Leadership in the Workplace

A special issue of Merits (ISSN 2673-8104).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2023) | Viewed by 62582

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
Rectors Office, De Montfort University (Kazakhstan), Almaty, Kazakhstan
Interests: transformational leadership; instructor leadership; workplace engagement; meta-analysis; university performance; organizational effectiveness; leadership and gender; causal studies

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We are pleased to invite you to submit manuscripts addressing the issue of leadership in the workplace. Leadership has been a major preoccupation in management research for many years, but despite its popularity as an area of study, we have yet to reach a consensus of what constitutes effective leadership. A promising contribution was made in the early 1990s with the development of the full-range leadership model, which purported to convey the variety of leadership practices common within organizations. Full-range leadership specifies three leadership approaches, ranging from the most positive to the least positive style, i.e., transformational leadership, transactional leadership and laissez faire leadership, with the latter describing a total abrogation of leadership responsibility.

Transformational leadership in particular promises  a universal conceptualisation of excellent leadership, considering the many studies that have produced positive results for this style across national cultures and organisational types. However, recent research has begun to spawn alternative, equally promising models of leadership, e.g., authentic, servant, ethical, and empowering leadership.

Compounding the problem of identifying a generally agreed model of effective leadership is the issue of deciding on the positive or negative effects of leadership on those being led. Leadership studies indicate a vast array of leadership effects. Paramount among these, in a workplace setting, is the notion of workplace engagement. In simple terms, it might be possible to decide on the most effective leadership style if studies were able to demonstrate the style that exceeds all other styles in engendering an engaged workforce, given studies indicating that an engaged workforce has a positive effect on a company’s ‘bottom line’. However, the analysis complexifies when we consider that there is more than one conceptualisation of workplace engagement. Additional complexity is added when, in attempts to arrive at the effect of a particular leadership style on a particular workplace outcome, such as engagement, endogeneity issues render any results suspect.

Considering the above background, we seek contributions that address one or more of the following areas:

  • Evaluation of transformational leadership as a relevant model of effective leadership;
  • The value of alternative models of positive leadership to the transformational leadership model;
  • Validity and reliability issues in leadership studies;
  • Meta-analyses in leadership research and the endogeneity issue;
  • Brand new leadership prototypes;
  • Leadership and contexts, e.g., business, education, non-profit, churches, etc;
  • The measurement of leadership effects;
  • Alternatives to workplace engagement as the critical outcome of leadership;
  • Evaluation of alternative conceptualisation of workplace engagement;
  • Leadership and national cultures;
  • Identification of instrumental variables in leadership—workplace outcomes causal studies;
  • The potential for randomised control trials in leadership studies;
  • Instructor transformational leadership—measurement and effects;
  • Teacher leadership;
  • Leadership and ethics;
  • Leadership development;
  • Leadership and EQ.

Prof. Dr. James Stuart Pounder
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Merits is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • leadership
  • workplace
  • transformational leadership
  • authentic leadership
  • servant leadership
  • ethical leadership
  • empowering leadership
  • instructor transformational leadership
  • workplace engagement
  • meta-analyses
  • endogeneity
  • leadership and culture

