Effective Leadership: The Impacts of Organizational Culture and Leadership Behavior
Organizational performance and profitability is influenced by several factors, pertaining to the leadership and to the employees of an organization. In most cases, effectively performing organizations have well developed strategic plans with clearly outlined mission and objectives. This helps organizations to achieve more of their goals while at the same time retaining most of their employees. One of the key challenges that organizations face in conducting business is high employee turnover. This is costly in terms of the hiring process as well as the training new employees. An organization placed in a large social context should pursue greater value in the products and the people compared to other factors that result in better performance. Having a combination of an effective organizational culture and supportive leadership systems can help a company to develop motivated employees who would be willing to go an extra mile for the sake of the organization.
The place of various factors in organizational growth and performance has been explained in a wide body of literature. However, there still needs to be an engagement into the details of the interactions between these factors. In the present study, the research questions to be addressed through the study will be:
- What is the role of the organizational culture in determining job satisfaction?
- How does the leadership behavior in an organization influence the job satisfaction level among the employees?
The relationship between the different factors in organizational performance can be explained through the development of a model that incorporates some of them as mediating variables and others as independent and dependent variables. In this study, the objective is to determine how the organizational culture and the leadership behavior influence job satisfaction in an organization. The hypothesis is that the organizational culture, through its components, has significant impacts on the level of employee job satisfaction. Secondly, the leadership style also influences the capacity of the leaders to motivate and direct the employees and subsequently impact on their job satisfaction levels. The study will focus on the three features of an organization’s performance to help gain an understanding of how an organization can optimize the employee satisfaction levels through emphasis on a progressive organizational culture and on transformational, or other appropriate leadership styles depending on the outcomes of the study. In order for this to be successful, the study will employ a strategy, in which the three factors of interest are considered as variables.
The study will be centered on a literature review based approach. In this model, the research will be emphasizing the role of the organizational culture and the leadership behaviors as independent variable while holding the job satisfaction as the dependent variable. In this way, the organizational performance is directly affected.
In the study, the independent variables are two. The first is the organizational culture. The culture of an organization is described as the set of beliefs, values and practices that are common among an organization’s employees. Such qualities affect employee behaviors as well as the leading roles in the organization. Based on past reports, organizations with strong cultures motivate the employees to achieve greater goals through their practice methods. Various aspects are associated with the organizational culture, and are thus used in the evaluation of the impacts of organizational culture on the organization itself. The second independent variable, the leadership behavior also impacts the perceptions of the employees and their capacity to be influenced by the same leaders. Employees desire individuals who see the best in their performance and subsequently help them move progressively in career development.
Although many past studies consider the organizational leadership behavior to be a moderating influence of the organizational culture on job satisfaction, the present study emphasizes the independent influence of each of the variables on employee job satisfaction. As such, the study has no valid moderating variable.
The level of job satisfaction in any employee is often dependent on factors such as the employment environment and the conditions under which the employee works including remuneration and the subjective leadership environment. Job satisfaction can be enhanced by improving working conditions supported by a well written down operational procedures; benefits must also be clarified to boost the employee expectations and thus to help in enhancing job satisfaction levels among employees. Like the other factors, job satisfaction can be described through different components including the relationship with superiors and the reward and remuneration aspect. It is thus recommended that the organizational structure and the leadership styles be tested as influencers of the organizational job satisfaction.
Past studies have discussed various aspects pertaining to organizational leadership and to organizational cultures. Organizations become unique because of the way they apply different practices to accomplish their organizational goals. In the study of organizational cultures, the emphasis, in most cases, is on the practices, values and beliefs that are held common by the employees, and which uniquely identify the organization. Similarly, studies of organizational leadership styles focus on the different styles available for leadership and the situational applicability. For instance, transformational leadership has been found to be best in terms of enhancing organizational performance and impacting positively on the organizational behaviors. Job satisfaction is similarly related to many other factors including competence, relationships with colleagues and leadership understanding among many others. The literature review section in this paper highlights some of the past findings regarding the three variables.
