Leadership Characteristics Of Engineers Analysis
There are many leaders and some standout to be remembered long after their passing. What leadership characteristics do they have? Williams (2007) have found that out of 20 there are 6 competencies that are significant to principals of a Midwestern school district in the United States. Dr. Geert Hofstede have also found that United States is a highly individualistic, very masculine, low power distance, and low uncertainty avoidance society. This research study shall replicate the study done by Williams (2007) and apply it to the members of the Institution of Engineers Malaysia, Sabah branch, that are of the electrical discipline and membership grade of fellow and above. The research study shall utilise the Social Skill Inventory (Riggio & Carney, Social Skills Inventory by Ronald E. Riggio - Mind Garden, Inc.:, 2003) to measure the emotional and social intelligence competencies.
Williams (2007) conducted in the Midwestern district in United States on outstanding principals and tested 4 competencies clusters which comprises of 20 sub competencies. The research identified six emotional and social intelligence sub competencies that were considered to be significant. Williams (2007), found that the emotional and social intelligence competencies does matter and that there are significant differences between outstanding principals and the typical principals.
However the research (Williams, 2007) had also stated as its limitations, the first is due to the sample was drawn from only one school district. This however was an intentionally done to control the external and organisational variables. The second is small number of respondents it has limited to only 20 principals. And lastly, the research sample also did not include the elementary and secondary principals. Hence this has limited the generalizability of the research findings for other vocations.
Another research on cultural synergy indicated that just as team synergy increased the team productivity, cultural synergy also improves the productivity of the team within a multinational setting (Harris, 2004). The contributions of members coming from different cultures are now becoming common place as the new multi-national companies are formed. The same study indicates that the cultural synergy also exerts some influence over the organizations culture. It would not be too farfetched to say that for the multi-national companies that leverages on the cultural synergy would share and value similar competencies in emotional intelligence and social intelligence.
In another research (Boyatzis & Ratti, 2009), emotional, social and cognitive intelligence competencies in Italy, concluded that more diversity of competencies are required for effective communication, understanding and managing of multi-national companies rather than the differences of cross-cultural that are required.
It was also reported in a conference paper (Mohd Yunus & Mohd. Noor, 2004), that a task force from School of Professional and Continuing Education (SPACE) in UTM have done a study on the employability rate of part-time engineering graduates. This study by SPACE in 2002 revealed that employers ranked emotional intelligence and communication as the second after “Ethics, Profession and Discipline”. It is apparent that the importance of emotional intelligence has increased and acknowledged even in a very technical field.
1.2 Rationale of Study
The rationale of this study is to identify the leadership characteristics, which are the emotional and social intelligence competencies, which are significant for the development of young engineers. Based on the emotional and social intelligence competencies that are identified in this study, it would be able to provide a guide on which courses, which are available in the market, the young engineers should focus on in terms of development of the soft skills aspect of their career.
1.3 Problem Statement
Williams (2007) had done a research looking at the outstanding principals in a Midwestern district in the United States of America and have found that there were 6 significant competencies in emotional and social intelligence. The 6 competencies are self-confidence, achievement orientation, initiative, organisational awareness, leadership and teamwork/collaboration. Due to the limited number of samples the findings could not be generalised for the whole population of principals, however her research had shed light and provide a guide on what are the characteristics of an outstanding principal.
Dr. Geert Hofstede theory on the cultural dimensions indicates that there are 5 dimensions in which culture could be measured. These dimensions are;
High / Low Power Distance
Masculinity / Femininity
Individualism / Collectivism
High / Low Uncertainty Avoidance
Short / Long Term Time Orientation
Figure 1: Hofstede Index Score for USA and Malaysia
It is evident that there are differences between the United States of America and Malaysia culture in terms of Hofstede theory.
Based on Williams (2008) study it could be assumed that although her findings could not be generalised to the whole population, however her elements of research would have the generalised characteristic of United States of America in terms of Hofstede culture Dimensions. It is here that this research study intends to replicate the quantitative portion of Williams (2008) study and apply it to the Institution of Engineers Malaysia, Sabah branch members to ascertain the leadership characteristics that are significant. This research study also intends to ascertain the difference of emotional and social competencies between a collectivist and individualist culture. Hopefully with this knowledge it would be able to serve as a guide for the young engineers to the leaders of tomorrow.
