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BMG 501/03

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18 pages (excluding cover page)

Question 1:
(a) Summarise Big Five Personality Framework and describe the way Big

Five Personality attributes might affect a managers own behavior in

dealing with his or her subordinates. (10 marks)
The Big Five Personality describes a persons attributes and behavior and how he
or she responds to the surrounding environment in various situations. It is a
personal style of someone based on his or her cultural and social values.
The Big Five is divided into the 5 categories below.
1. Extraversion:- describes a person whom is talkative, outgoing, socially
agreeable and always in a positive mood. The opposite end of this trait is a
person who is an introvert who is shy and reserved.
2. Agreeableness: - Is a person who is approachable, accommodating, warm,
friendly and trustworthy. A person who is low in agreeableness is distant and
3. Conscientiousness:- A conscientious person is very organized, detailed,
dependable and reliable. They can make perfect work colleagues.
4. Emotional Stability : - this trait represents someone who is able to manage
stress and pressure. They have either high or low self esteem and and have
the ability to motivate themselves. People who have low emotional stability or
neuroticism are irritable and moody and allow their moods to affect their
5. Openness to Experience :- a person who is open to experience is someone
who is eager to learn new things and have a number of broad interests. They
also have a curios and creative nature. On the other hand, a status quo and a
conventional person is regarded as being on the low end of this personality.
A managers moods will affect the people working around him and vice versa.
Some personality types may enhance a managers performance while another
may affect his mood negatively. A manager has to have a strong character and
capability to handle all types of personality differently to ensure a conducive work
environment among the staff.
An extroversion person who is open and socially agreeable is able to get along
with everyone in the office. A manager will find it easy to handle an extraversion
person as he is approachable and easy to talk about the issues and challenges in
the office. Such a person should hold positions in marketing and sales.
A person who is agreeable is always accommodating and friendly. It is fairly easy
for the manager to handle friendly people but on the other hand, agreeable people

are usually agree to everything without raising any issues or doubts that may be
important. The manager has to encourage such a person to voice his actual view
of the situation so that unrealistic goals will not be created. Persons high in
agreeableness should be involved in organizing office events and functions,
annual dinners and social club meetings.
A person who is conscientious can make very good administrators, secretaries
and office managers. A manager will have a high level of trust and confidence
when handling these personality types as they are very self disciplined and
organized. The manager would not have a problem assigning a task to them as he
would be confident that a conscientious employee will always see to its
Emotional stability is an important feature for individuals with high job stress
levels. The managers behavior will be affected by the highly emotional staff
during stressful situations. If the staff concerned is involved in the highly stressful
project and shows a stable mindset and calmness when tackling the situation,
then manager himself in turn would be calm and be able to make effective
decisions for the company.
Staffs that are creative with a high openness to experience personality are best
designated to Public Affairs, Designing and Advertising functions. The manager
should encourage these personality types to open up to new ideas and be
creative so that new products can be introduced to the customers.
b) Suppose you had to choose an assistant who will be assisting you in
day-to-day work routine. Would you prefer an assistant who is high in
conscientiousness but low in agreeableness, or an assistant who is high in
agreeableness but low in conscientiousness? Defend your answer. (10
I would choose an assistant who is high in conscientiousness and low in
agreeableness because from the employers perspective, an assistant with high
conscientiousness represents a person with a high level of discipline and
responsibility. Such personalities usually go hand-hand with an assistants job as it
usually encompasses event scheduling, filing, organizing meetings, planning
activities, preparing official documents and other administration work. The person
selected for the job should be organized, detailed, thorough and dependable and

