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Leadership in the organizational context is significantly critical towards achievement of goals and future sustainability. Organizations that are regarded as high performers have effective leadership portfolios that are often passed from one generation the next (Bryman, 2013). In this regard, organizations that started decades ago are still going strong in the contemporary environment because of leadership cultures that embrace dynamism (Al-Tahat & Jalham, 2015). Leadership is multifaceted concept that is dependent on individual organizations and industries of operations. The type of leadership applied determines the level of success and influence therein on personnel and stakeholders (Bryman, 2013). Leadership should therefore influence and motivate towards better performance and maximization of available resources towards achieving a sustainable venture. Leadership should influence others towards implementing the mission and vision through application of core values and competencies held by the organization (Al-Tahat & Jalham, 2015). Leadership has become a critical aspect of running organizations, as it has emerged that organizations with effective leadership portfolios perform better for longer periods. This had experienced regardless of modern volatility that has threatened the survival of multiple organizations in various industries (Bryman, 2013). In this regard, leadership is concerned with value delivery to consumers in a manner that surpasses their expectations in different dimensions. Effective leadership in organizational contexts has become necessary especially towards countering competitive strategies applied by rival organizations. This has compelled individual organizations to learn effective leadership techniques applicable in respective industries and organizations
Jaguar Land Rover is one of the largest carmakers and dealers in the world. The multinational has branches and franchises worldwide, where its products displayed and sold. The success of the company has seen its continued growth which has been marked by distribution of its motor vehicle brands worldwide. Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) Saudi Arabia is one of the motor vehicle companies in Saudi Arabia, which run by Mohamed Yousef Naghi Motors. The company services the entire Saudi Arabian Kingdom with motor vehicle sales and services being the key services provided by the company. The company also provides other relevant services to their customers such as motor advice and maintenance. The company employs more than 400 employees who tasked with the responsibility of pushing the agenda of the organization forward and serving consumers based on their individual duties and responsibilities. Recently in the last two years, the service centre has experienced a drop-in performance, which linked to low employee productivity. Given the fierce level of competition in the industry, the low performance has the potential of negatively affecting customer satisfaction (Nda & Fard, 2013). This can also negatively influence the reputation of the company, which can cause market loss and eventual reduction on profitability. Ineffective leadership cited as one of the probable causes of a drop-in performance. This research will focus on leadership roles in JLR Saudi Arabia towards improving employee productivity and enhancement of employee performance. It will also focus on factors that affect employee productivity and corresponding leadership styles these factors are associated with. Based on this the research will hence recommend remedial action for JLR Saudi Arabia to increase employee performance and sustain it as well.
Leadership and Employee Productivity
Employee productivity defined as the comparison between their input and output against set expectations or goals. The output directly linked to the input. This means that effective employees input is related to positive output that depicts high productivity (Syverson, 2011). The contrary is also true where low input results in low output that depicts low productivity. In this regard, the organizations should give more interest to set up strategies that ensure effective and high input in their responsibilities in order to achieve high corresponding output. This has been widely applied in organizational contexts in a bid to deal with competition, which has become a major determiner of success in most industries (Grönroos & Ojasalo, 2004). Fierce competition has been occasioned by globalization and integration of markets, which has enabled producers and manufactures to display multiple products to consumers. In response to this, organizations have embarked on improving individual employee productivity as well as collectively as organizations. Productivity improvement strategies are constantly being applied in a bid to impact overall organizational productivity and performance. The main gauge for any employee productivity is employee output which can directly influenced by varying corresponding input (Syverson, 2011). This means that employee input strategies could be regarded as the main determinants of productivity and because of that all factors that determine input parameters should be analyzed in a manner that optimally influences output and eventual productivity. According to Burke & Cooper (2006), effective organizational leadership influences employee input in a manner that is reflected in the output and hence productivity. This supported by the fact that employee input influenced beyond individual employee efforts. Inputs should be varied in accordance with organizational needs and dynamics in operation at a particular juncture (Mahmoud, 2008). The most important parameter at this stage is the data accuracy because the decision makers will depend on this data to take the decisions, which will improve the employees’ productivity and enhance their performance also, correct industry information will guide the decision makers to the correct decisions and implementation as well (Al-Tahat & Jalham, 2015). Such information is important towards determining the extent of variance in inputs applied by employees towards achieving estimated or forecasted goals. In this regard, employee productivity is multidimensional with individual aspects applied playing critical roles in the level of productivity achieved.
