Showing posts with label employee research. Show all posts
Showing posts with label employee research. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Leading and Learning as a Cure for Pathological Management Styles

Learning organizations are likely to be more successful in developing new methods to compete on the market. Research by Michie & Zumitzavan (2012) furthers the argument that those organizations that foster learning and are managed by learning leaders are more successful than those who are reactive and focused on pathological styles. Learning leadership is progressive, open-minded, humanistic, and goal orientated that results in higher firm development and profits.  

Leadership and learning are two components that come together to foster development. The way in which leaders learn has an impact on how they act as administrators. Those that engaged in all four learning styles action, thinking, feeling and assessing others are more capability of using multiple leadership styles such as challenging, inspiring, enabling, modeling, and encouraging (Brown and Posner, 2001). 

Learning is one way in which organizations can continually renew themselves versus accepting the fate of a rigid decline. According to (Johnson and Scholes, 2002), organizations that are willing to continue learning throughout their lifecycles become more sustainable in the sense that they can adjust to new market trends, structures, and realities. If such organizations are not willing to learn and change they will be eventually crushed under new market realities by more competitive and nimble organizations. 

Leaders have the ability to prime the behavior of their followers. When leaders have a healthy respect for learning they can influence the expectations and behaviors of managers who further impact the social structure of employees. Creating a culture that respects and fosters learning, helps to enhance both the employees’ abilities, as well as the ability of the organization to adapt to market changes. 

The researchers Michie & Zumitzavan (2012), attempted to see how the attributes of managers impacted the learning and leading styles that influence organizational success. Twenty North Taiwanese firms were selected for the overall interviews and questionnaires.  They found that there was no relationship between learning styles and the demographics of the organization or location. In other words, learning leadership is not tied to organizational demographics. The impact of organizational learning styles was influenced by the leadership styles within the organization. 

Effective Organizations: Managers within effective organizations believed that technology and cost reduction were two important factors. However, they agreed that by developing employees skills their organizations could be enhanced. Thus, they sent people to seminars, workshops, training, educational outlets, etc… to improve their skills. They welcomed open opinions, managed workplace problems progressively, delegated for employee enhancement, and continued to forecast the needs of their organizations into the future. 

Less Effective Organizations: Less effective organizations are marked by their short-sighted thinking that focused on day-to-day issues. They were less able to forecast the future of the organization or able to solidify the goals of the organization. They rarely sent people for enhancement training or education and did not do well in managing employee problems. Furthermore, they were not willing to delegate authority and did not encourage employee opinions. 

The research results indicate that short-sighted behaviors, whereby individuals are not learning, are more prone to poor performance. With such results it is important to understand how training and development has an enhanced place in the most successful organizations.  Such training doesn’t need to be formal but does need to encourage constant learning and development to be effective. The learning style of the leaders and their level of expectation setting appear to foster organizational learning. 

Micromanaging leads to poor results and creates a systematic structure that damages the organizations ability to effectively compete on the market. Some have argued that micromanaging is a pathological behavior rooted in the manager’s childhood experiences, perceptions of incompetence, and their inability to think beyond their most immediate needs. Such managers foster fiefdoms in the workplace, manage by fear, and often take credit for others work. Many times their policies, procedures, and departmental approaches are based in the need for self-validation. For investors and executives who desire to see their organization succeed, they should take considerable care in fostering learning within their organizations and limit the advancement of those with the least capacity to lead. New ideas bring opportunities for organizational advancement. Where profits are low, adaptation slow, and employee development under toe….you may just have an abundance of pathological management styles.

Brown, M. and Posner, Z., (2001). Exploring the relationship between learning and leadership.
Leadership and organizational development journal,  22 (5–6), 274–280.

Johnson, G. and Scholes, K.,(2002). Exploring corporate strategy. Essex: Pearson Education.

Michie, J. & Zumitzavan, F. (2012). The impact of learning and leadership management styles on organizational outcomes: a study of Tyre Firms in Thailand. Asia Pacific Business Review, 18 (4).

Monday, March 4, 2013

Do Abusive Managers Destroy Employee Creative Motivation?

Employees often complain about the personal impact of abusive behavior by management and how this impacts their daily productivity. New research helps highlight how abusive behavior can impact creativity in the workplace and lower the ability of employees to contribute to problem solving within an organization. Understanding how abusive mindsets are contagious in the workplace is important for understanding how to develop workplaces that push for higher levels of employee performance.

The skill of leadership is important in businesses that seek to overcome their next market challenge and make their way to the top. Transformational leadership is positively associated with creative performance (Shin & Zhou, 2003). Leaders who inspire and give a proper path are more pragmatic in their performances and therefore lead to higher levels of employee creative contributions.

The reason why leadership can have such an impact on organizations is because of the way they perceive their employees. Those leaders who label additional effort by employees as citizenship behavior versus ingratiation view and reward their employees at a higher level (Eastman, 1994).  Leaders and managers create precisely the type of behaviors they view their employee with. A leader or manager who perceives employees as lazy, unproductive, and ignorant are likely to create employees who mimic this behavior.

If the very leaders on the top view employees in such a negative way the belief system will pass down through the layers of managers and impact how employees behave and view themselves. Findings help highlight how there is a cascading effect of leadership whereby middle-level managers are a pivotal psychological link between leaders and frontline workers (Zohar & Luria, 2005). The mannerisms and perceptions of leadership filters throughout the entire organization and management is the connecting point of passing these perceptions onto employees to prime behavioral expectations.

When these expectations are in a negative light the overall performance of employees is damaged. Particularly their willingness to engage in and solve problems is hampered and this lowers future growth prospects of the firm. Creativity is about free thinking, problem solving, and sharing those perspectives with others to create new economic realities. Employees have no incentive to do this if their ideas are automatically discounted due to poor management perception.

Research by Liu, Liao & Loi (2012) was conducted in a large Midwestern automobile company and had 22 departments, 108 teams and 762 employees participate in the study. The study attempted to determine the impact of abusive leadership and abusive management on worker creativity. It also analyzed the concept of cascading layers of management and how this impacts performance expectations and transference of beliefs.


-Abusive supervision by top management creates likelihood that middle level managers will also be more abusive and this damages creativity. 

-How employees perceive the reasons (two perceptions) for this abuse can either exacerbate or mitigate its effectiveness.

-Departmental leadership abusive behavior has an impact on team leader behaviors (cascading layers of management) which impacts team member behavior.


The report supports attribution theory that indicates that employee characteristics and team leader characteristics interact and influence the environment. Furthermore, the research also supports social learning theory by indicating that group behaviors and organizational culture are formed by these unique attributes. Employees learn to accept their station in life or resist against such poor treatment. To change poor behavior within an organization is to ensure you have a leader with transformational skills, proper management training, and strong employee attributes.

Eastman, K. (1994). In the eyes of the beholder: an attributional approach to ingratiation and organizational citizenship behavior. Academy of Management, 37: 1379-1391

Liu, D., Liao, H. & Loi, R. (2012). The dark side of leadership: a three-level of investigation of cascading effective of abusive supervision on employee creativity. Academy of Management Journal, 55 (5). 

Shin, S. & Zhou, J. (2003). Transformational leadership, conservation, and creativity: Evidence from Korea.  Academy af Management Journal, 46: 703-714.

Zohar, D., & Luria, G. (2005). A multilevel model of safety climate: Gross-level relationships between organization and group-level climates. Journal of Applied Psychology, 90: 616-628.
Do Abusive Managers Destroy Employee Creative Motivation?