1.4 Research Question
This research study will answer the question; what are emotional and social intelligence competencies that are significant to the Institution of Engineers Malaysia, Sabah Branch? Lastly, on the context of Hofstede Cultural Dimension; this research study will answer the question; what are the emotional and social intelligence competencies that are significant in a collectivist culture in comparison to the research done by Williams (2008) in a Midwestern District in United States of America?
1.5 Scope of Study
The scope of study shall focus on the leaders who are in the top two grades, which are the Honorary Fellow member and Fellow Member and limited to the professional engineers registered with the Institution of Engineers Malaysia in Sabah (IEM-Sabah) in the Electrical Engineering field. Professional Engineers are those engineers that have proven their competencies to their peers and carry the title “Ingénieur” or the abbreviation “Ir.” in front of their names. These members of the Institution were chosen because of their varied background and the associated success.
Once these competencies are identified it would be able to help improve the overall ability of the professional engineers to lead their organisation.
1.6 Objectives of Study
The main objectives of the research study are to investigate the following;
Investigate which emotional and social intelligence competencies are significant.
Compare the emotional and social intelligence competencies between a collectivist culture and that of an individualist culture done in a previous study based on Hofstede Cultural Dimensions theory.
1.7 Significance of Study
The findings of the study will contribute to the better understanding of the emotional and social intelligence competencies of leaders in the Institution of Engineers Malaysia, Sabah Branch. In addition, the study would also contribute as a guideline for preparation and personal development of young engineers to become leaders of the future.
1.8 Definitions of Key Variables used in the Study
The variables and dimensions used in this study have specific connotations. The definitions of these terms are explained by the following elucidation:-
1.8.1 Emotional Intelligence
Williams (2008) defined emotional intelligence as the ability of an individual to understand oneself and also to manage oneself.
Goleman (2001) provides a general description of Emotional intelligence “as the ability to recognize and regulate emotions in ourselves and others”.
1.8.2 Social Intelligence
Williams (2008) defined social intelligence is the ability of an individual to understand others and to manage others.
1.8.3 Hofstede Cultural Dimensions
Hofstede Cultural Dimensions although widely used, is strongly criticised. In 1980, Dr. Geert Hofstede found four culture dimensions based on his study of IBM managers and employees in over 40 countries. The four cultural dimensions are;
High / Low Power Distance
Masculinity / Femininity
Individualism / Collectivism
High / Low Uncertainty Avoidance
a) High / Low Power Distance
This dimension is defined as the extent of acceptance of unequally divided power amongst the members of the organisations and institutions. This dimension suggests that the imbalances in power distribution are endorsed by both the follower and the leader.
b) Masculinity / Femininity
Masculinity is the assertive and competitive nature evident mostly in male, whilst femininity is the motherly caring and nurturing nature evident mostly in females. This dimension looks at the distribution of roles masculinity and femininity between the genders.
c) Individualism / Collectivism
Individualism refers to the loose ties between individuals, where everyone is expected to look after themselves and their immediate families. Collectivism refers to strong cohesive ties in groups and with extended families. It is this ties which continues to protect them with unquestioning loyalty.
d) High / Low Uncertainty Avoidance
Uncertainty Avoidance is the tolerance level of a society with respect to the uncertainty, ambiguity and unknown. It is how the culture has influenced its members to feel comfortable or uncomfortable in unstructured situations.
e) Short / Long Term Time Orientation
Time Orientation refers to the application of the teachings of Confucius, where the virtues of long term time orientation is perseverance and thrift, whilst respect for tradition, fulfilling social obligations and protecting one’s ‘face’ are the virtues of short term time orientation. This dimension not only applicable for countries with Confucian heritage but is also applicable to other as well.
However, the Short / Long Term Time Orientation have only been done on a few selected countries. Most other countries only have scores for the first four dimensions.
1.9 Institution of Engineers Malaysia
The Institution of Engineers, Malaysia is better known as the IEM. It is a professional learned society serving more than 16,000 members in Malaysia, overseas and the communities in, which they work. It was formed in 1959 and was admitted a member of the Commonwealth Engineers Council in 1962. The Institution is a qualifying body for professional engineers in Malaysia.