In order to get the best results from the employees they must have the specific set of skills that matches their duties and responsibilities (Stewart, Courtright & Manz, 2011). A skilled workforce is the first step towards influencing productivity and organizational performance, these skills could be learnt before conducting the work from the previous experiences or during the conduct of work from training, experience and the responsibilities which they given. A skilled workforce is able to meet targets by employing their expertise and experience. As a result, employers are always looking for high quality performing employees who form part of the most invaluable assets that an organization can have. Employees who show flexibility and dynamism and are able to learn in the contexts of individual organizations also show high productivity levels. In this regard, organizations should facilitate frequent training in order to equip employees with the up to date skills that, enable them to compete adequately towards individual and organizational productivity, also it is very important that the organization offer them all the tools that they need to complete their work in a high quality within acceptable time (Elnaga & Imran, 2013). Factors such as training and improvement of skills vary the nature and level of input employed by employees towards achieving specific goals. Organizations should also specify exact areas that employees should focus on, based on the operating internal and external environment. The nature of leadership employed determines how employees respond to such needs. In addition to professional skills, individual employees should also possess interpersonal skills that enable them to relate with subordinates, colleagues and other stakeholders. For instance, the employee ability to engage consumers is pivotal towards determining consumer satisfaction and the image they associate an organization with (Stewart et al, 2011). Other skills include effective communication, critical thinking, innovation and attitude.
Employee attitudes regarding their responsibilities and the organization in general also determine the level of input and the eventual productivity as well (Goetsch & Davis, 2014). These personal factors can also, influenced by the relationship between an employee and their employers; which forms part of employee satisfaction. It is the main responsibility of the employer to ensure that employees are catered for in terms of remuneration working conditions and growth in a manner that positively influences their input and eventual productivity. In this regard, it is possible to have skilled employees with low productivity due to dissatisfaction with the organization and their employers because the Psychological factors affect any employee productivity (Nda & Fard, 2013). It is therefore critical for employers to carry out frequently employee evaluations in order to determinant the specific factors that affect their satisfaction and effective input in their responsibilities (Huey Yiing & Zaman Bin Ahmad, 2009; Erkutlu, 2008). According to Peterson et al (2011), the psychology of employee behavior is dependent on the relationship with their employers. In this regard, employers in organizations have a pivotal role to play in determining the input that employers engage in their work. As apart from psychological factor, leadership within organizations should motivate employees in manner that evoke self-drive towards achievement of personal and organizational goals. When employees feel appreciated by an organization, they reciprocate by enhancing their input, which reflected in the output and productivity. This directly linked to the style of leadership as well as individuals in leadership positions. Effective leadership should be on the frontline towards execution of strategies meant to enhance productivity. It is worth noting that such strategies are the decisions and ideas of the leadership within such organizations. In this regard, leaders should take responsibility of the implementation and execution plans by instituting teams and taking charge as team players. Leadership within organizations should take responsibility for employee input by providing guidance, mentorship and motivation. Leadership should influence employees in a manner that they own their own work and feel appreciated for results achieved. This way, employees will feel obligated to perform better individually and as teams.
Employees are at the forefront towards execution of employer strategies. Consequently, they are the best placed to provide feedback in terms of efficacy of such strategies. Through experience, employees can effectively contribute to strategy formulation and implementation (Burke & Cooper, 2006). However, for employees to effectively participate in such processes, employers have to play a leadership role that compels them to be creative and innovative. Employers should constantly formulate solutions to challenges facing their immediate areas of engagement. Effective leadership motivates this by evoking employees to hone their skills and always seek to improve them further in relation to their respective responsibilities. Motivational leadership has been cited as an effective strategy to improve productivity within organizations. Motivation is a multidimensional approach to leadership that can applied in diverse ways towards improving productivity. Apart from material remuneration, leaders who play team member roles are able to achieve more. Achievements made credited to individual employees and their teams as opposed to management or individual leaders. Employee should also, rewarded for their efforts as well as those of team members. Recognizing the efforts of employees also has the impact of motivating other employees to perform better. Such strategies do not only enhance employee productivity but also enable them to grow and become innovative in their respective fields. This forms the foundation of future leaders as well. The next section will discuss the different types of leadership and its effect on employee productivity.
