HOW TO: screening „unpopular“ traits or „non-mainstream“ leadership behavior with cassudy



Understanding a manager´s attitude towards trends and broadly accepted truths may uncover surprises from time to time. Well accepted management styles follow trends which vary over time and which may not necessarily be in line with a manager´s value set and convictions, which are typically stamped by personal successes and failures during the career path and the manager´s socialisation in civil society.

Let´s make it a bit more concrete: it is common practice to incentivise a manager based on his or her success with success being defined as the economic contribution generated for the company. This means at the same time that success and individual effort do not necessarily go hand in hand. Managers might experience times of success without effort and massive effort without success. A manager might therefore consider the traditional incentivation schemes unfair and he/she would maybe prefer an incentivation scheme (or appreciation scheme) that is more related to effort invested. The latter approach would be easier to steer and control by the manager and would not be that much dependent on external factors beyond control.


The effect of social (or corporate) desirability

Even if the appreciation mechanisms in a corporation are not in line with a manager´s personal conviction, he/she would most probably not openly communicate his/her dilemma. Corporate desirability would prevent the manager from disclosing his/her deepest inner conviction. In order to bring this conflict to the surface, interviews or questionnaires would not be good tools or instruments, as corporate desirability superimposes the responses. Therefore, a more indirect method should be applied.


The cassudy approach to overcome the corporate desirability effect


Unpopular traits of a test subject can be detected by processing case studies that address preferences in a scenario that is different from a real world business situation. Cassudy comes with a set of pre-defined trait analyses for these „unpopular characteristics“. One case study is for example analysing the test subject´s preference on the „results vs action“ question. Here we analyse if the test subject prefers a pure results (success) based incentivation over an action (engagement) based incentivation (see also discussion above). A second example is about analysing the attitude of the test subject on the „tenure vs meritocracy“ question. What do we mean by „tenure vs meritocracy“? Should, according to the test subject´s opinion, benefits be granted primarily contributions to the success of the company or by tenure with the company.

The answers from a set of test subjects will certainly help a company to define incentivation schemes as well as appreciation mechanisms that successfully deliver what they should deliver: higher motivated employees.


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