Research on the effect of ethnic psychology on specific features of managerial functions implementation

Table of contents: The Kazakh-American Free University Academic Journal №4 - 2012

Author: Shutko Oleg, East Kazakhstan State University in honor of S. Amanzholov, Kazakhstan

One of characteristic features of the present global community is substantial modification and aggravation of intergroup and interethnic relations, of political-social and economic affairs. On the one hand, this state of things depends on demographic, economic and environmental crises; on the other hand, such trends are the result of the complicated processes of ethno-political, ethno-historical and ethno-cultural differentiation and, at the same time, of the global integration promoted by the general socio-cultural rise and development of the national identity.

Against the objective development of the national identity, we see the natural intensification of the researchers’ interest in the problems of ethnic and psychological specifics impact on various aspects of human life. Besides the apparent academic significance of this scientific trend development, real practice claims explanations of a number of phenomena and regularities, consulting psychologists encounter in poly-ethnic organized bodies.

Specifically, numerous works by Kazakhstani and foreign researchers who have examined managerial activity and leadership styles, professional mentality, personal characteristics and managers’ typology have not yet reflected a clear idea of interrelation between the style of managers’ professional activity and their ethnic psychology. Meanwhile, at the mundane level, such interrelations are observed and reflected in ethnic stereotypes and mindset.

One of most prominent effects in economic and social life is presented by the managerial professional style; hence, identification of objective differences determined by ethnic psychology is of utmost practical importance in terms of improvement of managerial process, based on the ethnic origin and psychology of the manager himself.

A manager realizes his functions in a cyclical and repeatable set of logically connected activities which can be corrected in the process of implementation, and is focused on solving managerial problems with optimum employment of resources. Psychological investigation of this process gives grounds for introducing the category of the management style understood as stable and rather steady integral, mental formation comprising conscious and unconscious mechanisms of adjustment (both in active and passive forms) to managerial activity.

Investigation of this phenomenon should be conducted at the following levels: analysis of resources (preferable set of means used consciously and unconsciously for attaining managerial goals); analysis of mechanisms (activity algorithm, ways and means of solving managerial problems); strategies analysis (subjective hierarchization of managerial functions).

Among the factors determining the formation of the leader’s management style, ethnic background is of importance together with personality and professional record. Ethnic psychology manifests itself in the form of ethnic psychological specifics. It exists as a public mind phenomenon and appears in the form of social and psychological characteristics of people and their groups, called ethnic and psychological specifics. Ethnic and psychological specifics have certain properties, among them: impossibility to summarize these specific features; ability to determine the character of other psychological phenomena, attaching them some special orientation; greater degree of conservatism and stability if compared with other psychological phenomena, and multiformity.

Effect of ethnic psychology on peculiarities of the leader’s managerial functions implementation is realized at the following levels:

Intellectual and cognitive level determines the flair of ethnic perception and brainwork; elements of this level include examination of managerial functions subjective hierarchization and self-reflection.

Emotional-volitional level stipulates functioning of some definite original emotional or volitional traits within the given ethnic community; it presupposes investigation of preferable resources used by the leader within the framework of managerial functions implementation; the type and direction of emotional responses within business communication and accepting the spheres of responsibility.

Communicative - behavioral level embraces informative and interpersonal interaction of an ethnic group representatives’ and includes elements of activity algorithm study, practice of solving managerial tasks by the leader, preferable types of communication channels.

Background-motivational level characterizes activity drivers of an ethnic group representatives’ and contains elements of investigation of motives, values and the leader’s type of direction within his professional activity.

The goal of the cross-cultural research was an empirical study of manifestations of the ethnic and psychological specifics of Kazakh and Russian leaders in the process of their managerial activity.

As a working hypothesis of our empirical study it was suggested that existing differences in ethnic psychology of Kazakhs and Russians stipulate specific features of managerial activity of the leaders, representatives of these ethnic groups, which are revealed in different style components: selection of strategies, preference of certain resources and mechanisms.

The tasks of the cross-cultural study were as follows:

- To elaborate, verify and clarify the conceptual model and techniques of scientifically grounded and comprehensive research and interpretation of peculiarities of the ethnic psychology impact on specifics of managerial functions implementation by the leaders of different ethnic origin;

- To conduct an empirical study of manifestations of peculiar ethnic and psychological features of Kazakh and Russian leaders’ managerial activity;

- To generalize the findings and to compare them with the findings of the previously conducted studies related to the problem under investigation;

- To present a meaningful characteristics of preferable styles of managerial functions implementation by Russian and Kazakh leaders.

The hypothesis and tasks of the research alongside with the outlined criteria for detection of ethnic psychology manifestations among Russian and Kazakh leaders in terms of their impact on managerial functions implementation, determined selection of complex techniques used.

