychology and Sociology, W. Churchilla 4, 130 67 Prague 3,
Czech Republic , evajar@vse.cz
3Kaiser Leadership Solutions, 1903-G Ashwood Ct., Greensboro, NC, USA 27455, rkaiser@kaiserleadership.com
The paper presents the first results of the IGA/2012/7 project “Versatility of Organizational Management and its Reflection in
the Area of Organizational Culture“. The paper tries to answer in particular a question if there exist and what are the relations
between a process of management competencies development and process of organizational culture creation and change.
The research is based upon two methods: (1) Leadership Versatility Index® (LVI®) and Denison Organizational Culture
Survey (DOCS). The research data are presented in a form of two cases. Qualitative analysis of these data has led to two pre-
liminary conclusions: (1) Some of the research expectations concerning an existence of the relations between organization´s
management versatility and organizational culture might be confirmed in a future; (2) DOCS data can bring a new light on
the LVI® results and on the process of management competencies development. They help managers to understand that a
change and development of their management competencies is not their personal business but a need with important stra-
tegic consequences for the whole organization. Reliable answers to all research questions and hypothesises are conditioned
by a statistical analysis of the data collected in more organizations, however.
Key words: leadership, management, versatility, organizational culture, competencies development
Integrating Management Competencies
Development with an Organizational
Culture Formation
1 Introduction
This paper presents the first results of a three years long
research project focused on an identification of the relation-
ships between organizations´ management versatility and
organizational culture. As such it is based upon the findings
(i.e. Morgan 1986, Holland 1997; Hogan 2006, Kaiser and
Overfield, 2010, Hartnell et al., 2011) about an existence of
the relationships between personality of the key organiza-
tional managers and inner organizational environment. On a
theoretical level the project refers to the two conceptions: (1)
theory of versatile leadership (i.e. Kaplan and Kaiser 2006;
Pavlica et al. 2010) which represents a new original approach
to leadership definition as well as to management competen-
cies measurement and development; (2) Denison´s dynamic
model of organizational culture (Denison et al. 2012). These
approaches will be described in a more detailed way in chap-
ter 2 (Methods). On a more practical level this project tries to
integrate and harmonize a process of managers´ competencies
development with a process of organizational culture manage-
ment.
History offered us tens of the different views of leader-
ship in organizations, however only a limited number of these
theories have found a wider application in companies during
the past 40 years.
nContingency approach. As its main authors are usually
presented Vroom and Yetton (Osland et al., 2001). As the
main ambition and goal of this approach can be seen an
attempt to define principles and rules determining effec-
tiveness of the different leadership styles. This theory
has uprooted a myth about an existence of one optimum
leadership style.
nApproaches based upon cross-cultural research. As their
“father“ has been identified Dutch psychologist Hofstede
(Gatley et al., 1996). The main contribution of Hofstede
DOI: 10.2478/orga-2013-0021
Received: 20th August 2013; revised: 5th September 2013; accepted: 30th September 2013
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and his followers rests in a demonstration of the relations
between particular leadership styles effectiveness and a
wider cultural environment.
nSituational leadership theory which has been usually
associated with Hersey and Blanchard (1993). This con-
ception stresses a need to base a management and devel-
opment of the employees upon a systematic assessment of
their personal and professional maturity.
nCoaching which has become strongly influential during
the two past decades (i.e. Whitmore 2009). This view
stresses a need to approach different social subjects (indi-
viduals, groups and organizations) as autonomous entities
which are themselves capable to manage effectively both
their (personal) problems and the process of their own
development and learning.
nParadox approach (also “Competing Values Framework“)
proposed in 80-ies of the past century by an American
sociologist Quinn (Osland et al., 2001, Kaiser and
Overfield 2010). Quinn argued that conflicting needs
(orientation towards human relations VS towards rational
goals; focus on internal processes VS focus on opening
the system to external affects) are inherent in complex
organizations.
n360° feedback methodology which has been used widely
during the past decade. This approach tries to incorporate
objectivity into the process of leadership effectiveness
measurement. Managers are usually evaluated by their
superiors, colleagues and subordinates.
All of the conceptions listed above have delivered several
important “messages”about leadership:
nParticular effectiveness of each leadership style is always
conditioned by a complex of the different external – cul-
ture, organization, situation at hand, employees etc. – fac-
tors.
nManagers´ attention to and evaluation of the external con-
ditions should be combined with an individual approach
to employees.
nCoaching represents a useful leadership and staff develop-
ment technique.
nEach management style/behavior has its
“competing“/“conflicting“ however functional opposite.
Different managerial approaches and techniques should
be combined in a flexible and to a specific context/situa-
tion responsive way.
nThe process of an organization’s management competen-
cies development becomes more effective when it refers
to the results of the instruments providing a feedback
mediated by different groups of social actors – managers´
superiors, colleagues, subordinates etc.
