Manager identity prominence and managerial performance
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Although prior research has provided rich descriptions of what managers do, it is inconclusive on why some managers are more likely than others to engage in behaviors required for managerial effectiveness, such as making decisions for their teams and engaging with external stakeholders on behalf of their teams. Drawing from identity theory and social identity theory, I propose that manager identity prominence—i.e., the importance attached to the manager identity relative to their other affiliations (e.g. team, department, and profession)—motivates managers to engage more in these managerial behaviors. Since managers have to balance several identities at work, such as that of an organizational member, or an individual contributor on some projects, there is variation in manager identity prominence among managers. Furthermore, given the complex nature of the managerial role, managers often have a choice in the manner in which they engage in managerial behaviors. In this dissertation, I argue that the manager identity prominence relates to managers’ inclusive or restrictive engagement in managerial behaviors depending on their general orientations towards working to for the benefit of others (prosocial motivation), their beliefs about their legitimacy to dominate over others (social dominance orientation), and the breadth of strategic choices available to them at work (managerial discretion). To demonstrate these relationships, I introduce the construct of manager identity prominence and develop and validate an item-based measure for the construct. Using two studies—a quasi-field study on a panel of managers employed in the United States, and a field study at a large organization in Southern United States—I examine how individual and contextual factors modify the relationships between manager identity prominence and managerial behaviors. Results from two studies support the hypothesis that manager identity prominence relates positively to restriction of subordinates’ input on team processes when managers are high on social dominance orientation. Results from the multi-source field study also indicates that in contexts of higher managerial discretion, manager identity prominence relates negatively to decision delegation and positively to restriction of input from subordinates.
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