Leadership and Motivation Research Paper
Leadership and Motivation in Organizational Behavior Research Paper
Leadership and motivation traditionally play a very important role in the functioning of organizations. Nowadays, the role of leadership and motivation increases even more significantly because of the growing competition and the increasing significance of human resources for the progress of organizations. In fact, it should be pointed out that leadership and motivation are closely intertwined concepts which constitute an important part of the success of an organization. It is obvious that the effective leadership and motivation can contribute to the progress of an organization, while poor leadership and the lack of motivation can undermine the normal functioning of an organization and lead to the crisis within an organization that will naturally affects its performance.
In this respect, it is important to underline the fact that leadership and motivation affect considerably the organizational behavior and culture and they define the formation of the effective relationships between the personnel of an organization. In such a situation, it is necessary to fully reveal the significance of leadership and motivation in the contemporary business environment in order to assess adequately perspectives of the improvement of the effectiveness of leadership and motivation within an organization. At the same time, the analysis of theoretical framework only is apparently insufficient for the understanding of the significance of leadership and motivation for the performance of an organization. Consequently, it is also necessary to pay a particular attention to the practical aspects of leadership and motivation that means that it is necessary to analyze some practical examples that could reveal the significance of leadership and motivation for the performance of an organization.
Basically, the current situation is characterized by the increasing significance of the role of leadership and motivation in the success of the functioning of an organization. It proves beyond a doubt that leadership and motivation traditionally were the major elements that contributed to the successful performance of various organizations. It should be pointed out that specialists (Paese and Smitty, 227) often underline the fact that leadership could produce a profound impact on the motivation, while the effectiveness of leadership is often assessed on the basis of its motivating power. To put it more precisely, historically, the role of leaders was defined as the ability to head an organization, to unite people working within the organization and lead them to the success. This formula may be viewed as a simplified definition of the interdependence of leadership and motivation. Even in the past epochs, leadership and motivation were closely interlinked. At the present moment this link grows even stronger.
In this respect, it is necessary to emphasize that the concept of leadership was basically underdeveloped in the past and leaders were viewed as some outstanding people who managed to gain the leading position in society or an organization. It was believed that leadership was an innate ability that could not be trained and, therefore, it was considered to be practically impossible to develop leadership qualities if an individual did not have any internal inclinations to leadership. However, in the course of time, the interest to the concept of leadership increased as the need in effective leaders grew. The increased demand on leaders stimulated the researches on the problem of leadership.
In fact, the growing interest to the problem of leadership, which basically emerged in the 20th century, was, to a significant extent, determined by the profound social and economic changes that took place in society. The 20th century was characterized by the rapid industrial development and economic progress, which was particularly significant in western societies. No wonder, it was the western societies where the concept of leadership and the development of leadership qualities became well-developed to the extent that the western view on leadership and leadership qualities was and still is considered to be the most advanced and perspective. It is worthy of mention the fact that the cult of leaders was traditionally strong in western societies since it is possible to trace the significant role of certain individuals not only in socio-economic or political life of western societies but even in their culture, for instance, in literature and mythology. It is possible to find numerous indicators to the great significance of individuals for western societies even in ancient works or folklore, for instance, ancient Greek heroes were also a kind of leaders.
In general, western society became the generator of the concept of leadership and it is western theorists that play the dominant role in the definition of the concept and basic theoretical approaches to leadership in the contemporary management. Basically, the development of the effective approaches to the development of leadership in western science was quite natural because western culture was traditionally characterized by the high degree of individualism which affected all spheres of human life. In such a situation, the role of leadership was really significant because it was and still is viewed as the basis for the progress of an organization.
In fact, leaders are viewed as people that are able not only manage the personnel of a company effectively but also stimulate the work of each individual working within an organization. In this respect, the link between leadership and motivation may be easily traced. It should be said that many specialists (Leach, 97) underline that effective motivation is one of the major aspects of the effective leadership because the major goal of a leader is to make other people to follow him/her or, to put it more precisely, to meet strategic goals and objectives which the leader heads the organization for. Consequently, leaders should provide the personnel with stimuli that could motivate them to meet the goals defined and, therefore, to fulfill the goals of the organization. In such a way, through motivation, the leader can be really effective because it is only really effective leaders that can unite and motivate people to meet their common goals regardless some personal interests and expectations.