Regardless to their value and contribution it is possible
to identify also some of the limitations and liabilities of the
popular leadership theories and approaches:
nSometimes too complicated and abstract recommenda-
tions and techniques. This is obvious in particular on a
contingency approach.
nSimplified perception of managerial work and role – i.e.
common attempts to “squeeze“ managers into one of
the traditional leadership styles (autocratic, democratic,
liberal etc.). These attempts are based on a belief in an
existence of a “typical“ model of an individual behaviour.
Several important facts have been ignored in this respect,
however: (1) Psychological research demonstrates that an
occurrence of the “pure“ types is rare – majority of the
population fall within the so called “mixed“ types. (2) In
a long-term perspective each individual behaves contra-
dictory – even the most outstanding autocrat can behave
as a liberal sometimes and the opposite. (3) Styles tend
to be defined in a contrast way as mutually self-exclusive
alternatives. Within each of them it is possible to apply
the same conducts and skills, however – i.e. a fact that a
certain manager has been labelled as an “autocrat“ does
not mean necessarily that he/she cannot listen or discuss
as an “liberal“ or “democrat“.
nPredominantly behaviouristic view of the managerial
competencies as the conducts independent on manager’s
personality and organizational context.
Conception of versatile leadership refers to tried elements
of the approaches listed above (in particular to Competing
Values Framework and Situational leadership) and offers a
promising alternative for overcoming their main limitations.
It points to a fact that today’s managers work in a complex
world. Every decision can be a trade-off in an economy
fraught with paradoxical demands: Companies we compete
with in one arena may be our partners in another. Maximizing
profits today often conflicts with investing in tomorrow. The
need to produce can clash with concern for people and human
limits. To be up to the task, managers must be equally complex
in their leadership (Pavlica et al., 2011).
Being a complex leader boils down to the ability to play
multiple roles, even contradictory ones, without emphasizing
some at the expense of others. Versatility means the ability to
use opposing approaches, unrestricted by a bias in favour of
some ways of leading and a prejudice against others. Versatile
leadership can be seen also as a new way of understand-
ing flexibility – “adjusting one’s leadership style, methods,
or approach in response to different or changing contextual
demands in a way that facilitates group performance“ (Kaiser
and Overfield, 2010: 106) – in the area of management and
leadership.
The extent to which managers are versatile is highly
related to a team effectiveness. Statistical studies show that
average versatility – effectiveness multiple correlation is R
= 0,71, squaring this result leads to R² = 0,50. This means
that versatility accounts for half of what separates the most
well-regarded leaders from the least well-regarded (Kaiser
and Kaplan 2007). A degree of manager´s versatility also
positively correlates with a long-term success in his/her career
(Kaplan and Kaiser, 2006, Pavlica et al., 2010).
The second theoretical underlying stone of our project
is represented by Denison´s view of organizational culture.
Also this approaches refers to the Quinn´s Competing Values
Framework and as such it can be conceptually related to the
versatile view of leadership. Denison and his team (Denison et
al., 2012) has tried to understand the cultural traits that explain
the difference between high- and low-performing organiza-
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tions. Their studies have led to a proposal of a dynamic model
which helps to identify both deficits and imbalances in the
area of organizational culture.
In reference to the facts presented above this project tries
to answer the following basic questions.
n“Long term research conducted by the authors of the
versatile leadership conception proves significant rela-
tion between managers´ versatility and effectiveness
(productivity and vitality) of their teams. Is it possible to
identify also relations between the versatility of the key
organizational managers and organizational culture as it
has been defined and measured by the Denison´s model
of organizational culture?“
n“What are the differences between cultures in organiza-
tions managed by versatile and lopsided managers?“
n“Does it make sense to integrate a process of management
competencies development with a process of organiza-
tional culture formation and change?“
The research data we have collected and analysed during
the first year of the project are offering a partial answer to the
last basic question.
2 Methods
As was mentioned above this part of our paper offers more
detailed descriptions of the versatile leadership conception
and of the Denison´s model of organizational culture, includ-
ing unique research techniques based upon these approaches.
After this additional research questions and expectations are
articulated.
As it has been indicated before, versatility represents
a way which thinks about leadership in terms of pairs of
opposites, opposing forces that are both useful and com-
plementary (Kaplan and Kaiser, 2006; Pavlica et al., 2010).
Many opposing dimensions of leadership have been identified
over the years: autocratic vs. democratic, task-oriented vs.
people-oriented, initiative vs. consideration, change vs. stabil-
ity, transformational vs. transactional, and so on. Common to
these pairings is that each side is an important function that
has its place in effective leadership. “Either/or” won’t do;
organizations require leaders to be “both/and” when it comes
to these opposing ways of leading.
Two broad distinctions have been joined to provide an
inclusive model of opposites that make up managerial work.
First is John Kotter´s classic distinction between leadership
versus management. Kotter described management as “doing
things right” and achieving efficiency and predictability
through command and control. In contrast, he portrayed lead-
ership as “doing the right things” and inspiring people with a
vision of change.
