Studying leadership styles to determine if there are trends or dominant styles that represent best practices is critical for leaders in any field. An effective method for studying this information is conducting literature reviews and comparing their findings. Wright and Pandey’s (2010) article, “Transformational Leadership in the Public Sector: Does Structure Matter?” studied the effects of transformational leadership in public organizations (herein referred to as article 1). Emery and Barker’s (2007) article, “The Effect of Transactional and Transformational Leadership Styles on the Organizational Commitment and Job Satisfaction of Customer Contact Personnel” studied both transactional and transformational leadership styles in banks and grocery chains (herein referred to as article 2). Finally, Prenestini and Lega’s (2013) article, “Do Senior Management Cultures Affect Performance? Evidence from Italian Public Healthcare Organizations” studied the relationship between the culture of senior managers and staff performance in public healthcare (herein referred to as article
3). Comparison of Research Questions
Article 1’s authors theorized that hierarchical organizational authority structures and high levels of organizational formalization resulted in lower rates of transformational leadership behaviors (Wright & Pandey, 2010). In article 2 the authors hypothesized that customer contact personnel who perceive that they are managed via a transformational leadership style will have a higher level of organizational commitment that those managed via a transactional leadership style (Emery & Barker, 2007). In article 3 the authors suggested that due to hierarchical cultures being the most common in the Tuscan region they would have better outcomes than the other leadership styles (Prenestini & Lega, 2013). All three studies are similar in that they
focus on leadership styles; however article 1 and 2 focused on transformational leadership, whereas article 3 does not specifically address transformational leadership. Article 1 and 3 are similar in the examination of hierarchal cultures, while article 2 does not address the culture present within the sample populations.
In article 1 the literature review begins with an explanation of transformation leadership and then explains the conditions that need to exist before transformational leadership can be successful. The review moves to organizational structure and the ways in which the structure can support or inhibit transformational styles including formalization of processes and procedures, inadequate performance measurement and reward processes, and a hierarchical chain of command. Bass & Riggio, Howell, House & Arthur, and multiple works by Shamir are sources cited (Wright & Pandey, 2010). In article 2 there is not a section identified as literature review; however there is a section that discusses that two of the most popularly researched components of employee attitude are organizational commitment and job satisfaction.
Porter, Kanungo, Meyer & Allen, and Burns and Morrow are cited as authors who have discussed this concept (Emery & Barker, 2007). In article 3 the literature review begins with a statement that the concept of organizational culture is an ambiguous concept that lacks definition and is subject to varied interpretations. Pettigrew, Schein, Mannion, and Davies are cited as sources who have written about the relationship between organizational culture and the values, attitudes and beliefs common to the members of the organization styles (Prenestini & Lega, 2013).
Comparison of Sample Populations
The sample populations represented in the articles differ in the composition and size. In article 1 the sample population included 1,322 high-level public administrators in 529 city governments with greater than 50,000 residents. The response rate was 46.4% and of the 529 only 205 had more than 3 respondents (Wright & Pandey, 2010). In article 2 participants were randomly selected by surveying 4 bank tellers per 77 bank regional managers in three regional banks and 4 store clerks per 47 store managers from one national grocery store. The total number of employees surveyed was 308 tellers and 188 checkers.
The teller group had a 95% response rate; however the checkers only had a 50% response rate (Emery & Barker, 2007). In article 3 the sample population consisted of 80 senior managers from eleven different healthcare organizations from the Tuscany region of Italy (Prenestini & Lega, 2013). The sample populations in article 1and 2 were regionally diverse (Emery & Barker, 2007; Wright & Pandey, 2010), while article 3 was specific to one region (Prenestini & Lega, 2013). The number of organizations is article 1 was much greater, at 529 (Wright & Pandey, 2010), compared to article 2 and 3, with four and eleven organizations respectively (Emery & Barker, 2007; Prenestini & Lega, 2013).
Comparison of Limitations
All three studies were limited by the sample sizes and response rates. Article 1 only had a response rate of 46.4% and of the 529 government agencies sampled only 205 had more than three respondents (Wright & Pandey, 2010). In article 2 each store or bank had no more than four respondents (Emery & Barker, 2007). In article 3 there were at least three or more respondents from each group, however the overall response rate was only 36% (Prenestini & Lega, 2013). With no more than 3-4 respondents per location, this is a limited sample per site (Emery & Barker, 2007; Prenestini & Lega, 2013; Wright & Pandey, 2010). Response rates and the number of respondents in each group are limitations because they may not properly represent the overall opinion of the group. A higher response rate and more respondents per location is more statistically significant to help identify trends and draw conclusions.
The interesting correlation between these three studies is that although they had different hypotheses’ surrounding leadership and hierarchies, they all seemed to come to the conclusions that supported one another. The authors of article 1 concluded that although government agencies are bureaucratic agencies (which don’t often lend themselves to transformational leadership styles), they don’t function in a highly bureaucratic manner and therefore transformational leadership is possible and indicates higher satisfaction (Wright & Pandey, 2010). In article 2 the authors found that employees with higher levels of job satisfaction and commitment to work were found in workplaces with transformational leadership (Emery & Barker, 2007). Finally, in article 3 the authors hypothesized that due to hierarchical cultures being the most common in the Tuscan region they would have better outcomes than the other leadership styles, however they found this to be quite the opposite (Prenestini & Lega, 2013).
Based on these three studies an examination of the relationship between hierarchy in organizations and the ability to implement transformational leadership practices would be an area worth further research. Although some level of hierarchy is a part of most organizations, the relationships within those hierarchies and the amount of freedom each member has could be a major factor in how well transformational leadership is embed in an organization. Another conclusion that can be drawn from this is that a larger sampling size and higher response rates would be important in identifying trends. Perhaps reducing the number of research questions to focus on one specific item would be more beneficial and allow for better understanding of these concepts.
Emery, C. R., & Barker, K. J. (2007). The effect of transactional and transformation leadership styles on the organizational commitment and job satisfaction of customer contact personnel. Journal of Organizational Culture, Communications & Conflict, 11(1), 77-90. Retrieved from http://www.alliedacademies.org/public/journals/JournalDetails.aspx?jid=11 Prenestini, A., & Lega, F. (2013). Do Senior Management Cultures Affect Performance? Evidence from Italian Public Healthcare Organizations. Journal of Healthcare Management, 58(5), 336-351. Wright, B. E., & Pandey, S. K. (2010). Transformational Leadership in the Public Sector: Does Structure Matter?. Journal of Public Administration Research & Theory, 20(1), 75-89. Retrieved from http://jpart.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2009/04/30/jopart.mup003.short