Academic journal article Journal of Legal, Ethical and Regulatory Issues

Enhancing Employees' Perceived Ethical Working Conditions through a Task-Trait Approach to Strategic Leadership

Academic journal article Journal of Legal, Ethical and Regulatory Issues

Enhancing Employees' Perceived Ethical Working Conditions through a Task-Trait Approach to Strategic Leadership

Article excerpt


Leadership involves a personal and positional obligation aimed at achieving a desired result based on the utilisation of organisational resources (human, material and monetary) and ensuring an intelligible organization in the process (Ololube, 2013). Thus leadership styles should be engaged as means of influencing the attentiveness and commitment that employees have towards the attainment of organisational objectives (Abbasialiya, 2010). According to Jeremy (2012), leadership style involves the aggregation of traits, characteristics, skills and conducts which leaders portray when interrelating with subordinates. Thus, leadership style can be perceived as a toll for enhancing employee commitment to their job-tasks and the organisation. Employees can easily become emotionally, physically and psychologically committed to an organisation where they perceive the working conditions, such as the balanced relationship between supervisors and subordinates, to be ethically conducive.

Existing studies on leadership style have viewed the concept from two broad categories, namely: The organizational based perspective and the individua organizational perspective, scholar suggest that leadership style could either be transactional or tran sform ati on al (O b iwuru , 2011; Odumeru & Ifeanyi, 2013; Ajay & Ramjee, 2013; Srðan , Sveto & Jelena, 2012). Proponents of the individual stance to leadership, on the other hand, argue that leadership styles can either be democratic, charismatic, autocratic or bureaucratic (Nwokocha & Iheriohanma, 2015). Consequently, the gap identified with existing literature is the separation between task-oriented leadership and people-oriented leadership. However, the real workplace consists of both the task and individuals operating simultaneously in such manner that people get work done and the work keep people engaged for organizational productivity. Thus, extant literature has been limited in their ability to conceptualize leadership style using a dimension that submerges the task with indivi dual s . Yet empl oyees' commitment i s often influenced by their perception as to whether or not the working conditions in the organisation are ethically sound. This research argues that ethical working conditions which result in employee commitment are to a large extent influenced by the leadership style enforced in the organisation. Therefore, this research i s poi sed at investigating empl oyees' perceived ethi cal working conditions in the organisation which results from the relationship between leadership styles based on a task-trait perspective and organizational commitment of employees.


Measuring Leadership Style: Task-Trait Orientation

Leadership style has been viewed in extant research works from two broad categories, namely: Organizational-based perspective of leadership style which includes: Transformational leadership and transactional leadership, (Ivey & Kline, 2010; Geib & Swenson, 2013) and the individual-based perspective of leadership which includes: Autocratic, bureaucratic, charismatic and democratic (Ojokuku, Odetayo & Sajuyigbe, 2012; Amanchukwu, Stanley & Ololube, 2015). This study however seeks to explain that the organizational-based leadership style and the individual-based leadership style cannot in themselves be separated from one another as they operate simultaneously in organizations. Dimensions of leadership style as postulated in this research work includes; Transactional-autocratic, Transactional-bureaucratic, Transformationaldemocratic and Transformational-charismatic.


The transactional-autocratic leader applies the strength of his autocracy by the exertion of power in order align the employees to the strategic road map of the organization (Ali, Ismael, Mohamed & Davoud, 2011; Gordon, 2013). Notwithstanding, the leader would also employ the transactional tactics which involves the exchange of rewards, recognition and compensation for the realization of targets and the achievement of results (Hellregel & Slocum, 2006; Gberevbie, 2010). …

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