At the same time, it is very important to avoid underestimation of the significance of motivation in the context of leadership. In fact, motivation is not just a tool used by leaders to meet their goals, or the goals of an organization. In stark contrast, motivation can be actually used by any manager to stimulate the positive performance of individual employees as well as the company at large. It is through motivation the effectiveness and productivity of work could be increased significantly. Along with the technological improvement and the increase of the effectiveness of the management style, motivation is a very important factor that influences the performance of employees and the entire organization shaping the organizational behavior.
Many specialists (Hughes et al, 227) indicate to the fact that organizational behavior may changing depending on the motivation of employees. To put it more precisely, the organizational behavior is highly dependent on the motivation of employees because when they are interested and motivated in the improvement of their performance they naturally increase the effectiveness and productivity of their work. In this respect, it should be pointed out that specialists underline the importance of employees’ engagement into the process of strategic planning and realization of strategic goals of an organization. What is meant here is the fact that employees should primarily clearly understand the objectives the company targets to achieve. At the same time, the understanding of the goals alone is not enough for the success of the company, but employees also need to be motivated to meet these goals. In this regard, specialists (Leach, 106) recommend the larger involvement of employees that means that employees should be conscious of their role in the performance of the entire organization, they should realize that the work they do is really meaningful and is very significant for the organization and that they make their own contribution into the development of the organization. In such a context, it is very important to keep employees motivated making their personal success dependant on the success of the entire organization. Consequently, employees will be motivated to increase the effectiveness and productivity of their work as it will improve not only the performance of the organization but it will improve their own position.
Traditionally, motivation was closely interlinked with some material reward, which was considered to be the strongest stimuli that can encourage the positive performance of an employee. However, the recent researches (Paese and Smitty, 249) have revealed the fact that the performance of an organization can be consistently improved through the improvement of the internal atmosphere within an organization through the improvement of the organizational behavior and creation of a positive organizational culture. On the other hand, it is necessary to understand the fact that the positive results in the development of organizational behavior could be primarily achieved through the effective motivation. Obviously, it is practically impossible to keep employee constantly motivated through material rewards only. In this respect, specialists (Hughes et al, 248) underline the important of non-material motivation. For instance, the formation of the positive organizational culture can motivated consistently the performance of employees as they are satisfied with their workplace environment and relationships with other employees and the administration of the organization.
Traditionally, it is believed that the formation of positive organizational culture could be reached through the formation of liberal and democratic management style (Paese and Smitty, 256). In such a way, employees are supposed to be motivated as they feel that they are important for the company and that they are equal in relationships with other members of a team. Obviously, the role of leaders in this regard could hardly be underestimated because using democratic style of management they could make people to accept their ideas and meet the desirable objectives.
However, it is worthy of mention that in recent years the traditional views on motivation and leadership have started to change. To put it more precisely, the democratic and liberal relationships between leaders and employees, which were viewed as a strong motivating factors for employees to improve their performance, are nowadays considered to be not as effective as they used to be just a few years ago (Hughes et al, 321). What is really important nowadays is the flexibility of the management style of leaders and the high autonomy and independence of employees as a very important motivating factor. In this respect, it is necessary to point out that nowadays leadership is not viewed as some exceptional or innate ability or gift. Instead, it is considered to be an important managerial ability that can be taught and developed regardless the internal inclinations of an individual (Schmitt and Simonson, 122). Naturally, the success of the teaching and training of leadership qualities may vary depending on the inclination and internal potential of a person, but, nowadays, it is believed that a really effective manager should be also a leader. In such a way, a manager will be able to achieve the most effective results, while the motivation could much more effective if the personnel perceives the manager as a leader.
In this respect, it is important to underline that some specialists (Schmitt and Simonson, 134) indicate to the fact that the concept of manager and leader do not always coincide. As the matter of fact, a manager can be just a formal leader that does not necessarily mean that he/she is actual leader accepted as such by the personnel. In such a situation, it is rather possible to speak about the formal leadership than actual leadership of a manager because he/she may be recognized by the personal as a leader only because he/she has the official authority. On the other hand, employees may have informal leaders, which can have no official power within an organization but which can affect the organizational behavior dramatically. In such a situation, it is very important that the interests and goals of formal and informal leaders coincided that means that managers should be able to identify the informal leaders and gain their support if managers are unable to become the actual leaders of the team working within an organization. This means that it is necessary to unite the efforts of leaders to lead the organization to desirable goals, which should improve its performance. Otherwise, conflicts between formal and informal leaders may lead to the deterioration of the organizational behavior and undermine the organizational culture.
