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A study into leadership and management competencies predicting superior performance in the British Royal Navy

Mike Young (Royal Navy, Portsmouth, UK)
Victor Dulewicz (VDA Consultants, Shiplake, UK)

Journal of Management Development

ISSN: 0262-1711

Article publication date: 18 September 2009



This paper aims to present a summary of a study to identify the competencies of effective leadership and management in the British Royal Navy (RN).


The sample consisted of 261 Officers and Ratings. Performance was determined through the organisation's own extensive appraisal process, whilst personality and competency data were gathered through the use of the well‐established occupational personality questionnaire (OPQ) and the then relatively new leadership dimensions questionnaire (LDQ).


The results provide support for an integrated approach to leadership and management selection and development by identifying four “supra‐competency” clusters associated with high performance in both activities. They also provide an illuminating insight into the important academic debate over the differences between the constructs of leadership and management. Additional findings highlight the importance of motivation as a competency, and deliver the first empirical support for a relationship between congruent/public and emotional/private self‐awareness and performance.

Practical implications

The findings have been endorsed by the RN and are being actively implemented as the basis for all leadership and management selection, training and development.


This is a rare example of a study of leadership and management validated against formal performance appraisal data. The fact that conclusions are drawn from an appraisal system which conforms with best practice and from a highly representative sample, with a 97 per cent response rate, reinforces their value.



Young, M. and Dulewicz, V. (2009), "A study into leadership and management competencies predicting superior performance in the British Royal Navy", Journal of Management Development, Vol. 28 No. 9, pp. 794-820.



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