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Journal of Business Research 61 (2008) 191 – 200

Managerial competency appraisal: A cross-cultural study of American and East Asian managers
Eric Chong ⁎
Victoria Management School, Victoria University of Wellington, P O Box 600, Wellington, New Zealand

Abstract This paper reports on the use of managerial commpetency assessment method to appraise 1436 managers from four East Asian countries and 3193 managers from the United States. The results of this research suggest that the assessed competencies of managers from the different nationalities are subject to cultural factors that shape personality and behavioural choices. Outcomes of assessed managerial competencies are likely to be influenced by perceptions of status, the need for consultation and the degree of openness of communication between managers and their subordinates. The study also points to the need for organisations to distinguish the more stable technical skills from the culturally-sensitive people skills when assessing and developing managers of different nationalities and cultures. © 2007 Published by Elsevier Inc.
Keywords: Cross-cultural management; Competency; appraisal

1. Introduction Globalisation, which encompasses the growth in international trade, cross-border movement of funds and the transfer of human talent and technology, has resulted in an increasing number of organisations having business interests in more than one country. These organisations require managers who are not only well informed of the transnational business environment but also competent in working with people from different cultures. Given that ‘more than 90% of organisational behaviour literature reflects US-based research and theory’ (House, 1998, p 230) and that there is a tendency to extrapolate these research findings and to apply theory universally (Triandis, 2004), to what extent then can the managerial competencies acquired in one cultural environment be applied to in a different environment? This paper addresses this question by appraising managers from different cultures using a common appraisal method developed in the United States. Will non-American managers be disadvantaged? If yes, how would they be disadvantaged and to what extent will this appraisal accurately and fairly reflect the competencies of incumbents?

1.1. Nationality, organisational culture and managerial behaviour Hofstede (1991) defined culture as the ‘collective programming’ of the mind which distinguishes members of one group from another. Although culture develops within a society, nations and organisations often consist of groups with different cultural backgrounds. A line of inquiry observed broad behavioural similarities as well as differences within national cultures. Notably, Hofstede (1980, 1984) distinguished five value/belief cultural dimensions: Power Distance, Uncertainty Avoidance, Individualism, Masculinity and Long-term Orientation. House et al. (1999), in their GLOBE study, separated aspects of culture into its ‘etic’ and ‘emic’ qualities. The former are common for all cultures and the latter are culture-specific. The authors believe that these qualities can be used to explain similarities and differences in organisational practices and leadership behaviours. In particular, culture has been shown to shape the individual's perceptions and behaviours towards job design, supervision and rewards (Aycan et al., 2000; Smith et al., 2001). Another line of inquiry observed that ‘organisational cultures’ and ‘industrial cultures’ affect managerial practices and behavioural patterns (Schein, 1992, Trompenaars, 1994; House, 2004). A branch of this research compared public and private sector organisations and attributed differences in managerial

⁎ Tel.: +64 4 463 6942; fax: +64 4 463 5253. E-mail address: eric.chong@vuw.ac.nz. 0148-2963/$ - see front matter © 2007 Published by Elsevier Inc. doi:10.1016/j.jbusres.2007.06.007


E. Chong / Journal of Business Research 61 (2008) 191–200

practices to the former having to contend with greater bureaucratic control (Borgonovi and Brovetto, 1988) and more pressure from the media, legislature and public interest groups (Cohen, 1988). Consequently, public sector managers require competencies and exhibit behaviours that are distinct from those in the private sector (Bozeman and Straussman, 1990; Rainey and Bozeman, 2000). 1.2. Cross-cultural managerial competency assessment Boyatzis (1982) defined managerial competencies as the individual's characteristics that are causally related to effective and/or superior job performance of managers. For these characteristics to be recognised as competencies they must differentiate superior performance from average and poor performance. Performance is in terms of ‘effective specific actions or behaviour.’ The personality of a manager is very much a part of competency in so far as it determines behaviour. Hofstede and McCrae (2004) demonstrated a correlation between ‘personality factors’ and ‘cultural dimensions’. It was Triandis (1982) who observed that specific management actions could be facilitated or inhibited by culturally determined orientations. These orientations and the management activities they affect are shown in Table 1. According to Triandis, defining goals is most likely facilitated in cultures where Mastery of Nature and Masculinity are valued. In these cultures, Masculinity is seen in terms of taking control quickly and setting quantifiable objectives. Planning is facilitated by an orientation towards the future, but effective planning is inhibited by a lack of trust in others where power distance is high. It is also inhibited where Uncertainty Avoidance is low as there will be less need for contingency plans. A high Power Distance culture facilitates the selection of people into management groups which are more exclusive than inclusive. There is a tendency for managers to impose greater control on staff in cultures where human nature is perceived as self-serving. The degree of self-esteem in individuals within a culture affects the managerial approach to correcting undesirable subordinate behaviour. In low-contact Apollonian cultures the emphasis is on tasks and formality between managers and subordinates, whereas managers in Dionysian cultures motivate subordinates through close interpersonal affiliation (Triandis, 1982).
Table 1 Cultural orientations and management activities Cultural orientation • Mastery/subjugation of nature • ‘Masculinity’/‘femininity’ • Past/present/future orientation • Power distance • Uncertainty avoidance • Power distance • Human nature perception • Self-esteem • High achievement • Formality • ‘Dionysian’/‘Apollonian (high contact/ low contact) Source: Triandis (1982, p 156-157). Affected management activities Defining goals Planning