Obviously, the personnel is traditionally oriented on the actual leader, which may be either formal, i.e. manager, or informal, i.e. a person who has charisma and leadership qualities the formal leader is actually deprived of. Consequently, if the informal leader has a different view or is unwilling to meet the goals defined by the administration he/she can influence other people that can potentially lead to the failure of the strategic plan the manager of the organization attempts to implement. In this respect, the motivation apparently plays a very important role as well as leadership does. In fact, the informal leader who is recognized by the personnel as an actual leader has larger opportunities to influence and motivate the personnel, while manager, if he/she is not recognized as the actual but only as formal leader, has little opportunities to motivate employees effectively. Specialists (Hughes et al, 155) underline that, in such a situation, employee will more likely motivated by the behavior of their informal leader than by various stimuli of the administration. Managers will fail to improve the situation as long as they cannot gain the support of the actual leader and as long as the personnel do not fully understand the perspectives of the development of the organization and their own roles in the performance of the company.
At the same time, in the contemporary business environment it seems to be obvious that the autonomy and independence of employees may, to a significant extent, minimize the risk of such conflicts between formal and informal leaders, though it does not mean that the high autonomy of employees decreases the significance of leadership and makes motivation unnecessary. In fact, specialists (Hughes et al, 295) view the high autonomy of employees as an effective means to increase the positive impact of motivation of managers on employees and the decrease of the risk of the development of informal leadership and its growing significance for employees. It is argued that through the high autonomy of employees they will become less dependent on informal leaders because they will realize their own significance and importance for a company, while the motivation from the part of managers will stimulate them to improve their performance because they will be conscious of the fact that they make a consistent contribution into the development of the company, while the latter directly influences their own well-being and future perspectives in this company. It is also worthy of mention that such a strategy is particularly effective in relation to creative people, who are nowadays considered to be the most valuable employees, because the independence for such people is a strong stimuli that can motivate such employees to fully realize their potential and implement their innovative ideas. The latter can be very useful since in the contemporary business environment innovations can provide an organization with the strategic competitive advantage compared to its major rivals. Nowadays, gaining competitive advantages through the effective motivation and leadership is particularly important because of the growing competition and the decreasing opportunities for the use of traditional motivation factors such as material reward, for instance.
On analyzing the problem of leadership and motivation in the contemporary world and their impact on the performance of an organization, it is extremely important to research the existing literature dedicated to this problem. In fact, the recent researchers of this problem can give insight into the better understanding of the essence of the problem and indicate to the possible ways of the effective development and implementation of leadership and motivation in contemporary organizations. The experience of other researchers may help reveal the major problems the contemporary organizations may face while implementing various strategies and management styles. In actuality, this means that the analysis of the existing researchers can give the basic information about the current trends and essence of the problem researched. In regard to the leadership and motivation, this may help better understand the recent trends in the management and define the most effective strategies of motivation of employees.
On the other hand, it is obvious that the analysis of the researches dedicated to the problem of leadership and motivation cannot provide sufficient information concerning the effectiveness and relationship between leadership and motivation. In fact, such analysis can provide important theoretical information but to make the research and its findings trustworthy it is necessary to support the research with some factual evidences. In this respect the use of case studies can be very helpful. It seems to be obvious that the analysis of case studies may contribute consistently to the understanding of the practical side of the problem.
Speaking about the problem of leadership and motivation and their impact on the formation of the organizational behavior, it should be pointed out that it is possible to research different cases of companies which applied various strategies in their management, including very successful ones. In terms of this research, it is possible to study the case of Wal-Mart, for instance. Even though the achievements of this company in the field of motivation and leadership are not very successful but, still, it will be quite useful to analyze its experience. The understanding of its major problems will help better understand the significance of leadership and motivation in the contemporary business environment. On the basis of the problems of this company, it will be possible to develop recommendations that could increase the effectiveness of leadership and motivation and, in all probability, these recommendations could be applied in different companies, taking into consideration the fact that Wal-Mart is currently operating in different countries of the world and, therefore, it operates in different socio-economic and cultural contexts. Consequently, the developed recommendations could be applied in companies operating in different socio-economic and cultural contexts.
