Personality Characteristics Of Women Managers At Different Levels

Abstract

Active penetration of women in management in various fields of activity and the emergence of a new social category of "business women" has determined the relevance of the study of "female" management features. Despite the fact that management activities, as a specific area of professional activity, make special demands on its subject depending on the level of management, there are practically no psychological studies that examine the personality characteristics of women managers at different levels of the management hierarchy today. The purpose of the study was to elucidate the peculiarities of the structural organization of the personality of lower, middle and top levels women managers. Methods of research: theoretical analysis of the problem, psychodiagnostic method of collecting empirical material, correlation and divergent analyses. A comparative study of women managers’ personality traits structure, as well as the structure-forming indicators, revealed a number of differences between the meanings and nature of the interrelationships of the basic personal characteristics of women managers in the lower, middle and top levels of management. It was found that with the progress up the career ladder, there are peculiarities in the character of the interrelations of the indicators in the individual substructures of the diagnosed personality traits; in addition, there are significant differences in the general structures formed by the personal indicators of the sampled samples of the subjects.

Keywords: Managerial hierarchycareer developmentcareer ladderfemale managerpersonality traitscorrelation and divergent analyses

Introduction

Promotion up the career ladder is one of the main criteria for the professional success of the manager, in connection with which this aspect of professional growth is the focus of many researchers. In Russian psychology, much attention is paid to the study of personality traits of managers, as the acmeological factors contributing to professional development and career growth, i.e. Movement to the heights of the management hierarchy. A large number of papers devoted to organizational psychology are devoted to this topic, including the works of Chernyshev ( 2011), Karpov ( 2006) and Klimov ( 1996) among others.

In international psychology, factors of career growth are considered, such as professional choice, professional roles, professional creativity and achievements, and satisfaction with the profession. The stages of career development and its dynamics are studied, as well as personal attitude to the career and representations of various social groups regarding career. Career is viewed from the standpoint of the typological and the behavioural approaches ( Busenitz, 1997; Meuers, 1998; Domsch & Ladwig, 1997).

Problem Statement

The urgency of the female management features was determined by the active position of women in management in various fields of activity and the emergence of a new social category, businesswomen. Already in the first psychological works devoted to the study of the psychological characteristics of female leaders, the attention of researchers emphasized the opportunities for their career growth. To date, international works reflects well the psychological problems arising in women related to the construction of their professional careers ( Korabik & Rosin, 1999; Chirikova, 2000; Levadnaya, 2001; Palludi, 2007; Semenova, 2011).

Theoretical and methodological prerequisites have been created for singling out the psychology of the female career as a new scientific direction. Despite a large number of studies revealing the interrelationship between sex and career, an analysis of the scientific literature on this topic shows that studies devoted to the career success of women are usually limited to describing the psychological characteristics of women's management and management style. At the same time, for the time being there are practically no psychological studies considering the personal characteristics of women managers at different levels of the management hierarchy, even though management activities, as a specific field of professional activity, make special demands on the manager depending on the level of management. This lack of knowledge about the structural organization of personal characteristics of women managers at different levels of management was the source of the scientific problem of the study. Accordingly, the purpose of the present study is to identify the features of the structure of personality traits in lower, middle and top levels women managers.

Research Questions

Theoretical and methodological prerequisites have been created for singling out the psychology of the female career as a new scientific direction. Despite a large number of studies revealing the interrelationship between sex and career, an analysis of the scientific literature on this topic shows that studies devoted to the career success of women are usually limited to describing the psychological characteristics of women's management and management style. At the same time, for the time being there are practically no psychological studies considering the personal characteristics of women managers at different levels of the management hierarchy, even though management activities, as a specific field of professional activity, make special demands on the manager depending on the level of management. This lack of knowledge about the structural organization of personal characteristics of women managers at different levels of management was the source of the scientific problem of the study. Accordingly, the purpose of the present study is to identify the features of the structure of personality traits in lower, middle and top levels women managers.

Purpose of the Study

Taking into account the specifics of the professional activity and the nature of the requirements for managers at different levels of management, it should be assumed that there are features of expression and structure of personal qualities that make up the psychological-professional resource of the personality of women managers, related to the level of their career growth. In accordance with this goal, the following theoretical and empirical research tasks were addressed:

  • Based on the analysis of both the Russian and the international literature, consider the state of the problem of identifying personal characteristics that contribute to the career success of women managers at different levels of the management hierarchy, and to create the necessary theoretical justification for the research undertaken.

  • Through theoretical analysis, highlight personal characteristics that contribute to the career success of managers.

  • To conduct an empirical study of the structure of individual personality traits of women managers who are at different levels of the career ladder (lower, middle, top).

  • Identify features of the structural organization of personality traits, corresponding to the levels of women managers’ career growth.