Selecting, training and controlling people Motivating people

McKenna (1998) found that the act of managers discussing performance with their subordinates is less acceptable in high power distance cultures, where managers are seen as the final arbiters of performance. In high Individualism cultures, managers coach their staff to become more independent, while in high Collectivism cultures managers view coaching as looking after their staff. The Power Distance and Uncertainty Avoidance cultural dimensions affect delegation in two ways. Firstly, delegation of decision-making authority is considered more risky in high Uncertainty Avoidance cultures. Secondly, in high Power Distance cultures, managers are seen as being more responsible for decisions. This, in turn, reinforces the expectation that decisions on performance goals are the prerogative and duty of managers. A direct connection between culture and managerial competencies was established by Boutet et al. (2000) in their study of Rothmans International. The study revealed that managerial competencies, particularly of its Asian operational regions, had to be adjusted to account for cultural differences. The development of a competency model based on each cultural dimension was evaluated for cultural fit. A summary of their findings is given in Table 2. These findings suggest that certain competencies compatible with North America culture are incompatible with Asian and European cultures. Leadership, decision-making, influencing skills and people development competencies are significantly different between North American and Asian cultures, and require redefining to ensure accuracy. This has important implications on staff appraisals across cultures. The cultural differences that impact the managerial appraisal process gains importance when organisations select and develop managerial talent in different countries (Laurent, 1986; Schneider, 1988). Would a common appraisal method used to assess managers from different cultures be valid for all? Groeschl (2003, p. 67) reported that ‘only a limited number of researchers have considered some of the cultural implications of the appraisal process'. A review of the literature reveals that the research in this area has been patchy, covering topics like: the extent of supervisory control (Amba-Rao et al., 2000), supervisory performance standards (Chen and DiTomaso, 1996), the emphasis on work performance and personality traits (Schneider and Barsoux, 1997), communicating performance feedback (De Luque and Sommer, 2000; Van Tuan and Napier, 2000), formal and informal appraisal processes (Milliman et al., 2002) and the emphasis on teamwork (Boehnke et al., 2003). While these studies provide insight into cultural differences in certain management functions, this researcher is not aware of any studies that have attempted to cover managerial competencies across cultures in a more comprehensive way. This paper explores the extent to which culture affects appraised managerial performance in a range of managerial competencies. 1.3. Testing for cultural and competency differences There are three steps in this study. Firstly, broad differences in the assessed competencies of American and Asian managers are examined. Secondly, the competency data from public and

E. Chong / Journal of Business Research 61 (2008) 191–200 Table 2 Cultural dimensions and managerial competency Applied cultural dimension Affected managerial competency Low power distance Leadership) Decision-making (especially risk-taking Leadership (especially harmony and trust) Decision-making Influencing skills People development Flexibility Evaluation of cultural fit


High individualism

Compatible with: Northern Europe, North America and Australia Some incompatibility with: Southern Europe Significant incompatibility with: Asia Compatible with: North America, UK, Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand.. Some incompatibility with: Southern Europe Significant incompatibility with: Asia

Low uncertainty Avoidance High masculinity

Compatible with: North America, UK, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Hong Kong Decision-making (especially concerning risk-taking) Significant incompatibility with: Italy, Spain, Greece, France, Belgium and Japan Achievement motivation Compatible with: USA, Australia, New Zealand, Greece, Italy, Germany, South Africa and UK. No significant incompatibility recorded.

Source: Boutet et al. (2000 p 15).

private sector organisations are tested to see if sector managerial practices could possibly affect the result of analysis focusing on cultural differences. Finally, based on prior research, hypotheses are tested on specific competencies which are expected to be different across cultures. It is commonly agreed that the American and East Asian cultural ‘clusters’ are distinct (Triandis, 1982; Misumi, 1985; Hofstede and Bond, 1988; Middleton and Jones, 2000; Matsumoto, 2001; Hofstede, 2003). As such, the assessed competencies amongst Asian managers are expected to be similar to one another, but different from those of American managers. This assumption will be tested in hypothesis H1 by using cluster analysis on a sample of East Asian and American managers. Hypothesis 1. Using managers' scores on an instrument that assesses managerial competency, managers from Asian countries will have scores that are similar to each other, but different from those of American managers. Other than nationality, distinct managerial practices within an organisation could affect the competencies required of its managers (Schein, 1992; House, 2004). An example would be the difference in practices between private and public sector organisations (Bozeman and Straussman, 1990; Rainey and Bozeman, 2000). In order to rule out the sector variable as a significant factor in cross-national/cultural comparisons, an intra-national analysis of differences between sectors will be done. In Hofstede's (2003) research a comparison between American and Singapore managers revealed a significant difference in Power Distance (USA — 40, Singapore — 74) and Individualism (USA — 91, Singapore — 20) cultural dimension indices. These differences were shown in Boutet et al. (2000) to affect ‘peopleoriented’ competencies such as leadership, influencing skills and people development. The assessment of managers from different cultures is expected to result in differences in ‘people-oriented’ communication competencies (such as listening and organising, giving clear information and getting unbiased information) and supervision competencies (training, coaching and delegating, appraising people and performance and disciplining and