At the same time, it is also very important to collect data concerning the problem researched, which could be taken from specialists that are directly involved in the processes related to the management of an organization and formation of its organizational behavior. This means that it is possible to use the interviews or questionnaires of managers as well as employees who are currently working and research their attitude to the problem of leadership and motivation in the contemporary environment and their impact on organizational behavior and culture. It should be pointed out that the interviews and questionnaires should primarily target at managers that should express their view on the contemporary role of leaders in organizations, their functions, the most effective or preferable leadership style, major approaches to motivation of employees, the interdependence between leadership and motivation and their significance in contemporary organizations, and the contemporary concept of organizational behavior and the ways of the formation of positive organizational culture on the basis of the use of leadership qualities and motivation. On the other hand, it will be also quite helpful to research the attitude of ordinary employees to the problem of leadership and motivation and their impact on their work and relationships with the administration and other employees. For instance, it is possible to interview employees concerning the significance of formal leaders and the existing motivation, as well as it is possible to find out the extent to which informal leaders influence the work of ordinary employees and, therefore, influence the organizational behavior and organizational culture.
In such a way, the data collected from the existing researches could give the basic theoretical information on the problem researched, they will help reveal major trends and theoretical justification of the development of effective leadership and motivation for the formation of the positive organizational culture and increasing effectiveness of organizational behavior. The analysis of the case study will provide an opportunity to research in details the practical, real life situation and strategy applied in the contemporary business environment. Finally, the research of the opinion and views of managers and employees will give insight into the actual relationships between administration and employees of organizations and the actual impact of leadership and motivation on the work of employees, relationship within an organization and organizational behavior and organizational culture at large. Consequently, all these data will provide ample information for the development of recommendations concerning the motivation and leadership in the contemporary business environment.
Basically, the current situation is characterized by the growing competition and the decreasing opportunities for the maneuver in the field of leadership and effective motivation of the personnel. It should be pointed out that human resources are of a paramount importance in the functioning of any company. Specialists (Schmitt and Simonson, 183) underline that the contemporary leaders should motivate the personnel constantly improve their skills and abilities and increase the effectiveness of their works, but what is not less important nowadays is the fact that employees need to be motivated to be loyal to their company. The major goal of such a strategy is to reduce turnover and keep the experienced personnel in the company. At the same time, such a strategy poses new demands to leaders because employees need to be motivated to remain in the company and material rewards are not always really effective.
However, some companies still do not pay a lot of attention to the effective combination of leadership and motivation to improve the organizational behavior, which apparently affects the performance of a company. In this respect, it is possible to refer to the situation in the Wal-Mart. This company is one of the leaders in its segment of the market in the US that enters international markets. The Wal-Mart runs a large chain of discount department stores and is considered to be one of the very significant players in the US market, which also has a great potential of the expansion in the international markets. However, the optimistic forecasts concerning the future development of the company are deteriorated by the current problems which exist between the administration of the company and its employees. In fact, the company has been severely criticized for its policy in relation to its employees in recent years and the criticism seems to be just. Moreover, on analyzing the situation in the Wal-Mart, it is possible to estimate that there are obvious problems with the effective management because of the lack of actual leaders and motivation of employees.
In this respect, it is necessary to indicate to the fact that a considerable part of employees of the Wal-Mart are part-time employees, while the turnover of the personnel is extremely high that naturally undermines the stability of the functioning of the company because the new personnel needs to be trained and acquire basic experience of work. It is worthy of mention the fact that about 70% of employees leave the Wal-Mart within the first year (Brunn, 221). At the same time, the conditions of work are far from perfect. In fact, many employees working in the company point out that conditions of work and social guarantees in other companies, which major rivals of the Wal-Mart, such as Kmart or Target, are consistently better (Brunn, 225) that partially explain the high turnover of the personnel.
Such a situation in the company and relationships of the administration and employees has a dubious effect on the organizational behavior. On the one hand, the high turnover partially solves the problem of the informal leadership within the company. To put it more precisely, people who are dissatisfied with the conditions of work or who do not meet the basic demands of the administration of the company are simply discharged or give up working at the Wal-Mart. As a result, the personnel of the company is constantly renewed that prevents the company from the development of strong informal leadership. At any rate, in such a way, the company prevents the risk of the growing opposition to the formal leaders from the part of the informal one.