Research Methods

Completion of the survey packet was carried out on an individual basis. All in all, 47 indicators were analysed, 6 of which are data on the level of professional career, experience, age, marital status, number of children and the level of education.

To study the individual psychological characteristics of the participants surveyed, 11 techniques were used. The most informative methods were used, which included: an indicative questionnaire by Smekal & Kucher ( 2003), for personality orientation determining; the technique for diagnosing the motivation for success and fear of failure (A.A. Rean) ( as cited in Fetiskin, Kozlov, & Manuilov, 2005); "Questionnaire of psychological tolerance to stress and individual stressors" ( Raspopin, 2009), compiled on the basis of the author's model of stress-tolerance; "COS-2" technique (definition of communicative and organizational skills), by Sinyavsky and Fedoroshin ( as cited in Fetiskin et al., 2005); the technique for diagnosing the internality and externality by Bazhina, Golynkina, and Etkind, which aim is to determine the control localization ( as cited in Fetiskin et al., 2005); the test of resilience, which is an adaptation of Leontiev questionnaire Hardiness Survey, developed by the American psychologist Maddi ( Maddi et al., 2006); "The scale of psychological well-being", which is a Russian-adapted version of the English-language technique, developed by Riff ( 1995). The following methods were also used: Andreev's ( 2009) "The level of personal competitiveness"; Bem ( 1981) Role Inventory, which was used to diagnose the psychological sex and determine the degree of androgyny, masculinity and femininity of the person; the technique "The level of personal readiness for risk ("PSK" by A.Shubert); S.A.Reizas confidence-no confidence questionnaire (as cited in Rudestam, 1990). The research methods included:

  • theoretical analysis of the problem, psychodiagnostic method of collecting empirical material

  • Conventional methods of statistical data processing and analysis (Pearson rank correlation analysis, divergent analysis, and structural analysis method by A.V.Karpov (as cited in Rudestam, 1990 ).

Findings

As a result of the first stage of the study, the most informative (basic) personality traits of women managers were identified: personal orientation, psychological tolerance to stress, personal competitiveness, communicative and organizational skills, androgyny, personal readiness for risk, self-confidence, internality-externality, motivation for success and fear of failure, psychological well-being scale (Table 1 ).

Table 1 -
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Results of comparison analysis

When comparing results we have founded that the substructures formed by the indicators of individual personal characteristics of women managers and then the structures formed by the interrelationships of all the surveyed indicators of the samples of lower, middle and top levels women managers show that, as a system-forming property, at the top of the hierarchical structure of the individual, it is considered to be its direction, first of all, a detailed analysis of the interrelationships must be completed substructure performance orientation of the individual. The analysis of the correlations of individual indicators of the orientation of the personality of women managers at different levels of management showed that between the personal orientation (34) and the collectivist orientation (35) there are inverse relationships allocated to the operational managers at the level of p≤0.01, middle- and top - at the level of p≤0,001. The same is the nature of the relationship between the indicators of task orientation (36) with other indicators of direction. If we take into account the fact that top managers have the highest degree of task orientation, we can talk about the change in the structure of the personal orientation indicators from the lowest to the top level of management: with the advancement up the administrative ladder, the business orientation prevails, and together with the communicative one, they help suppress personal orientation. Divergent analysis confirms the revealed differences in the interrelationships of personal orientation indicators, found between the samples of women managers at different levels of management.

Since, according to the study, stress tolerance is the most important characteristic of a person, an analysis has been made of the interrelationships of its individual indicators with the presentation of these divergent analyses (Table 2 ). With the help of correlation analysis, it was revealed that the substructure of the stress-tolerance indicators in all the samples is rather dense. In this case, there are differences between the substructures of the lower, middle and higher levels; specifically, they change the nature of the interrelations.

As can be seen from Table 2 , by the nature of the interrelationships the substructures of the first and second samples differ markedly among themselves. In the sample of lower level women managers, there is a close relationship between subscales of “Negative social assessment tolerance” and “Isolation (loneliness) tolerance” (r = 0.61, p ≤ .001), whereas in the group of middle-level women managers this relationship is insignificant (r = 0.19). The same can be said about the close interrelations of indicators 15 and 17 (r = 0.80, p≤.001), 15 and 21 (r = 0.70, p≤ .001), which are slightly weaker at the middle management level. By contrast, variables that were not related at the lower level were strongly associated among representatives of middle level women managers’ sample. These are the links between indicators 12 and 19, 16 and 20, 17 and 20, 19 and 22. In general, substructures of female operating managers and middle managers differ in nine pairs of indicators. These differences indicate that at the middle level of management, tolerance to uncertainty, negative social assessment, and loneliness are less significant. At the same time, the weight of tolerance to information overload, the lack of time, monotony and tolerance to everyday stressors are increasing in importance.

