Investigating the role of managers in enhancing performance culture
The globalised world of business is driven by a complex mix of communication technology, consumerism and social, economic and political change. In pursuit of the latest technologies, processes and systems, managers often tend to neglect their business’s organisational culture. Traditional assets and strategies can easily be copied. A business’s organisational culture is much more difficult to reproduce and can be a competitive differentiator. Businesses which deliberately manage their organisational cultures, outperform similar businesses that do not. The performance culture in a business depends largely on the effectiveness of managers to establish an attitude of performance among employees. To achieve high performance, managers need different competencies to engage workers’ hearts and minds, as well as take advantage (in a positive way) of their physical labour. Managers who are able to create and sustain a performance culture and react to rapid change in markets and technologies, can maintain exceptional service and product quality levels despite of unpredictable business environments. Some managerial competencies are more conducive and prone to managerial effectiveness and the subsequent enhancement of a business's performance culture. Only a few businesses worldwide are managed by the notion that a performance culture equates outstanding profits and little research exists pertaining to managerial competencies that allow managers to motivate employees, win their commitment, and ultimately enhance the business’s performance culture. The primary objective of this study is to investigate the role of managers in enhancing performance culture. Knowledge and current perceptions of first-line managers and middle-level managers regarding the business’s performance culture (in terms of the associated business practices and employee characteristics), as well as certain related managerial competencies (such as communication, planning and administration, teamwork and emotional intelligence) were obtained. With regard to research methodology, the study used descriptive research in the form of quantitative, self-administered questionnaires. Two questionnaires were developed and uploaded on the Survey Monkey website. Subsequently, all first-line managers and middle-level managers (employed at Amalgamated Beverage Industries (ABI), the soft drink division of The South African Breweries (Pty) Ltd) were informed of the survey via an e-mail containing a cover letter as well as the hyperlink to the relevant questionnaires. The target population in this study was obtained by means of a census. Of the 438 respondents identified for the census, 186 viable questionnaires, comprising of 73 middle-level manager and 113 first-line manager respondents, were used for statistical analysis. Data entry, tabulation and statistical analysis were done by the Statistical Consultation Services of the North-West University (Potchefstroom Campus). The results of this study indicate that organisational culture places considerable pressure on employee behaviour and influences businesses in several ways. Every business has a unique organisational culture and an organisational culture that is not conducive to the performance culture of the business, needs to be addressed. In their efforts to enhance performance culture, managers need to display certain managerial competencies. It is recommended that, in order to assess a business’s performance culture and the degree to which managers display the associated managerial competencies, employees’ perceptions are taken into consideration, as practically significant differences pertaining to gender, qualification, age as well as managerial levels exist between different groups of respondents. The creation of a performance culture should be viewed as a continuous effort and it is suggested that managers investigate certain best practices in this regard in order to differentiate their businesses from competitors. In addition, managers may gain from training or coaching in order to develop and/or improve managerial skills related to the communication, planning and administration, teamwork and emotional intelligence managerial competencies, and subsequently practicing these in order to enhance the business’s performance culture.