Academic journal article SAM Advanced Management Journal

Transformational Leadership and Organizational Commitment: The Case of Turkey's Hospitality Industry

Academic journal article SAM Advanced Management Journal

Transformational Leadership and Organizational Commitment: The Case of Turkey's Hospitality Industry

Article excerpt

Can a transformational leader, the kind who can--by one definition--recognize a need for change, create a vision for change, and execute the change, also increase employees' commitment to their organizations? To accomplish this, such leaders need to inspire trust, increased motivation, and even higher ethical and moral behavior. A statistical study of employees (a sample) from all levels of a key industry in Turkey found that transformational leadership does improve commitment and loyalty, particularly when the leader has charisma and demonstrates consideration for employees as individuals. The study also revealed many other important characteristics of transformational leaders that can increase commitment and help lower turnover.

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Introduction

Many studies have researched the impact of transformational leadership on organizations and organizational outcome; revealing a positive relationship between transformational leadership and organizational health. Researchers have suggested that employees' dedication and commitment as well as organizational success are positively influenced by transformational leadership (Anonymous, 2005; Erkutlu, 2008; Gill, Flaschner, and Shachar, 2006; Gill and Mathur, 2007; Hinduan, Wilson-Evered, Moss, and Scannell, 2009; Mwendia, 2006; Tracey and Hinkin, 1994). The changing landscape of business and government makes the need for quality leadership decisions more urgent than ever (Useem, 1998).

Northouse (2010) defined transformational leadership as a process that changes people by affecting emotions, values, ethics, standards, and long-term goals. This transformation process involves assessing followers' motives, satisfying their needs, and treating them as human beings. It also involves an unusual form of influence on the leader's part that moves followers to accomplish more than what is usually expected from them (Northouse, 2010).

Bass (1985) defined transformational leadership as the ability to recognize the need for change, to create the vision for such change, and to execute the change in an effective manner. As a result of such leadership, followers (1) trust their leaders, (2) perform behaviors to achieve organizational goals, and (3) are motivated to perform at higher levels (Bass, 1985; George and Jones, 2008; Griffin and Moorhead, 2007; Kreitner and Kinicki, 2007). In the course of transformational leadership,

people raise one another to higher levels of motivation and morality. Their purposes, which might have started out as separate but related, as in the case of transactional leadership, become fused. But transforming leadership ultimately becomes moral in that it raises the level of human conduct and ethical aspiration of both the leader and the led, and thus it has a transforming effect on both (Bums, 1978).

As concern for the organization becomes the shared vision of both leaders and led, as opposed to a vision that appeals to one (i.e., senior management), a shift to a collective identity is effective with a primary concern for "all of us." This collective identity leads to shared practices and beliefs (O'Connor and Day, 2005). Accordingly, leaders speak to people's hearts and listen to their heartbeats to achieve this common vision (Conger and Riggio, 2005; Kouzes and Posner, 2002). Transformational leadership "is the process whereby a person engages with others and creates a connection that raises the level of motivation and morality in both the leader and the follower" (Northouse, 2007).

According to Tracey and Hinkin (1994) "As transformational leaders, hospitality managers must develop a strong sense of vision to clarify and communicate organizational objectives and create a working environment that fosters motivation, commitment, and continuous improvement."

Hillriegel and Slocum (2009) stated that "transformational leadership involves anticipating future trends, inspiring followers to understand and embrace a new vision of possibilities, developing others to be leaders or better leaders, and building the organization or group into a community of challenged and rewarded learners. …

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