Academic journal article Gender & Behaviour

Influence of Transformational and Transactional Leaderships, and Leaders' Sex on Organisational Conflict Management Behaviour

Academic journal article Gender & Behaviour

Influence of Transformational and Transactional Leaderships, and Leaders' Sex on Organisational Conflict Management Behaviour

Article excerpt

Conflict is an inevitable organisational feature with implications for both functional and dysfunctional effects on organisational life depending on how it is managed. Effective management of organisational conflict is suggested to depend on the quality of organisational leadership behaviour. This study therefore investigated the effects of transformational and transactional leadership styles and leaders' sex on organisational conflict management behaviour. Data on measures of transformational and transactional leadership styles, leaders' sex and organisational conflict management behaviours were collected from one hundred and six male and female employees of eights service organisations in Lagos and Ibadan. Employees were accidentally selected. Results revealed that effective organisational conflict management behaviour is more related to transformational leadership than transactional leadership, there is no significant difference between male and female leaders and there is no significant interaction between leaders' sex and leadership style in effective conflict management behaviour. Implications of these findings for theory and practice are discussed.

Key words: Transformational and Transactional Leaderships, Leaders' Sex and Organisational conflict Management

Conflict as an inevitable feature of social and organisational lives, has been an important subject in organisational research. A number of research have been devoted to incidences, causes and management of conflict in organisations and in response to the growing demands for workplace harmony and productivity, effective conflict management is becoming paramount (Chan, Monroe, Ng, Tanet, 2006) so as to be able to avoid negative aspects of conflict and benefit from its positive aspects. Conflicts that are not properly managed will fester and get worse, while organisations will benefit from effectively managed conflicts. The way a conflict is handled would affect whether it becomes beneficial or destructive (Cetin & Hacifazlioglu, 2004]. Conflicts which are managed effectively and appropriately will add substantial value to an organization in addition to acting as catalyst for change [Lacey, 2000] and create a conducive workplace for its workers where relationships, trust and respect will prevail among its employees [Gill, 1992]. Having such working environments will result in stimulated team spirit and increased productivity. Furthermore, with strengthened working relationships, the "us" versus "them" polarization associated with organisational conflict can be eliminated [Pedersen & Jandt, 1996]. This is crucial as good working relationships are important to achieve organizational goals. Damaged relationships would hinder future work together initiatives.

Management of conflict in organisations calls to attention the important role of managers [Roper, 2005] and with the increasing numbers of women in leadership and management positions in organizations (Neubert & Palmer, 2004) alongside men, coupled with the obvious importance of conflict management skills in providing effective leadership, there is need to focus attention on transformational and transactional leaderships and possible sex differences in the two leadership qualities and in their implications for conflict management in organisations. As such, it is reasoned that leadership style and leader sex will have implication for effective conflict management in organisation. Although, transformational and transactional leaderships have been correlated with a number of positive organisational outcomes and leader sex have been implicated in transformational and transactional leaderships, there is dearth of research on the implications of sex differences in the two leadership styles in conflict management in organisation. Therefore, this study investigated the influence of transformational and transactional leaderships and leaders' sex on conflict management in organisations.

Literature and Hypotheses

Organisational Conflict and Conflict Management Strategies

A sample of traditional views on conflict describes the common dominant theme as the aspects of differing needs, goals, or interests and the perceived or real interference from one party unto the other party to achieve these needs, goals or interests (Suppiah & Rose, 2006). …

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