Organisational Leadership: The DGL International Case study

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Introduction

Leadership has become a key research subject in the current era of technological advancement, entrepreneurial growth and organizational development. According to Zaccaro and Klimoski (2002, p. 4), studies regarding organizational leadership have been labelled ‘context-free’ as low consideration has been given to the fluctuating organizational variables that influence the impact and nature of leadership. The interpersonal processes that take place between leaders and employees of organizations affect the individual and collective performances and drive business success. One of the major obstacles in comprehending organisational leadership lies in the use of the same constructs to evaluate leadership across different organizational levels (Zaccaro & Klimoski 2002, p. 4). In other words, the assumption that the dynamics at the top of an organization’s management are similar to those at the lower levels. This has not only limited the empirical investigation on organizational leadership, which is a dual-focused management strategy aimed at achieving optimum performance levels of individuals and groups simultaneously (Khator 2012, p. 100). It has also resulted in intricate problems that have contributed heavily towards lower productivity and turnover for companies around the world. In this regard, DGL International, a fabricator of refinery equipment, is selected as the case study for organizational leadership analysis. The firm’s technical services division is currently facing serious problems related to the company’s leadership. As a consultant, the purpose of this report is to analyze the problems faced by DGL International’s technical services division in light of relevant leadership theories and concepts, and propose specific recommendations for the top and lower management employees to address the discussed issues. This purpose will be attained by employing the support of existing literature to investigate the significance of organizational leadership in maintaining good performance, and the importance of team composition in organizational composition. A discussion of the issues will follow in light of two leadership styles, and an appraisal on the role of senior leadership and the technical services division staff of DGL International. Finally, actionable recommendations would be made for both, the leadership and the employees, to tackle the discussed issues.      

Organisational Leadership and Performance

In any organization, leadership is considered as a social process that involves social situations, leaders and followers. An effective leadership engages the overall responsiveness (also termed as cumulative capability) of the organization by extracting the maximum from the different set of available skills and potential of the followers, thereby enhancing the individual and collective performance. According to Tuan (2010, pg. 260), leadership has undergone significant changes in organizations to deal with the highly competitive global marketplace that is influenced by complex technologies, social diversity and geopolitical instability. Such leadership styles have been characterized by collaborative and interactive workplace environments that have boosted the performance of followers and leaders. Leadership is a process through which a leader influences the subordinates and followers to accomplish shared business goals by leading in leading coherently and cohesively (Al-Tameemi & Alshawi 2014, p. 2). In this regard, transformational and transactional leadership styles have governed how the leaders and follower interact and work towards a common purpose. According to Szewczak and Snodgrass (2002, p. 15), transformational leadership is a leader-follower relationship that comprises of a sense of responsibility towards the development and growth of the followers, which ultimately improves their performance. On the other hand, transactional leadership is an exchange relationship where the leaders hold the authority over their subordinates, and value a directed and structured environment in which the followers have to be self-motivated to enhance their performance and achieve organizational goals (Bass & Avolio 1993, p. 112). Transformational leadership has proved to be a crucial leadership style as far as performance is concerned. This is because it incorporates idealised influence, individual consideration, inspirational motivation, and intellectual stimulation as the main constructs of leadership behaviour (Pounder 2001, p. 281). However, transactional leadership only highlights the positive aspects of transformational leadership by incorporating relatively less inspirational, and an authoritative behaviour where self-motivation is the only choice for the followers to boost their performance and fear of punishment emerges in the case of failure to comply with the leaders’ wishes (Pounder 2001, p. 283). Therefore, it can be affirmed that leadership affects performance through the adopted leadership styles of leaders.

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