31.01.2022 Human Resources Luxembourg Talents

Managers behaving badly: unblurring employee goals for improved performance

Interview with Dr. Gyula Nagy

Dr. Gyula Nagy, an independent consultant in the financial services industry, is a 2021 Business Science Institute Executive DBA.

What were your reasons for enrolling on the Executive Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) programme at Business Science Institute?

I was already thinking about getting a doctorate when I’d finished my MBA at Berkeley, but my career led me in another direction. So finally, in 2009, I decided to fulfil this long-standing dream. I chose Business Science Institute after careful analysis of the available options, in terms of quality, flexibility, approach, and cost. The Business Science Institute DBA came out by far the most superior.

What was your thesis topic, and why did you choose it?

I knew from the beginning that I wanted to do research on employee performance. The reason for that was that most of my career has been spent in management positions, and also as a consultant, my number one objective was to maximize the performance of my organization. The precise research question only really emerged after I had started the research process according to the grounded theory approach. My research identified the counterintuitive and purposeful managerial blurring of employee goals during the annual goal-setting process.

What are your main research findings?

My research has identified a type of managerial behaviour that seriously reduces the effectiveness of the performance management system, and results in lower performance and motivation of employees. This behaviour goes against what academic research and practical knowledge suggest, and happens in spite of the education and training of managers. The research also identified the key reasons behind why this behaviour occurs and recommends ways to mitigate it. The research contributes to the vast domain of goal-setting theory research by identifying antecedents of goal specificity.

What has been the added value of the DBA for you?

The DBA has been an eye-opener to the academic world. I have appreciated learning about scientific research methods and conducting my own research. I have enjoyed the whole process, and I am also pleased about successfully completing my doctorate, which has been a long-standing ambition of mine. My primary purpose was personal, but I am sure it will also contribute to my consulting practice. I am already implementing many of the things I learned into my day-to-day work.

What has been the impact of the DBA?

Academically, my research contributes to the most influential managerial theory, namely the goal-setting theory. In managerial practice, it highlights the importance of setting specific goals for employees and helps companies ensure that the effectiveness of their performance management system is not compromised. Given the vast amount of time and money invested in the performance management systems worldwide, the impact is enormous.

About Gyula Nagy

Gyula J Nagy is an independent consultant in the financial services industry. He has 20 years’ post-Berkeley MBA experience in consulting and C level board positions. He has worked in consulting at McKinsey & Co., and various banks in CEO and deputy CEO positions in operations and sales across Europe.

In September 2021, Gyula J Nagy defended his Executive Doctorate in Business Administration (Executive DBA) in the field of performance management on the topic of ‘Investigating managerial blurring of employee goals’, under the supervision of Professor Isabelle Walsh, SKEMA Business School, University of Côte d’Azur, GREDEG Research Laboratory, France.