I already wrote about management styles a few months ago in the context of using the concept to design a robotic manager. Let me remind you that the most well-known among practitioners is Blake and Mouton’s management grid. It is based on two indicators: concern for people and concern for results. This division distinguishes five classes of management styles: impoverished management, authoritarian management, relationship-oriented management, sustainable management and integrated management . However, a more recent conception of management styles simplifies their meaning and divides them into two management styles: participative and authoritarian .
I have described the research on management styles more extensively here:
Together with Dr. Adrian Pyszka of the University of Economics in Katowice, we reversed the reasoning and instead of asking whether it is possible to make a robotic manager based on management styles, we asked whether it is possible to study the management styles of a human manager using robotic manager technology. We used the organizational size system to do this:
and the online managerial tools of TransistorsHead.com (http://transistorshead.com/).
In doing so, we formulated two hypotheses:
- H1: In a highly structured work environment, every manager of a virtual team has the same leadership style.
- H2: In a highly structured work environment, the leadership style of a virtual team manager does not change.
We conducted the study using the non-participant observation method on June 29-30, 2021, which lasted 36 hours. The group of observation participants consisted of 6 2nd degree students of the University of Silesia in Katowice, working in two virtual teams, each of whom was assigned the role of team manager. The students had basic competencies in managerial techniques, acquired during the “Managerial Techniques” and “Business Plan” courses. Both groups were given the same task, which was to design an entertainment program in Talent Show format on a YT channel. Participants could work at any time between 9 a.m. on the first day and 9 p.m. on the second day of observation. During the assignment, students used 8 online management tools on the TransistorsHead.com platform and the MS Teams communication tool.
What results did we get?
Hypothesis H1 turned out to be true. The time distribution of task-oriented and relationship-oriented activities was almost identical in both managers. In both cases, the style of management could be called autocratic with a tendency toward balanced , as in manager No. 1 the share of time spent on task-oriented activities was 66.90%, and only 33.10% on relationships. In manager No. 2, 62.36% and 37.64%, respectively.
Hypothesis H2, on the other hand, turned out to be false, as the style of management changed quite significantly during the course of the study in both managers. These changes were rapid and sometimes even quite surprising. In addition, the changes in leadership style took a completely different course in the two managers. I will show this in the next blog post and then we will consider whether the robots managers will have different leadership styles and what it will depend on.
If you want to know all the results from the study we conducted, read this article:
41. Flak, O., Pyszka, A., Measuring leadership styles according to Blake and Mouton in virtual teams
Blake, R.R. & Mouton, J.S., (1965). International managerial Grids. Training Directors Journal, 19(5), 8-23.
Jago, G., (2017). A contrarian view: Culture and participative management. European Management Journal, 35(5), 645-650.