However, the negative effects of such a policy apparently outweigh the benefits from the weak opposition to the formal leadership within the company, which, by the way, is strongly supported by the anti-union stance, which is one of the strategic directions in the development of a company. Moreover, the high turnover and the dissatisfaction of employees with the conditions of their work may be viewed as the direct evidence of the low effectiveness of the leadership and the low motivation of employees. Obviously, if the personnel of the company was really motivated, the level of the turnover was very low, while the current dissatisfaction of employees proves the fact that the leaders of the company cannot motivate nor encourage employees to improve their work. The latter is the evidence of the weakness of the leadership of the company because the dissatisfaction of employee is not practically stimulated by some informal leaders but it is rather nourished by the official policy of the company’s leaders in relation to its personnel. Consequently, the company faces a serious problem, if not to say, the crisis of leadership and motivation of employees.
In spite of the lack of the informal leaders in the company, the Wal-Mart cannot create a positive organizational culture and the organizational behavior may be characterized by the high level of tension between employees and the administration. The former are dissatisfied with the conditions of work, while the latter are dissatisfied with the effectiveness and productivity of work. At the same time, it is obvious that the major problem of the company may be found in the ineffectiveness of its leadership and motivation that undermines the organizational behavior. In fact, if the company could really motivate its employees that would be decrease substantially the turnover of the personnel and the role of leaders in this regard is very important because it is their major function to encourage people to keep on working in the company and develop the loyalty to the company. However, the company does not only ignore this problem but it also attempts to save costs by means of lower wages compared to its major rivals and part-time employment.
Moreover, the company consciously oppresses the informal leadership, though potentially, it could produce a positive and stimulating effect on the work of employees. To put it more precisely, the Wal-Mart’s unwillingness to admit the informal leadership is deteriorated by the ineffectiveness of the formal leadership of its managers. As a result, the company practically does not have actual leaders, people that have charisma, leadership abilities and the potential to lead people to the concrete goals. Instead, the personnel of the company is absolutely uninterested in the performance of the company. Employees just do the job they are supposed to do and their duties resembles those of machines because people do not really understand what their function in the company actually is and what contribution they make into the development and progress of the company as well as in their own development. Consequently, they are absolutely unmotivated to improve their performance, increase the effectiveness and productivity of their work. In such a way, the link between the poor leadership and the lack of motivation is obvious because, otherwise, an effective leader could unite people and encourage, motivate them to unite their efforts in order to meet the common goal. However, in the current situation in the Wal-Mart, it is possible to speak only about the poor organizational culture and organization behavior characterized by conflicts and high personnel turnover.
Conclusions and recommendations
Thus, taking into account all above mentioned, it is possible to conclude that the leadership and motivation are extremely important and nowadays they are probably even more important than they have ever been before. The contemporary business environment is characterized by the increased competition in the result of the process of globalization and the development of new technologies. In such a situation, even companies working in the retail trade are focused on the development of their human resources potential. At the same time, the latter is practically impossible without the effective leadership and motivation. To put it more precisely, the experience of such companies as the Wal-Mart proves the fact that the inability of the company to motivate the employees effectively is determined not only by the lack of material rewards, but it is also the problem of the poor leadership. In fact, the inability of managers, which are formal leaders, to become actual leaders and develop their leadership qualities and abilities that could encourage employees lead to the lack of motivation of the personnel. Obviously, people could hardly achieve positive results if they do not have a leader that will guide and encourage them, that will show them the way to their personal success, which should be closely interlinked with the success of the company. As a result, the organizational behavior may be characterized by the growing tension and conflicts.
In such a situation, it is possible to recommend the development of effective leadership and motivation that could unite employees in their common work for the common success. In this respect, it is possible to recommend encouraging the development of leadership within the organization, even though it will be the informal leadership. Obviously, it is not always possible to find a manager that is a real leader, i.e. that possesses the qualities of a leader. Consequently, such a manager will be unable to lead employees, to motivate them using the power of his/her charisma or his/her informal authority. This is why it is possible to provide employee with larger autonomy and independence. In such a way, they will feel freer and, at the same, they will realize that they are important for the company because they have their own responsibilities they need to perform better in order to get better results. In addition, such a policy can stimulate the appearance of informal leaders, people who could gain the respect of the personnel due to their creativity and personal power. Potentially, such people could encourage the rest of the personnel to improve their work and it is very important that the formal leaders of the company managed to gain the support of informal leaders.
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