Academic journal article Public Personnel Management

Effects of Leader Behavior on Subordinate Satisfaction in a Civil Service-Asian Context

Academic journal article Public Personnel Management

Effects of Leader Behavior on Subordinate Satisfaction in a Civil Service-Asian Context

Article excerpt

One of the greatest contributions of British Colonialism in the Asian Counttries is the establishment of Civil Service Administration. While political, economic and cultural systems and values have changed over the years, the Civil Service Administration has been preserved intact in most of these countries. The continuity of most of these nations since the British Raj can be attributed very well to their Civil Service systems.

In many of the Asian nations, the Civil Service is the administrative arm of the government. Public officers are appointed by the Public Service Commission. Members of the Public Service Commission are appointed by the President of the country on the advice of the Prime Minister. In addition to appointments, the Public Service Commission is also responsible for promotion and discipline of public officers. Promotion of public officers to a higher grade is based on official qualifications, experience and merit.

Normally, the positions in the Civil Service are broadly classified into Division I (administrative and professional grades), Division II and III (the executive, clerical, technical and the allied skilled grades) and Division IV (unskilled and daily-rated employees).

In most of the "colonial" countries, now known as "commonwealth" countries, the Civil Service is the biggest employer and provides a good training ground. The number of employees in the Civil Service in these countries can be anywhere from 10 to 15% of the total employment. For instance, in the country where the current study was conducted, out of a labor force of 1,186,400, nearly 69,357 are employed in the Civil Service. This figure excludes daily-rated employees and members of the armed forces. The number of those employed in the Civil Service is slowly growing with the exception of a few countries, where the number is being slowly reduced.

The Civil Service Systems in most of these countries have created a corporate culture of their own. They are known for their bureaucratic structure and high degree of rigidity, and they generally "go by the book". The leadership style in these systems can be best described as "authoritarian" or "superior-oriented". Compared to the private-sector, pay scales are not attractive in the public-sector and promotional opportunities are out of reach for the younger ones and those who put up meritorious service. So there can be a high degree of dissatisfaction with pay and promotion in the public-sector agencies.

A few of these countries are attempting to modernize their Civil Service Systems by introducing modern management practices. A "people-centered" management philosophy is slowly being cultivated in these organizations where once "superior-centered" approach prevailed. The new philosophy is reflected in a new leadership style. Of course, one may not find the same style of leadership in the entire Civil Service of a nation. The variation in leadership style may be created by variables such as the job classification, size of the department, essential and non-essential nature of the job.


The purpose of the current study is to examine the leadership style in some occupational groups in the public sector in an Asian Country where modernization efforts in the Civil Service have been under way for quite some time. The impact of leadership style on the level of satisfaction of subordinates is also examined in this study.

Any modernization effort in the Civil Service must start with change in the current leadership style and the subordinates must be satisfied with such a leadership style. Researchers tend to agree that leadership is a process of influence by the leader upon his/her followers for the attainment of goals. If subordinates are not happy with the style of leadership they receive, then the attainment of goals of an organization may be in jeopardy.

Although quite a few studies have been carried out to examine the impact of leadership on subordinate satisfaction, only a handful of studies have examined such a relationship in the Civil Service context. …

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