With a membership of close to 24,094 engineers and an estimated annual growth rate of 10%, IEM is one of the largest professional body in Malaysia.
The Corporate member of the Institution can apply to the Board of Engineers, Malaysia (which is a registration body) for registration as a Professional Engineer, which will entitle him to set up practice. The qualification standards are determined by the Council of the Institution.
The Institution is one of the few professional engineering institutions in the world, which represents all disciplines of the profession, and is thus able to take a broad view of the professional scene.
Currently, the IEM has five (5) official representatives on the BEM out of a total Board membership of seventeen (17).
Institution of Engineers Malaysia, Sabah branch was formed to service the needs of the state of Sabah and extend the mission, vision and objectives of the IEM. The branch was formed in the year 1975 and the chairman was Datuk Ir. Fung Kham Shen and since then has changed chairman’s every two years. The current chairman is Ir. Teo Chee Kong, ADK.
The Institution of Engineers Malaysia, Sabah branch main objectives are as follows;
To promote and advance the theory and practice of engineering and its discipline.
To raise the character and status and advance the interests of the profession.
To increase the confidence of the community in the employment of recognised engineers by admitting to the institution only such persons who have adequate knowledge of both theory and practice of engineering.
To promote honest practice, prevent malpractice and settle disputed points of practice and ethics.
To collect and disseminate engineering information.
To arrange lectures, exhibitions, seminars and courses.
Encourage the study of engineering and improve the general and technical knowledge of persons engaged in the profession
To originate and promote the improvements in legislation and its administration by deputations, submission and represents.
promote sound professional engineering practice in support of the socio-economic development objectives of the nation.
service the needs and interests of its members and the public and uphold the social standing image of the engineering profession.
contribute towards nation building and shall strive to enhance society's consciousness of science and technology.
The Institution of Engineers, Malaysia aims to be the premier professional organisation pivotal achieving Vision 2020.
1.14 Executive Committee 2010/2011
The Executive Committee for the year 2010/2011 are as per Figure 1.2
1.15 Classification of IEM(S) Members
The Institution of Engineers Malaysia, Sabah branch categorise their members into 5 grades. The grades and definitions are as follows;
Bestowed upon an individual that has contributed to the engineering profession however have not gone through rigors of membership grades
Entering this grade shall be only by transfer from the grade of Member
A member for transfer must not be less than 35 years of age and
who have served as Member of IEM of not less than 5 years employment in position of major responsibility in planning, design, execution or management of important engineering work
who has occupied a prominent position in the profession of engineering, and has either made noteworthy contribution to the science of engineering or materially advanced the practice of engineering
A candidate for election into this grade shall produce evidence to the satisfaction of the Council that he is worthy of election and
That he has a graduate qualification as approved by the Council and
Is a graduate engineer for a minimum period of three years
Preferably the candidate must be working under the guidance of a Professional Engineer for a minimum of three years
Having practical experience in engineering in a manner satisfactory to the Council i.e in planning, design, executive or management of such works as are comprised within the profession of engineering, or in engineering research, or the teaching of engineering in a course leading to a qualification
A candidate for admission or transfer into this grade shall be not less than 18 years of age and shall produce evidence to the satisfaction of the IEM Council
That he has graduated with an accredited engineering degree or has obtained an equivalent qualification approved by the Council
shall be a person who is not less than 17 years of age
pursuing a course leading to the award of an engineering degree or diploma or equivalent
Candidate enrolled for Part I or Part II of the IEM /BEM Graduate Examination or Examination of an overseas professional institution recognised by the Council
Figure 2: IEM Sabah Branch Executive Committee
Figure 3: Classifications of IEM Sabah Branch Members
This chapter will provide the definitions of the variables and theory used as given by other previous researchers.
2.2 Emotional and Social Intelligence
2.2.1 Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence is defined as the subset of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and actions (Salovey & Mayer, 1989-90).
2.2.2 Social Intelligence
Goyal and Akhilesh (2007) presented a conceptual paper to highlight the importance of emotional intelligence, cognitive intelligence and social capital (intelligence) in being the factors to enhance the team innovativeness. In this paper the author (Goyal & Akhilesh, 2007) presented a model for understanding the link for team innovativeness, the three main abilities and the overall abilities of the team.
