Free Essay Sample «Charismatic Leadership»

«Charismatic Leadership»

Many researchers have analyzed leadership as a concept. Pirola-Merlo, Hartel, Mann, and Hirst (2002) refer to leadership as a vital concept in both social sciences and corporate life. It is based on the understanding that effective leadership is important for the success of any organization. Due to an essential role that leaders need to accomplish in their organizations, there has been an overwhelming interest by scientists and managers. They have been striving to find out the characteristics of an effective leader. According to Pirola-Merlo (2002), effective leadership contributes to the organization’s success because leaders influence the performance of their teams. Every successful company develops and sustains a culture that helps in promoting the realization of its goals and objectives. All employees need to be aware of their organizational culture. Therefore, their input is based on the driving culture. Alon and Higgins (2005) have stated that leaders should use effective communication as a tool to have all stakeholders in the company informed of a vision of their organization.

These realizations have seen most firms stress on a need for charismatic leadership style. The style shows competence in communicating the organization’s goals and objectives to subordinates to influence their behavior. The leaders using this style of leadership show the characteristics that their followers easily relate to. Their leadership features enable them to win the respect of their followers and gain support for the visions they have for the company. The style has positive implications on influencing the behavior of followers within any firm and establishing a productive organizational culture. Thus, it is necessary for leaders to acquire such leadership characteristics.

This study is aimed at giving an extensive investigation on the effectiveness of charismatic leadership in communicating organizational values to followers and helping the company to achieve its goals and objectives. The research also aims to find out how emotional intelligence helps in promoting organizational values by charismatic leaders. It goes in line with Harrison and Claugh’s (2006) finding that there is a lot of literature that suggest of Emotional Intelligence (EI). It is one of the factors that define the characteristics of any leader. They have also stressed that it also impacts on the level of influence that leaders have on their organizational culture. The results gained from the current research may help in understanding the role of EI in evaluating and appraising effective leaders.

Theoretical Framework and Topic Statement

De-Hoogh et al. (2005) states that a mode of behavior displayed by leaders has a significant influence on the environment within which they operate. This paper seeks to confirm the assertion that charismatic leadership determines several outcomes related to the development and maintenance of the organization culture. It will also find out more on the hypothesis that Emotional Intelligence plays a great role in this relationship. The research gives a closer look at the two concepts, i.e. charismatic leadership and emotional intelligence. The study also analyses how these concepts are related. The concept of charismatic leadership has become popular after the emergence of a scientific field of leadership in the early 1990s. This period has marked an overwhelming publication of leadership theory (Conger & Hunt, 1999). George (2000) states that Emotional intelligence contributes to effective leadership; it influences some particular competencies in leaders. For example, EI helps leaders to generate and maintain positive moods in their followers and create a sustainable identity for their organizations. The reason is that leadership is an emotion-laden process as suggested by George (2000). The notion of importance of emotional intelligence should be brought in focus in the selection of future leaders. It can help organizations achieve their goals and objectives (Ashkanasy, Hartel, & Daus, 2002). In 1987, two researchers, Conger and Kanungo, came up with a charismatic leadership model. It discusses the components of charismatic leadership within organizations. A factorial analysis that has been later conducted on the model confirmed it.

Based on the findings of the analysis, there are particular behaviors that take place at three successive stages and define charismatic leadership. The first stage is associated with the leaders’ effort in assessing the environment within which they operate. Leaders spend some time to understand the needs and an expression of dissatisfaction of their followers with the status quo. Further, charismatic leaders use their skills to generate visions for the companies and have them communicated to their followers. At the third stage, leaders take actions to ensure that their followers implement the visions communicated to them. Therefore, leaders are likely to act in an unconventional manner. They can influence their followers to show commitment. For example, leaders can take a risk of subjecting themselves to unclear situations without showing much concern about the possible outcomes of taking chances.

Charismatic leadership can be observed in many other styles of leadership. It is mainly differentiated with transactional leadership style. because the reason is that, while charismatic leadership is associated with adding some meaning to have employees motivated to put in an extra effort, transactional style focuses on the traditional relationship. It exists between leaders and their subordinates. In this case, employees are rewarded based on a level of efforts that they display (De-Hoogh et al., 2005). Another leadership style is authoritarian leadership being also known as autocratic leadership style. In this style, leaders exercise their authority by controlling the subordinates’ powers. All decisions are made by all groups within any company. Another style is laissez-faire where leaders give their subordinates an opportunity to make their own decisions based on the understanding that they are capable of controlling themselves.

