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Generic behavioural criteria of managerial effectiveness: An empirical and comparative case study of UK local government

Robert G. Hamlin (University of Wolverhampton, Telford, UK)
Susan A. Serventi (Wolverhampton City Council, Wolverhampton, UK)

Journal of European Industrial Training

ISSN: 0309-0590

Article publication date: 9 May 2008




The purpose of this paper is to present the findings of a “partnership‐research” study of effective and ineffective managerial behaviour within the “local government” setting of the Wolverhampton City Council Social Care Department, and to describe how the research supports and challenges the organisation's existing “leadership and management behavioural competency framework”. Additionally, it reveals and discusses the extent to which the results are consistent with equivalent and comparable findings from an equivalent study within a “central government” department.


Concrete examples of effective and ineffective managerial behaviour were collected using the Critical Incident Technique (CIT) of Flanagan, and the obtained data were analysed using content and thematic analytic methods.


The paper finds that from a total of 218 usable critical incidents 50 discrete behavioural items were identified, of which 25 were examples of “effective” and 25 of “ineffective” behaviour. A comparison against equivalent findings from the “central government” study revealed high degrees of overlap with 92 per cent of the “effective” and 96 per cent of the “ineffective” behavioural items being the same as, similar to, or containing some congruence of meaning.

Research limitations/implications

Although the number of CIT informants (n=40) falls at the top end of the typical sample range for qualitative research, it is possible that data collection “saturation” has not been reached. Whereas the subject of the present “local government” study was first line and middle managers, the focus of the compared “central government” study also included senior managers.


The results of this replica research lend additional empirical support to those who believe in “generic” and “universalistic “ explanations of managerial and leadership effectiveness.



Hamlin, R.G. and Serventi, S.A. (2008), "Generic behavioural criteria of managerial effectiveness: An empirical and comparative case study of UK local government", Journal of European Industrial Training, Vol. 32 No. 4, pp. 285-302.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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