counselling). A competency assessment instrument developed within a particular cultural context is expected to provide an advantage to managers familiar with behaviours required in interacting with others in that context. This is tested in hypothesis H2. Hypothesis 2. When using an instrument that Americans have developed to assess managerial competency, American managers will receive higher scores than Singapore managers on ‘peopleoriented’ communication and supervision competencies. The application of US-based research and management theory across cultures reported by Triandis (2004) is testimony to their continued relevance of some areas of management. This could possibly arise if there are ‘etic’ qualities, described by House et al. (1999), which are common in different cultures. The managerial competencies that are not primarily involved with people contact are likely to be relevant across cultures. Therefore, the assessment of managers from US and Singapore in ‘technical-oriented’ administrative competencies (time management and prioritising, setting goals and standards, and planning and scheduling work) and cognitive competencies (identifying and solving problems, making decisions and weighing risks, and thinking clearly and analytically) is not expected to result in significant differences. This is tested in hypothesis H3. Hypothesis 3. When using an instrument that Americans have developed to assess managerial competency, there will be no significant difference in scores between American and Singapore managers on ‘technical-oriented’ administrative and cognitive competencies. 2. Method The method to test for differences attributed to culture should include a managerial assessment tool that would minimise the spurious effects of varying language proficiency, consider the social desirability factor and address inconsistencies in the appraisal process across national boundaries. It should also be an instrument that has been widely used in a number of


E. Chong / Journal of Business Research 61 (2008) 191–200

countries so that cross-national data is readily available. Considering these requirements, data using the Managerial Assessment of Proficiency (MAP) instrument was used for this study. 2.1. Managerial Assessment of Proficiency (MAP) instrument The MAP instrument, published by Parry (1992), uses the case method in conducting managerial assessments. Managers to be assessed are provided with detailed information on an organisation, then follow a video story-line showing an actor playing the role of a manager in activities such as a staff meeting, selection interview, performance appraisal, delegating work, goal setting and progress reporting. The video is divided into segments and managers are required to answer multiplechoice questions after viewing each segment. The assessment takes a working day and is done according to the guidelines in Appendix A-1. There are 187 multiple-choice questions (a sample is in Appendix A-2) and the answers are assessed according to how close they are from the answers that had been determined by a panel of experts comprised of academics and management practitioners. MAP is therefore an assessment of a manager's knowledge and recognition of good management practices, rather than an assessment of the manager's actual job performance. The MAP instrument was designed to measure 12 competencies (Appendix A-3) grouped into four clusters. 1. Administrative cluster: time management and prioritising, setting goals and standards and planning and scheduling work. 2. Communication cluster: listening and organising, giving clear information and getting unbiased information. 3. Supervisory cluster: training, coaching and delegating, appraising people and performance and disciplining and counselling. 4. Cognitive cluster: identifying and solving problems, making decisions and weighing risks, and thinking clearly and analytically. Validation studies using rank order correlation analysis relating performance on the job with performance on MAP were conducted by Training House, Inc. (1986) on 250 managers and supervisors from organisations within eight industrial groups. Correlations between these two measurements of performance were high, ranging from .75 to .92 with split-half reliability reported to be between .75 and .76 for the various competency scales. 2.2. Multi-level data collection and analysis The collection and analysis of data in this study follows a ‘multi-level’ framework. Essentially, this method uses data from individuals that have been aggregated into organisational and national averages for comparison purposes. A comprehensive discussion of this methodology is in Fischer et al. (2005). Although the aggregate scores do not describe individuals, they are useful as indicators distinguishing one group from another.

Pettigrew (1997) pointed out that the characteristics of a group must mirror the characteristics of group members. Hofstede and McCrae (2004) argued that composite national-level traits can be ‘operationalised’ as the average of individual traits. Research into multi-level models is on-going and its application in this study will, hopefully, be a contribution. Three levels of data were used in this study. The first level represented competency data collected from individuals from known organisations. The second level represented the average competency scores of individuals within an organisation. The third level represented the average scores by competency of organisations within a country. It was possible to work out a higher (organisational and national) level data from a lower (individual) level data but not the other way around. 2.2.1. Samples Organisational-level data was collected from 65 organisations based in the United States (Appendix B) which had gathered data from a total of 3193 managers, or an average of 49.1 per organization. This was comprised of 15 from the public sector and 50 from the private sector. The private sector organisations were from the financial, insurance and commercial services, communication and transport, education, chemical and allied, health services, manufacturing, retail and utilities industries. The biographical data of these individuals indicated that 70% were college or graduate degree holders, 78% were first-level managers or higher, 75% had two or more years of managerial experience and 64% had three or more direct subordinates. Collected organisational and calculated national level data were used from this sample. Individual data was collected from a sample of 142 managers from 27 Singapore-based organisations. Of these organisations, 13 were from civil service ministries and 14 were from the private sector (Appendix B). The private sector organisations were from financial services, property, information technology manufacturing, training/education, healthcare, retail and transportation. The biographical data of individuals indicated that 79% had undergraduate or post-graduate degrees, 93% were first-level managers or higher, 77% had two or more years of managerial experience and 78% had three or more direct subordinates. Calculated organisational and national level data were used from this sample. MAP assessment data of managers from Taiwan (n = 932), Malaysia (n = 304) and Philippines (n = 58) were used in this study. These managers classified themselves as first-level supervisors (41%), middle managers (31%), senior managers (8%) and professionals (20%). Information on their education, work experience and the organisations they were from were not available. Only collected national level data were used from this sample. 3. Results H1: Using managers' scores on an instrument that assesses managerial competency, managers from Asian countries will have scores that are similar to each other, but different from those of American managers.