Looking at different leadership styles, the one that is closely related to charismatic leadership is a transformational leadership style. According to De-Hoogh et al. (2005), charismatic leadership and transformational leadership styles have some similarities. There are several concepts that are shared between the two leadership styles. The components include vision, intellectual stimulation, inspiration, the meaning and role modeling among others. It is based on these overlapping characteristics that charismatic and transformational leadership styles are often considered to be synonymous. The choice to focus this study on charismatic leadership is based on the following understanding. The leadership style is best suited to influence the performance of organizations. The same fact is true when it comes to facilitating the ease of transferring organizational values from the top leadership to subordinates hence shaping organizational culture.

This research seeks to find answers to a number of questions. It will discuss how important charisma is to leadership and establish whether it makes or breaks leadership. The research has mentioned above that there is a tight connection between charismatic leadership Emotional Intelligence. This paper will also give some replies to the question about this relationship.

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Methodology

To gather the necessary data for this research work, it was necessary to seek responses from employees and some leaders based on the research questions. The sample that has been used in conducting this research was made up of employees of a Dutch retail company. It runs 214 shops in Netherlands. The choice of the organization was made based on the following understanding. The company has taken steps towards communicating an appropriate organizational culture. Questionnaires were given to 549 employees of the firm out of whom 263 responded positively by filling the questionnaires. As such, the study recorded 47.9 % response rate. While coming up with a sample, careful considerations were made to ensure that the sample obtained was sensitive to gender, age, work experience, and weekly working hours.

Basically, the research relied on the data collected by use of questionnaires. For ease of distribution of questionnaires, the respondents had their questionnaires distributed to them in two ways. First, email messages with a link to an online version of the questionnaire were sent to support office employees. The workers that work at the distribution center were given a printed copy of this questionnaire. The same was done to those ones working at the shop since the two categories of employees did not have computers. While distributing the paper version of the questionnaire, an answering envelop was attached. Therefore, respondents could easily seal their responses and send them back. All participants received their questionnaires in a good time; and two week duration was given for them to fill them while being at work. The questionnaires were developed in such a way that they had the appropriate sections to be filled by employees in various leadership positions and their subordinates. The questions were well formulated to ask about various aspects concerning charismatic leadership and seek answers to questions about organizational culture and how it relates to this style of leadership. There was a specific section that was particularly filled by those persons in leadership positions. This section was particular in finding out a link between leadership and emotional intelligence. It would take respondents about 30 minutes to respond to all questions in the questionnaire.

The questionnaire was structured in a way such that respondents could read the statements. They could use a 7-poiny Likert-type scale to rate the extent to which the statements applied to them or to those that the questions required then to assess. For example, there was a question that sought to enquire about the extent to which the top leadership of the company chosen for this study talked to their subordinates about their values. Employees were expected to respond to this question by assessing the level of openness of their leaders and the degree to which they have taken time to listen to them. The question was intended to investigate the type of leadership being applied by various leaders within the company. The reason is that charismatic leaders always show some concern about the values and welfare of their employees.

Results

This study was aimed at looking at the effectiveness of charismatic leadership in driving an organization towards realizing its objectives. The research questions that were used in the questionnaire were designed to generate responses based on the main topic of the study. Besides, the paper investigated a relationship that existed between organizational culture and charismatic leadership. Additionally, the research tool used was structured to find out if emotional intelligence had any contributions to the relationship between charismatic leadership, organizational culture, and attainment of organizational goals and vision. The first hypothesis was based on the link between charismatic leadership and the perception that leaders had on shared values within the company and employees’ perception on the shared values.

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The responses that employees had given showed that the level of shared values between leaders and their subordinates was high in the situations where leaders used charismatic leadership style. Most participants that gave positive responses to this question also responded positively to the question investigating the following matter whether leaders take time to hold discussions with their subordinates on their interests. Some of respondents noted that there was a little extent of shared values between leaders and their subordinates. Their leaders did not create time to hold discussions with them. They added they the leaders failed to ask them about their interests and how to achieve the objectives of their organization.

The data collected also showed that there was a close relationship between organizational performance and the emotional intelligence of top leaders. The leaders that were noted to have effective emotional control were subsequently realized to exhibit a good interpersonal relationship with their subordinates. It was evident in the responses that subordinates had given to the question about the implications of leaders’ emotions on their relationship with junior employees. Most employees acknowledged the fact that leaders’ emotional intelligence was associated with the type of leadership style they had used. For example, charismatic leadership style enables leaders to control their emotional reactions to stressful situations. It enables them to provide an opportunity for a dialogue with their subordinates in an attempt to find the solutions to situations posing a challenge to the success of the company.