Another conceptual paper by Riggio et al. (2008), puts further emphasis on the role of social intelligence in a leadership role. The following are the linkages proposed by the author (Riggio & Reichard, The emotional and social intelligences of effective leadership: An emotional and social skill approach, 2008);
Emotional expressiveness is positively associated with perceptions of a leader’s charisma and effectiveness.
Leader emotional expressiveness is positively associated with a positive emotional climate in followers.
Leader emotional sensitivity is positively associated with high quality leader-member relationships.
Leader emotional sensitivity is associated with better assessment of negative moods among followers.
Leader emotional control is positively associated with leader impression management and effective leadership under stress.
Leader social expressiveness is associated with leader emergence and upward leader career progression.
Leader social sensitivity is positively associated with leader career progression and leadership success.
Leader social control is positively associated with leader self-efficacy and ability to enact the leadership role.
Literature reviews done by Brooks et al. (2006) have defined that social capital or intelligence as “unique as it is developed by and as a result of meaningful social relationships that individuals invest in creating together over time”. This study’s (Brooks & Nafukho, 2006) intention is to show the relationship of human resource development, social capital, emotional intelligence and the organisations productivity.
A study on “social intelligence for developing countries: the role of grey literature“ (Sturges, 1999) defines social intelligence as the information acquired by a society, organisation or individual in the widest sense, processes and evaluates it, stores and uses it for action.
2.3 Hofstede Cultural Dimensions Theory
Hofstede Cultural Dimensions Theory initially identified four dimensions which are Individualist vs Collectivist, Masculinity vs Femininity, High vs Low Power Distance and High vs Low Uncertainty Avoidance. However in a later study another dimension was added. The fifth dimension is the Long vs Short Term Time Orientation.
Based on Hofstede website www.geert-hofstede.com, the United States of America and Malaysia’ s score for the cultural dimensions index are as follows;
Looking at Figure 1.1, it can clearly be seen that US and Malaysia are opposites in the Power Distance Index (PDI) and Individualism (IDV). However, US and Malaysia displays quite similar orientation for Masculinity (MAS) and Uncertainty Avoidance Index (UAI) with US scoring slightly higher.
This chapter provides the exposition of the research design and methodology used in the research study which encompasses the framework, questionnaires, sampling, data collection and the data analysis.
The Social Skill Inventory (SSI) developed by Ronald E. Riggio and Dana R. Carney shall be used as the questionnaire for this research study.
3.2 Theoretical Framework
The following figure illustrates the dependant variable in this research study, which are the leadership characteristics and the verbal and nonverbal dimensions as the independent variable.
The verbal (social) and nonverbal (emotional) skills are measured in six domains and the score reflects the global social skill development which is indicative of the overall social intelligence (Riggio & Carney, Social Skills Inventory by Ronald E. Riggio - Mind Garden, Inc.:, 2003).
Figure 4: Research Framework
Emotional Expressivity (EE)
Emotional Sensitivity (ES)
Emotional Control (EC)
Social Expressivity (SE)
Social Sensitivity (SS)
Social Control (SC)
Leadership Characteristics of Engineers
3.3 Definitions of Variables
The definitions of the variables used in this research study are extracted from the SSI Manual.
3.3.1 Emotional Expressivity
Emotional Expressivity measures the skill with which individuals communicate nonverbally, particularly in sending emotional messages, but it also includes the nonverbal expression of attitudes, dominance and interpersonal orientation.
This scale also reflects the ability to accurately express felt emotional states (Riggio & Carney, Social Skills Inventory by Ronald E. Riggio - Mind Garden, Inc.:, 2003)
3.3.2 Emotional Sensitivity
Emotional Sensitivity measures skill in receiving and interpreting the nonverbal communications of others. Individuals who are emotionally sensitive attend to and accurately interpret the subtle emotional cues of others.
Highly sensitive emotionally people may be susceptible to becoming .aroused by others and emphatically experience the emotional state of the other (Riggio & Carney, Social Skills Inventory by Ronald E. Riggio - Mind Garden, Inc.:, 2003)
3.3.3 Emotional Control
Emotional control measures the ability to control and regulate one’s own emotional and nonverbal displays. This includes the ability to hide one’s true emotion and display the appropriate emotion on cue (Riggio & Carney, Social Skills Inventory by Ronald E. Riggio - Mind Garden, Inc.:, 2003).
