CHAPTER ONEINTRODUCTION1.1 IntroductionThe studyseeks to examine the influence of strategic leadership traits on organizationalperformance.
For this study strategic leadership traits measured in terms ofleaders’ communication skills, commitment and innovativeness will be the independentvariable and organizational performance will be the dependent variable.Thischapter presents that the background of thestudy, statement of the problem, purpose of study, specific objectives of thestudy, research questions, research hypotheses and conceptual framework. Italso presents the scope, significance, justification and operationaldefinitions of key terms used in the study.1.2 Background to the Study1.
2.1 Historical BackgroundThestudy of leadership has attracted many researchers and produced a large volumeof literature. Some scholars even claim that leadership has been the source ofmore extensive investigation than almost any other aspect of human behavior(Kets de Vries, 1993). Although scholars and philosophers from ancient timeshave contributed to the understanding of leadership, there was a particularlygreat surge in leadership research in the last century (Coggins, 2016). Thefield of leadership research can be divided into: classical approaches –motivation and trait theories – during the first half of the 20th century;transactional approaches – behavioral and contingency theories – during the1950s and 1960s; transformational and charismatic leadership theories duringthe 1970s and 1980s; and developments that have been made in the recent decadesdriven by both academic scholars and popular press (Coggins, 2014).
During lastfew decades, however, the field of leadership research has changed considerablyin how researchers think about, study, and define leadership (Hunt and Ropo,1995)Inthe early 20th century, Frederick Winslow Taylor proposed the practice ofscientific management. This is not a leadership theory per se but changed theway leader-managers interacted with employees and handled production of a givenproduct. Through his own work experience and informal education, Taylor (1911)recognized that employers could get the most out of their workers if they brokelabor projects into their various parts and trained laborers to specialize ineach particular station of production. Taylor timed each part of the productionprocess in order to improve production to maximum efficiency. In terms ofleadership within organizations, Taylor believed that leaders were born, notmade and assumed there was only one form of effective leadership (1911).Leadership studies in the earlypart of the 20th century focused on what has been referred to as Great Man andtrait theories. Great man theory of leadership proposes that certain men areborn to lead and when crises arise these men step up to take their naturalplace (Coggins, 2016).
This theory was also related to trait theory. Traittheory proposes that only men with the in-born characteristics for leadershipwill be successful leaders. The search was for the right combination ofcharacteristics that would lead to effective leading of organizations. Throughtwo meta-analytical surveys of 124 previous studies in 1948 and 163 others in1974, R.M. Stogdill identified a list of 10 best traits and skills of effectiveleaders.
In 1939, Kurt Lewin worked withcolleagues Lippett and White penned the 1939 publication, called “Patterns of aggressive behavior inexperimentally created social climates.” In that work, Lewin et al.propsed three leadership types displayed within organizations. Those leadershipstyles included: autocratic, democraticand laissez faire leadership styles.Max Weber, a German sociologist,was the first to propose and describe Charismatic authority (the precursor tocharismatic leadership theory) in his work The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. Weberdescribed Charismatic leadership as “a special personality characteristicthat gives a person exceptional powers that result in the person being treatedas a leader.” House (1976) published a theory of charismatic leadership withinwhich he described the personal characteristics of this type of leader as”being dominant, having a strong desire to influence others, beingself-confident, and having a strong sense of one’s own moral values”(Northouse, 2004).
The contingency school ofleadership was popularized by Fred Fiedler (). Contrary to the ‘Taylorists’who believed there was one best style of leadership and that that style fit allsituations. Fiedler in various works came to believe that best leadership stylewas the one that best fit a given situation. Accordingly, Fiedler proposed theContingency Theory of Leadership and the Least Preferred Coworker Scale toestablish whether a particular manager-supervisor was a good match for hisleadership assignment.In 1971, ParticipativeLeadership was proposed and highlighted by a number of scholars including Dr.Rensis Likert (1967) and Gary Yukl (1971).
Likert is best known for the LikertScale, a measurement devise used to measure degrees of acceptance of a givenpremise. His theory of leadership styles included the following: exploitativeauthoritative, benevolent authoritative, consultative and participative leader.In the 1980’s the situationalleadership school of thought was proposed by Dr. Paul Hersey and Dr. KenBlanchard.