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Most employees, i.e. subordinates, have agreed that they are comfortable working in an environment where leaders ask them about their opinions over issues before formulating policies to be followed. The employees giving positive responses to this question have mainly belonged to the experienced group of respondents. These ones had more than two years of work experience in the company. While responding to other questions, the employees have indicated that having a clear knowledge about the vision of the organization, as made possible through charismatic leadership, serves as a motivating factor. It inspires them to offer their best while undertaking different responsibilities. Some respondents indicated that the lack of proper knowledge about the vision and objectives of the company contributes to an organizational failure. Others also have pointed out that the rate of employees’ turnover in organizations is determined by the leadership style that leaders within any organization use. They have pointed out that charismatic leadership is capable of influencing a positive change. The leaders that use the leadership style are better placed to influence the behavior of their subordinates making them focus on realizing the objectives of their company through teamwork.

The results generated from the study have also showed that leaders’ self-rating may be as relevant as the employees’ ratings about different aspects of leadership. In some situations, employees fail to see their leaders as charismatic. However, when an employee perceives themselves to be using charismatic leadership style, the value orientation of teams that they lead is positively influenced. However, it is generally understood that self-rating of charismatic leadership is irrelevant. The reason is that the leadership style used should be determined by the way employees relate to their subordinates. Most similarities have been observed in the responses given by leaders and the junior employees that justify the following idea. Self-rating and employee-rating may have the same level of relevance.

Discussion

Charismatic Leadership and Organizational Culture

Organizations have their distinct cultures that define their modes of operation. All employees within the companies are expected to operate in accordance with the culture that stipulates the organizational goals and objectives. In this study, culture is looked at as a determinant of organizational values influencing the mode of behavior of all employees within the firm. The ability of charismatic leadership to shape and communicate the vision of any organization to all followers within it has created a link between the leadership style and organizational culture. In a contemporary business world, organizations are in a constant competition to maintain their relevance. One sure way of overcoming the challenges posed by the stiff competition is by creating and maintaining a suitable organizational culture. It focuses on the values of the company and that motivates all employees to work towards the attainment of the vision of the firm. The realization of its objective cannot be achieved if the vision is not well communicated to all stakeholders of the enterprise. As such, charismatic leadership is viewed as an effective leadership style based on the following perception. It facilitates the process of the passing across the visions of the company to subordinates and influencing them to accept and work towards attaining the vision as formulated by leaders.

When leaders take steps to transfer values to their subordinates, they exert a great impact on the organizational culture. There are a number of steps through which the leaders’ assumption and values become known to the followers. Subordinates closely observe what their leaders pay keen attention to how they respond to sensitive incidences and crisis, role-modeling, teaching, and coaching as well as the criteria used in rewarding employees. Subordinates are also keen on observing the method used for recruitment and promotion. The mechanisms observed here are related to the second stage of charismatic leadership, formulating and communicating a vision, as suggested by Conger and Kanungo (1987). Leaders need to know these mechanisms that depict the leadership values in their organizations. They must also know how the processes affect their level of commitment and motivation of their followers. It helps them know how best they can use the processes to transfer their organizational values to subordinates. Thus, it is important for charismatic leaders to be pro-actively involved in social influence behavior for them to have their followers determined to achieve the vision of the organization.

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De Hoogh et al. (2005) suggest that there is a close relationship between charismatic leadership and a need for social influence and a power motive. It follows that the tendency of communicating the organization’s visions and values is done as a deliberate move in charismatic leadership. As such, it is right to generalize that charismatic leaders are at a better position to communicate their views and priorities for their respective organizations compared to non-charismatic leaders. Besides, latter ones have the capacity to establish an effective consensus with their subordinates concerning the values shared among team members.

For a strong organizational culture to be established within an organization, employees need to fully agree on the organizational values and adopt the vision communicated to them by leadership. This requirement is achieved through an effective communication and the power with which the leadership influences the subordinates to adopt and work in line with the formulated vision (Tsui, Zhang, Wang, Xin, & Wu, 2006). Cha and Edmondson (2006) also state that leaders and their leadership styles largely influence the company’s shared values and enhance the performance and level of motivation among their employees. While making a concluding remark on their study on the relationship between organizational culture and leader behavior, Tsui et al. (2006) have stated the following fact. Leaders are capable of shaping their organizational culture. However, there is a need for them to take time to understand the context within which they operate, take an advantage of the operational context and subsequently introduce systems as well as processes to help them implement the values. In this respect, organizational culture and its level of effectiveness can be understood as a result of charismatic leadership used by the top management. Thus, the leadership style is vital for creating shared values among employees of the firm.

 

 

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