The Online MBA and leadership: human resource management – part two

Within every successful business are the people who keep it running. Their interactions with each other, and the organisational structure of the business, have a fundamental impact on productivity and performance.

It is up to managers to lead with an understanding of how employees play into a wider set of company values and how the individual traits of each team member can affect business progression.

Continuing our series of exploring human resource management (HRM), we have conducted research into how organisational behaviour works on both a macro and micro level; with a focus on the effects of company culture and the impact of personality.

An HRM awareness of company culture

In a way, company culture can be seen to be a form of personality in itself – the personality of an organisation. A clear and inclusive company culture ensures employees understand and uphold the principles that form a business’s identity and operational approach, and sets a behavioural standard for stakeholders, clients and partners.

For leaders, ensuring that employees feel part of a company culture is key. People who feel actively engaged and valued within a wider working community are happier in their jobs, and happy employees are up to 20 per cent more productive than unhappy ones¹.

Furthermore, businesses with poor employee engagement have been found to be 18 per cent less productive and 16 per cent less profitable, with a 65 per cent lower share price over time². Positive company culture can also act as a catalyst for collaboration, creativity and inspiration; Google is a great example³.

Ensuring employees embrace company culture starts with understanding how organisational culture, power and politics impact on employee behaviour, which is something we examine on the Organisational Behaviour and HRM module of our 100% Online MBA. Appreciating how significantly business ethos and infrastructure affects staff morale and productivity means leaders can guide others towards taking an active role in company culture.

Recommended read: The Online MBA and leadership: human resource management

Understanding personality as a manager of people

The impact of organisational culture is only half the story though; managers should also recognise the degree to which employee’s individual personalities influence behaviour and working style.

Personal character can have a considerable bearing on the way someone approaches their job, as well as how they work with others. With this in mind, a growing number of businesses are using personality assessment as part of the recruitment process⁴, in order to find employees who not only have the right skills and experience for a role, but also the right company ‘fit’. American Express⁵, for example, uses a combination of logical reasoning, situational judgment and role play tests to identify suitable candidates.

To demonstrate this, our Online MBA includes an emotional intelligence test for students, aimed at familiarising them with evaluating their own reactions to tasks and challenges, as well as their relationships with others. As part of the Organisational Behaviour and HRM module, students also explore the theory of  ‘emotional labour’ – the extent to which people regulate their emotions and ‘put on a brave face’ in order to carry out their jobs. These areas of experience can help senior leaders identify when and how others may be struggling, and to manage in a way that complements individual personality traits.

The Online MBA itself can also emphasise the myriad perspectives and idiosyncrasies different people bring with them. Our cohorts include professionals from all sorts of industries, from all over the world and, thanks to the social and learning interactivity the programme provides, students have plenty of opportunity to observe and learn from the way others work.

Much like the seven MBA learner identities the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) have pinpointed⁶, there’s much students can glean from each other in terms of the impact of personality.

The ability to manage with a mindfulness of both the effects of company culture and personality will stand emerging leaders in good stead as they progress up the career ladder. To learn more about our Online MBA and how it can help you develop HR awareness as a leader, download a brochure today.


¹ PRESTON, C. (2017) Promoting Employee Happiness Benefits Everyone [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 08.02.2019]

² CAMERON, K. & SEPPALA, E. (2015) Proof That Positive Work Cultures are More Productive [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 08.02.2019]

³ FORBES TECNOLOGY COUNCIL. (2018) 13 Reasons Google Deserves Its ‘Best Company Culture’ Award [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 08.02.2019]

⁴ CHATTERJEE, C. (2015) 5 Personality Tests Hiring Managers are Using That Could Make or Break Your Next Job Interview [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 08.02.2019]

⁵ UNKNOWN. (2019) Prepare for the American Express Online Tests, Phone Interview and Assessment Centre [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 08.02.2019]

⁶ GRADUATE MANAGEMENT ADMISSION COUNCIL (2018) Global Candidate Segmentation Playbook [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 08.02.2019]

Add your comment