he or she will normally accomplish the given job regardless of whatever the mood
they are in. Additionally, an assistants job description would not require them to
plan, socialize or be creative on the job. The agreeableness personality attribute
also does not apply in this case because kindness, trust and friendliness are not a
required factors needed for an office assistant. Furthermore, selecting a person
which is high on any of the other 4 personality traits would only delay the job from
getting completed and create unwanted disagreements.
Moreover when my assistant is confronted with a work problem, she or he must
have the ability to be calm and clarify the issues while sorting the problem out in
an orderly manner without creating further turmoil. A job description for assistant
would usually match the personality traits of someone who is highly conscientious.
Likewise there should be an acceptable level of conscientiousness in all
employees within any company because it will indicate a workforce that is
responsible and hardworking. The downside of a person who is at the high end of
conscientiousness is that at times the person may tend to be a perfectionist when
it comes to details.
Question No.2.
a) Differentiate between Group Polarization and Groupthink. Suggest
methods that a manager might use to ensure that groupthink does not
occur in his or her group. (10 marks)
Group polarization consist of members who already share the same pre-existing
perceptions and believes and is further reinforced to the extreme when other
dominant members of the group influences them with a stronger viewpoint of
those same opinions. Group think however occurs when members of a group
have contradicting opinions or ideas but are suppressed by other dominant
members so that the whole group will appear harmonious and arrive at a
consensus without any form of conflict.
In an effort to appear invulnerable, Group think members have a tendency to
suppress ideas and thoughts that may be beneficial. This misguided appearance
will eventually lead to unwise decisions and unfortunate reactions.

Two factors that basically explain the Group polarization theory is, social
comparison and information influence. Social comparison is when a person wants
to be accepted within a group so he socially conforms to the views of the
members of the group. Information influence is when other members of the group
have stronger or better views about the situation and this reinforces the views of
the individual concerned.
There are various methods that a manager may use to avoid a Group think from
Inform and Educate:The manager can hold early talks with the group concerned and inform and
educate them about the dangers and the consequences of a group think decision.
The group leader should not take sides or prefer the opinion of only a selected
few members during the discussions. All members should be given an equal
opportunity to voice their concerns or thoughts and each suggestion should be
viewed seriously and evaluated properly.
Encourage criticism
The leader of the group should encourage everyone to put their `thinking caps on
and come up with various alternative ideas. Constructive criticism should also be
allowed among member so that the idea or plan can be analyzed thoroughly.
External information.
Get members to gather more information from external sources and feedback
from personal experiences and produce it during a brainstorming session with the
rest of the group.
Evaluate the contingency plans and come up with various alternatives or action
plans to meet targets. Get people from outside the group to evaluate and give
their feedback on the various alternatives or plans that has been set.
Same rank
Ensure that all members of the group are of basically the same rank in the
organizations hierarchy. This is because everyone will feel at liberty to voice out
their thoughts and doubts as all members are of the same rank within the

organization. If the group members involved are from lower ranking staff to middle
management staff. Then the lower management staff may not voice their doubts
because of the concern of `treading on someone toes in the middle management
Wrong Assumption
Dont necessarily assume that only the smart ones can contribute a smart plan.
Take in all views from a broad angle without preference of who is academically
higher or lower.
Devils Advocate
Assign a role of a Devils Advocate to someone from the group or an outsider to
critic every idea that has been presented and ask the members to come up with
b) Discuss the relationship between Group Norms and Group
Cohesiveness. Think back to a recent work group project which you had
participated, what behaviors did you engage in that contributed to the
groups effectiveness? (10 marks)
Group processes are the dynamics of a working group that occur over period of
time. It can be categorized into 3 categories namely, norms, cohesiveness and
group development.
Groups Norms are a group of individuals who share a set of common values and
believes and are generally sanctioned by the other members of the group. They
basically fit into the group because of similarities. Group norms represent a
standard set of behavior and expectations that shows the basic characteristics
and the behavior of the group as a unit. Norms are usually a result of 4 major
factors: explicit statements, critical incident, primacy and carryover behavior.
Group Cohesiveness occurs when a group of people become cohesive as they
are motivated by specific external forces that bond them together to work towards
a specific goal. Members of cohesive groups are more determined to work and
communicate with each other and willingly participate in whatever tasks appointed
to them. According to Wheelan (1994), cohesive groups are more willing to work
towards maintaing the stability of the group.

In Goodman et al.s (1987) examination of the groups norms and cohesiveness

are two central aspects of forming effective model groups. The actual
performance of a group can be further analyzed by inter-relating group norms and
cohesiveness. Performance is said to be at the highest level when cohesiveness
and performance norms are both high which prompts members of the group to
become highly productive. On the other hand if cohesiveness is high but
performance norms are low then the groups performance is said to be at its
lowest end. Please refer to diagram below for further clarity.




