Academic journal article Organization Development Journal

Leadership and Followership: The Dynamic Process of Building High Performance Cultures

Academic journal article Organization Development Journal

Leadership and Followership: The Dynamic Process of Building High Performance Cultures

Article excerpt

Abstract

In today's global market, companies must recognize marketplace changes, and respond to those changes rapidly in order to remain competitive. A good working relationship between labor and management is the basis for this much-needed flexibility and rapid response. The purpose of this study is to integrate various literature perspectives to create a more meaningful nomological model from which to understand and predict individual, dyad, and organizational success. Many factors must be considered when determining what is necessary to create and sustain a high-performance organization. The results of this study suggest that a combination of the rewardfor-performance aspects of contingent reward transactional leadership with the inspiring characteristics of transformational leadership offers the greatest amount of employee commitment to organizational goals. However, practically speaking, leaders need to take a more holistic approach to leading, because individual actions manifested over time can and do create specific types and levels of perceptions, trust, behaviors, and cultural characteristics.

In today's global market, companies must recognize marketplace changes and respond to those changes rapidly in order to remain competitive. Thus, organizational flexibility is not only desirable, it is necessary. A good working relationship between a leader and a follower is the basis for this much-needed flexibility and rapid response. The purpose of this study is to integrate various literature perspectives to create a more meaningful nomological model from which to understand and predict individual, dyad, and organizational success. The model presented in Figure 1 forms the basis for this study and is derived from the following theoretical perspectives- leadership, fit, perception, trust, motivation, performance management, and culture theories.

The linkages in Figure 1 suggest the ways in which leaders direct or treat their employees creates perceptions and trust/distrust which results in different behavioral patterns. Over time, these actions develop and sustain a particular organizational culture. First, the literature review and hypotheses section provide a summary and integration of these various theoretical perspectives. The methodology section is next and describes the approach taken to develop and test the hypothesized relationships. The results section follows such that the key findings are discussed along with practical implications, limitations, and lastly, recommendations for future research.

Literature Review and Hypotheses

Two types of leadership styles, transactional and transformational, have been identified that offer profound influence on employees' perceptions and behaviors toward management. These two styles of leadership are unique in their design, but can be very effective forms of leadership, especially when combined (Bass & Avolio, 1990). Tables 1 and 2 present a complete list of types, dimensions, and characteristic behaviors.

Transactional leadership, a traditional style, is the basis for most management training programs. This type of leadership focuses on setting goals, planning and organizing work, communicating expected outcomes, rewarding the work accomplished, and using discipline and control when problems occur (Dvir, Avolio, & Shamir, 2002). However, little concern is given to employees' thoughts, emotions, desires, or who they are as individuals. Transactional leaders use rewards, such as pay, promotions, and preferential assignments to gain a greater quality and quantity of work from employees. Thus, the focus is to provide extrinsic rewards to employees in exchange for performance (Gerstner & Day, 1997).

Transformational leadership is associated with the Leader/Member Exchange theory (LMX). Under this style of leadership, the focus is on employee development. Transformational leaders encourage employees to reach for higher goals in order to satisfy self-actualization needs rather than lowerlevel needs as described in Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs theory (O'Conner & Yballe, 2007). …

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