n South African Journal of Labour Relations - The relationship between personality and the capacity to think strategically

Volume 39, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0379-8410
  • E-ISSN: 2520-3223



Effective leaders who have the capacity to solve complex, strategic business problems are a key differentiator in the new world of work. As external environmental changes converge with internal organisational shifts, the need for a strong bench of leaders becomes critical in driving profitable growth. This study explores the relationship between personality and the capacity to think strategically, an important component of managing the complexity of the emerging environment. Based on the California Psychological Inventory and Career Path Appreciation assessments of 256 managers and executives, the existence of relationships between a number of personality factors and the respondents' future potential capability (FPC) were tested to identify which personality factors are predictors of the potential to think strategically. Anchored in Complexity Leadership Theory (CLT), this research builds on the leadership functions of CLT to provide new insight into the role of individual characteristics in the ability to think strategically. The consolidated findings identified Dominance, Flexibility, Achievement via Independence, Psychological Mindedness and Self-Acceptance as key constructs in the ability to think strategically. These outcomes sharpen the new leadership profile and enable the development of tools that can directly improve the organisation's ability to identify, attract, select and develop leaders who are proficient in the emergent, complex context.

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