Low Moderate




According to Bruce W. Tuckman (1965), the process of developing a group or

team would have to go through five stages of its life cycle. They are categorized
as:Forming Formation of a group.
Storming Discussion, brainstorming and conflicts, suggestions of ideas
Norming harmonious work relationships are formed, consensus on the decision
of individual roles, agreeing to the new rules and values of the group.
Performing Performing the respective responsibilities to achieve the groups
Adjourning Final decision, conclusion and disbandment of the group.

Effective and efficient behavior of group members will tend lead to high
performance levels and enhance the group goals and objectives. To ensure that a

group is efficient there are various effective characteristics that group members
must adopt to ensure a success of a group in meeting its goals.
Main Purpose:- Each member must have a clear purpose of the objective of the
group after formation. Each member must work diligently to arrive at the targeted
Full Participation: All members involved must have a chance to fully participate by
contributing ideas and doubts during discussions. They must try to `think out of
the box of various situations and bring out alternatives that will encourage further
Constructive conflict : Each individual should feel comfortable in voicing their
dissatisfaction and doubts. This should be viewed as encouraging constructive
conflict between team members. Only when constructive conflict is encouraged,
the group will work towards a win-win situation.
Decision making: Teams should come up with alternative solutions without
bickering about unrelated issues that will have no impact on achieving the main
objective. Decision must be made after weighing all the alternatives and problems
that may occur.
Roles and responsibilities.
Group members roles and responsibilities must be clearly defined and
appropriately assigned to the respective members. Work must be equally
designated to the proper individuals based on their expertise and skills. Each
member should be made accountable for his or her individual roles within the
External factors
Team members must respond positively to external changes or conflict from other
competing groups if confronted with any.
Problem Solving and decision making:
Group members must have good collaboration with one another through honest
discussion and shared decision making. Problems must be brought out during
discussion with the aim of deriving at a solution together. The groups commitment
towards achieving the goal should be achieved collectively.
Shared leadership roles

Leadership roles may be changed from time to time so that leaders of the group
will collectively work towards achieving the groups objective and not towards
receiving personal recognition upon its success.
Effective communication: All forms of verbal and written communication must be
presented and discussed with the whole group so as to avoid miscommunication,
and disagreements from happening.
Conflict resolution skills
During every group discussion conflicts usually tend to occur because not
everyone shares the same thoughts and ideas. The healthy way of managing
conflict is to convert it into a constructive conflict and create it into an opportunity
to analyze the problem from a different perspective.
Question 3(a) (10 marks)
Discuss some major reasons for intergroup conflict to occur. In your
personal experience, what is the most notable reason? Justify your answer.
There are basically two types of conflicts that happen at the workplace, and they
are namely constructive and destructive conflict. Constructive conflict enhances
interaction and pinpoints weaknesses and it is usually adopted by many
managers. According to Shelton and Darling, conflict is important as it
encourages managers to continuously transform and improve. It is the most
preferred type of conflict in a working environment. Destructive conflict however is
damaging and promotes negative feeling and hinders the groups work processes.
The main reason inter -group conflict occurs is competition between the groups
for rewards and recognition.
Cultural diversity is one of the major causes of intergroup conflict. Groups that
consist of individuals from different backgrounds and experiences and different
cultures often find it difficult to adapt to the groups cohesiveness or the general
environment. A group with the most diverse workforce normally brings a broader
range of knowledge and ideas with them. However every member needs to be
educated of these cultural differences and accept them as a positive part of group
Incompatible goals.