Types of Leadership and Employee Productivity
As mentioned earlier leadership plays a critical role towards improving productivity within organizations. Individual leaders and their styles of leadership determine how employees respond to various organisational needs both internal and external. Leadership plays additional roles other than the conventional roles of directing and coordinating subordinates within organisations (Chen, Eberly, Chiang, Farh & Cheng, 2014). Leadership titles are not necessary for individuals to show leadership traits. All individuals who have employees working under their supervision or reporting to them have the ability to show leadership qualities. For instance, team leaders, managers, executives, and directors all have leadership roles to play within their respective portfolios (Wang, Oh, Courtright & Colbert, 2011). However, top leadership have the biggest roles to play by influencing individuals in other leadership positions as well as lower level employees. Different organisations employ different types of leadership in their respective portfolios. Leadership may also, be dependent on the styles applied by specific leaders based on their experience, principles and beliefs. Some types of leadership regarded to be better than the others. In this regard, specific types of leadership are preferable in specific situations. It is the responsibility of individuals in leadership positions to identify the uniqueness of each situation and offer the appropriate guidelines to employees (Yukl & Mahsud, 2010). In this regard, a flexible approach to leadership advocated for due to the diverse dynamics that are unprecedented and unpredictable. Leaders should have the capability to gauge situations and organisational needs and apply the most effective style that is applicable to that situation. This means that the contemporary organisational context is not suited for a leadership style that is rigid and inflexible (Yukl & Mahsud, 2010). Such a leadership approach only acts to stress employees further especially when they are working in situations where they are under pressure.
Consequently, leaders should have a keen understanding of the markets and industries that their organisations are operating among it. They should be up to date with current trends in the industry such as consumer preferences, demands and product strengths and weakness in order to put the suitable strategies which matching with the current situation of their market. They should also have first hand information regarding industry trends and the capability of their products (Chen et al, 2014). This will enable them to critically analyse situations and roles of their employees in a manner that yields optimal results, both for the organisation and individual employees.
Challenges facing organisations can effectively handle when leaders employ innovative and flexible leadership (Wang, et al, 2011). Flexible leadership enables organisations to respond accordingly to different situation that emerge regularly. Flexible leadership may sometimes involve letting employees find solutions to their own problems and challenges. Such an approach enables employees to be critical thinkers and problem solvers without necessarily relying on the input of their superiors. This helps employees to own their job portfolios and take responsibility for their performance and shortcomings. By delegating and evoking employees to solve their own problems, organisations able to create a workforce that is highly responsive, innovative and creative workforce. Organization should give them full confidence and supporting them until they reach to the point that it can depend on them to solve their own problems and overcome any situation may affect their performance (Yukl, 2012). This also acts towards adding employee value by equipping them with skills that help them to grow professionally. The modern employee demands more than just being controlled and directed. Leaders who enable employees to make crucial decisions empower them to become future leaders and to grow their skills portfolios. Such employees are also likely to detect opportunities in their lines of work and respond accordingly to the advantage of the organisation.
The nature of leadership showcased by seniors within organisations determines the level of respective employee productivity. Different types of leadership have different influences on employees and their ability to carry out their responsibilities effectively. Some may have a positive impact on productivity while others may have a negative influence (Yukl, 2012). For instance, autocratic leaders hold absolute powers. They use this extreme power to direct and order the performance of duties and responsibilities (Yammarino, 2013). Failure to meet the demands of autocratic leaders who often met with reprimand and negative consequences for employee. In this regard, employees may operate in an environment that riddled in fear. This kind of leadership can yield positive employee performance as employees apply extra efforts in order to meet the demands of the leaders (Rast, Hogg & Giessner, 2013). However, the level of dissatisfaction under this type of leadership is high. Employee turnovers are also high with issues such as absenteeism reported as well. In the modern organisation, the room for autocratic leadership has diminished significantly. Even though it may have positive results on productivity, in the short term, employees always strive towards securing alternative employment opportunities, where the psychological pressure is bearable (Rast, Hogg & Giessner, 2013). In this regard, autocratic leadership will always have more disadvantages than advantages especially on the long term. It should therefore only be used sparingly in instances that absolutely necessary.
Leaders may also employ bureaucratic leadership within their portfolios. Bureaucratic leaders have a tendency to follow rules and procedures. They may have responsible for setting up such rules and guidelines or may have been required to do so by top management. In this regard, they require employees to follow the set guidelines and rules as stipulated. They also ensure that employees follow such rules and regulations to the letter (Ojokuku, Odetayo & Sajuyigbe, 2012). This form of leadership is effective in instances that are highly sensitive such as safety and health. However, the style may not be effective in industries that are highly dynamic in nature (Ojokuku et al, 2012). Employing bureaucratic leadership means that similar results expected at the completion of specific tasks. This is impossible to meet in multiple organisational situations, unless in instances that are direct and do not require extra efforts. This form of leadership can be used to achieve high employee productivity in instances that do not vary regularly. Such tasks should be straightforward with not regular changes determining outcomes (Yammarino, 2013). This style can also use partially in order to ensure that some protocols and procedures laid down within organisations are followed as complementary necessities to achieving other organisational goals. For instance, it could be applicable in areas such as punctuality and reporting.
