MBALN 603 – Final Exam
Prepared By: Khalifa McKay
Date: August 31st, 2018
Professor: Andreas Tsopanakis
Title: The Link Between Leadership Style and Employee Satisfaction
The link between leadership style and employee satisfaction has received too little attention from the scholars. According to Holladay and Coombs (1993), leadership is a behavior enacted through communication. Castaneda and Nahavandi (1991) suggested that staff who perceive their employers’ behaviors to exhibit both relationship and task orientation report being the most satisfied. Previous research indicates that leadership appears to be demonstrated through communication in such a way that it contains both a relational and task element. In addition, when leaders communicate effectively, their followers experience an even greater level of satisfaction than average. Thus, the purpose of the current study was to examine the influence of supervisor task leadership style, and communicator competence on employee job and communication satisfaction.
Cushman and Craig (1976) argued that listening and negotiating are key for proper communication competence. Leaders are nowadays being required to lead by negotiation. Specifically, Salacuse noted that leaders must be able to communicate effectively and persuade people to follow their vision by appealing to their interests. Language, voice, tone, openness and responsiveness must be the key attributes of a good leader. Despite the large amounts of research done on competent communication, there appears to be a lack in the examination of the relationship between leadership style and employee satisfaction.
Literature Review/ Background – 1000 words
Harris and Cronen’s (1979) research showed that knowledgeable persons ought not to be effective only whilst working on achieving their goals, but also do so appropriately. Spitzberg and Cupach (1981) stated, “Competent interaction can be viewed as a form of interpersonal influence, in which an individual is faced with the task of fulfilling communicative functions and goals (effectiveness) while maintaining conversational and interpersonal norms (appropriateness)” (p. 1).Cushman and Craig (1976) argued that communicator competence involves the ability to listen and negotiate.
Sharbrough et al. found positive correlation between a leader’s use of motivational encouragement and their subordinates’ job satisfaction. The current study differs from the prior studies in two significant ways:
The current study examined the influence of a leadership on subordinates’job satisfaction.
The current study also examined the influence that a supervisor’s leadership style has on being perceived as a competent communicator.
Leadership has been defined in many ways, such as: “the ability to guide followers toward shared goals” (Bryman, 1992), “as a form of influence” (Hersey, 1984), “and as simply something a leader does” (Fleishman, 1973). Specific to the current study, Pfeffer and Salancik (1975) indicated that leaders are able to manipulate between the task and relational aspect. Additionally, Castaneda and Nahavandi (1991) indicated that employees are satisfied the most when they feel that their supervisors as exuding both relational and task-oriented behaviors. Previous research has evaluated the effects of leadership style in reference to group satisfaction effective communication skills, interpersonal communication, and rapport building. As a result, there appears to be a gap in research in reference to the study of different leadership styles and communicator competence. This gap in the research also extends to the relationship between task and relational leadership styles and job satisfaction. Thus, job satisfaction was discussed below, and was included in the current study.
The job itself is one of the leading causes of employees stress and dissatisfaction. Compounding the job stress are those from interpersonal relationships especially that between employees and supervisors (Barnett & Brennan,1997; Rodwell,Kienzle,& Shadur,1998). According to Korte and Wynne (1996), the break down of relationships in the office settings resulting from reduced interpersonal communication between supervisors and staff negatively affects job satisfaction and at times leads to employees leaving their jobs. Taylor (1970) defined job satisfaction with the highest possible earnings and the least amount of fatigue, whereas Locke (1976) defined job satisfaction from an employee’s standpoint as “a pleasurable or positive emotional state from the appraisal of one’s job or experiences” (p. 1297). The arise of Taylor’s classical theory prompted a few studies which revealed different factors behind job satisfaction. Some of the factors found to mediate job satisfaction include supervisors’ displays of nonverbal immediacy, humo, communication satisfaction, effects of gender and the supervisor communication style
The literature reviewed specifically for this study appears to support that communication between employees and supervisors has an influence on the employees’ job satisfaction. Whether the influence is positive or negative is dependent on the supervisor at hand. Based on the research and the gap in previous research relevant to the influence that supervisor leadership style have on employee job satisfaction, the following hypotheses and research questions were developed.
Hypotheses and Research Questions
Hypothesis 1: There will be a significant and positive relationship between supervisor leadership and employee job satisfaction.
Hypothesis 2: There will be a significant and positive relationship between supervisor leadership style and employee job satisfaction.
Research Question 1a: How does the behavior displayed by a supervisor—specifically, communicator competence—serve as a greater predictor of job satisfaction?
Significance & Conclusion – 400 words
The current study was designed to add and support prior research by examining the influence of supervisor’s leadership style on employee job satisfaction. This study validates the research and findings forwarded by Castaneda and Nahavandi (1991) indicating that employee satisfaction was highest when employees perceived their supervisors to be exhibiting both relational- and task-oriented behaviors. These findings are especially unique to leadership research due to the fact that they specifically indicate which leadership style, task or relational, has the greatest influence on subordinate outcomes.
Another finding revealed in the current study is that the strongest relationships were found between supervisors’communication competence and job satisfaction. This finding extends the research of Sharbrough et al. (2006) in that it directly analayzed the relationship between supervisors’ communication and employee outcomes, whereas Sharbrough et al. focused on the perceptions of supervisors’communication efforts and competencies based on their use of motivational speech..
Supervisors’ communication competence was identified to be the greatest predictor of job satisfaction. These findings are of significant value because they support the research findings of Pincus (1986),who stated the behaviors of leaders have an important influence on their employees job satisfaction.
The final point related to this current study is in reference to contributions to industry. Given the negative outcomes of job satisfaction such as absenteeism and turnover, the current study points out specific supervisor behaviors that appear to have a negative effect on job satisfaction. Organizations may be interested in developing some training programs for leaders within their organization in order to enhance the communicative behaviors of all supervisors, which in the end may result in greater employee satisfaction and of course increased performance for the company benefit. Once employees are satisfied the results will follow.
Future Direction and Limitations
Whilst leaders’ communication competence was found to be the greatest predictors of job satisfaction, future research may want to provide further support for the association between communication satisfaction competence and leadership. The present findings provided a starting point for researchers to expand upon this study and develop a correlation and link between leadership and communicator competence beyond the limited scope of this current study. Furthermore, researchers may want to provide a qualitative component to display a more in depth understanding pertaining to the actual reasons employees attribute to perceiving their supervisor as a capable communicator. A limitation is the fact that this study was mainly correlational. This only allows for associations to be had between the variable. In addition, directionality could have been of great value in being able to discern which behaviors elicited the other behaviour.