A second broad distinction is between the interpersonal
aspects of leadership and the organizational aspects of leader-
ship. The interpersonal part concerns “how“ one leads, and
largely revolves around a self-assertive, directive style versus
a more inclusive, supportive style. The organizational part
concerns “what“ one leads and revolves around the technical
and tactical details of execution in the short-term versus plan-
ning ahead to position the organization or team with a strategy
for the future.
Combining the Management versus Leadership distinc-
tion with the “How“ versus “What“ distinction leads to the
model of opposing behaviors (Kaiser and Overfield, 2010)
presented below (see Figure 1).
Degree of managers´ versatility is measured by the means
of 360° feedback tool Leadership Versatility Index® (LVI®).
Most of the existing 360s use 5-point rating scales.
Their problem is that they do not indicate when managers
do something too much. Instead, they seem to assume that
„more is better“ and imply that a high score is the best score.
Furthemore they do not tease apart overdoing it and underdo-
ing it as distinct sources of ineffectiveness.
To remedy this problem a new rating scale (curvilinear
scale, see Figure 2) was developed. It ranges from –4 to + 4.
Values from –4 to –1 represent degrees of “too little“ (deficits
in manager´s conduct), values from +1 to +4 represent degrees
of “too much“ (excesses in manager´s behaviour). Ratings 0
represent “right amount“ of a particular managerial behavior,
approach or technique (Kaiser and Kaplan, 2007).
Management
Achieving effi-
ciency through
command and
control
Leadership
Inspiring people
with vision and
change
Interpersonal
“How“
Self-assertive
and directive
Takes charge
Declares
Pushes
Inclusive and
supportive
Empowers
Listens
Supports
Organizational
„What“
Short-term,
operational
Execution
Efficiency
Order
Long-term,
strategic
Direction
Growth
Innovation
Figure 1. A model of opposing behaviors
Too little
The
right
amount
→ Too much →
o
-4
o
-3
o
-2
o
-1
o
0
o
+1
o
+2
o
+3
o
+4
Figure 2. Curvilinear rating scale
In accordance to a model of opposing behaviours the
LVI® measures manager´s versatility along two dimensions
represented by opposites between: (1) Self-assertive, directive
and Inclusive, supportive behaviour; (2) Short-term executive/
operational and Long-term strategic behaviour. Each pole is
represented by 12 items, the whole technique contains 24 pairs
of opposing statements – descriptions of specific managerial
behaviours (i.e. Pushes people hard vs Shows appreciation;
Future oriented vs Results oriented). LVI® measures also
managers´s effectiveness in terms of a productivity (volume
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and quality of the outputs) and vitality (morale, engagement
with work and group cohesiveness) of his/her team.
Research with the LVI® also shows that truly well-
rounded and versatile managers are in the minority. Versatility
scores are percentages that can be interpreted like letter grades
in school, where higher percentages indicate mastery: 90%
A, 80% B, 70% C etc. The average versatile score in Kaplan
DeVries Inc. normative database (with ratings for 1 123 senior
managers) is 81%, a low B (Kaiser and Kaplan, 2007). In fact,
just over half of managers get B´s and about 40% get lower
than a B, while only 6% get an A (see Figure 3).
There exist two possible general reasons explaining why
do so many managers lack versatility. It may be that leadership
is like any other skilled performance; it takes talent, years of
practice, hard work and concentrated study to master. It also
may be that a new paradigm of leadership is emerging to deal
with increased complexity and a faster pace of change and this
requires multifaceted managers like never before. Either way,
the next question is how can managers expand their repertoire
and become more versatile leaders? A key to the solution is an
assessment tool that identifies how versatile the leader is now,
including clear strenghts, strenghts overused, as well as short-
comings. This is precisely what LVI® was designed to do.
Overall Versatility Percentage of Managers
90% – 100% 6,1%
80% - 90% 54,4%
70% - 80% 31%
60% - 70% 7,5%
Below 60% 1%
Figure 3. Distribution of Versatility Scores
Much of modern management development is based on
behaviorism. These approaches start and end with behav-
ior: behavior-based assessment, behavior modeling, behavior
based peformance coaching, and so forth. Of course, behavior
is the bottom line when it comes to performance. Performance,
however, isn´t a matter of behavior alone; it is also the product
of mindset and emotion (Hogan and Kaiser, 2005; Hogan,
2006).
The LVI® is ideally suited for setting up both the outer
work and the inner work of development.
The outer work of development involves directly chang-
ing behavior. In the case of something a manager does too
little, the needed chnage is to do more. This may involve an
element of coercion because manager must make himself do
something he has neglected or avoided. In the case of “over-
kill“, the needed change is to do less. This requires manager
to ease up and be more selective.
Direct attempts to change behavior may only go so far.
The next question is, then why does the troublesome behavior
persist? The reasons given may be things “out there“ in the
work environment, but more leverage may be “inside“ the
manager. Growing as a leader often hinges on growing as a
person (Kaplan and Kaiser, 2006).
