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The impact of personality, culture (British and Greek) and coping strategies upon measures of performance.

The focus of this thesis is to address the impact of personality (i.e., achievement strivings, impatience/ irritability), culture (British and Greek) and coping strategies – polychronicity and Type A behaviours – upon measures of performance (i.e., speed and accuracy). Key findings include the culturally differentiated role of achievement strivings and impatience/irritability upon speed (as well as Type A behavioural orientations towards work). For example, increased levels of impatience/ irritability across Greek respondents significantly correlated with faster reaction times (speed). This relationship failed to manifest across British respondents.

A specific research gap identified concerns and the need for a more clarified way to conceptualise multi-dimensional ‘coping strategy’ constructs, i.e.,polychronicity and Type A Behaviour. A framework is proposed to more accurately conceptualise the intricate interplay involving multidimensional constructs of personal and cultural expression, i.e., polychronicity and Type A behaviour patterns by introducing ‘EMAC’: The ‘Emotion-Mind-Action Complex’. Expressions of culture and personality are analysed in terms of emotion, mind and action, and provide unique sources of variance. The complex of emotion, mind and action is interrelated and exists as a unit within an individual entity. It is argued that congruence across these three dimensions enables proficient activity-to-time management (see glossary for a definition of ‘expression’ and for its relations with emotion, mind and action).

The EMAC framework as inspired by Bandura’s (1977a,b, 1982) social cognitive learning theory is easy to use and aids in differentiating across complex constructs pertaining to multidimensional ‘coping strategies’. Taylor, Locke, Lee & Gist (1984) found that the performance of multiple projects simultaneously is a characteristic feature of the Type A behaviour pattern. This is also a feature of polychronic cultures (Hall, 1989). However, though these two constructs (polychronicity and Type A) are similarly related in terms of multi-tasking behaviour, they are open to differ in terms of contributory cognitive and/ or emotional sources. Behaviours may also manifest from repetitive syndromes of conditioned response, i.e., a ‘habit’ or a ‘reaction’ (Dispenza,2006). People culturally polychronic are event-oriented and prefer to perform many activities at once, whereas for ‘Type As’ the performance of many activities at once may be better interpreted as a response to role overload. Findings convey a more informed understanding of coping strategies; specifically that are made up of ‘emotion’, ‘mind’, and ‘action’. Hence, by accounting for the triad, dialectical approach, this thesis also offers a new way of thinking to innovate upon the research efforts currently deployed, i.e., those more diametric and bi-dimensional.

This thesis also addresses the misconceptions relating to the ‘Type A Behaviour Pattern’, which conceptualise the overt behaviour pattern as a personality trait (see glossary for definitional clarity of key conceptualisations). A key contribution to research is a new complex of interaction concerning traits of personality (i.e., achievement strivings; impatience/ irritability) alongside behaviour patterns (i.e., Type A behavioural orientations towards work), in a way unlike any other research effort to date. To build upon theory, due to the tentative testing of newly proposed relations, research contributions are enabled via administrations of performance and survey testing. As the majority of relations investigated are yet to be addressed by international research efforts, certain statistical analysis techniques confirmatory in theoretical design, i.e., LISREL (Linear Structural Equations), EQS and AMOS (Analysis of Moment Structures), though commonplace in the international marketing research arena, are inappropriate (Byrne, 2001). Without a defensible theory, LISREL (AMOS) is insupportable, and multivariate analyses constitute the main mode of data analysis.

An additional framework (Chapter 4; Fig. 4.3A) is proposed to guide the reader through hypotheses testing – A ‘Framework to Examine Culture’s Management of Time across Global Schools of Thought’. To limit the effect of extraneous variables, factors relating to space (i.e., within the individual, including ‘personality’, akin to matters of emotion and mind); context (i.e., high context/ little need for the spoken word, or low context/ greater need for the spoken word); and the nature of one’s environment and task (i.e., called for actions and behaviours) are accounted for. Of interest, a number of the variables analysed have not been previously examined for cross-cultural variability, i.e., ‘performance speed and accuracy’ vis-à-vis ‘subjective time estimates’, Type A behavioural orientations towards stress or work, and the ‘perceived control of time’. Yet, to provide a standard, benchmark of comparative, theoretical research results, objective barometers of performance-related speed and accuracy, easily replicable across differing cultures and contexts are employed.

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