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Research

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16 pages, 1155 KiB  
Article
Workplace Leadership Development Practices: An Environmental Scan
by Roslyn Cameron, Christine Edwards and Gregory Harper
Merits 2024, 4(1), 35-50; https://doi.org/10.3390/merits4010003 - 6 Feb 2024
Viewed by 857
Abstract
Effective workplace leadership development programs are considered critical to organizational adaptive capacity and sustainability. The purpose of this exploratory study is to conduct an environmental scan of contemporary practices and approaches to leadership and management development programs in Australian workplaces. An online survey [...] Read more.
Effective workplace leadership development programs are considered critical to organizational adaptive capacity and sustainability. The purpose of this exploratory study is to conduct an environmental scan of contemporary practices and approaches to leadership and management development programs in Australian workplaces. An online survey was distributed to a sample of Australian human resource professionals given the field’s strong practitioner orientation. The survey sample includes members of the Australian Human Resources Institute (AHRI), the professional body for human resource professionals and practitioners in Australia. The findings indicate a substantial majority of the current practice is not informed by evidence-based theory or practice. The most commonly used model is 70:20:10, which lacks a coherent evidence base and has been widely criticized for that reason. The findings point to the frequent application of bespoke leadership frameworks and significant theory–practice gaps. While organizations cite “ensuring delivery of business results”, as the main driver for instigating leadership development programs, with support from top management being crucial to the effectiveness and success of leadership development programs/interventions, evaluation and measurement of impact and return on investment remains problematic. Based on these insights, we present a future research agenda for monitoring and evaluating leadership development programs that will build a stronger theoretical foundation to inform evidence-based practice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Leadership in the Workplace)
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11 pages, 261 KiB  
Article
Belbin’s Team Role Balance and Team Effectiveness in Community Mental Health Teams in an Area of Northwest Ireland: Implications for Leadership
by Dimitrios Adamis, Georgia Maria Krompa, Abdul Rauf, Owen Mulligan and Edmond O’Mahony
Merits 2023, 3(3), 604-614; https://doi.org/10.3390/merits3030036 - 11 Sep 2023
Viewed by 3955
Abstract
Community Mental Health Teams (CMHTs) have been introduced as an alternative to hospital-based treatment. Their effectiveness and the factors that may influence it have not yet been fully investigated. According to Belbin’s theory, a team is more effective if its members have diverse [...] Read more.
Community Mental Health Teams (CMHTs) have been introduced as an alternative to hospital-based treatment. Their effectiveness and the factors that may influence it have not yet been fully investigated. According to Belbin’s theory, a team is more effective if its members have diverse roles. The aim of this study was to investigate if there is an association between CMHTs’ effectiveness and Belbin’s team role balance. Participants were members of eight CMHTs. The data collected were demographics (age, gender), discipline, years of experience, and team tenure. Also, the following scales were administered: the Belbin Team Role Self-Perception Inventory (SPI) and team effectiveness scale (TES). One hundred and six members participated. A significant correlation between team role diversity and effectiveness was found. Multilevel analysis showed that role diversity and being a doctor were the only two significant independent predictors of team effectiveness. Belbin’s theory is therefore applicable to CMHTs. The more diverse roles the members of a team have, the better the effectiveness of the team. Given that roles can be modified, team leaders need to be aware of the members’ roles and be able to modify them. Thus, they can increase the effectiveness of their teams. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Leadership in the Workplace)
15 pages, 299 KiB  
Article
Benevolent Leadership: Unveiling the Impact of Supervisor Gender on HR Practices and Employee Commitment
by Lena Göbel and Steffen Burkert
Merits 2023, 3(3), 554-568; https://doi.org/10.3390/merits3030033 - 31 Aug 2023
Viewed by 980
Abstract
In this study, we examine the relationship between supervisor gender, the adoption of HR practices, and employee commitment. Based on leadership theories arguing that female supervisors are more focused on employee needs than male supervisors, we suggest that female supervisors are more likely [...] Read more.
In this study, we examine the relationship between supervisor gender, the adoption of HR practices, and employee commitment. Based on leadership theories arguing that female supervisors are more focused on employee needs than male supervisors, we suggest that female supervisors are more likely to adopt HR practices that address employee needs. Using social exchange arguments, we predict that this in turn leads to higher affective commitment among employees. We test our theoretical predictions using three waves of the German Linked Personnel Panel (LPP). Our results indicate that female supervisors promote personnel development practices (DP) more than male supervisors, which has a positive impact on employees’ affective commitment to the organization. We find no statistically significant effect of a female supervisor on the provision of family-friendly work practices (FFWP). We discuss the implications of these findings and suggest avenues for future research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Leadership in the Workplace)
17 pages, 1314 KiB  
Article
Hierarchical Culture as a Cross-Level Moderator of the Relationship between Transformational Leadership, Performance Feedback, and Employee Job Performance