When groups are not able to agree on how to use the information or resources
provided to achieve the organizations objective, conflicts will arise. Incompatible
goals cause conflict when objectives of the groups are not consistent with one
Poor Communication
Poor communication occurs when between group members when messages are
not coded nor decoded properly. When members are unable to voice their
dissatisfactions or communication their concerns or doubts, this can lead to
errors, bad performance and conflict.
Unequal reward distribution
When rewards and recognition are unequally distributed between groups this
causes envy, grapevine and destructive conflict. Additionally some groups will feel
bias and unfairly rated when other groups gain recognition mainly because of
good social standing with the top management.
Process Conflict
Methods of how to reach the goals and who to do what job, can cause further
conflict. When tasks and job boundaries are not clarified process conflict can
disrupt the operations processes. Improper delegation of duties can also lead to
insubordination and tension among members. Groups and members may
eventually start to take sides when there is no agreement to a specific job
Scare Resources
When groups start competing to attain scare resources there will be
disagreements and verbal clashes. This usually occurs in a production line when
two or more groups are trying to attain materials needed for the job and there is a
scarcity of goods which they require.
Major conflicts can also happen in an office environment, if one group is more
recognized and rewarded compared to other groups that have all equally
contributed towards meeting the organizations objectives and goals. In my opinion
both unequal reward distribution and cultural diversity can cause biasness and
tensions when members of groups are not taken seriously for their hard work,
extensive knowledge and skills due to the inability to correspond in a preferred
universal language practiced by the particular organization. This tendency

happens now in many countries worldwide that are rather comfortable in their
national language and see no necessity to adapt to the international language of
business and marketing. Tensions can also further arise if one particular group is
more preferred and rewarded by the management because it consists of
acclaimed or outstanding members with reputable and influential background.

Question 3(b) (10 marks).

Conflict management purpose is to correct the conflict in a positive manner so that
outcomes can be perceived as beneficial to the organization.
There are various types of conflict styles that may occur whenever there are

Competing resolution.
Collaborative resolution style
Compromising resolution style
Accommodating resolution style
Avoiding resolution style

As a team leader I am now confronted by two individuals whom are asserting the
competing and collaborative style of conflict resolution.
The team member which has the competing style of resolution will probably bring
about arguments and problems and may try to get an outcome that will only
benefit himself at the expanse of the other team member. The competing style of
conflict is when a team member seeks to obtain a decision that will benefit him at
the expense at the other party. A competing resolution style always has a win-lose
situation for both parties involved and it is not advisable to apply this method
when trying to resolve a conflict. The individual will also usually try to exert a
certain amount of influence through firm resistance. However this type of
resolution is not always bad. It can only be applied when a quick solution is
needed for an urgent circumstance. This can also be applied when the person
enforcing this method is protecting his rights or protecting himself against
aggression. The downside about competing resolution style is that it may affect
relationships among co-workers and may be rather stressful for the individual


The other team member who tries to negotiate with a collaborative style will
usually attempt to find ways to benefit both parties concerned. He would try to aim
for a solution that will bring about a win win situation for both of us.
Collaborating resolution style aims to provide a solution that has mutual benefits
for both parties. In other words it focuses on a win win situation for the parties
involved in the negotiation. This method is very successful in many organizations
as it aims to enhance long term relationship between parties concerned. The
downside about this style is that it requires agreement by all parties involved. A
consensus must be reached and maintained along with a high level of trust
among the effected parties.
As a team leader I will choose to make a deal with the individual with the
collaborative style approach as he will work towards a positive outcome for the
both of us. Applying this method may encourage various alternatives to be formed
and discussed. I will also apply conflict management skills, by using the subject
matter to act as a management tool to guide both the team members to analyze
the situation and obstacles faced by them. This method is also effective when the
situation is complex or when creativity is required as part of the solution. However
collaborative methods are not recommended when urgent solutions are needed
as it requires commitment and consensus from all parties concerned.
To further elaborate this theory and according to management theorists Thomas
and Killman, conflict can be categorized into five sections which indicates level of
assertiveness and cooperation. It can be seen from the Diagram 1 below that and
individual with a collaborative resolution style will be high in assertiveness and
high in cooperation. Whereas an individual with competing style of resolution will
have high assertiveness but low cooperativeness, whereby they only seek to
pursue their own interests at the expense of others.

Diagram 1
(Based on Thomas and Killman conflict mode)








As a team leader I will apply the integrative negotiation style approach to get the
team members to cooperate to achieve maximum benefits for all parties involved.


