Organizational Psychology: A Holistic Strategy for Wellness in the Workplace

Rationale for the Proposed Direction of The Studies

As glimpsed by the above compilation of the annotated bibliography, this study seeks to show that, even though there are several factors that contribute to organizational efficiency; leadership tends to play a more pivotal role than other factors. In supporting this point of argument, various styles of leadership—specifically transformational, charismatic and participative leadership styles—are championed in this proposal. The rationale behind the selection of these leadership styles and their relevance to wellness at various workplaces is succinctly given below.

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Rationale for Transformational Leadership

In essence, proponents of the transformational leadership majorly focus on the progressive relationships that exist, or are progressively formed, between leaders and their workers in their day-to-day organizational endeavors (Asgari et al., 2008). The organizational psychology in this theory is that good leaders are those who are able to better themselves by motivate their followers and transform them to individuals who can willingly follow his/her leadership. This encourages unity in deeds and actions thus facilitating the element of “oneness” which is crucial in quick completion of tasks.

Importantly, leaders in this category are not only focused on the overall performance of workers and the organization, but they would also love to see individual growth. In effect, this leads to a holistic improvement in the organization. This makes it a great leadership style worth being adopted by organizations

Another elemental aspect of transformational leaders, the strong emotional connection usually formed amongst workers thus many other beneficial traits such as sacrifice, commitment, humility, inspiration, dedication and objectivity at work (Bordia et al., 2010). This can include sacrifice, and humility that others are inspired by, and aspire to achieve. Transformational leaders have integrity.

Gaps in the rationale for Transformational Leadership

The ability of workers and leaders to bond and connect emotionally is undoubtedly a good thing. However, this can sometimes make leaders overlook certain important elements or mistakes in their workers thus leading to the demise of the organization. Also, some workers can end up following certain leaders blindly while forgetting about the goals and needs of the organization. However, as is outlined in a good number of the articles on transformational leadership given in the annotated bibliography, this gap can be bridged through open and honest communication—whether verbally or non-verbally. Also, the element of trainings in the organization has, often, been used to solve these deficiencies. Finally, an organizational culture of motivation can also go a long way in improving the efficacy of this style. It is based on this reason that I believe this leadership method will work, if implemented as proposed.

Rationale for Charismatic Leadership

In the charismatic leadership style, the emphasis is usually on the leader’s abilities. In most instances, something said by a leader perceived as charismatic is usually taken as the “gospel truth”. Moreover, such a leader is usually very compelling; almost in a magical kind of way that orients belief from the people working under him (Fulmer, 2001). If implemented in a fitting manner while ensuring that there is a system for sustaining “checks and balance” of the charismatic leaders; such a leader can turn out to be very great. This is based on the fact that a good number of such leaders are usually endowed with great self-confidence, self identity, strong belief systems, passion for their work and their subordinates (Gosling & Mintzberg, 2003). As a result, they command a lot of influence and power over their followers which can be easily channeled to facilitate the completion of tasks. These salient issues make this leadership style great for those seeking timely decision-making and unity of thought and actions in the organization.

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Gaps in the Rationale for Charismatic Leadership

A good number of existing literatures, like the ones in the annotated bibliography, state that, in this style of leadership, some workers can end up following certain leaders blindly while forgetting about the goals and needs of the organization. Nevertheless, through proper coaching techniques and the establishment of good communication channels that regulated by other leaders, this gap can be easily bridged thus ensuring the efficiency in organizations that is usually synonymous with charismatic leaders.

Rationale for Participative Leadership

The participative style of leadership is one where everybody has an almost equal say and participates in the making of decisions. In this leadership style, power is spread across several individuals rather than being vested wholesomely on one person. Of course there is usually a leading figure that oversees the operations of the organization. However, the leader’s job mostly comes in form of soliciting or acting on the ideas, opinions and suggestions of the followers. Failure to comply with the leader’s rules is usually not severely punishable like in the transformational and charismatic leadership styles. The participation by various individuals in decision-making can be very important-especially in times that a wide variety of ideas are needed (Huang et al., 2010).