by Michelle Chin Chin Lee and Alyssa Yen Lyn Ding
Merits 2023, 3(3), 504-520; https://doi.org/10.3390/merits3030030 - 3 Aug 2023
Viewed by 2672
Abstract
Positive leadership such as transformational leadership is pertinent to employee positive work outcomes, yet not many studies have looked at how it functions under specific work environment (i.e., organizational culture). The present study investigates the process and extent to which transformational leadership relates [...] Read more.
Positive leadership such as transformational leadership is pertinent to employee positive work outcomes, yet not many studies have looked at how it functions under specific work environment (i.e., organizational culture). The present study investigates the process and extent to which transformational leadership relates to employee job performance through performance feedback under hierarchical culture within the Asian setting. Using a cross-sectional design with multilevel modelling, 60 private organizations were approached where 44 teams totaling to 256 participants were included in this study. Results reveal that performance feedback mediated transformational leadership and job performance. In the context of transformational leadership under hierarchical culture, a low hierarchical culture and a high transformational leadership showed the highest level of performance feedback while a low level hierarchical culture and a low transformational leadership showed the lowest level of performance feedback. A high hierarchical culture and a low transformational leadership showed the highest job performance while a low hierarchical culture and a low transformational leadership showed the lowest job performance. Organizations in Eastern countries may depend on the positive effects of transformational leadership for higher performance feedback among employees which positively relate to employee job performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Leadership in the Workplace)
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14 pages, 445 KiB  
Article
Relationships between Leadership Styles and Prosocial Motivation Depend on Cultural Values: A Case Study in Sri Lanka
by Donald G. Gardner and Vathsala Wickramasinghe
Merits 2023, 3(3), 445-458; https://doi.org/10.3390/merits3030026 - 6 Jul 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1501
Abstract
Organizations are increasingly concerned about their social and environmental responsibilities and are interested in developing strategies to improve their performance and accountability in these areas. One such strategy focuses on leadership styles, by which leaders are selected or trained to address the needs [...] Read more.
Organizations are increasingly concerned about their social and environmental responsibilities and are interested in developing strategies to improve their performance and accountability in these areas. One such strategy focuses on leadership styles, by which leaders are selected or trained to address the needs of people and entities outside themselves (i.e., stakeholders), and subsequently inspire their followers to do the same. Implicit in this strategy is an assumption that a new type of leadership is required to achieve social and environmental responsibility goals. In this study, we offer a different perspective by proposing that leaders may only need to be encouraged or trained to emphasize some aspects of their existing leadership styles, while minimizing the use of others. We focus our study in Asia, where a paternal leadership style is prevalent, and often expected by followers. This leadership style consists of behaviors that may be organized into three dimensions: authoritarian, benevolent, and moral. We propose that the benevolent and moral dimensions reflect leadership styles that promote followers’ social motivation and examine their interaction with the self-transcendent values of their followers in predicting followers’ prosocial motivation to help others through their work. We found that only the benevolent dimension was significant and appeared to compensate for low self-transcendent values in followers. Implications for using leadership to promote social responsibility are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Leadership in the Workplace)
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13 pages, 263 KiB  
Article
Mother Leads with Her Heart: A Case Study of Women Worker Leaders in the Men-Dominated Forestry Sector
by Pipiet Larasatie and Chorirotun Nur Ulifah
Merits 2023, 3(3), 432-444; https://doi.org/10.3390/merits3030025 - 22 Jun 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2933
Abstract
The masculine image and the notions of manual work and physical strength have resulted in more men workers in forestry. This gender imbalance has influenced the sector’s leadership environment, a critical element in the workplace setting for meeting organizational goals. This study aims [...] Read more.
The masculine image and the notions of manual work and physical strength have resulted in more men workers in forestry. This gender imbalance has influenced the sector’s leadership environment, a critical element in the workplace setting for meeting organizational goals. This study aims to investigate women’s leadership dynamics in Perhutani, the only state-owned enterprise responsible for managing forest resources in Indonesia. Utilizing in-depth interviews with 11 women leaders from middle to top management levels, we found that there is a perceived physical limitation barrier to being a woman leader in Perhutani. To climb the career ladder, a support system from family, colleagues, and supervisors is important. However, family can be two sides of a coin, as it is also acknowledged as an internal constraint to being a woman leader. Our respondents acknowledge leadership labyrinth theory in being able to reach top leadership positions and tokenism theory, pointing out that the benefits of women leadership for Perhutani include the realization of gender equality, referring to the key performance index from the Government of Indonesia. For our respondents, being in a men-dominated sector is considered one of the attractive aspects of being a woman leader. They felt constantly challenged, but in a positive way. With these circumstances, our respondents showcase leadership styles in line with the theories of heart leadership and mother leadership. Heart-led leaders draw on the qualities of empathy, love, and vulnerability, while mother leadership means not only leading with the heart of a mother, but also with the mission, vision, and actions of a mother. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Leadership in the Workplace)