1. Compare and contrast Bill and Melinda Gatess personality traits
portrayed for each of the Big Five Dimensions. (10 marks)
Bill and Melinda Gates are truly exemplary leaders and their working styles and
personality traits should be followed by many visionary leaders.
Bill Gates has an average extraversion trait as he has to speak and maintain
relationships with employees and friends. He is very vocal with his staff and does
not mind criticisms as he challenges team members during discussions.
Melinda on the other hand is high on extraversion traits as she is basically the
outgoing and sociable as she travels the world to help with problems faced by
many poor countries.
Both Bill and Melinda have high agreeableness traits in them but Melindas
personal involvement in poverty stricken areas shows she is on the higher end of
this personality as compared to Bill. As a couple however both are very warm and
compassionate with huge concerns about the underprivileged as they founded
their Gates foundation with the intention of helping people around the world to
reduce poverty by donating billions. Melinda Gates has further displayed high
agreeableness trait as she does not mind carrying AIDS stricken babies and
comforting the dying people from Mother Teresas home.


Melinda Gates is also higher in the conscientiousness trait as compared to Bill

as she is a goal setter and ensures that she sees that the task is completed. She
is organized and has a plan set for every project she is involved with.
When it comes to openness to experience the credit should go to Bill Gates as
his strong personality shows that he is on the high end of this trait compared to
Melinda. Bill constantly holds discussions and encourages criticism, dialogues
and constructive conflict that will benefit the company as a whole unit. He is open
to new ideas and creativity from his employees and further challenges his own
ideas and assumptions by inviting criticism and resistance from his team. Melinda
however is at the lower end of this trait.
Both Bill and Melinda have strong emotional stability traits. From the case study
provided it seems both have high self esteem and are easily self motivated by
their own dreams of helping the world at large. They have a high drive and the
initiative to succeed at their plans. Bills additional quality shows that he is able to
handle pressure from his team and can lead them without worry.
2. Apply the McClellands Trichotomy of Needs Theory on a) Bill b) Melinda
Gates, who continue to work hard despite being worth many billions of
dollars. Justify your answer for both. (10 marks)
McClellands Trichotomy of Needs theory explains the needs of individuals
attained over a period of time from their work experience and knowledge. It is a
tool to measure the needs of employees and the factors that motivate them to
perform efficiently. The needs theory is broken down to three categories.
Need for Achievement (nAch)
Need for Affiliation (nAff)
Need for Power (nPower)
Need for Achievement (nAch) explains a person with a great need to achieve in
everything they attempt. They are self motivated and work towards attaining the
targets and goals. nAch persons also tend to avoid risky situations as they prefer
to shape the conclusion. They normally do not accept failure as an option. They
also tend to only work with high achievers or work alone.
A person with a Need for Affiliation (nAff) is usually a friendly and easy going
person that prefers good relationships and conformity. A nAff individual is not
competitive and has a high need for personal interaction.

Need for Power (nPower) basically explains a person with a need to influence
others with his position of power. There are two types of nPower people: personal
and institutional. A person with the need for Personal nPower wants to direct
others to do things his way and may use his power in a discriminative way.
Whereas a person with Institutional nPower uses his position to encourage others
to be focused on their job goals and performance.
From the case study. it can be assumed that Bill Gates is motivated with a Need
for Achievement (nAch). He has shown his need to achieve targeted goals and
the need to be an expert in anything he attempts. He is very self motivated by his
own need to excel. Additionally from the case study about his frequent donations,
it appears that money does not seem to be a motivating factor to him.
Furthermore Bill also demonstrates a Need for Institutional Power (nPower)
through his involvement in frequent discussions with his staff and the drive to
encourage them to produce new ideas and handle challenges effectively.
Melinda Gates has however shown she is highly motivated by the Need for
Affiliation (nAff) factor. Her role in the creation of the Gates Foundation and her
involvement in worldly charities demonstrates her personal initiative to help the
poor and to create and maintain cordial relationships. She prefers cooperation
and unanimity when carrying out her duties. Guided by her belief that `every life is
of equal value, Melinda continues to strive hard to uphold that belief by investing
their billions in humanitarian projects all over the world.
3. In terms of personality types (A&B), what type of personality do Bill and
Melinda Gates have and how does it affect their success? (10 marks)
In terms of personality, both Bill and Melinda project different personality traits.
According to management theorists there are basically two personality types that
describes a persons behavior and character.
Personality A denotes a person who is hard driven, very competitive in his work
and addicted to achievement. Bill Gates success stories at Microsoft has shown
that he has the Personality type A. From his accomplishments at becoming the
richest man on Forbes for many years, he has demonstrated that he is hard
working, enterprising and an ambitious person. It is also known that Personality
A can also be aggressive and may show lack of emotions at times. From the case