Personal development means that the path to improving
one´s leadership may require a thoughtful examination of
basic beliefs and emotional investments. It can start with a
few simple, ever so practical questions: Why do you do too
much here – what compels you? Why do you do toolittle
there – what holds you back? Experience shows, that behind a
lopsided leadership there often is:
nCrooked thinking. Some managers have an incomplete
and/or incorrect understaning of their job.They are aware
of only one side of the “whole story“ – they may believe
in the need to achieve the results while overlooking the
people side, for example.
nFaulty gauges. Some managers have a trouble judging
how much is too much. Just as a broken thermostat can
overheat or chill a room, a faulty gauge can cause a leader
to go overboard, or come up short.
nPolarized values. Lopsided leadership often rests on
polarized values, where one side is idealized and the other
is devalued. On one hand, some managers can´t imag-
ine such a thing as too much of something they believe
in. Consequently, they are liable to overdo it. On the
other hand, they will often disparage the complementary
approach.
nFears. There can be a fear on the part of overly directive
individuals of not being powerful enough that produces
the excess. And there can be a fear on the part of overly
supportive managers, of becomming an exaggerated ver-
sion of forcefulness, as if moving in that direction means
being arrogant, rude or abrasive.
nUnrecognized strenghts. Some people may fail to appreci-
ate their own strenghts, either in terms of particular skill
or one´s capability in general. Underrating oneself can
compel a manager to try too hard to compensate; under-
estimate, overdo. It can also prompt an individual to avoid
certain tasks for fear of not performing well; underesti-
mate, underdo.
Versatile leadership conception represents a progressive
approach which inspires further research activities. One of
them is represented in our project by an attempt to apply an
idea of versatility on a wider organizational scale, in particu-
lar to analyse what are the relations between management´s
versatility (and consequently management competencies) and
organizational culture.
After discussing our project´s aims with both our research
colleagues from Kaplan DeVries Inc. and experts from
Denison Consulting (see Acknowledgements), we have decid-
ed to use Denison Organizational Culture Survey (DOCS) as
an appropriate method for organizational culture analysis.
Studies conducted by Denison and his colleagues
(Denison et al, 2012) have identified the four basic traits
of organizational culture – mission (sense of purpose and
direction that allows to define organizational goals and strate-
gies), adaptability (degree of flexibility and responsiveness
to business environment), involvement (commitment of all
organizational members to work and goals), and consistency
(set of core values, rules and practices that coordinate and
integrate behaviour of organizational members). These basic
traits can be linked to different performance measures such
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as profitability, sales growth, quality, innovation, and market
value. Out of these studies an original way to measure culture
– DOCS – was developed.
Like a versatile view of leadership also Denison´s model
of organizational culture focuses on a set dynamic contradic-
tions/tensions that must be managed. In particular DOCS
highlights four such tensions: (1) the trade-off between stabil-
ity and flexibility; (2) the trade-off between internal and exter-
nal focus; (3) tension between internal consistency and exter-
nal adaptability; (4) tension between mission and involvement
(Denison et al., 2012).
The core of DOCS is a sixty-item survey, with fifteen
questions about each trait (all traits are defined by the means
of three indexes – see Figure 4). The survey uses five-point
Likert scale in which 1 = strongly disagree and 5 = strongly
agree. Research shows (Denison et al., 2012) that an effective
organization scores high on all traits and indexes.
External focus
Internal focus
Adaptability
Creating change
Customer focus
• Organizational
learning
Mission
Strategic direc-
tion
• Goals
• Vision
Involvement
• Empowerment
Team orientation
Capability devel-
opment
Consistency
Core values
• Agreement
• Coordination/
integration
Flexible Stable
Figure 4. DOCS model of organizational culture
Keeping the basic questions (see Introduction) in mind an
additional research question has been formulated:
n“Which DOCS traits and indexes correlate with an overall
managers’ versatility? Which DOCS traits and indexes
correlate with partial managers’ versatility, represented
by scores for directive VS supportive, and operational VS
strategic leadership?“
In respect to the nature and content of LVI® and DOCS
also four working hypothesises have been proposed:
nWe expect that organizations with highly versatile man-
agement (average versatility indexes values 85% and
above) will score high (average values 4,0 and above)
also on DOCS traits and indexes. At the same time we
expect that organizations with lopsided management
(average versatility indexes values 70% and below) will
score low (average values 2,5 and below) on DOCS traits
and indexes.
nWe expect positive correlations between overall manage-
ment versatility and DOCS traits and indexes values.
nWe expect positive correlations between the scores for
partial versatility on a dimension long-term (strategic) VS
short-term (operational) leadership and the values for the
DOCS traits mission, adaptability and consistency.
nWe expect positive correlations between the scores for
partial versatility on a dimension directive VS supportive
leadership and the values for the DOCS trait involvement.