Comparing the samples of women managers of middle and top levels of management, there is a tendency to strengthen the interrelations between indicators 13 and 14, 13 and 15, 13 and 21, 14 and 22, 16 and 23, 17 and 24. Top managers have tolerance to negative social assessment and self-assessment, uncertainty, time deficit, information overload, unexpected and long-term stressors. At the same time, the interrelations between indicators 12 and 19, 13 and 19, 19 and 22 when women managers reach the peak of career growth, on the contrary, are insignificant, in other words, the need to overcome the monotony in the work of the top manager is less relevant. In general, between the structures of women managers of middle and upper levels, differences in 12 pairs of indicators were revealed.

Divergent analysis, which made it possible to compare the communicative and organizational skills indicators structures, also revealed differences in the interrelations between the compared samples. Thus, among operational managers there was a direct correlation (p < .01) between the indicators under consideration, i.e. organizational tendencies are updated in connection with the actualization of communicative tendencies. Among women managers of middle and top levels, this relationship is weaker (p < .05). Apparently, with the advancement up the career ladder, the woman manager has formed some "autonomy" of organizational inclinations, which are less reliant on communication skills.

Comparison based on the data of the divergent analysis of the control locus substructure, confirmed and supplemented the notion of their difference in women managers of different levels of management. In the sample of lower managers, the relationship between indicators 27 and 31 is insignificant; at the middle level of management this relationship is rather tight (r = 0.70, p≤ .001). At the level of reaching the peak of career growth or upper level management, the relationship between these indicators is again insignificant. So, internality indicator in the field of production relations makes a significant contribution to the general structure of internality only in the sample of middle level managers. Comparison of middle level and top level women managers showed that the interrelations of indicators 28 and 33, 30 and 33 are insignificant in the middle level sample, while at the top level interconnection are stronger. This indicates a higher responsibility for one's health with the understanding that this contributes to the achievements, as well as the well-being of the family.

A comparative analysis of the correlation coefficients for the hardiness indicators indicates that the substructure of the lower level women managers is more integrated and denser than that of middle and top levels women managers. This indicates the formation of all indicators of hardiness, which manifest themselves in the general stability of the individual in the presence of difficulties and emerging obstacles. The substructure of top managers is characterized by justified caution in risk situations (40) and increased control (41).

Regarding the analyses involving psychological well-being, the results of substructures formed by the indicators of psychological well-being, as a subjective measure of the success of the activity of women managers at different levels of management, show that, with the level of advancement along the career ladder, there are also peculiarities in the character of the interrelation of the indicators. Among lower-level managers, all indicators of the scale of psychological well-being are positively interconnected at level of p≤0.001. In the substructure of this sample, there is a close relationship between indicators 5 and 7 (r = 0.76, p ≤ .001); 5 and 8 (r = 0.56, p≤ .001); 5 and 10 (r = 0.74, p≤.001); 7 and 9 (r = 0.78, p≤.001); 7 and 10 (r = 0.86, p≤.001); 8 and 9 (r = 0.74, p≤.001); 8 and 10 (r = 0.56, p≤.001). This suggests that the experience of psychological well-being largely depends on a positive relationship with others, ownership of the situation and the desire for personal growth. Among mid-level women managers, however, these communications were manifest at an insignificant level. In general, the sample structures of women managers of the lower and middle levels differ in seven pairs of indicators.

By contrast, when comparing samples of middle and higher levels of management, one can observe a tendency to strengthen the interrelations between indicators 5 and 8, 8 and 10, which are at the highest level the strongest. For personal growth of women as top managers, it is important to establish positive relationships with others. On this, self-acceptance also depends. And, as a whole, this defines a high estimation of psychological well-being.

Thus, even individual personality characteristics, such as personal orientation, stress tolerance, communicative and organizational skills, a locus of control, hardiness and indicators of psychological well-being differ at each higher level of management in the direction of increasing the quantitative value of indicators and changing their interrelationships (Table 2 ).

Table 2 -
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Coherence, divergence and organization of general structures

To obtain a complete picture of the differences in the personality structures of women managers at the lower, middle and top levels, indices of coherence, divergence and organization of general structures were computed ( see Karpov, 2006), formed by the indices of all the characteristics studied (Table 3 ).

Table 3 -
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To detail the revealed patterns, a comparative analysis of the correlation structures formed by indicators of personality traits of women managers at different levels of the management hierarchy was carried out. Schematically, the nature of the closest correlation relationships is reflected in Figure 1 .

Figure 1: Correlation structures of women managers of different level
Correlation structures of women managers of different level
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Structures formed only by the most significant (p≤0,001) researched indicators correlation interrelations of lower, middle and top levels women managers

Note: The names of indicators are given in Table 1 . The figure doesn’t include the interrelations of the indicators found "inside" the individual substructures, indicated by Roman numerals.