study about his frequent challenges and discussions with co workers, it can be
further assumed that Bill may be overworked and may experience poor health
problems due to high stress levels.
A person with Personality type B signifies a person who is more laid back and
easy going. Melinda Gates success stories has shown that she is more easy
going and not stressed out when things dont go according to plan. She enjoys her
achievements and is not afraid reap the benefits from her accomplishments.
Personality type B is also known to be intuitive and more right brain dominant.
They are often reflective and creative and they prefer quality as opposed to
quantity in whatever they attempt. Her decision of quitting her job to focus on her
children shows a personality type B. She is a person who does not mind quitting
or losing and does not feel the sense of urgency to uphold her position as a
General Manager. However said so, there are also many type B personalities that
hold successful top corporate positions in many companies.
A unique combination of their characteristics and personality traits as a couple has
made their achievements and their foundation hugely successful. The world is
truly grateful for their contribution as they have worked diligently together to
benefit millions of people worldwide through their creative business skills and
their financial assistance to the community.

4. Based on your personal understanding on reading success stories of Bill

Gates (Microsoft) and Steve Jobs (Apple), do you think there are some
similarities and differences in managerial styles between the? Justify
your answer. (10 marks)
Both Bill Gates and Steve Jobs are visionary leaders of the IT industry and have
changed the world through their innovations and great thinking skills. There are
many similarities between both of them in their journey to success, just as there
are many differences in their management and leadership styles.
Both Gates and Jobs are born in 1955 and are both dropouts from their institution.
Both have a high fascination in computers since young and they both have an
equally great insight about the future of technology and how it can change the
world. Both are highly passionate about what they do and are not motivated by

money. Additionally both leaders have co-founded their companies with their most
trusted friend and business partner. Bill Gates and Paul Allen co-founded
Microsoft while Steve Jobs and his partner, Steve Wozniak co-founded Apple.
Presently both Gates and Jobs are not involved in their companies anymore and it
has been passed on to their successors. Despite their many similarities there also
major differences in their management and leadership styles. Bills first
achievement was a creation of software whereas Jobss first achievement was
Bill is very business minded, efficient and competitive. His goals are to create an
environment that constantly improves and upgrades its skills and knowledge. He
is known to be an opportunist as he uses discarded ideas or technology creations
from others and work hard to improve on it. Gates considers this valuable recreating and because of this, he is disliked by many who feel that his ideas are
not original. However, he is open to criticisms and he believes that failure is the
best teacher in life. He is also known to be aggressive and berates his team when
he finds any loopholes in their strategies. He involves his team in discussions and
decision making processes. When there is a need, he brings in new professionals
to restructure and lead the departments as they see fit. Of all his quotes from
various books, one of his famous quote Life Is Not Fair, Get Used To It has been
followed by many of his staff and new graduates aiming for a top notch easy
corporate life. Gates motto for Microsoft is to put a computer in every desktop with
Microsoft software.
Steve Jobs is an idealist with an autocratic style of leadership. He does not
involve his subordinates in decision making. He is of the mind that whatever he
says and does is the right thing. He makes decisions that usually have major
altering impact on the society at large. He is a perfectionist and always very sure
of his creations and intellectual ideas. In view of that, he is not very effective in
managing his team at Apple. He challenges his staff through face to face
confrontations and is very dominant during discussions. Jobs believes that he is
able to overcome any obstacles thrown at his path. His famous statement to the
Pepsi CEO (Do you want to sell sugar water or do you want to change the world?)
has been reiterated by many scholars in their articles due to its original

uniqueness. Steves motto in Apple is `to make computers accessible to everyone

and make it easy to use. During his last few months, he has given many
motivation talks to students about living a life that matters.
Both leaders are visionary and have created great innovations through their
leadership skills and strong personalities over the years. They have changed the
world in many ways and have made life easier for many people who use and
depend on technology on a daily basis. We owe them our gratitude as we have
also greatly benefited from their ideas and wisdom.

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