The whole project has been scheduled for a period of
three years. It has started in June 2012 and should be finished
in June 2015. The data will be collected in the large and mid-
dle size organizations operating on a Czech market. Both
methods LVI® and DOCS were translated to Czech by the
back translation technique.
3 Results
In June 2013 a basic analysis of the data collected in two
middle organizations was finished. On one hand it is too little
information for answering all of our research questions and
working hypothesises. On the other hand these data can illus-
trate how the processes of management competencies devel-
opment an organizational culture management fit together.
The results are presented in a form of two short cases. In
each of these cases the research team proceeded in the follow-
ing way:
nInitial workshop with the members of an organization´s
top management. During this the goals of the project
(including what are the potential practical benefits for a
company) and nature of LVI® and DOCS were explained.
nData collection. The LVI® was applied on a sample of top
managers. After this DOCS was distributed to all employ-
ees and managers of an organization.
nWorkshop focused on the LVI® results. First, group of
managers participating in the project were explained
how to understand the LVI® results. Second, researchers
provided all of the managers with individual coaching
interview focused on in depth understanding of received
LVI® reports as well as on an identification of the key
personal strengths and weaknesses (deficits and excesses
in the area of leadership and management competencies).
At the end of the interview the managers were asked to
prepare the personal development plans.
nFinal workshop focused on the DOCS results presentation
as well as on an identification of their links to the data
obtained by the means of the LVI®.
Case 1: Mechanical Engineering Company
The first organization we have analysed was a Czech
branch of an international mechanical engineering company.
It employs more than 100 people and its top management is
represented by 9 people. The company operates on a Czech
market for more than ten years. A new young director has been
appointed (the former one retired) when we established initial
contacts and cooperation with its management. A major ambi-
tion of a new director was to make “his“ organization more
competitive and autonomous. Together with the HR manager
he appreciated an offer to participate in our research project as
an opportunity to get a qualified feedback about organization´s
and its management developmental potential and needs.
As the first technique was applied the LVI® on a sample
of 9 managers. There average experience with managerial
position and work is 5 years (minimum 2 years, maximum 11
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Organizacija, Volume 46
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years) what indicates that the management team is relatively
young. Figure 5 shows the average LVI® scores for the group.
Overall
versatility
Directive/
supportive
versatility
Operational/
strategic
versatility
Group
average 82% 80% 83%
Figure 5. Average versatility scores of the managers from organ-
ization 1
According to these data the organization´s management
team versatility scores are neither “excellent“ nor “poor“.
Normative database (see Methods) shows that the scores
between 80% - 90% are the most common among the manag-
ers. This organization´s management team as a whole defi-
nitely has a potential to be successful and effective in a future.
The lowest score (80%) was reached for a dimension
Self-assertive, directive VS Inclusive, supportive leadership.
This indicates that probably the major challenges in the area
of the management competencies development are associated
with “how“ the managers approach and lead their staff. A
deeper insight into this area can offer us an overview of the
major excesses (see Figure 6) and deficits (see Figure 7). As
a major excess was understood an item on which a manager
was rated by all his/her co-workers (superiors, colleagues,
subordinates) by a value 1 and above on average. As a major
deficit was understood an item on which a manager was rated
by all his/her co-workers (superiors, colleagues, subordinates)
by a value - 1 and below on average. Letter indexes on items
have the following meaning: f = item represents directive, e =
item represents supportive, o = item represents operational, s
= item represents strategic pole of leadership.
Item Frequency
8f: Defends his/her position – doesn´t back
down easily. (Declares)
3
9f: Pushes people hard. (Pushes) 2
2f: Takes the initiative – seizes the opportu-
nity to lead. (Takes charge)
2
3f: Sets clear expectations – tells people
what to do. (Takes charge)
1
3e: Gives people the latitude to decide how
to do their jobs – hands-off. (Empowers)
1
Figure 6. The major excesses within a management team of
organization 1
All of the major excesses fall within a dimension direc-
tive / supportive leadership. Eight (8) out of nine (9) strong
excesses represent a pole of Self-assertive, directive approach
to people. When related to general areas of management com-
petencies these results show that some members of the man-
agement team tend to “declare“ themselves too much (as the
opposite to competence of “listening“), tend to “take charge“
too much (as the opposite to competence of “empowering“
people) and tend to “push“ people too much (as the opposite
to competence of “supporting“).
Item Frequency
5s: Expansive – aggressive about growing
the business. (Growth)
4
6s: Ambitious to improve the organiza-
tion – launches many change initiatives
(Growth)
3
7s: Willing to make bold moves. (Growth) 3
1s: Spends time and energy on long-term
planning – future oriented (Direction)
2
2s: Thinks strategically – takes a high level
view of where the unit is going. (Direction)
2
6e: Draws people out – wants to know
where they stand. (Listens)
2
11e: Sensitive – careful not to hurt the
other person´s feelings (Supports)
2
5e: Participative – includes people in mak-
ing decisions. (Listens)
1
7e: Open to influence – can be persuaded
to change his/her mind. (Listens)
1
3e: Gives people the latitude to decide how
to do their jobs – hands-off. (Empowers)
1
9f: Pushes people hard. (Pushes) 2
Figure 7. The major deficits within a management team of
organization 1
Most of the deficits (14) represent competencies associ-
ated with strategic leadership. Members of the management
team tend to be (10 cases) too little oriented on organization´s
“growth“(as the opposite to operational orientation on “effi-
ciency”) and (4 cases) too little concerned with “directing“ an
organization towards future perspectives (as the opposite of
operational orientation on “execution“ and immediate results).
