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2.1 Leadership

Leadership is a common phrase encountered when people are discussing about the ability of a particular person to lead a team, workgroup, department or an organization. In schools or universities, students will choose someone whom they perceived to possess leadership as the class representative; while at work, this scenario happens when Human Resources practitioners are choosing candidates for certain positions that oblige them to lead. Meanwhile, discussion on leadership also happens among subordinates or followers, pondering whether a particular leader has the leadership that are required to fit his or hers position.

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Looking at such general phenomenon, leadership seems to be significantly related to someone who holds a leader position. However, Bedeian et al (as cited in Derue

& Ashford, 2010) studies found that not all supervisors are seen as leaders while some individuals without the “leader-like” position are well accepted as leaders among their subordinates or colleagues. This shows that leadership is not an exclusive attribute that leaders possessed but could emerge among others as well.

According to various researchers such as Quinn, Sluss, Ashford, Shamir, and Eilam (as cited in Derue & Ashford, 2010), leadership can be possessed by people regardless of their formal role or position within an organization because it is formed through a situation where individuals mutually recognize the role relationship of leader and follower. In other words, leadership will come into picture when one person is willing to play the role of follower while the other takes the role to lead; and at the same time, this relationship and the function of roles are mutually understood and accepted by both parties.

On the other hand, Lewis, Goodman, Fandt (2004), Lord and Brown (2004) had a different perception and definition on leadership. Instead of relating it to the role relationship construction, these researchers believed that leadership is not merely a position, title or privilege but it is in fact a responsibility and a social influence process where the leader changes the way followers pictured themselves.

According to Lewis et al. (2004) and Draft (as cited in Lee & Ahmad, 2009), the social process is related to the influences of relationship among leaders and followers, where the leaders has indirect ability to sway people who intended real changes and outcomes that reflect their shared purposes; by setting an example of inspirations that motivates people in pursuing beneficial goals. This demonstrates that leadership has great impact on people, especially to the followers. Leaders with great leadership are able to influence their followers’ minds, thoughts, feelings and even actions. As stated in Perryer and Jordan’s (2005) study, successful leadership often has the ability to create a climate whereby employees are extended with supports in achieving their individual, team, and organisational objectives.

However, in order to achieve this, the type of leadership style practiced throughout the process plays a significant part. Several studies (Rubin, Dierdorff,

& Brown, 2010) validated the fact that positive leadership such as transformational leadership, leader-member exchange, and charismatic leadership will generate positive organisation outcome and enhance employees’ satisfaction, motivation, commitment, and effort; while negative leadership such as aggression, abusive supervision and other forms of unconstructive leadership will create outcomes that are vice versa, for instance counterproductive, decreased in employees’ performance and job satisfaction. Therefore, choosing the right leadership style to manage the followers is one important decision for leaders. As mentioned by Chan (2010), different types of leadership styles will create different impacts on employees’ job satisfaction, commitment, productivity, and eventually the organisation’s performance; hence, it is crucial for leaders to implement the appropriate leadership styles when managing people in order to achieve the desired goals and objectives.

Apart from that, the approaches used by leaders to practice the different types of leadership towards employees are also an important factor. An in depth study was carried out by Wu, Tsui & Kinicki (2010) on the differentiated leadership where findings showed that different leadership can be implemented at group or individual level among employees, depending on the ultimate objective leaders desire to achieve. Based on the study, leaders could practice one style across a group of employees, treating them as a whole when they desire to create a common ground, collective vision, shared value, and ideology among the employees; while on the other hand, leaders could also choose to exercise different styles of leadership towards different employees individually in order to have a direct and closer relationship with them, which will serve as a support to the employees’ socio-emotion and to develop and empower them (Wu et al., 2010). It seems that leadership styles and the approaches for leadership implementation are both significantly related to the impact created on employees’

performance. Nevertheless, the main focus in this research will be the effect of different leadership styles on employees’ job satisfaction and commitment.

As mentioned, there are different types of leadership styles, such as transformational, autocratic, situational, visionary, transactional, strategic leadership and more. Yet, despite of the many types of leadership studied by

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researchers, this research will specifically look into ethical leadership behaviour and perceived leadership behaviour, which consists of instrumental leadership, supportive leadership and participative leadership.