E. Chong / Journal of Business Research 61 (2008) 191–200 Table 3 Five-nation Euclidean dissimilarity coefficient matrix Malaysia (Mal) Mal Phi Sin Twn US .00 35.54 24.38 45.65 60.41 Philippines (Phi) 35.54 .00 29.85 42.86 45.37 Singapore (Sin) 24.38 29.85 .00 33.86 44.12 Taiwan (Twn) 45.65 42.86 33.86 .00 60.57 American (US) 60.41 45.37 44.12 60.57 .00


American (US) and East Asian managers were seen as distinct ‘cultural clusters’ in prior research. A preliminary investigation was done using the Euclidean Distance Model. The output was a matrix of dissimilarities which showed the ‘distance’ of the aggregated score of one nationality from another, very much like the physical distance between cities in a road map. The results are in Table 3. The diagonal with zero values indicates distance from itself. A larger figure indicates distance and dissimilarity. A smaller figure indicates proximity and similarity. When one country was compared with the others the results, in Table 4, indicated that the American managers were the furthest away from the managers of each East Asian country. The Taiwan managers were furthest from the American managers and the Singapore managers were closest to the Malaysia managers. This Dissimilarities Coefficient Matrix allows only a one-on-one comparison. In order to get a multi-dimensional perspective of the relative distances of all the nationalities vis-à-vis one another, a Multidimensional Scaling (MDS) procedure was used in the analysis of distances and proximity. The result of this MDS procedure was the creation of the two-dimensional Euclidean Distance Model in Fig. 1.
Table 4 Comparison of US and Singapore public sector managers' MAP competencies Competency United States N = 15 Mean SD Time management and prioritising Setting goals and standards Planning and scheduling work Listening and organising Giving clear information Getting unbiased information Training, coaching and delegating Appraising people and performance Disciplining and counselling Identifying and solving problems Making decisions, weighing risks Thinking clearly and Analytically ⁎p b 0.05 ⁎⁎p b 0.01. Singapore N = 13 mean SD Mean SD tvalue t-test significance

The dimensions represent spatial proximity/distance between countries when they are placed in a two-dimensional space based on their country competency assessment scores. The relative positions indicate spatial proximity between the East Asian managers and distance from the Americans (US). Amongst the East Asians, there is closer proximity amongst the Southeast Asian managers of the Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore, and some distance between them and their Taiwanese counterparts. Of the three South-East Asian countries, Singapore (Sin) is closer to Taiwan (Twn) than either Malaysia (Mal) or the Philippines (Phi). Though Taiwan remains somewhat separate from the other three Southeast Asian countries, it is much closer to those nations than the United States. H1 is therefore accepted. The data collected from private and public sector organisations provides an opportunity to examine whether sector difference has an effect on the results of the managerial competency assessment. The omnibus Hotelling's T2 test was used to compare the public and private sector groups from the United States and Singapore on each of the 12 MAP competencies. The results from the US organisations revealed a T2 statistical value of 1.0319; the Wilks' λ value of .4922; the associated F = 3.6853, with df = 14/50. The F value was significant at p b .001. The analysis of data, using the same test, on government and private sector organisations in Singapore revealed a T2 statistic value of .4111; the Wilks' λ value of .7087; the associated F = 3.7288, with df = 14/127. The F value was significant at p b .001. Thus the measured competencies for the private sector are significantly different from the competencies of the public sector, both in the US and Singapore. In order to eliminate the organisation's sector as a possible intervening variable, comparisons of assessed competencies were made of the same sectors from different nationalities. Comparisons were made between 13 Singapore government organisations and 15 US government organisations and between 14 Singapore private sector organisations and 50 US private sector organisations listed in Appendix B. H2: When using an instrument that Americans have developed to assess managerial competency, American managers will

55.80 9.37 29.17 13.60 − 6.10 .000⁎⁎ 47.68 5.68 41.23 14.89 − 1.54 .137 56.47 6.33 52.36 18.81 − .83 .415 48.87 7.00 28.91 10.29 − 6.07 .000⁎⁎ 53.20 6.20 40.68 8.76 − 4.41 .000⁎⁎ 44.13 7.39 35.67 10.28 − 2.53 .018⁎ 54.87 5.07 40.81 11.77 − 4.20 .000⁎⁎ 50.07 6.89 37.22 13.36 − 3.26 .003⁎⁎ 54.87 6.89 46.05 11.91 − 2.44 .022⁎ 54.07 8.42 43.98 14.15 − 2.33 .028⁎ 52.87 8.71 44.79 12.89 − 1.97 .060 44.47 8.09 30.16 12.65 − 3.62 .001⁎⁎ Fig. 1. Five-nationality Euclidean distance model.