24 pages, 1330 KiB  
Article
Charting the Journey of Young Leaders: A New Model of Transferability of Skills
by Despoina Karagianni, Olga Lainidi and Anthony Montgomery
Merits 2023, 3(1), 206-229; https://doi.org/10.3390/merits3010013 - 20 Mar 2023
Viewed by 3290
Abstract
Globally, adolescents and young adults are calling for action from governments on global humanitarian crises, taking on leadership roles that have contributed to redefining leadership in terms of behavior and action rather than qualities and status. However, there is a significant gap with [...] Read more.
Globally, adolescents and young adults are calling for action from governments on global humanitarian crises, taking on leadership roles that have contributed to redefining leadership in terms of behavior and action rather than qualities and status. However, there is a significant gap with regard to the conceptual and theoretical understanding of how adolescents and young adults experience leadership. In this paper, we present the results of two qualitative studies that examined the phenomenon of leadership among adolescents and young adults. Study 1 involved interviews with young adult leaders to analyze the fit between traditional leadership theories and their experience of leadership. Following this, Study 2 utilized the results from Study 1 to design a diary study of adolescents attending a leadership program. Both studies revealed that leadership is experienced as a pathway that involves three mechanisms of transferability: sensemaking, action and reflection. The findings of the studies are contrasted with traditional models of leadership that underrepresent the developmental nature of leadership and the transferability of leadership skills across different environments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Leadership in the Workplace)
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19 pages, 1087 KiB  
Article
Developing Women’s Authenticity in Leadership
by Yoshie Tomozumi Nakamura, Jessica Hinshaw and Rebecca Burns
Merits 2022, 2(4), 408-426; https://doi.org/10.3390/merits2040029 - 15 Nov 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 3305
Abstract
In this exploratory case study, we examined women’s lived experience as leaders and their participation in an in-person leadership development program. More specifically, we studied how women perceived an in-person leadership development program through a lens of authentic leadership. Our method for gathering [...] Read more.
In this exploratory case study, we examined women’s lived experience as leaders and their participation in an in-person leadership development program. More specifically, we studied how women perceived an in-person leadership development program through a lens of authentic leadership. Our method for gathering information included individual interviews, field observation, and archival data. The interviews focused on particular episodes and stories of the participants’ leadership experiences in their professional life and learning experiences through the leadership development program. The findings from this study indicated the importance of self-awareness of leader identity and increased confidence, building their authentically balanced approach, and creating a social network through collective learning. This paper concludes with future research and practical implications for women leaders, senior human resource development professionals, and senior managers who design and develop women leadership training programs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Leadership in the Workplace)
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12 pages, 2745 KiB  
Article
Public Leadership Challenges in a Complex Context
by Elisabete Fialho, Maria José Sousa and Ana Moreira
Merits 2022, 2(4), 362-373; https://doi.org/10.3390/merits2040025 - 2 Nov 2022
Viewed by 1874
Abstract
The objectives of this study are to identify the importance of teleworking during the COVID-19 pandemic and, evaluate the future development of this working form, characterize the process, identify its benefits and challenges, and present some solutions to deal with telework. To this [...] Read more.
The objectives of this study are to identify the importance of teleworking during the COVID-19 pandemic and, evaluate the future development of this working form, characterize the process, identify its benefits and challenges, and present some solutions to deal with telework. To this end, the following research questions were formulated: (1) What areas of telework had the most significant impact during the COVID-19 pandemic? (2) What is the impact of telework on productivity? (3) What are the positive and negative aspects of teleworking? (4) What solutions do leaders propose for telework to intensify in the future? The sample for this study consists of 159 participants holding managerial positions. The data analyses were completed and allowed us to study the challenges of leadership in teleworking in direct public administrations. The results indicate that productivity is maintained, although productivity has decreased in the education sector. The positive aspects found were flexibility, better time management, that communication became simpler, and greater motivation. As negative aspects, we found changes in leadership, communication, and lack of material. To minimise the negative aspects of teleworking, the leaders essentially mentioned mixed-work (face-to-face and teleworking), distribution of appropriate material, training, teleworking regulation, and productivity control. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Leadership in the Workplace)
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Review

