Academic journal article The Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences

Leadership Processes and Employee Attitude in HEIs: A Comparative Study in the Backdrop of Likert's Systems Theory

Academic journal article The Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences

Leadership Processes and Employee Attitude in HEIs: A Comparative Study in the Backdrop of Likert's Systems Theory

Article excerpt


Organizations can be defined as social entities which are set up for the purpose of accomplishing collective goals which are predetermined through mutual consensus of organizational members. Organizations are considered as social units having individuals who strive hard for fulfilment of collective goals under the supervision of various organizational structures. These structures ensure coordination among tasks and members who have responsibility and authority to carry out these tasks (Senge, 2006). Goonan & Stoltz, 2004 have stated that organizations have varied nature but constitute following mutual characteristics:

a) A well-defined hierarchy

b) Division of labour in a judicious manner

c) Regulations and rules for designated positions and authority as well as responsibility associated with it.

d) Social relationships

e) Standard operating procedures for carrying out different tasks

f) Recruitment and compensation procedures

g) Managerial and administrative processes being carried out either in a democratic or an authoritative manner.

Keeping in view above mentioned characteristics, we can say that organizations are social networks having various communication channels working under a leadership. As organizational members are an integral part of organizations, so their attitudes, needs and interests also influence organizational working.

Due to diversity of opinions about a specific definition of organizations, scholars have defined them according to their own perceptions and experiences. Robbins, 1998 suggested that definition of organization is like a "construct"- meaning differently to different people according to their perceptions and experiences in distinct ways. Nowadays scholars try to define this entity through its characteristics such as leadership processes, decision making processes, communication processes, motivation processes, group loyalty, employee attitude, trust and confidence etc. Leadership processes may occur on two extremes of the same continuum. At one end lies democratic processes related to leadership whereas on the other end are authoritative processes. These processes depend upon the styles and philosophy of the organizational leadership.

Saari & Judge, 2004 argue that leadership processes lead towards positive or negative employee attitude. Attitude of an employee is actually the way s/he feels about his/ her higher ups, colleagues and their own job positions in the organization. This attitude is reflected through employee behaviour. It is also dependent upon the leadership processes being carried out in the respective organization. For example, if leadership processes are democratic in nature; positive employee attitude such as job satisfaction is manifested. But if authoritative leadership processes prevail, then absenteeism and turnover intentions are reflected in the work environment.

Likert, 1979 has studied the leadership processes in depth and then divided them into an array of four systems. He concluded that on one side of the continuum is autocratic leadership and on the other end is democratic leadership. He sub divided this continuum into four systems and concluded that employee attitude is very much dependent upon the leadership processes being manifested in the organization.

System 1 organization reflects autocratic processes of leadership in which decision making is totally centralized, communication flow is uni-directional and always top down so employee attitude is also negative in nature. System 2 is less authoritative than System 1. System 3 is less democratic in leadership processes as compared to System 4 organization. Employee attitude is positive in system 4 organization and their performance as well as productivity is up to the maximum.

Literature Review

Leadership processes

Leadership processes work as a social influence in which subordinates are assisted and supported in accomplishing predetermined goals of organizations. …

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