3.3.4 Social Expressivity
Social expressivity assesses skill in verbal expression and the ability to engage others in social discourse. High scores on this scale are associated with verbal fluency in individuals who appear outgoing and gregarious and who are skilled in initiating and guiding conversations on just about any subject (Riggio & Carney, Social Skills Inventory by Ronald E. Riggio - Mind Garden, Inc.:, 2003).
3.3.5 Social Sensitivity
Social Sensitivity assesses ability to interpret the verbal communication of others. It also assesses an individual’s sensitivity to and understanding of the norms governing appropriate social behaviour. Persons who are socially sensitive are attentive to social behaviour and are conscious and aware of the appropriateness of their own actions (Riggio & Carney, Social Skills Inventory by Ronald E. Riggio - Mind Garden, Inc.:, 2003).
3.3.6 Social Control
Social Control assesses skill in role-playing and social self-presentation. Persons whose social control skills are well developed are generally adept, tactful, and self-confident in social situations and can fit in comfortably in just about any type of social situation.
Social control is also important in guiding the direction and content of communication in social interaction. (Riggio & Carney, Social Skills Inventory by Ronald E. Riggio - Mind Garden, Inc.:, 2003) .
3.4 Research Hypothesis
Hypothesis 1 (a): Emotional Expressivity is significant to leadership characteristic for IEM fellow members
Hypothesis 1 (b): Emotional Sensitivity is significant to leadership characteristic for IEM fellow members
Hypothesis 1 (c): Emotional Control is significant to leadership characteristic for IEM fellow members
Hypothesis 1 (d): Social Expressivity is significant to leadership characteristic for IEM fellow members
Hypothesis 1 (e): Social Sensitivity is significant to leadership characteristic for IEM fellow members
Hypothesis 1 (f): Social Control is significant to leadership characteristic for IEM fellow members
3.5 Sampling Design
Institution of Engineers Malaysia definition of the membership grades is that fellow members must have not less than 5 years employment in position of major responsibility in planning, design, execution or management of important engineering work. The fellow members must also have occupied a prominent position in the profession of engineering, and has either made noteworthy contribution to the science of engineering or materially advanced the practice of engineering. Therefore based on the definition above it would be only natural to confine the sample to this grade of membership as members of this grade are the industry leaders.
The research study shall also confine the sample to the electrical discipline only and not the whole range of disciplines that are listed as per FIGURE 1.3. This selection of electrical discipline is because of the limited opportunities available for the professional electrical engineer especially in the Extra High Voltage levels (voltages that are in excess of 66,000V) which are considered as the major engineering works, hence this would make the competition great and those who are able to survive even greater.
The research study therefore shall focus on the members of IEM, Sabah branch that are of this grade or higher in order to attain the significant characteristics of leadership.
As of end of 2010, sourced from the membership directory in the official IEM website, there are 11 members that are of the membership grade of fellow and above in the electrical field.
3.6 Location and Sample of Study
This research study shall be conducted for all IEM members of grade fellow and above all over Sabah.
3.7 Research Instrument
The research study shall utilise the Social Skill Inventory (SSI) 2nd edition developed by Ronald E. Riggio and Dana R. Carney and made available through the website www.mindgarden.com. The SSI has been designed for use to measure emotional and social intelligence.
This research instrument is slightly different from the one used by Williams (2007), as this instrument measures the emotional and social competencies in six(6) dimensions, whereas the instrument used by Williams (2007), consist of four (4) clusters and within this four clusters are twenty (20) sub competencies. The SSI 2nd Ed. is the revised version of the instrument used by Williams (2007).
3.8 Data Analysis Technique
The statistical analysis tool, SPSS will be utilized to analyse the data collected. In order to analyse the demographic variables of respondents such as gender, age, level of education, career, race and marital status, descriptive statistic will be utilized. Cronbach’s alpha will serve to provide result for Factor analysis for the dependent and independent variable.
3.9 Unit of Analysis
The unit of this study is at individual level of each IEM member of grade fellow and above, who responded to the survey questionnaires. In this research, the method of sampling used was the simple random sampling based on Krejcie and Morgan (1970) extracted from the Research Methods for Business; A Skill Building Approach Fifth Edition by Uma Sekaran and Roger Bougie (2010).
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