The purpose of this paper is to investigate the relationship between the big-five personality traits and employees’ chances to become managers, paying particular attention to gender and sector differences.
Using longitudinal data from the British Household Panel Survey, covering the period 1991-2008, the authors estimate multivariate logistic regression models for the propensity of individuals to take up a managerial role.
The findings confirm that Extraversion, Openness, and Conscientiousness are generally positively associated with the propensity of individuals to become managers. In contrast, Agreeableness and Neuroticism exert a negative influence. However, these associations are moderated by gender and they are contingent upon the specific contextual settings of sectors across the economy.
The study has practical implications for the design and implementation of well-targeted selection, recruitment, and career coaching strategies, which aim at matching individuals with specific personality traits to specific leadership/managerial roles.
While the link between personality and leadership has been extensively researched, this study provides some of the first contextual evidence on whether personality can explain the gender gap in managerial roles across different sectors.
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