For examination of the first group of criteria the following techniques were used:

- A specially elaborated questionnaire;

- My Limitations Analysis Test (Francis, Woodcock):

The second group of criteria was examined on the basis of the following techniques:

- Research on Personality Control Localization technique by H. G. Ksenofontova;

- Business Situations by N.G. Khitrova;

- A specially elaborated questionnaire.

The third group of criteria was examined on the basis of the following techniques:

- Color Choice technique by Solomina I.;

- Technique for Labor Motivation Identification by Badoev N.;

- Mach- IV (Machiavellian traits) questionnaire by Znakov V.V.

The fourth group of criteria was examined on the basis of the following techniques complex:

- T. Leary’s Interpersonal Relationships Diagnostics;

- Manufacturing Situations by A.A. Yershova.

Substantiation of research techniques for examination of the ethnic psychology impact on the leader’s implementation of managerial functions was complicated by certain factors. On the one hand, we faced the necessity to analyze the practice pattern of ethnic and psychological specifics research. On the other hand, we had to analyze the techniques for the leader’s implementation of managerial functions.

Having analyzed the current diagnostic material, we chose the list of techniques most relevant for the research.

The conducted cross-cultural research on the impact of the ethnic psychology on specifics of managerial functions implementation, as exemplified by Russian and Kazakh managers, demonstrated the following:

Strategies of managerial functions implementation in two samples differ considerably. Kazakh managers consider as most prominent the administrative, educational and public relations functions, whereas Russian managers consider as most prominent the administrative, expert-advisory and strategic functions. Selection of strategies for implementation of administrative functions alongside with other factors is determined by strong and weak points of the manager.

The resources chosen by Russian and Kazakh managers are different and determined by the responsibility zone; Russians refer to administrative and professional resources as most prominent, and Kazakhs refer to administrative resources and personal network.

The type and direction of emotional response in frustrating situations have certain specific features: Russian managers are typically active and try to find a way out of a jam. At that, they demonstrate high degree of initiative, activity, expertise in assigning powers and ability to assign missions to the subordinates. Kazakh managers tend to focus on the problem, not demonstrating it yet; the frustrating situation is neglected or its existence is completely denied. Activity is oriented to maintaining positive personal relations, even at the superficial level.

Background-motivational ethnic and psychological specifics of Kazakhs and Russians are manifested in professional motives hierarchy. The Russian sample obviously demonstrates the self-actualization and self-development motives, the background for realization being career and power. For Kazakh sample, higher ranking are the power, status and social motives realized through the official position, authority and communication. Predominant needs both with Kazakhs and Russians are met within the framework of significant managerial functions.

Favored mechanisms of managerial functions implementation are embodied in the prevailing types of interaction and behavior. Thus, Russian leaders are characterized by activity, professional expertise and self-development; independence in taking decisions, non-conformity, precise planning and control demonstrated in the initiative type of behavior. Kazakh leaders are characterized with a tendency to cooperation, delegation of authority, participative style of taking decisions, high-profile status, and officiality expressed in the executive type of behavior. Integral characteristics of the identified styles of managerial functions implementation allow specifying them as ego-professional for Russian managers and ego-humanistic for Kazakh managers.

For the benefits of the research gains localization and with a view of collecting most significant data, most representative elements characterizing research subject in most comprehensive way, have been analyzed first. These representative elements allowed determining the techniques used in the research.

The empirical study was conducted within the framework of cross-cultural ethnical and psychological research focused mainly on the ethnic specifics of selected mental measures manifestation with respondents of different ethnicity. A specially selected complex of individual and social-psychological techniques and purposefully elaborated system of experimental measurements adjusted to their perception by respondents served that purpose.

The research was conducted in the city of Ust-Kamenogorsk, Kazakhstan, from 2004 till 2010. Its principal part took place in 2006.

The research embraced 428 middle managers, males, aged 28-56. In compliance with the goal and tasks of the research, the sample was divided into two groups according to their ethnic background, Kazakh managers made a group of 252, and Russian managers, a group of 175 participants. The research was conducted on the basis of metallurgical industry enterprises of East Kazakhstan.

Reliability of the findings was provided by the author’s initial methodological principles; verification of the general theory by means of correlating it with the findings; application of the verified research techniques; usage of the complex of standard reliable techniques of ethnic and psychological research, relevant to its goals and tasks; representativeness of sample; conducting additional research and comparing it with the situations modeled; comparing the findings with findings of other authors.

Principal positions and research findings have received practical approval and have been implemented at the JSC Ust-Kamenogorsk Titanium and Magnesium Plant.

Further prospective directions of the relevant investigations within the framework of the given problem may be as follows:

Investigation of the ethnic psychology impact on the implementation of managerial functions within mono- and poly-ethnic collective bodies;

Elaboration of practical guidance for business communication aimed at representatives of other ethnic groups;

Identification of most efficient ways and means of professional education and development for Kazakh and Russian managers, with consideration of their ethnic and psychological specific features.


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Table of contents: The Kazakh-American Free University Academic Journal №4 - 2012

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