Leaders, followers and problem solving in organisations
Paterson, Barry James
The distinction between management style and leadership style has been confirmed in this research by examining the working relationships between leaders and followers in 6 separate sites of a computer systems organisation. The relationships between 4 areas of organisational outcome, (performance/effectiveness, job satisfaction, anxiety, and depression) and the perceptions of the leadership styles of the follower's most significant manager and the organisational environments of culture and climate were studied. A systemic model of these relationships has been constructed and elaborated. From a follower perspective, 4 distinct leadership factors are articulated. One factor is concerned with the future of the organisation (Visioning) while another factor is concerned with managing within the organisations (Organising & Resourcing). The results highlight the weak conceptual and structural distinctions between the facets of Transformational Leadership and Transactional Leadership in the literature. e. g. Bass, Avolio & Jung (1995) and thus support Kotter (1982,1990,2001) and House & Shamir (1993). The leadership factors of managers deemed to be "most significant" and the organisational environment are related. In particular, the factor of Organising & Resourcing is related to Teamwork in the organisational environment while the leadership factor of Visioning is related to the organisational culture in terms of the variables of Mission, and Communication, and the organisational climate variables of Work Goals, Work Demands, and Work Supports. These results support the views that one of the main purposes of leadership leadership is to form and maintain the organisation culture. (Bennis, 1989; Bennis & Nanus, 1985; and Schein, 1985,1990,1997). Also, significant managers with the style called People Orientation have a direct impact on the well-being of their subordinates. In particular, People Orientation is negatively related to anxiety and depression, while organisational culture, via the variable of Mission is also negatively related to anxiety, and Teamwork, and Mission are both negatively related to depression. The results imply that solutions to stress that do not address the leader/follower relationship and neglect the need for a mission and teamwork ethos in the organisation culture are misdirected and prone to failure. The results further show that leadership style is not related to the follower's cognitive style (adaption or innovation) on the KAI. Cognitive style is however related to Work Demands, thus it appears that follower's construe the tasks and problems in line with their cognitive preferences confirming that the KAI is heavily associated with ideation. The practical implications are: 1) Followers see a distinct difference between the visionary elements of leadership and the organising and resourcing components of management. Followers also identify a process of communication that is common to both management and leadership as well another important factor labeled People Orientation. 2) Managers with this style of people orientation have a direct link to the feelings and well-being of followers as measured by anxiety. Increases in the style of People Orientation are likely to be linked to reduced state anxiety and reduced depression in followers. Individual performance/effectiveness is largely accounted for by Work Goals with the moderating effect of the combination of KAI and teamwork rather than the direct impact of management. 3) Followers in this research seem to be in a developmental dilemma where their need for support and encouragement from management can inhibit them from solving problems in line with their preferred cognitive styles. In such circumstances, behavioural outcomes may be different from the norm and thus paradigm breaking for both the relationship with the manager, and with the organisation.