According to Tsai (2011), the organizational culture can be defined as the values and beliefs that have been engrained in organizational practices due to long term existence. This implies that the organizational culture cannot be developed instantaneously and thus refers to something that has to be developed over time. Apart from this, the implication that an organizational culture is developed implies that with time, organizational cultures can change depending on new developments in the organization. Rasid, Manaf and Quoquab (2013) also provide an explanation of the organizational culture that fits within the context developed by Tsai (2011). According to Rasid et al (2013), the organizational culture incorporates shared values as well as perceptions of how things ought to be done in an organization. This makes it the driving force behind employee behaviors as well as perceptions about an organization.
Rasid et al (2013) suggest that employee behaviors are influenced by the organizational culture which shape and directs the actions and decisions of employees at all levels in the organization. The organizational culture acts as a credo within which all members of the organization have to act to avoid going astray with regards to organizational capacity building. The organizational culture enables the employees to experience unique work place characteristics which give them a sense of direction in the work place. In organizations where the culture entails bureaucratic decisions at all levels of the employee hierarchy, it is common to find people strictly adhering to the point of order of the organization. Zahari and Shurbagi (2012) also highlight the role of organizational cultures in the development of effective and acceptable strategies for complaint handling, employee handling as well as process handling. In this way, it is expected that the organizational cultures inevitably influence the perceptions people develop about their roles in the organization and their objectives towards its growth.
Tsai (2011) further describes some of the dimensions that can be used to explore the role of organizational culture in job satisfaction. These dimensions include: the employee orientation, the customer focus, responsibility emphasis, and emphasis on cooperation among others. Through these dimensions, it is possible to link job satisfaction to the organizational culture in various ways. For instance, the employee orientation is the position of the employee with reference to organizational growth such as whether they are included in the decision making process or not. Where employees are included in the process, they are bound to feel more at home and satisfied relative to where they are not. Similarly, other dimensions also provide positive and negative perspectives to the concept of job satisfaction. Kargas and Varoutas (2015) also explore the relationship between organizational culture and leadership. The finding is that the two are intertwined. Organizational leaders act within mandates dictated by the organizational cultures. As such, it can be said that not only do organizational cultures influence job satisfaction directly, but also indirectly through their impacts on other factors which influence job satisfaction.
The organizational leadership behavior are defined as the practices used by organizational leaders in their bid to transform and direct the actions of others (Tsai, 2011). Rasid et al (2013) assert that the organizational leadership strategy influences commitment to organizational values among the employees. The leadership structures impact the employee perceptions hence resulting in different outcomes. Where employees feel that they are taken for granted, no leadership style will be capable of motivating them towards effectiveness. On the other hand, when transformation leadership style is applied, it may be possible to turnaround the thoughts of the employees and thus be able to enhance their satisfaction as well as job confidence.
Effective leadership involves being capable of influencing all the followers and motivating them to follow you. The role of leadership thus implies that it cannot be over-looked. Individuals who are capable of motivating others drive them towards self appreciating as well as improved productivity. Zahari and Shurbagi (2012), report that effectiveness in terms of leadership affects the commitment of the employees, improves job satisfaction and enhances productivity. This implies that organizational decision making is handled by an individual whose key objective is to make others appreciate their positions in the organization. This cannot be done without effectiveness and the support of the organizational culture. As such, leaders who practice the transformational leadership approach are more likely to manage organizational performance and the quality of the same (Zahari & Shurbagi, 2012).
In order to relate the concept of leadership behavior to job satisfaction in an organization, Tsai (2011) suggests five dimensions that can help to evaluate the effectiveness of leadership. The first of these dimensions is the support for the subordinates; encouragement, having a clear vision of the organization and the projected growth levels; portraying consistency between the spoken vision and the leadership behaviors and acting persuasively. An organizational leader must be persuasive enough since their role is to motivate and direct the followers. Without this capacity, a leader might discourage rather than encourage the employees and subsequently develop a disgruntled team that does work towards its goal.
