Middle Manager Leadership Competencies in China: Perceptions of MBA and EMBA Students at Nankai University

Open Access
Wang, Wei
Graduate Program:
Workforce Education and Development
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Date of Defense:
May 31, 2006
Committee Members:
  • William J Rothwell, Committee Chair
  • Wesley Edward Donahue, Committee Member
  • Albert Vicere, Committee Member
  • Edgar Paul Yoder, Committee Member
  • Richard S Wellins, Committee Member
  • middle manager
  • leadership competency
  • China
The purpose of the study was to measure students¡¯ perceptions of the importance of leadership competencies to the success of middle managers in China; investigate the relationships between those perceptions and the participants¡¯ demographic backgrounds; and explore the perceived effectiveness of developmental activities as these contributed to middle managers' leadership competencies. Utilizing a modified U.S. competency model, the researcher developed, translated, validated and distributed a questionnaire to MBA and EMBA students at Nankai University, China. Descriptive statistics and multiple regression were used to answer the research questions. Study findings revealed that all of the leadership competencies were perceived to be important to the success of middle managers in China. The top five most frequently identified competencies were: Accountability, Team Building, Relationship Management, Continual Learning and Conflict Management. Significant regression results were found between the independent variables (age, gender, highest position held, program enrolled, size of organization, ownership of organization, business type of organization) and two competency categories (Results Driven, Business Acumen). The most effective leadership development activity was ¡°special projects or assignment within one¡¯s own job responsibilities¡±, while the least effective activity was ¡°computer based learning¡±. Based on the study findings, recommendations were proposed to current and potential middle managers, executives and HR departments, education institutes, government and future researchers.