An investigation of managerial skills
: Implications for personnel policy

  • Philip Moorhouse

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This research explores the conceptual basis in adopting a skills approach to management development. The literature reveals a number of development approaches but only a limited appreciation of how the manager does his job i.e. of the skills that he needs. An investigation of managerial skills was conducted with 10 manager s mainly occupying middle and senior positions. The principal source of evidence was the manager's thoughts on what he did and how he did it, although the interviews were supplemented by formal and informal observation. There was also a dialectic value from discussions with other analysts/managers and empathy between analyst and practitioner also played a part. Each manager was invited to comment upon his own skills analysis as a check upon validity. The study supports the view that the manager similar to other skilled practitioners, is conceptually a model builder and operationally a navigator (Singleton 1978b) . The manager variously holds enactive, pictorial, symbolic and hybrid models that enable him to understand his world and act in it. The universal managerial function is decision making and the study presents a preliminary nomenclature in classifying decision processes or perceptual skills. Managerial skills are also reflected in interpersonal interaction where the hallmark is mutual construction and attribution and in 'self-management’ where the requirement is to cope with the inner rather than the outer world. Differences between the managers are most evident in perceptual skills, the more senior manager requiring increasing ability to process abstract information and take account of environmental uncertainty. He will also make greater use of 'off- line’ information. The practical purpose in studying managerial skills is to facilitate the improvement of managerial performance and the implications of the research for training, selection and appraisal are explored.
Date of Award1981
Original languageEnglish


  • managerial skills
  • personnel policy

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