Four (4) identified strong deficits are associated with “listen-
ing“ to people correspond to excesses in the area of „declar-
ing“– being too decisive, forthcoming and even stubborn. Two
otter deficits are associated with “supporting“ people and one
with “empowering“ – this also reflects an identified overuse
of the approaches based on directive and self-assertive leader-
ship.
Two managers have troubles with “pushing“ people
towards personal responsibility and high performance. During
the coaching interviews we found out, however, that this
overall low rating on an item 9f is probably a result of their
unequal approach to people. Because of different reasons they
tend to be too protective towards some of their subordinates
while at the same time they treat the rest (majority) of their
staff in a relatively strict and tough way.
After the LVI® we have applied DOCS as both a resource
of information about organization´s 1 culture and additional
interpretative framework for understanding the meaning of
versatility scores. The DOCS data (see Figure 8) are presented
in two forms: (1) averages – average is calculated from the all
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ratings on a five point scale; generally “good“ are the values 4
and above; (2) percentiles – they represent benchmark results
based on more than 1000 organizations rated by DOCS; i.e.
percentile 80 means that 20% of the companies in database
have reached the same or higher score and 80% of companies
reached the same or lower score on a particular index than an
organization „at hand“.
Trait Index Average Percentile
Involvement
Empowerment 2,93 7
Team orientation 3,00 6
Capability devel-
opment 3,52 61
Consistency
Core values 3,25 12
Agreement 2,93 9
Coordination &
integration 2,93 27
Adaptability
Creating change 2,96 23
Customer focus 3,14 7
Organizational
learning 3,26 55
Mission
Strategic direc-
tion and intent 3,43 53
Goals and objec-
tives 3,41 43
Vision 3,10 45
Figure 8. DOCS results for an organization 1
According to the averages themselves the culture of an
organization 1 could be easily perceived as an ordinary and
“normal“ one. The percentiles thus offer us more valuable
information.
Within a dynamic perspective a culture of organization 1
can be interpreted in the following way:
1. Tension between internal (“involvement“ and “consist-
ency“) and external (“adaptability“ and “mission“) focus.
In this respect it is obvious that organization’s manage-
ment pays much more systematic attention to the external
circumstances and conditions than to a consolidation
and effective management of the internal resources and
processes (except of “capability development“). The first
recommendation concerns a need to begin to pay a sys-
tematic attention the internal life of an organization.
2. Tension between stability (“mission“ and “consistency“)
and flexibility (“adaptability“ and “involvement“). Stable
aspects of organizational culture are, (except of an “agree-
ment“ about important issues and a clear/explicit defini-
tion of the “core values“) managed more effectively than
phenomena and processes associated with both internal
and external vitality (except of “capability development“
and “organizational learning“). The second “warning“
points to a need to define and implement rules, principles
and policies which will make the organization flexible
and „ready for action“.
3. Tension between (internal) consistency and (external)
adaptability. There is a plenty of room for a change and
development in both of these areas of organizational
culture. On a side of consistency the very low percentiles
for indexes “agreement“ and “core values“ indicate that
no clear rules and norms defining the areas of desirable/
appropriate and undesirable/inappropriate behaviour have
been implemented yet. On a side of adaptability there are
the warning signals that organization lacks a “customer
focus“ (possible reason is that most of its business have
been mediated by a foreign “mother“ before) and abilities
associated with “creating change“ (i.e. flexible working
procedures, cooperation between departments, active seek
for the new opportunities).
4. Tension between mission and involvement. On this level
of an analysis a contrast between relatively well elabo-
rated organization´s mission and poor involvement of its
employees (except of focus on “capability development“)
deserves our attention. Strategic visions, goals, intents
etc. should be brought to life through an active participa-
tion of the employees on their definition and by the means
of establishing cooperative relations and spirit across the
whole organization.
It is possible to identify several interesting links between
the LVI® and DOCS results. First of all organization´s culture
deficit in the area of “empowerment“ correspond to the LVI®
findings about imbalances on a dimension of directive VS
supportive leadership – managers tend to base their leadership
style on competencies associated with directive and self-asser-
tive approaches at the expense of supporting, empowering
and listening to their subordinates (see Figures 6 and 7).
The organization´s culture deficits in the areas of “creat-
ing change“ and “customer focus“ can be related to the LVI®
deficits in the area of competencies associated with strategic
leadership, in particular orientation on growth (i.e. growing
the business, personal will to take a risk, launching change
initiatives) and directing an organization towards future (i.e.
strategic thinking, long term-planning).