By their conceptualization, leaders choose the leadership stylebased on the maturity or developmental level of the follower (Coggins, 2016).The Path-goal school of thoughtwas developed by Martin G. Evans (1970) and Robert J. House (1971) and based onVictor Vroom’s Expectancy Theory. The main underlying assumption is thatsubordinates will be motivated if (a) they think they are capable of the work(or high level of self-efficacy); (b) believe their efforts will result in acertain outcome or reward; and (c) believe the outcome or reward will beworthwhile.Robert Greenleaf (1970 and 1977)published a set of essays proposing a new type of leadership focused on thefollower.
That leadership type is servant leadership.Transformational Leadership hasbeen the most widely researched form of leadership from the 1980s to 2011.Transformational leadership was first described by James McGregor Burns andthen expounded upon by Bernard Bass. Burns wrote of this form of leadership inhis important 1978 work Leadership inwhich he contrasts the characteristics of transformational leadership withtransactional leadership.Authenticleadership is one of the newest proposed leadership styles. In Academiccircles, it was first coined by Dr. Bruce Avolio and Fred Luthans.
In 2008,Walumbwa, Avolio and others devised the Authentic Leadership Questionnaire. Inthat publication, they reworked the definition of the leadership concept.Walumbwa et al viewed Authentic Leadershipas a pattern of leader behavior that draws upon and promotes both positivepsychological capacities and a positive ethical climate, to foster greatself-awareness, an internalized moral perspective, balanced processing ofinformation, and relational transparency on part of leaders working withfollowers, fostering self-development.Theseexamples show that leadership research is taking a novel turn which draws onpositive psychology, transcendence, and sustainability (Sosik, 2005; Avolio andGardner, 2005).Many authors observe that the contemporary frameworks ofleadership are not sufficient to develop leaders who are capable of facingfuture business challenges (Avolio and Gardner, 2005; Luthans and Avolio, 2003;May et al.
, 2003). This research therefore attempts to uncover the effect ofstrategic leadership traits on employee performance in an organization. 1.2.2 Theoretical BackgroundThestudy will be informed by the Trait Theory of Leadership which was popularizedby Thomas Carlyle.According to the Trait Theory of Leadership, leaders are born not made.(i.
e., that leadership is largely innate, rather than being developed throughlearning). Carlyleobserves that the ability to lead is something that peoplewere simply born with, Carlyle believed, and not something that could bedeveloped. Trait theories of leadership identify the specific personalitytraits that distinguish leaders from non-leaders. Although the identifiedtraits vary, the most common are intelligence, self-confidence, determination,integrity, and sociability.” Hale (2017) extends the leadership traittheory by identifying traits like communication, passion and communication,positivity, innovativeness and collaboration. Early research (Mann, 1959;Stogdill, 1948) focused on the relationship between personality and leadership,but reported little supporting evidence.
Nevertheless, research interest inthis area continues, with Judge and Bono (2004) reporting that 12% of allleadership research published between 1990 and 2004 included the keywords’personality’ and ‘leadership’. In order to review the evidence of asubstantive relationship between personality and leadership, a meta-analysiswas conducted by Lord, De Vader and Alliger (1986). This included the studiesoriginally reviewed by Mann (1959) and subsequently published studies. Lord etal. (1986) demonstrated that there were significant meta-analytic correlationsbetween leadership perceptions and intelligence, masculinity and dominance.
Itis important to note that these characteristics were associated with leadershipperceptions, rather than leader behaviour or performance, and so do not reflectpersonal characteristics that may be related to leader effectiveness. A latermeta-analysis, conducted by Judge, Bono, Iles and Gerhardtl (2002), found thatthe Big Five personality dimensions (i.e., agreeableness, conscientiousness,extraversion, neuroticism, and openness) were significant predictors of bothleadership emergence (explaining 28% of the variance) and leader effectiveness(explaining 15% of the variance). One of the major criticisms oftrait theory is its simplistic approach; that it fails to take account of otherfactors that will influence the development of a successful leader (e.g.
,situational and environmental factors). Recent research, based on identical andfraternal twins, was able to estimate the heritability of leadership emergenceat 30% (Avery, Zhang, Avolio, Kruegar, 2007). This means that the remaining 70%is accounted for by situational factors (e.g., exposure to leader role models)during one’s career.