Direct correlations identified at the level of significance p≤0,001

Inverse correlations identified at the significance level p≤0,001

The structure of lower level managers' personality traits, although formed by a large number of interrelations, plays the smallest role in its organization of internality indicators (27-33) and personality orientation indicators (34-36), which form weak and very weak interrelations (mainly at the level of p≤0.05) with other indicators, not included in the figure. It should be assumed that the requirements of professional activity at this level of career do not cause a mental strain associated with responsibility and motivation for its implementation. Psychological well-being (indicators 5-11) of lower level women managers is largely determined by motivation for success (37), self-confidence (26) and stressors tolerance (12-24). With an increase on the career ladder (43), the indicators of psychological well-being are falling, which indicates the dissatisfaction of women with a slowdown in their professional growth.

The structure of the researched indicators of middle-level women managers demonstrates the smallest functional unity of personality traits in comparison with the structures of indicators of lower and top levels women managers. The degree of coherence among the indicators under consideration and the nature of the correlation dependencies that make them interchangeable and replaceable are lower than in other samples, i.e. at the middle level of the career ladder, the structure of the individual is less strong. It can be said that the middle level of management hierarchy is an intermediate stage, preserving the qualities of flexibility and plasticity necessary for building a new personality structure at top level.

The structure of the personal characteristics of top level women managers looks most complete, stable and harmonious. All investigated indicators take an active part in organizing the general structure, being closely interrelated (p≤ ,001). The psychological well-being of women at this level of management is determined by the combination of all personal factors considered in this study: stress tolerance (p.12-24), internality (27-33), task orientation (36), hardiness (38-41), and competitiveness (1). Since the representatives of this sample reached the highest level on the professional hierarchy, the structure of their indicators can be to serve as a reference point, and the characteristics that form it as components of personal resource for professional growth of the woman manager’s personality.

In order to compare structures, divergent analysis was used, the data of which, presented in Table 4 , complement the description of the revealed regularities.

Table 4 -
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As can be seen from Table 4 , the nature of the interrelations of the indicators when comparing the first and second, and also the second and third samples, differ markedly among themselves. In the sample of women managers of the lower level, there is a strong relationship between indicators 1 and 24, 2 and 4, 4 and 11, 5 and 31, 5 and 37, 11 and 19, 12 and 39, 24 and 37, 24 and 39, 33 and 44. In the sample of the middle management level, however, these correlations are not significant. Comparing the samples of women managers of middle and top levels, there is a tendency to strengthen the interrelations between all indicators when woman grow up the career ladder. In general, the structures of the first and second samples differ in 11 pairs, and the structures of the second and third samples in the 21st pair of indicators.

Thus, a comparative study of the structure of the personality traits of women managers, as well as the structure-forming indicators, revealed a number of differences between the meanings and nature of the interrelationships of the basic personal characteristics of women managers in the lower, middle and top levels of management.

Conclusion

At the present stage of development of organizational psychology, special attention is paid to researching the factors of the professional growth of the subject of activity. Among such are the studies concerning the career growth of managers, as representatives of the social stratum, which plays a significant role in modern society? The main criterion for the professional success of the manager is the promotion up the career ladder, suggesting a transition from the lowest to the middle, and then upward to the top levels of the management hierarchy. Among the factors contributing to career growth, we identified a personal factor, which should include the expression of the basic personal characteristics of a successful manager.

In modern psychology, theoretical and methodological prerequisites have been created for singling out the study of the female career as a new direction for scientific inquiry. At the same time, there are practically no studies related to the structural organization of the personality characteristics of women managers at different levels of the managerial hierarchy, which served as the basis for the formulation of the scientific problem of this study, the purpose of which was to reveal the features of the structure of personality traits in women managers of lower, middle and top levels of management.

During the theoretical stage of the research, scientific grounds were singled out to make the assumption that the specifics of professional activity and the nature of the requirements for managers at different levels of management determine the characteristic features of the structure of personality traits that make up the psychological and professional resource of the personality of women managers of different levels of career to growth.

The study was organized by comparing the data obtained with diagnostic sections. Assessment of different basic personality traits was carried out using standardized and approved assessment techniques that are widely used in psychological practice. Interpretation of the obtained results was based on the methodological positions of modern psychology and theoretical concepts, which were the basis for constructing the algorithm of the conducted research.

Acknowledgments

The work is performed according to the Russian Government Program of Competitive Growth of Kazan Federal University.

References

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Publication Date

23 January 2020

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978-1-80296-077-8

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European Publisher

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78

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Teacher, teacher training, teaching skills, teaching techniques

Cite this article as:

Khalfieva*, A. R. (2020). Personality Characteristics Of Women Managers At Different Levels. In & R. Valeeva (Ed.), Teacher Education- IFTE 2019, vol 78. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 721-732). European Publisher. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2020.01.78