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Journal cover: Journal of Management Development

Journal of Management Development

ISSN: 0262-1711

Online from: 1982

Subject Area: Human Resource Management

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The role of technical skill in perceptions of managerial performance

Document Information:
Title:The role of technical skill in perceptions of managerial performance
Author(s):Sylvia J. Hysong, (Houston Center for Quality of Care and Utilization Studies, Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center, Houston, Texas, USA)
Citation:Sylvia J. Hysong, (2008) "The role of technical skill in perceptions of managerial performance", Journal of Management Development, Vol. 27 Iss: 3, pp.275 - 290
Keywords:Influence, Performance management, Skills
Article type:Research paper
DOI:10.1108/02621710810858605 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to determine whether technical skill provides incremental value over managerial skill in managerial performance for first-tier managers, and explore potential mediators of this relationship. Hypotheses: technical skill incrementally predicts managerial performance; referent and expert power mediate this relationship; and inspirational appeals and rational persuasion mediate the relationship between power and managerial performance.

Design/methodology/approach – A total of 107 first-tier supervisors from local petrochemical and engineering companies completed an online survey about their professional background and managerial skills; subordinates rated supervisors' technical skill, power, and influence tactic habits. Managerial performance was measured as: production output, subordinate job satisfaction, and subordinate ratings.

Findings – Technical skill incrementally predicted subordinate perceptions of managerial performance over managerial skill. Referent power mediated the relationship between technical skill and both subordinate ratings and job satisfaction; expert power only mediated for job satisfaction. Rational persuasion mediated the relationship between expert power and subordinate ratings of managerial performance.

Research limitations/implications – Clear measurement of multidimensional constructs such as managerial performance and technical skill is essential. Limitations include self-selection bias and availability of objective technical skill measures. Future research should develop component-based measures of these constructs.

Practical implications – Technical skill is valuable to managers as a source of credibility and a means to identify with subordinates. Technical skill should not, therefore, be the most important criterion in selecting technical managers.

Originality/value – This study helps technical managers better leverage their technical skills in managerial contexts, and provides new research directions for component-based performance measurement.

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