Gaps in the Rationale for Participative Leadership

Often, this leadership style has been criticized for the “free” nature of rules and regulations which can easily be misused. Also, some of the many participants in this leadership style can be uninformed about the decisions being made. As a result, the decisions that they make can be wrong thus becoming very detrimental to the organization’s efficacy. Like in the previous styles of leadership, all these issues can be solved through proper communication among the participants as well as the presence of coaches who will regulate the decision made. In spite of its many benefits, this style of leadership should be adopted with great professional precaution.

Rejoinder for the Rationale

From the discussions of the above rationales, it is out rightly clear that in all these leadership styles; there are three important tenets that cannot be avoided. These tenets are Communication, the use of coaches and, finally, proper motivation—especially through the establishment emotional connection. It is, essentially, based on this reason that the establishment and implementation of the leadership styles will revolve around the three underlying tenets.

Introduction to Proposed Study

Over the recent times, several scholarly studies have been able to prove that organizational psychology has the potential to dramatically influence the future of employee health, corporate sustainability, workplace motivation, and corporate wellness. While the concept of studying organizational behavior and cognition has often been addressed in the hopes of increasing productivity and revenue in business, the most significant reason to investigate this field is the vast potential for enriched wellness. It is the reliable and enduring health of the company personnel that will allow for the sustainability and profitability of any business, and it is the leadership that is implemented that will determine whether organizational psychology can be facilitated, effective, or successful.

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As of today, there are many leadership styles in existence. These include authoritative, autocratic, democratic, transformational, transactional, participative and charismatic leadership, among many others. However, for the purposes of this proposed study, the central focus will be on charismatic and transformational leadership; with a little spotlight being shed on the participative leadership. According to Huang et al. (2010), Bordia et al. (2010), Barbuto (2005) and Vince (2001), the three major reasons behind the proposal of these three leadership styles are:

  1. Ease in establishment and implementation
  2. Leaders and their followers have an opportunity to not only interact and connect easily, but they are also able to better one another and the organization, as well.
  3. Literature review of existing studies indicates that the three leadership methods have proven records of ensuring smooth running of organizations and facilitating best efficiency when compared to other leadership styles.

Like many other leadership styles, the transformational, charismatic and participative leadership styles have their fair share of limitations. If I had to summarize the root-cause of all these limitations and challenges in a single word, the word would be communication. This is based on the fact that the majority of the leadership problems today are usually related to communication in one way or another. On most occasions, however, the communication problems usually commence from the topmost levels of leadership in the organization (Fulmer, 1997). Then, if the communication problems are not solved, they progressively spread down across the members of the organization thus poisoning the entire organization slowly, but surely.

If the dire ramifications of these communication problems are to be solved, it is paramount for urgent measures to be put in place. The problem, however, is that communication is a broad concept that cannot be solved in one way. It is based on this reason that several related concepts such as motivation and coaching will be used to support the discussion on communication in leadership.

Purpose Statement for the Study

As glimpsed in the introduction, leaders in businesses face many challenges in the bid to maximize the immense potential of their workplaces. On top of that, there are many other fundamental dynamics of business leadership that have not yet been covered by existing literature and documentations.

Consequently, the prospected study will not only provide additional ways of solving these leadership challenges, but it will also spotlight other crucial scholarly areas that might have been ignored by previous scholars. In other words, this study will offer more insight into ways in which good leadership skills can be furthered.

Research Questions

Below are the research questions specifically formulated to guide in this study:

  • What is the nature of transformational, charismatic and participative leadership in terms of ensuring holistic organizational efficiency?
  • How can transformational, charismatic and participative leadership be channeled to promote organizational efficiency?
  • Which leadership skills or traits are most desirable in businesses?
  • What roles do salient management principles such as communication, motivation and emotional connection play in augmenting the organizational efficiency?
  • How can leadership challenges (especially those related to communication) be solved by leaders in organizations?

Justifications for the research questions

A good number of the specific justifications of these research questions have been indicated in the previous section. Nevertheless, it is worth stating that the research questions were majorly formulated to help defining the course of the research in terms of the issues to be solved (Creswell, 2009). Finally, these research questions also help researchers to choose viable data collection techniques for their research. For instance, the research questions guide in creating questions for in-depth interviews and questionnaires.