E. Chong / Journal of Business Research 61 (2008) 191–200

Table 5 Comparison of US and Singapore private sector managers' MAP competencies Variable United States N = 50 Mean SD Time management and prioritising Setting goals and standards Planning and scheduling work Listening and organising Giving clear information Getting unbiased information Training, coaching and delegating Appraising people and performance Disciplining and counselling Identifying and solving problems Making decisions, weighing risks Thinking clearly and analytically ⁎p b 0.05 ⁎⁎p b 0.01. Singapore N = 14 Mean SD tvalue t-test significance

55.02 5.18 41.16 18.76 − 4.70 .000⁎⁎ 49.88 7.59 53.61 24.64 55.48 8.48 58.59 13.92 .94 .351 1.04 .301

48.88 5.94 41.17 16.05 − 2.82 .006⁎⁎ 54.44 8.04 37.36 9.55 − 6.74 .000⁎⁎ 50.50 6.99 43.76 18.45 − 2.13 .038⁎ 52.48 7.98 38.64 15.55 − 4.55 .000⁎⁎ 52.82 8.83 42.69 11.63 − 3.53 .001⁎⁎ 55.74 8.15 41.19 16.32 − 4.62 .000⁎⁎ 53.74 6.87 47.68 13.89 − 2.27 .027⁎ 52.14 7.99 56.43 17.22 1.34 .186

44.76 5.74 28.62 14.90 − 6.27 .000⁎⁎

receive higher scores than Singapore managers on such ‘peopleoriented’ competencies as communication and supervision. The t-test was used to identify competencies that were different between the US and Singapore public and private sector managers. The results in Tables 4 and 5 indicate significant differences between U.S. and Singapore managers on most competencies for both the public and private sector comparisons. The Singapore managers scored significantly lower than the US managers in nine out of the 12 assessed competencies. All competencies in the people-oriented Communication Cluster (Listening & Organising, Giving Clear Information and Getting Unbiased Information) and Supervisory Cluster (Training, Coaching & Delegating, Appraising People & Performance and Disciplining & Counselling) were significantly higher for the Americans. H2 is therefore accepted. H3: When using an instrument that Americans have developed to assess managerial competency, there will be no significant difference in scores between American and Singapore managers on such ‘technical-oriented’ competencies as administrative and cognitive competencies. In both the public sector (Table 4) and the private sector (Table 5) there were significant differences in time management and prioritising, identifying and solving problems and thinking clearly and analytically. However, there were no significant differences in the setting goals and prioritising, planning and scheduling work and making decision, weighing risks competencies. H3 is therefore supported, though the results are somewhat mixed. 4. Discussion and further research An analysis of the country aggregated data from the four East Asian countries and the US shows Euclidean spatial differences

in the appraised performance of managers that could be attributed to factors other than their competence as managers. The method of assessment was developed in the US for assessment of American managers. The clustering of the competency data suggests that the application of the assessment on East Asian managers, without consideration of cultural differences resulted in substantial assessed competency gaps. Measured nationally, the observed proximity of the East Asian managers and distance from the American managers supports the rationale for an East Asian cultural categorisation first mooted by Haire et al. (1966), and a separate American category suggested by Boehnke et al. (2003). The results from the comparisons amongst the East Asian managers seem to reflect the geo-political proximity and historical links of the South-East Asian countries of Malaysia, Philippines and Singapore. The relatively closer proximity in the assessed competencies of Singapore and Taiwan managers as compared with those from other East Asian countries could be due to the predominantly Confucian-Chinese populations in both countries. Significant differences were identified between the competencies of managers in the private and public sectors of the same nationality. This pointed to differences in the two sectors, elucidated by Rainey and Bozeman (2000), possibly having a significant effect on managerial competency requirements. In order to eliminate sector difference as an exogenous factor, comparisons were made between organisations from the same sector operating in different countries. The results indicate that the difference in culture was distinguished in the same assessed competencies in both the private and public sectors. There were significant differences in nine out of the 12 competencies and, in all instances, the US managers scored higher than the Singapore managers. Even in the remaining three competencies that were not significantly different, the Singapore manager scored lower than the American managers. Is this result a true reflection of managerial capability or an artefact of the testing instrument? Differences in the Supervisory competency set appear to support differences measured by Hofstede's (2003) Power Distance and Individualism indices between the two countries. Singapore managers would expect greater cognizance of status in their contact with subordinates, while US managers would expect more confrontation with, and initiative from, subordinates. Singapore managers, in contrast to their US counterparts, would expect more consultation and consensus before initiating action. The differences observed in the Communication competency set could be attributed to communication being less open between manager and subordinate in a higher Power Distance and lower Individualism Singapore culture as compared with US culture. While the American manager is expected to elicit and communicate unbiased information in a way that influence the thought and action of others, the Singapore manager is expected to provide unbiased information necessary for the subordinate to get on with a predetermined job. This difference reflects Triandis' (1982) distinction between Dionysian cultures, where subordinates are motivated through close interpersonal affiliation and