Nevertheless, many organizations use personalityassessment as part of their selection procedures for managerial or leadershiproles. This study will thus use the Trait Theory of Leadership to derive the dimensions of strategicleadership namely communication, innovativeness and commitment onorganizational performance at Vodafone Uganda. 1.2.3 Conceptual BackgroundAccordingto Lawal (2013) leadership is the process of influencing others to workwillingly toward an organizational goal with confidence. According to Asika(2016) “leadership is generally defined simply as the process of influencingpeople to direct their efforts towards achievement of some particular goal orgoals”. According to Igbaekemen(2014), “leadership is generally defined simply as the art of influencingpeople so that they will strive willingly towards the achievement of groupgoals”. ‘This concept can be seen to include not only willingness to work butwith zeal and confidence.
Sikula (2015) sees “leadership simply as an act thatinvolves influencing others to act toward the attainment of a goal”. Accordingto Akpala (2015) “leadership has been defined in terms of functions performanceby executives as ‘individuals and as a group”. Therefore, leadership traitsrefer to the different strategic leadership characteristics that are linked to successful leadershipacross a variety of situations. The study will focus on traits like leaders’communication skill, commitment and innovativeness. Yang (2010) defines organizational performanceas a multi-dimensional system of performance measures combining financialperformance, non-financial performance, and managerial performance in the firm.Financial performance is generally defined as the use of outcome-based financial indicators that are assumed toreflect the fulfillment of the economic goals of the firm (Venkatraman , 2016). It has been widely used to measure business performance inorganizations.
Besides financial measures, non-financial measures (also called operationalperformance measures), such as employee’s job satisfaction and managerial performance etc., are defined as a broader conceptualization of organizational performance (Kaplan, 1983). More recently, performance managementliterature (Lynch & Cross, 2016; Otley, 2017) suggests that, whenmonitoring their firm performance, managers tend to place relatively lessemphasis on traditional financial measures of performance such as return oninvestment or net profit. This isusually explained in terms of traditional performance measures (theaccounting-based measures or financial measures) which is unable tosatisfactorily reflect firm performance affected by today’s changing businessenvironments (Hoque, 2014). Stemming from these concerns, the academicliterature (Van Veen-Dirks & Wijn, 2013) largely supports claims that sincenon-financial performance measures focus on a firm’s long-term success factorssuch as customer satisfaction, internal business process efficiency, andinnovation, they can best capture the overall performance of organization.Therefore, a multi-dimension system of performance measures combining financial and managerial performance will be used inthis study to measure the performance of Vodafone Uganda.
1.2.4 Contextual BackgroundVodafone Uganda is Uganda’s leading 4G internet service provider, offering 4G-LTEhigh-speed broadband data services in the greater Kampala area and a nationwide2G/3G voice service (Vodafone, 2018).
Our vision is to empower everybody to beconfidently connected. Vodafone Uganda is a subsidiary of Vodafone which is oneof the world’s largest telecommunications companies and provides a range ofservices including voice, messaging, data and fixed communications. Vodafonehas mobile operations in 26 countries, partners with mobile networks in 58more, and fixed broadband operations in 17 markets. As of 31 March 2016,Vodafone had 462 million mobile customers and 13.4 million fixed broadbandcustomers (Vodafone, 2018).
VodafoneUganda is however faced with organizational performance challenges. By the endof 2015, Vodafone Uganda was recording monthly sales of about Shs 1.5bn. But asof 2018, the company now struggles to realize sales of a mere Shs 150m permonth. As the sales continue to drop, Vodafone can hardly foot its billsincluding paying service providers.
As a result of underperformance, thecompany has closed most of its shops in Kampala including, Luwum Street,Metroplex Shopping Mall, Victoria Mall, Entebbe and Freedom City. The quality of services provided by theorganization is also waning (Aine, 2018). During the festive season of 2017, Vodafonecustomers cried foul over internet outages lasting several days. It was laterestablished that before Christmas over 35 of their masts were switched off fornonpayment (Aine, 2018). The firm is currently battling suppliersin court over delayed or non-payment for services. In order to address thelackluster performance in the organization, management at Vodafone embarked onleadership and employee capacity building with the hope that equipping leaderswith the adequate skills will improve performance (Vodafone, 2017). Despitethese efforts, the organization is still faced with performance challenges.
This study therefore seeks to determine the influence of strategic leadershiptraits on organizational performance at the firm. 1.3Statement of the ProblemStrategicleadership traits exhibited by leaders are expected to improve organizationalperformance by improving employee performance, organizational profitability,market growth and expansion and increasing sales (Igbaekemen, 2014). In a bid to improve organizationalperformance at Vodafone Uganda, management put in place measures aimed atimproving strategic leadership practices.
