An investigation of managerial skills: implications for personnel policy
This research explores the conceptual basis in
adopting a skills approach to management development.
The literature reveals a number of development approaches
but only a limited appreciation of how the manager does
his job i.e. of the skills that he needs.
An investigation of managerial skills was conduc~ed
with 10 managers mainly occ~pying middle and seLior
positions. The principal source of evidence was tte
manager's thoughts on what he did and how he did it,
although the interviews were supplemented by formal and
informal obser/ation. There was also a dialectic value
from discussions with other analysts/mana~ers and empathy
between analyst and practitioner also played a part.
Each manager was invited to comment upon his own skills
analysis as a check upon validity.
The study supports the view that the manager,
similar to other skilled practitioners, is conceptually
a model builder and operationally a navigator (Singleton
1978b). The manager variously holds enactive, pictorial f
symbolic and hybrid models that enable him to understand
his world and act in it. The universal managerial function
is decision making and the study present's a preliminary
nomenclature in classifying decision processes or perceptual
skills. Managerial skills are also reflected in interpersonal
interaction where the hallmark~ is mutual construction
and attribution and in 'self management where the
requirement is to cope with the inner rather than the
outer world. Differences between managers are most evident
in perceptual skills, the more senior manager requiring
increasing ability to process abstract information and take
account of environmental uncertainty. He will also make
greater use of 'off-line' information.
The practical purpose in studying managerial skills
is to facilitate the improvement of managerial performance
and the implications of the research for training, selection
and appraisal are explored.