Hypothesis

Holistic organizational efficiency can best be achieved through transformational, charismatic and participative leadership while ensuring that salient leadership facets such as communication, motivation and coaching are taken into consideration.

Annotated Bibliography

Asgari, A., Silong, A. D., Ahmad, A., & Sama, B. A., (2008). The relationship between transformational leadership behaviors, leader-member exchange and organizational citizenship behaviors. European Journal of Social Sciences, 6(4), 140 – 151.

Based on their circumspect study on the benefits transformational and transactional leadership in organizations, Asgari et al. (2008) propose that these two leadership styles should be incorporated in organizations—especially in regards to the management of subordinates. In the study, 220 respondents were surveyed at Shiraz City in Iran using inclusively representative questionnaires. Based on the results of their study, Asgari et al. (2008) concluded that both transformational and transactional leadership behaviors have a largely positive effect on the organization and its staff. This conclusion was majorly based on the finding that, in these two leadership styles, the leaders are easily able to get their subordinates to follow the set-down rules and regulations of the company while intermittently performing beyond the expected organizational goals. In spite of the expansive nature of this study, the scholars noted that there were still many challenges regarding the nature of communication between leaders and their subordinates. It is based on this reason that Asgari and his fellow scholars suggested that more studies should be conducted on how we can better the symbiotic relationship between good communication and good leadership. In doing so, the relationship between members of the organization would be improved thus bettering the overall efficiency of the organizations.

Birasnav, M., Rangnekar, S., & Dalpati, A. (2011). Transformational leadership and human capital benefits: the role of knowledge management. Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 32(2), 106 – 126. 

Birasnav et al. (2011) address the role of leaders in providing apt leadership that is able to facilitate human capital benefits in organizations. In doing so, these scholars delve into the annals of history to establish the role of traditional leadership theories. Once that is done, they blend their findings with the current empirical studies on transformational leadership and its role in encouraging knowledge management (KM) as well as human capital. Based on the findings of their empirical studies, Birasnav et al. (2011) state that when transformational leadership is appropriately merged with KM; immense benefits can be realized in terms of human capital. However, this can only be facilitated by employing well-qualified personnel in leadership positions while having training avenues for managers on the principal facets of good leadership.

Hamilton, M. (2009). The interaction of transactional and transformational leadership. Online Journal of Workforce Education and Development, III(3), 1– 11.

Hamilton (2009) opines that transactional and transformational leadership are mutually exclusive management styles that interdependently reinforce each other. To support her opinions, Hamilton (2009) details the characteristics of these two leadership styles, their similarities and differences, the aspects in which they reinforce one another and, more importantly; examples from various corporate organizations. Remarkably, Hamilton (2009) states that the interaction of transactional and transformational leadership plays the important role of fine-tuning the leader’s skills. The clear-cut nature of the information and evidence provided in this paper greatly emphasizes the importance of coaching as a sure way of encouraging efficiency and objectivity of leaders and their subordinates.

Shamir, B., House, R. J., & Arthur, M. B. (1993). The motivational effects of charismatic leadership: a self-concept based theory. Organization Science, 4(4), 577– 594. doi: 10.1287/orsc.4.4.577

Shamir et al. (1993) illuminate the elemental importance of charisma in leaders. Other than the inborn characteristics of leaders, Shamir et al. (1993) state that charismatic leaders have to develop a habit of self-training and personal motivation if they are to become great leaders. The sparks of brilliance by charismatic leaders and their ability to “think-on-the-foot” when faced with challenging circumstances that require urgent decisions is considered as a great quality that places charismatic leadership above other leadership styles. Even more importantly, this paper offers insightful information on how leaders can motivate their workers thus encouraging overall efficiency in organizations.

Huang, X., Lun, J., Liu, A., Gong, Y. 2010. Does participative leadership enhance work performance by inducing empowerment or trust? The differential effects on managerial and non-managerial subordinate. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 31(1), 122–143.

In this paper, data was collected from a Fortune 500 company with a sample audience of 527 employees. Huang et al. (2009), specifically focused on the relationship between work performance, motivation, psychological empowerment and salient management practices in organizations. Using various organization psychological concepts and theories, the data sampled from the 527 employees was analyzed. Huang et al. (2009) found out that participative leadership greatly enhances trust among managerial and non-managerial subordinates. The wide-based nature of the sampled workers provides a good proof of the factors that motivate leaders and their subordinates.