Such measures included training,coaching and mentorship programs. Despite the effort, the organization is stillfaced with both leadership and organizational performance challenges. Theorganization is faced with dwindling sales and revenue. Currently, the monthlysales have reduced from shs 150 billion to less than 150 million shillings(Aine, 2018). Dwindling sales have forced the firm to close some of its outletsin the country. The quality of services offered by the firm has reduced.
Thisis marked by poor internet signals and outages lasting for several days asreported in December 2017 by Aine (2017). It is thus this lacklusterperformance that prompted the study to find out if strategic leadership traitsemployed by leaders have had any significant influence on organizationalperformance at Vodafone. Without this knowledge, organizational performance maypersist leading to subsequent collapse and closure of the company in Uganda. 1.4 General Objective of the StudyThe study seeks to determine the influence ofstrategic leadership traits on organizational performance at Vodafone Uganda1.
5Specific Objectives1. To determine the relationship between leaders’ communicationskills on organizational performance at Vodafone, Uganda;2. To assess the influence of leaders’innovativeness on organizational performance at Vodafone, Uganda;3. To examine the influence of leaders’ commitmenton organizational performance at Vodafone, Uganda.1.6 ResearchQuestions1.
What is the influence of leaders’ communicationskills on organizational performance at Vodafone, Uganda?2. What is the influence of leaders’innovativeness on organizational performance at Vodafone, Uganda?3. What is the influence of leaders’ commitment onorganizational performance at Vodafone, Uganda? 1.
7 StudyHypotheses1. Leaders’ communication skills have a significantinfluence on organizational performance.2.
Leaders’ innovativeness has a significantinfluence on organizational performance.3. Leaders’ commitment has a significant influenceon organizational performance.1.8 ConceptualFrameworkIndependent Variables (Strategic LeadershipTraits) Dependent Variable (Organizational Performance) Figure 1:Conceptual framework showing the influenceof strategic leadership traits on organizational performanceSource: Adopted from Stodgill (1974) and modified bythe researcher Accordingto the conceptual framework above, strategic leadership traits is theindependent variable and organizational performance is the independentvariable. The conceptual framework assumes that organizational performanceimproves with better leader communication skills.
It also assumes that organizationalperformance improves with increased leaders’ innovativeness and that organizationalperformance enhances with increased leadership commitment. Overall, the modelassumes that organizational performance improves with better leadership traitexhibited by leaders in an organization. 1.9 Significance of the StudyThe findingsof the study will be used by management at Vodafone to improve leadershippractices and organizational performance at the organization. This will improveorganizational performance in terms of profitability, market expansion andsales growth.
Thestudy findings will enable leaders at Vodafone, Uganda to adopt strategicleadership styles which will help improve organizational performance. Thefindings will also be of value to researchers who are interested in conductingfurther research on the relationship between leadership traits andorganizational performance in organizations.Thefindings of this study will contribute to the body of knowledge regarding therelationship between leadership traits and organizational performance, therebybenefiting researchers and academicians who are interested in the topic.Thisstudy will also lead to the award of a Master’s Degree in BusinessAdministration and Management at Uganda Technology and Management University. 1.10 Justification of the StudyIt iscritical that the influence of leadership traits on organizational performanceat is thoroughly examined. This is because no such study has been conducted inthe organization and yet it is clear that the company is faced with performancechallenges.
Thus, it is important that the influence of leadership traits isexamined in order to improve organizational performance. 1.11 Scope of the Study1.11.
1 Content ScopeThestudy will examine the influence of leadership traits on organizationalperformance at Vodafone, Uganda. The study will specifically examine theinfluence of leaders’ communication skills, leaders’ innovativeness andcommitment on organizational performance at Vodafone, Uganda.1.11.2 Geographical ScopeThestudy will be conducted at Vodafone, Uganda. 1.11.
3 Time ScopeThe studywill focus on the period between 2016 and 2018, because this is the period whenVodafone, Uganda has been experiencing organizational performance challenges asreported by Aine (2018). 1.12 Operational Definition of Key Terms andConceptsStrategic Leadership Traits willrefer to strategic leadership characteristics that are linked to successful leadershipacross a variety of situations in the organization.Leaders’ Communication Skills willrefer to the leaders’ ability to effectively communicate Leaders’ Innovativeness willrefer to the extent to which leaders can come up with new ideas and products inorder to improve organizational performance.
Leaders’ Commitment willrefer to the bond that the leaders have with the organization Organizational Performance willrefer to the extent to which the organization achieves its goals andobjectives.