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Apollonian cultures, where there the relationship between manager and subordinate is characterised by tasks and formality. The findings in the analysis of the Administrative and Cognitive competency sets were inconclusive with three of the six competencies showing statistically significant differences. Comparisons in ‘setting goals and standards’, ‘planning and scheduling work’ and ‘making decisions and weighing risks’ competencies indicate that there are no significant differences between the two nationalities. However, the Americans scored better than the Singaporeans on every single competency. This certainly points to the American-developed instrument being inappropriate for used on Singapore managers. But the lack of significant difference in the three ‘technical-oriented’ competencies could also indicate the existence of ‘etic’ qualities that transcends the norms established in any one culture. These are more likely to be present in managerial work such as setting standards, planning and rationale decision making where more ‘hard’ technical skills are required as part of the assessed competency set, as compared with communication and supervisory competency sets which require more ‘soft’ people skills. The association between skill types and ‘etic/emic’ factors in crosscultural competency comparisons is an area for further study. 5. Limitations and conclusion Due to the sensitive nature of assessed managerial performance data on individuals, other than the Singapore sample, only aggregated data was made available for use in this study. Thus, although broad differences could be identified from aggregated organisational data, a caveat ought to be placed on inferences made on the individual manager's behaviour. The information on respondents in three of the four East Asian countries studied was limited to organization or national-level data. This, and the differences in sample sizes, meant that the full extent of comparability between all samples could not be established. There was also no way to establish if the samples of managers represented all managers in their countries. The application of a standardised assessment process using the same video story line, however, went some way towards minimising semantic errors and provided a unique opportunity to observe behavioural choices that could be attributed to cultural differences. The results of this study indicate that there is a difference at a national level between the assessed managerial competencies of American managers and that of the East Asian managers that can be attributed to cultural differences. Secondly, at an organisational level, cultural differences manifest themselves in some but not all assessed managerial competencies. Transnational organisations often identify and measure managerial ‘talent’ across national boundaries using a common appraisal method. The results of such appraisals will invariably be affected by cultural norms that have nothing or little to do with capability. The research findings provide empirical evidence that suggest organisations, in managing and assessing their overseas personnel, ought to distinguish between technical skills which tend to be applicable across cultures and people skills which are prone to cultural differences.

Appendix A-1
Agenda for assessing managerial proficiency Suggested Activity time 10 min 50 min Welcome to MAP…why we're here, what MAP is/isn't, benefits to individuals and the organization, the day's agenda Tape one…Arthur Hill's introduction, the self-scored test, the organization chart and the mission statements with cast of characters. (pp. 1-7) Bill's staff meeting…items 1–40 (pp 8–15) Break Personal Style Assessment (measures individual's Thinker, Intuitor, Sensor and Feeler scores) Jim's planning sheet…items 41–50 (pp 16–19) Bill's preparation of Jan…items 51–60 (pp 20–21) Tape two…Shirley & Jim discuss a problem…items 61–70 (pp 22–23) Bill delegates to Brian…items 71–80 (pp 24–25) Brian delegates to Jose…items 81–90 (pp 26–27) Lunch Communication response style assessment (measures individual's empathic, critical, searching and advising response) Tape three…Jan interviews Ted for a job…items 91–102 (pp 28–29) Should Jan hire Ted…items 103–115 (pp 30–33) Bill discusses a problem employee with Jim…items 116–128 (pp 34–35) Shirley's flexitime memo…items 129–139 (pp 36–39) Break Assignment of last 13 personal items…items 188–200 (pp 55–56) to be done any time Bill meets with Jan for her performance review…items 140–159 (pp 40–45) Tape four…Jim's counselling of Fred…items 160–173 (pp 46–49) Bill's reassignment meeting with Shirley and Jim…items 174–187 (pp 50–53) Arthur Hill's sign-off…last segment of video Readings…distribution of Answer Your Questions and Interpreting Your Scores booklets Adjourn

30 min 5 min 15 min 15 min 15 min 15 min 15 min 5 min 12 min 25 min 15 min 15 min 5 min 25 min 15 min 25 min 3 min 5 min

Appendix A-2
Sample of the managerial assessment of proficiency questions Bill's staff meeting…items 1–40 (pp 8–15) Item 11. Bill's standards of performance are: A Unrealistic and overly demanding B Useful, since they convey his expectations C Motivating, since they give the supervisor something to shoot for D Not normally included on a job description Jim's planning sheet…items 41–50 (pp 16–19) Item 44. The management planning sheet is a good tool for: A Managing the activities and resources that go into a typical project Should Jan hire Ted…items 103–115 (pp 30–33) Item 108. It's obvious after studying Jan's decision matrix that: A She has not made use of the lowest values on her rating scales B There is no reason for adding up the values she assigned to each desirable C Numbers are being used to make a subjective process look more objective D Ted does not live near work Bill discusses a problem employee with Jim…items 116–128 (pp 34–35) Item 126. The real problem, or root cause, here is: A Fred is not working assigned hours according to the organization's workday (continued on next page)

198 Appendix A-2 (continued ) Jim's planning sheet…items 41–50 (pp 16–19) Item 44. The management planning sheet is a good tool for: B Replacing the performance appraisal form that evaluates one's work C Helping supervisors and managers reach agreement on goals and priorities D Evaluating how well managers meet their goals and objectives Bill's preparation of Jan…items 51–60 (pp 20–21) Item 56. It's important to meet with a subordinate to discuss a forthcoming appraisal so as: A To give at least two weeks of lead time in scheduling the review B To relax the subordinate who is being appraised C To set a mutually agreeable time for the review D To get the subordinate to prepare for the appraisal Shirley & Jim discuss a problem…items 61–70 (pp 22–23)