Charismatic leadership is transformational form of leadership where individuals in leadership positions are tasked with the responsibility of inspiring others to action (Liu, Siu & Shi, 2010). Such leaders inspire enthusiasm and motivation to other employees towards achievement of personal and organisational goals. Charismatic leaders share the vision of the organisation with employees motivate them to achieve better for themselves and for the organisation as well such leaders are significantly sough after as they have the capability to turnaround failing organisations (Carter, Armenakis, Field & Mossholder, 2013). They usually show energy and zeal in driving threes forwards towards achieving set goals. They inspire others to conduct their responsibilities with passion and enthusiasm with the results, which is achievement of goals being the fulfilling reward that is most important. Charismatic leaders inspire employees to focus on achievement of tasks other than the material rewards that their engagement may attract. Charismatic leaders usually have long experiences with particular organisations or industries (Carter et al, 2013). They are therefore aware of challenges that employee may encounter in the conduct of their duties. They can hence offer appropriate advice on how to counter such challenges.
Charismatic leadership influences employees to believe that productivity is dependent on the stewardship of the respective leaders. In this regard, the absence of charismatic leaders can negatively influence the productivity of employees (Mittal, 2015). This means that charismatic leadership should carefully employed as it can affect performance when such leaders leave an organisation. Employees should have some level of independence that should allow them to conduct their responsibilities even when a charismatic leader is absent. In instances where such leaders are necessary, organisations should have several leaders working as a team with replacements being made when one leader leaves. This ensures that no leadership vacuums are experienced within the organisations (Sandberg & Moreman, 2015). This form of leadership also calls for utmost commitment to organisations and their visions. This regard, such leaders show heightened passion for their work and the organisations they work for it. Charismatic leaders that are dedicated to specific organisations are hard to come by, though existing leaders may show some level of charisma (Liu et al, 2010). Even though it may not be the most pronounced style in specific leaders, employing it to some degree is important towards achievement of goals and objectives.
Democratic or participative leadership is one that invites employees to the decision-making process and make contributions based on their views, believes and experiences. This form of leadership employs teamwork where employees are allowed to deliberate, troubleshoot and discuss on different issues affecting the conduct of their duties (Sandberg & Moreman, 2015). This form of leadership involves employees in their different capacities where they come up with proposals towards improvement and problem resolution. It also allows employees to develop on their skills by learning form colleagues and teammates. The level of employee satisfaction is also boosted as employees have some level of control of their respective destines (Hendriks & Karsten, 2014). Employees also focus more on their targets other than the material rewards that may come with it. This type of leadership is effective in tasks that require teamwork. Each member of the team is motivated to feel important with a pivotal role toward the success of the entire team (Beerbohm, 2015). This form of leadership takes time to develop effective teams with organizational visions and mission playing a critical guiding factor. This form of leadership has the potential to determine the shortcomings of an organization and the reasons for low productivity (Hendriks & Karsten, 2014). It aims at identifying problems and collectively coming up with working suctions, with individual employees having respective responsibilities to meet.
The democratic form of leadership closely related to the Laissez- faire type of leadership that adopts a principle of “Leave it be”. This means that employees given freedom to determine solutions their own problems and challenges (Beerbohm, 2015). Instances of low productivity, leaders may require employees to determine the cause of unsatisfactory performance and effectively suggest solutions, which they would also be required to implement. This form of leadership is mostly applicable when employees have high levels of experience and continued high productivity (Skogstad et al, 2015). In this regard, this form of leadership may not be effective in instances where employees exposed to frequent dynamics internally and externally. In this regard, it is not therefore, the best type of leadership to improve dropping employee productivity. It could be applied after employees have gained immense experience within their respective portfolios because they should have the adequate expertise which qualifies them to overcome any issues facing them.
People oriented leadership uses an approach where leaders are focusing on organizing, developing and supporting employees. Leaders focus specifically on individual employees or teams of employees where they determine their challenges, problems and concerns that may prevent them for achieving targeted productivity (McCleskey, 2014). The leader, in conjunction with employees then focus on goal oriented solutions towards remedying the undesirable situations, such as low productivity. Such leaders are there to help employees along the way whenever they faced with challenges. They focus on the abilities of employees to deliver given targets (McCleskey, 2014). This form of leadership usually practiced in conjunction with task-oriented approaches where employee capabilities and competencies tied to specific tasks in their respective duties portfolios.