As the dependent variable in the study, the concept of job satisfaction comes in with many different perspectives. Job satisfaction has been linked to various key indicators including the employee competence, efficient placement/positioning in the organization. A mismatch between an employee’s skill set and their responsibilities makes it impossible for them to perform optimally. On the other hand, when one is positioned in a place that suits their competence levels, they are bound to perform better and also to be more satisfied with their role in the organization. In such a case, job satisfaction is the most likely outcome. Tsai (2011) explores dimensions pertaining to job satisfaction including partnership in work delivery, working on the employee welfare and reward systems, superior interactions, and job recognition. Through these factors, Tsai suggests that the effectiveness of organizational culture and leadership behavior as a driver of job satisfaction can be understood. For example, an employee is more likely to feel satisfied with their job if their roles are recognized within the organization and they are rewarded appropriately for the work they do. Systems that encourage rewards through bonuses and through an award system are more appreciated by employees than systems which pay only the salary entitlements of the employees. Similarly, where the superiors freely interact with the employees, it is easier for them to be encouraged and to feel as part of the organization than where such interaction is not available. Based on these factors, one can easily link the level of job satisfaction to the leadership practices in an organization. Lack of corruption or preferential treatment also contributes to enhanced productivity among the employees, followed by eventual improvement in job satisfaction levels.
From Dimitrios et al (2014), job satisfaction is a function of several variables in the organizational context. As such, it cannot be evaluated based on the mentioned factors alone. Furthermore, it is a qualitative factor and cannot be accorded a quantitative value. The varying needs of employees make job satisfaction also dependent on the motivation of the employees, which comes about as a result of the interplay between organizational culture and the leadership characteristics. With effectiveness in leadership and a strong positive organizational culture, job satisfaction becomes easily achievable and hence lower employee turnover ratios.
Explaining the role of organizational culture and leadership behaviors on job satisfaction can be a difficult act, based on the wide scope associated with each of the areas mentioned. Review of past literature only helps to identify some of the factors that could make it easy to understand the concept of job satisfaction in relation to leadership and organizational cultures.
Findings and Discussion
Job satisfaction can be explained through the various key features associated with it such as the competence levels achieved within the work place. From the literature review, it is shown that there is indeed a connection between the job satisfaction level and the concepts of organizational culture and leadership behavior. Similarly, there is a link between organizational culture and leadership behaviors.
Impacts of Organizational Culture on Job satisfaction
Organizational culture describes the range of activities, beliefs and practices that uniquely identify an organization. Such practices enable the members of the organization to understand what is expected of them and to practice within the constraints presented by the organizational culture. As explained before, the organizational culture is linked to various outcomes with reference to job satisfaction. For instance, while job satisfaction is associated with the dimensions of job recognition, organizational commitment, rewards and welfare, the organizational culture can help to instill or disintegrate practices that enhance these features. For instance, the culture of rewarding employees can be developed in a work place through frequent practices. At the same time, already present practices can be eliminated through frequent ignorance. In the former case, the employees get used to the reward system and to its handling strategies such that it becomes a motivation towards better performance. This is the way in which job satisfaction can be boosted through the organizational culture. In terms of job recognition, the provision of an explicit job description entailing the job responsibility and scope of performance can help an organization’s management to develop a culture where employees are evaluated based on their outlined duties. In this way, employees can feel more satisfied with their jobs based on the set of roles to be performed. While organizational culture can help to boost satisfaction, it is difficult to initiate and successfully implement organizational culture change due to change resistance. This is mainly as a result of resistance to organizational change. As such, change has to be initiated first through the action of the organizational leaders who inform the employees of the need for change and the benefits that would be brought about by change (Bellias and Koustelios, 2013). Despite of organizational change dependence on leaders, leadership on its own cannot be effective in enhancing job satisfaction.
While many studies on leadership effectiveness emphasize the roles of many factors on job satisfaction, they tend to assume the role played by individual preferences and attitudes on job satisfaction. For instance, it is improbable that a highly supportive work environment and good leaders will boost job satisfaction when the targeted employees have no interest in the assigned roles. Similarly, there are those who are emotionally unstable and would react to the slightest provocation without care or regard for the situation or for the leaders at the work place. These individual characteristics have been largely ignored by studies on leadership effectiveness.
From the findings made, the study has satisfactorily answered the research questions by highlighting how organizational culture and leadership influence job satisfaction. However, the key limitation of the study is its reliance on a literature review. More studies that incorporate experimental procedure to collect primary data need to be conducted. An approach such as an interview or focus group study would help us understand better the relationship between organizational culture and leadership.
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Dimitrios, B., Kastanioti, C., Maria, T. and Dimitris, N. (2014). The influence of organizational culture on job satisfaction of administrative employees at a public hospital. Journal of Health Management, 16(2). Retrieved from www.journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/0972063414526108pdf.
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