E. Chong / Journal of Business Research 61 (2008) 191–200 Appendix A-2 (continued ) Bill discusses a problem employee with Jim…items 116–128 (pp 34–35) Item 126. The real problem, or root cause, here is: B Jim didn't clear his own flexitime policy for printers will Bill in advance C There's a difference in management style between Bill and Jim D Bill happened to see Fred leaving early Shirley's flexitime memo…items 129–139 (pp 36–39) Item 132. We can see from the recommendations in Shirley's memo that: A Her committee hasn't decided whether employees can or cannot be trusted B She writes in a crisp, lean style that gets right to the point C Their approval will foster team building and participative management D She is redundant and wordy D Assigns tasks but retains both the authority and the responsibility Jan interviews Ted for a job…items 91–102 (pp 28–29) Item 96. Ted's volunteering that he has two other interviews tells Jan that he: A Wants to convey an impression that he's a ‘go-getter’ B Might be a well-qualified applicant who is in demand C Is honest and open D Is naïve D Ineffective in that Bill's non-directive technique was not appropriate Note 1. There may be more that one correct response to an item 2. Documents provided to support the video were: Description of the organization, job description, management planning sheet, Jan's decision matrix, Ted's application form, inter-office memo, updated job description and Jim's discipline planning sheet

Appendix A-3. Managerial Assessment of Proficiency (MAP) competencies • Time management and prioritising — ability to management time, both ones' own and others'. Includes: negotiating priorities; exercising self-discipline; controlling interruptions; being time-effective versus time-efficient (doing important things rather than everything). • Setting goals and standards — ability to manage activities and projects toward measurable goals and standards, setting these jointly with others. Includes: supporting wishes, activities, quotas, goals, standards; reducing barriers; evaluating results. • Planning and scheduling work — ability to manage projects (one-time programmes) and processes (ongoing work flow). Includes: analysing complex tasks; selecting resources; planning and scheduling the work; setting checkpoints and controls for monitoring progress. • Listening and organising — ability to understand, organise, and analyse what one hears. Includes: identifying and testing inferences and assumptions; overcoming barriers; summarising and reorganising a message for recall; recognising and controlling biases. • Giving clear information — ability to assess a situation, determine the objectives, and give clear, concise, wellorganised, convincing information to meet the objectives. Includes: overcoming barriers; keeping on target, maintaining a climate of mutual benefit and trust. • Getting unbiased information — ability to use questions and probes, to obtain unbiased information and to interpret it appropriately. Includes: using directive, non-directive, reflecting questions, and probes; confirming understanding; obtaining agreement. • Training, coaching and delegating — Ability to develop people. Includes: selecting the right people; reaching agreement on plans for action; keeping a balance between input and output; transferring responsibility; giving feedback effectively; providing appropriate rewards. • Appraising people and performance — ability to give feedback and coach people constructively and regularly.

Bill meets with Jan for her performance review…items 140–159 (pp 40–45) Item 70. Managers should only Item 145. The most important tackle a problem when: objective in holding a performance review should be: A It is keeping them from achieving A To improve the performance of their objective(s0 the employee B They can identify at the start both B To identify strengths and the symptoms and the root causes weaknesses in the employee C The cost of correcting it is less than C To give the employee feedback the cost of living with the problem D They have the resources (mainly D To review what the employee time and money) to correct it has done to improve since the last appraisal Bill delegates to Brian…items 71–80 Jim's counselling of Fred…items (pp 24–25) 160–173 (pp 46–49) Item 73. Bill's handling of Brian is: Item 164. Jim's talk with Fred would have gone better if he: A An example of good abdication A Had told Fred that he had but poor delegation noticed his leaving early B The result of inadequate planning B Had built on Fred's strengths prior to delegation rather than on his weakness C A good example of participative, C Had made Bill the ‘bad guy’ as non-directive management Bill had suggested he should D Typical of his parent-to-child D Had not tried to solve relationships with subordinates Fred's problem for him Brian delegates to Jose…items 81–90 Bill's reassignment meeting with (pp 26–27) Shirley and Jim…items 174–187 (pp 50–53) Item 89. Delegation is most effective Item 185. Bill's discussion of the when the manager: scheduling problem with Jim was: A Assigns both the responsibility and A Effective in that he got Jim to the authority to get the job done recognize that he has a problem B Assigns the authority and retains B Ineffective because Bill did all the responsibility the talking C Assigns only the responsibility C Effective in that Jim is now ready to and retains the authority have Shirley handle his scheduling

E. Chong / Journal of Business Research 61 (2008) 191–200 Appendix B (continued )


Includes: keeping appraisals interactive, focusing on performance and not personality, reaching agreement on future expectations, following up on action plans. Disciplining and counselling — ability to correct employees constructively. Includes: restoring performance without loss of face; getting the employee to accept responsibility within an agreed-upon time frame; reinforcing improved performance (or taking appropriate action). Identifying and solving problems — ability to identify barriers that keep one from achieving set goals and standards. Includes: distinguishing between symptoms and problems; collecting data; identifying root causes; weighing alternatives; and taking appropriate actions. Making decisions, weighing risks — ability to construct a decision matrix to evaluate options. Includes: identifying limits, desirables, and risks to be considered; assigning weights to each alternative; selecting the best option for meeting the desired goals. Thinking clearly and analytically — ability to apply logic and think clearly so as to interpret situations and information correctly. Includes: identifying valid premises; drawing logical conclusions; recognising fallacies, false premises, and generalisations that lack evidence.