Transformational and Transnational Leadership
The modern organizational context is significantly complex with employees with different capacities being engaged. For instance, unlike in the past, it is relatively easy to find employees from different nationalities working in the same organization (Fisher-Yoshida & Geller, 2009). It therefore poses a leadership challenge, as dealing with such employees requires understanding of multicultural diversity and embracing it towards increasing productivity. There are specific forms of leadership that have been proposed in multicultural settings where productivity may be jeopardized by virtue of having different professionals with different cultural and ethnic backgrounds (Holt & Seki, 2012). Multicultural work environments have unique challenges, some which are sensitive and should be approached with caution if such organizations are to reap maximum benefits from them. Transformational approach leadership has been proposed as an effective approach to leadership method in multiple instances. This approach to leadership inspires employees to achieve remarkably by employing unique strategies that satisfy specific wants warranted by respective markets (Deveshwar & Aneja, 2014). This approach combines various styles such as charismatic and democratic leadership. Transformational leadership ensures that employees are equipped with necessary support and infrastructure to carry out their duties effectively. Employees are also allowed to use their creativity and rationality to achieve optimally in their respective portfolios. Such leaders use inspiration, morale, motivation and mobilization of resources to achieve intended goals (Muenjohn & Armstrong, 2015). They also ensure that effective communication and conflict resolution mechanisms are well in place to facilitate smooth conduct of responsibilities. Transformational leaders are not intrusive in nature they use rapport and lead from the front. Whatever aspects or characteristics they seek from employees, they show it by example (Deveshwar & Aneja, 2014; Walumbwa et al. 2011). They are best suited towards bringing change and making turnarounds in unfavorable situations. Their commitment, confidence and willingness to make sacrifices are eventually reflected in employees, towards improved productivity and overall performance.
Due to cultural diversity experienced in many modern organizations, transnational leadership has become a necessary trait for leaders to adopt in their portfolios (Holt & Seki, 2012). Multi cultural organizations pose challenges to leadership, as general leadership styles are often infective. The likelihood of conflicts in such an environment is high, hence requiring leaders with the capability to consolidate employees with different cultures and nationalities in a manner that yields optimal productivity for individual employees and collectively for an organization. Such leaders are able to harness individual employee qualities and combine them towards tackling specific performance challenges and meeting set targets as well (Fisher-Yoshida & Geller, 2009). Transnational leadership able to manage employees form different parts of the world regardless of the geographical region of operation. Because the leaders take in their consideration the employee performance and the achieved targets regardless any other aspects of evaluation (Lee et al., 2011) People from different parts of the world have different beliefs, cultures, values and norms which they apply professionally and in their daily lives as well (Gill, 2011). This is dependent on the specific society that individual hails from. Based on the target that an organization is dealing with, transnational leadership identifies the characteristics of such a market, critically evaluates employee portfolios, and creates teams with the ability to deliver highly with regard to productivity (Deveshwar & Aneja, 2014). For transnational leaders to be effective application of transformational leadership to certain degree is important. Such a leader should aid employees to see their potential beyond their ethnic, cultural and national differences. In fact, leadership in this perspective trains employees to take advantage of diversity to create a learning atmosphere where employees grow each other and the organization therein (Gill, 2011). Due to uncertainties that may emerge in such an environment, combination of transformational and transnational leadership advocates for resilience in such circumstances (Deveshwar & Aneja, 2014). It also seeks to build strong teams that exhibit pragmatic flexibility based on the dynamics of their operational environment. Inspiring employees and appreciating their individual talents and capabilities is also equally important in a multicultural environment that embraces the two forms of leadership. Organizations should encourage its leaders to merge the two forms of leadership depending on the type of task in order to get maximum benefits (You-De et al., 2013). For instance, transformational leadership style can give better result within the staff who treating with customers. Because it gives them, more flexibility in taking immediate decisions which is needed in treating customers. In addition, it allows them to be more creative, which will lead to more customer satisfaction as customers need personalize services tailored to them, on the other hand transactional leadership could be better within the workshop staff who need more to the target setting and strictly follow up the processes of work.
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- Mohamed Radwan (Author), 2017, The impact of leadership on Employees’ Productivity in Jaguar Land Rover Saudi Arabia service center, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/424831