Organization´s culture deficits in the area of team orienta-
tion correspond up to a certain degree with the LVI® finding
concerning team effectiveness (this wasn´t presented above).
Six (6) out of nine (9) teams led by the rated managers were
evaluated as the groups with relatively low effectiveness
(below 50 percentile in a long term database) on both produc-
tivity (quantity and quality of outputs) and vitality (climate,
commitment, cohesiveness) measures.
It is possible to say that DOCS data have not only medi-
ated a useful feedback about organizations’ culture but that
they brought a new light on the LVI® results. LVI® results
were originally presented as an information about the degree
of personal versatility (strengths, deficits and excesses in the
area of competencies) of the managers. It was mostly up on the
individual managers if they accept this feedback and decide
to change their behavior and attitudes. Illustration of the links
between DOCS and LVI® help them to understand that a
change and development of their management competencies is
not their personal business but a need with important strategic
consequences for the whole organization. After this insight
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organization´s management has decided to prepare a work-
shop focused on a detailed elaboration of both individual per-
sonal development plans and a plan for a joint learning of the
whole management group. They have also asked our research
team to give them a new LVI® and DOCS feedback next year.
Case 2: Organization producing packaging
The second organization we have analysed was a Czech
branch of an international company producing packaging. It
employs app. 90 people and its top management is represented
by 4 people. The company operates on a Czech market since
1997. Managers felt that they should substitute their rather
spontaneous attitude to individual and organizational learning
by a systematic approach based on an expertise.
Also here we started with an application of the LVI®.
Average experience of these 4 managers with managerial
position and work was 9, 5 years (minimum 4 years - director,
maximum 20 – production manager). Figure 9 shows the aver-
age LVI® scores for the group.
Overall
versatility
Directive/
supportive
versatility
Operational/
strategic
versatility
Group
average 82% 79% 85%
Figure 9. Average versatility scores of the managers from organ-
ization 2
Similarly like in a case 1 also these data present the
organization´s management team versatility as neither „excel-
lent“ nor „poor“.
The lowest score (79%) was reached for a dimension Self-
assertive, directive VS Inclusive, supportive leadership. This
indicates again that probably the major challenges in the area
of the management competencies development are associated
with “how“ the managers approach and lead their staff. This
doesn´t concern a (female) director, who scored 91% on this
dimension. The other managers´ scores were 73%, 75% and
76%. A deeper insight into this area can offer us an overview of
the major excesses (see Figure 10) and deficits (see Figure 11).
Item Frequency
2f: Takes the initiative – seizes the oppor-
tunity to lead. (Takes charge) 2
4f: Steps in – gets personally involved
when problems arise. (Takes charge) 1
7f: Forthcoming – tells people what is on
his/her mind. (Declares) 1
8f: Defend his/her position – doesn´t back
down easily. (Declares) 1
9f: Pushes people hard. (Pushes) 1
8o: Seek efficiencies – looks for ways to
contain or reduce costs. (Efficiency) 1
Figure 10. The major excesses within a management team of
organization 2
Six (6) out of seven (7) major excesses represent a pole
of Self-assertive, directive approach to people. When related
to general areas of management competencies these results
show that some members of the management team tend to
“take charge“ too much (as the opposite to competence of
“empowering“ people), tend to “declare“ themselves too
much (as the opposite to competence of “listening“), and tend
to “push“ people too much (as the opposite to competence of
“supporting“). One manager is too much focused on efficiency
(represents pole of operational leadership).
Item Frequency
6e: Draws people out – wants to know
where they stand. (Listens) 1
7e: Open to influence – can be persuaded to
change his/her mind. (Listens) 1
9e: Shows appreciation – goes out of his/her
way to make other people feel good about
their contribution. (Supports)
1
11e: Sensitive – careful not to hurt other
person´s feelings. (Supports) 1
Figure 11. The major deficits within a management team of
organization 2
All major deficits (4) represent competencies associated
with supportive leadership. Members of the management team
tend to be (2 cases) too little oriented on listening to people
and (2 cases) too little focused on supporting the subordinates.
In general the management tends to prefer the use of directive
and self-assertive approaches at the expense of inclusive and
supportive leadership. None of the strong deficits represents
dimension operational - strategic leadership.
The DOCS data for organization 2 are presented in Figure
12.
Trait Index Average Percentile
Involvement
Empowerment 3,20 22
Team orientation 3,22 18
Capability devel-
opment 3,18 17
Consistency
Core values 3,48 36
Agreement 3,05 20
Coordination &
integration 3,04 38
Adaptability
Creating change 3,26 66
Customer focus 3,35 28
Organizational
learning 3,23 51
Mission
Strategic direc-
tion and intent 3,23 33
Goals and
objectives 3,40 43
Vision 3,20 57
Figure 12. DOCS results for an organization 2
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Also in this case the more valuable and reliable informa-
tion’s have been mediated by the percentiles.