Appendix B
US and Singapore organisations US Government (organisations = 15, individuals = 782) 1. Defence Systems Management 8. National Forum Black Public College, Ft Belvoir, VA Administration, Dallas, TX 2. Drug Enforcement Administration, 9. National Park Service, Quantico, VA Washington, DC 3. Federal Bureau of Prisons, Aurora, CO 10. Social Security Administration, Baltimore, MD 4. F.B.I. Academy, Quantico, VA 11. Texas General Land Office, Austin, TX 5. Ft. Monmouth Army Headquarters, 12. US Department of Ft Monmouth, NJ Agriculture, Washington, DC 6. Immigration Service, Washington, DC 13. US Department of Justice, Washington, DC 7. Internal Revenue Service:Dallas, TX, 14. Veterans Health San Francisco, CA Washington, DC Administration, Washington, DC 15. Wisconsin Housing Development, Madison, WI US private sector organisations (organisations = 50, individuals = 2410) Services (financial, insurance, commercial) Health services 1. Cragin Federal Bank, Chicago, IL 27. American Red Cross, St Louis, MO 2. ITT Commercial, Clayton, MO 28. Baptist Regional Medical Center, Corbin, KY 3. Keycorp,Albany, NY 29. Columbus-Cabrini Medical Center, Chicago, IL 4. Merrill Lynch, Princeton, NJ 30. Holmes Regional Medical Center, Melbourne, FL 5. American Farm Bureau, Park Ridge, IL 31. Ingalls Medical Center, Harvey, IL 6. Marsh & Mclennan, New York, NY 32. Medical Center Hospital, Chillicothe, OH 7. Mutual Benefit Life, Newark, NY 33. Memorial Hospital, South Bend, IN

US private sector organisations (organisations = 50, individuals = 2410) Services (financial, insurance, commercial) Health services 8. Universal Underwriters, Overland Park, KS 34. Mercy Health Systems, Cincinnati, OH 9. Burns International Security, (includes 27 Hospitals in OH & PA) Parsippany, NJ 10. GAB Business Services, Parsippany, NJ 35. Silver Cross Hospital, Joliet, IL 11. National Car RentalMinneapolis, MN 36. St Johns Mercy Medical Center, St Louis, MO 37. Westside VA Medical Center, Chicago, IL Communications and transport Manufacturing 12. Carolina Telephone, Tarboro, NC 38. Boeing Support Services, Seattle, WA 13. GTE Labs, Chicago, IL 39. Brady W.H., Milwaukee, WI 14. New Jersey Bell, S. Plainfield, NJ 40. Brush Wellman, Elmore, OH 15. Amtrak, Philadelphia, PA 41. Ingersoll-Rand, Phillipsburg & Liberty Corners, NJ 16. Long Island Railroad, New York, NY 42. Mettler Instrument Co., Highstown, NJ 17. Metro Seattle, Seattle, WA 43. Williams Advanced Materials, Buffalo, NY Education Retail 18. California State University, 44. Bantam Books, New York, NY Long Beach, CA 19. North Central Technical 45. Dunkin’ Donuts, Randolph, MA College, Mansfield, OH 20. Texas A&M University, 46. Fleming Company, Oklahoma College Sta, TX City, OH 21. University of Southern California, 47. Wherehouse Entertainment, Los Angeles, CA Torrance, CA Chemical and allied Utilities 22. Atochem N. A., Philadelphia, PA 48. Consolidated Edison, New York, NY 23. Besselaar Associates, Princeton, NJ 49. Philadelphia Electric, Philadelphia, PA 24. Bristol-Myers Squibb, Princeton, NJ 50. South Carolina Electric & 25. Dupont, Wilmington, DE Gas, Columbia, SC 26. Petrolite, St. Louis, MO Singapore government ministries (organisations = 13, individuals = 87) 1. Central Narcotics Bureau 8. Legal Aid Bureau 2. Home Team Academy 9. Labour Relations and Welfare Division 3. Immigration and Checkpoints Authority 10. Manpower Planning and Policy Division 4. Singapore Police force 11. Occupational Safety and Health Division 5. Foreign Manpower Management 12. Social Support Division Division 6. Singapore Prison Service 13. Sports Division 7. Housing Division Singapore private sector organisations (organisations = 14, individuals = 55) Financial services Health care 1. Credit POSB 9. National Skin Centre 2. DBS Finance 10. Mount Elizabeth Laboratories Property Retail 3. Technology Parks 11. NTUC Fairprice 4. DBS Land 12. Homemakers Electrical 5. UIC Development Information technology manufacturing Transportation 6. Open Technology 13. Trans Island Bus Services 7. Mentor Graphics 14. Mass Rapid Transit Corp Training/education 8. Singapore Institute of Management


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