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24 pages, 1254 KiB  
Review
Challenges Women Experience in Leadership Careers: An Integrative Review
by Enkhzul Galsanjigmed and Tomoki Sekiguchi
Merits 2023, 3(2), 366-389; https://doi.org/10.3390/merits3020021 - 19 May 2023
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 36765
Abstract
A part of diversity management is working to achieve gender equality and create a comfortable working environment for women. However, in many organizations, gender biases and stereotypes frequently occur, consciously or unconsciously, regardless of whether women take on leadership roles. In addition, women [...] Read more.
A part of diversity management is working to achieve gender equality and create a comfortable working environment for women. However, in many organizations, gender biases and stereotypes frequently occur, consciously or unconsciously, regardless of whether women take on leadership roles. In addition, women must overcome a variety of challenges when taking on leadership roles or aspiring to become leaders. Based on the above background, we review and integrate the literature on management and career studies related to the challenges that women face in the process of advancing to leadership positions in organizations. Specifically, we examine the external and internal factors that create the various obstacles that women who aspire to leadership positions in structured organizations face from a gender perspective. Based on the integrative review, we discuss the implications for practices to increase the number of female leaders. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Leadership in the Workplace)
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Other

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20 pages, 392 KiB  
Hypothesis
Meaning, Needs, and Workplace Spirituality
by Elisabeth Nöhammer
Merits 2023, 3(1), 1-20; https://doi.org/10.3390/merits3010001 - 20 Dec 2022
Viewed by 3183
Abstract
Human resource management and leadership are often required to create, sustain, and manage meaning in the workplace. Spirituality in the workplace is a focal idea in this context but lacks conceptual clarity. This article examines the general logic of the concept by analyzing [...] Read more.
Human resource management and leadership are often required to create, sustain, and manage meaning in the workplace. Spirituality in the workplace is a focal idea in this context but lacks conceptual clarity. This article examines the general logic of the concept by analyzing its prevalent definitions and their implications, investigating its legitimization, examining links to the psychological contract and examining potential outcomes. Inherent paradoxes and ethical and practical issues are shown that call for a re-evaluation of the concept, for which alternative routes are outlined. Practical and philosophical questions requiring further investigation are highlighted to structure future research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Leadership in the Workplace)
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