Within a dynamic perspective a culture of organization 2
can be interpreted in the following way:
1. Tension between internal (involvement and consistency)
and external (adaptability and mission) focus. Similarly
like in a case 1 also here it is obvious that organization´s
management pays much more systematic attention to the
external circumstances and conditions than to a consoli-
dation and effective management of the internal resources
and processes. Managers should no longer ignore the
internal “affairs“.
2. Tension between stability (mission and consistency) and
flexibility (adaptability and involvement). Stable aspects
of organizational culture are, (except of an agreement about
important issues) managed more effectively than phenom-
ena and processes associated with organization´s flexibility.
3. Tension between (internal) consistency and (external)
adaptability. There are at least two important topics for
a change and development on this pair of opposites. On
a side of consistency the very low percentile for index
“agreement“ indicates that no clear rules and norms defin-
ing how to behave in conflict and ambiguous situations
have been defined and implemented yet. On a side of
adaptability there is the warning signal that organization
should increase its “customer focus“.
4. Tension between mission and involvement. On this
level of an analysis a contrast between relatively well
elaborated organization´s mission and poor involvement
of its employees on all measured indexes is apparent.
Managers, in particular those “under“ a director, will have
to change their approach and attitudes towards subordi-
nates significantly.
What are the links between the LVI® and DOCS results
in this case? The results of these two techniques correspond
together in two respects at least. First, organization´s 2 cul-
ture deficit in the area of “empowerment“ (and maybe also
in the area of “capability development“) correspond to the
LVI® findings about imbalances on a dimension of directive
VS supportive leadership – as it was stated before members
of the management team tend to base their leadership style
on competencies associated with directive and self-assertive
approaches at the expense of supporting, empowering and
listening to their subordinates (see Figures 10 and 11).
Second, organization´s culture deficits in the area of
team orientation probably reflect to a certain degree the LVI®
findings about team effectiveness. Three (3) out of four (4)
teams of the rated managers were evaluated as the groups with
relatively low effectiveness on both productivity (quantity and
quality of outputs) and vitality (climate, commitment, cohe-
siveness) measures. As the only one effective was evacuated
director´s team (composed of the members of management
team and administrative staff).
Also in this case the DOCS data have not only mediated
a useful feedback about organization´s culture but that they
brought a new light on the LVI® results, in particular those
associated with a direct management of the individuals and
teams/groups.
4 Discussion
The data collection process was started in February 2013
and will continue till December 2014. The data available at
the moment were collected in two organizations. As it has
been stated before, they do not represent sufficient amount
of information for a statistic analysis and for answering all of
our research questions and working hypothesises. On the other
hand our mainly qualitative analysis of these data enables us to
formulate two preliminary conclusions:
nSome of our expectations (see research questions and
hypothesises) about an existence of the relations between
organization´s management versatility as it is measured
by the LVI® and organizational culture traits and indexes
as they are measured by DOCS can be confirmed. Two
cases presented above suggest that the LVI® results for
a dimension “self-assertive, directive VS inclusive, sup-
portive“ leadership correspond, up to a certain degree, to
the DOCS findings for and index “empowerment“. In both
of our cases/organizations also a possible correspondence
between the LVI® results concerning “team effective-
ness“ and DOCS data for and index “team orientation“
was indicated. We will propose a new working hypothesis
on a basis of this finding. And, finally, case 1 shows that
there can exist relations between the LVI® results for
a dimension “operational VS strategic“ leadership (in
particular sub dimensions “growth“ and “direction“) and
the DOCS data for the indexes labelled “creating change“
and “customer focus“. All of these suggestions need to be
confirmed by a reliable statistical analysis based on data
from more than two organizations, however.
nDOCS data can bring a new light on the LVI® results
and, consequently on the process of management com-
petencies development. Illustration and discussion of
the links between DOCS and LVI® helped managers
from both organizations to understand that a change and
development of their management competencies is not
their personal business but a need with important stra-
tegic consequences for the whole organization. In other
words it became obvious that the process of management
competencies development should be integrated with the
efforts to create an effective and well-balanced organiza-
tional culture (and the opposite).
Our research team will start to collect new LVI® and
DOCS data in a big company construction company. We also
lead negotiations with the management of a big insurance
company at the moment. Till December 2014 we plan to ana-
lyse approximately 8 more organizations. After analysis of all
these data we will be able to give more qualified answers to
our research questions and hypothesises.
Acknowledgements
The research project is supported by Škoda Auto University
internal grant agency as project IGA/2012/7 “Versatility of
Organizational Management and its Reflection in the Area
of Organizational Culture“. Denison Organizational Culture
Survey have been used with a permission and assistances
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(calculation of the percentile scores) by experts from Denison
Consulting. The DOCS data and results are used exclusively
for the research purposes.
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was named partner in 2005. He is an author and co-author of
many books and papers.
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