Vince, R. (2001). Power and emotion in organizational learning. Human Relations, 54(10), 1325–1351.

Vince (2001) asserts the value of power in offering leadership to other people. According to him, it is almost impossible to be a good leader who commands influence and respect if you do not have power over those below you. Importantly, he states that there are some leaders who in leadership positions yet do not have the ability to control or guide those below them. In his opinions, such “powerless” leaders do not deserve to be in their leadership positions—unless they are willing to learn about the key elements of power. As a crucial note, Vince (2001) states that organizational psychology and its aspects of leadership greatly rely on the ability of leaders to establish an emotional connection with the people working under them. He further states that theories such as the psychoanalytic theory, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory and the Psychodynamic theory are very crucial tools of knowing how to channel your leadership power while connecting with others emotionally such that they are able to support your endeavors to better the efficiency in the organization. Nonetheless, Vince (2001) cautions that power should be used precariously since misuse of power often leads to dissatisfaction of clients and workers thus less efficiency in the organization.

Ames, D. (2008). In search of the right touch: Interpersonal assertiveness in organizational life. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 17(6), 381-385. 

This article bases its arguments on empirical evidence regarding the relationship between workers and their leaders, especially during communication. Ames (2008) finds out that an organization’s efficiency is only as good as the nature of the interpersonal relationship between the workers and their leaders.

Barbuto, J. (2005). Motivation and transactional, charismatic and transformational leadership: A test of antecendents. Journal of Leadership Studies, 11(4), 26-40. 

Commendably, Barbuto (2005) conducts an in-depth research on the relationship between motivation and the transactional, charismatic and transformational styles of leadership. 759 reports on leadership and motivation from a myriad of organizations are combined with data from 186 leaders to reach a viable conclusion on the nature of the relationship between the aforementioned leadership styles and motivation. This paper finds out that, depending on how it is used and the style of leadership style in an organization; the tool of motivation can have a positive or negative impact on the overall efficiency of the organization. Importantly, Barbuto (2005) found out that in the charismatic and transformational styles of leadership, it was much easier for leaders to motivate their workers when compared to the transactional style.

References

Ames, D. (2008). In search of the right touch: Interpersonal assertiveness in organizational life. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 17(6), 381-385.

Asgari, A., Silong, A. D., Ahmad, A., & Sama, B. A., (2008). The relationship between transformational leadership behaviors, leader-member exchange and organizational citizenship behaviors. European Journal of Social Sciences, 6(4), 140 –151.

Barbuto, J. (2005). Motivation and transactional, charismatic and transformational leadership: A test of antecendents. Journal of Leadership Studies, 11(4), 26-40.

Birasnav, M., Rangnekar, S., & Dalpati, A. (2011). Transformational leadership and human capital benefits: the role of knowledge management. Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 32(2), 106 – 126.

Bordia, P., Restubog, S. L. D., Bordia, S., & Tang, R. L. (2010). Breach begets breach: trickle-down effects of psychological contract breach on customer service. Journal of Management, 36(6), 1578 –1607.

Creswell, J. W. (2009). Research design: qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods approaches (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Fulmer, R. M. (1997). The evolving paradigm of leadership development. Organizational Dynamics, 25(4), 59 –73.

Gosling, J., & Mintzberg, H. (2003). The education of practicing managers. Sloan Management Review, 45(4), 19 – 22.

Hamilton, M. (2009). The interaction of transactional and transformational leadership. Online Journal of Workforce Education and Development, III(3), 1– 11.

Huang, X., Lun, J., Liu, A., Gong, Y. 2010. Does participative leadership enhance work performance by inducing empowerment or trust? The differential effects on managerial and non-managerial subordinate. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 31(1), 122 –143.

Shamir, B., House, R. J., & Arthur, M. B. (1993). The motivational effects of charismatic leadership: a self-concept based theory. Organization Science, 4(4), 577 – 594. doi: 10.1287/orsc.4.4.577

Vince, R. (2001). Power and emotion in organizational learning. Human Relations, 54(10), 1325 – 1351.

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