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Effective leadership styles: a pilot study in legal services.

Water, Lilian van de (2014) Effective leadership styles: a pilot study in legal services.

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Abstract:Management summary This research is written by interest in the effectiveness of current leadership styles in legal service organizations. The main question of this research is: Which current leadership styles lead to most effective leadership in legal service organizations? During the past four decades the relationship between leadership styles and organizational performances was already a topic of interest in research. One of the reasons for this interest is that several researchers considered that the adopted leadership style in organizations is important in achieving organizational goals. Research showed that different leadership styles affect organizational performance differently, depending on the context of the organization. There is no single effective leadership style. Instead, an organization should adopt the leadership style that suits the context in which the leader and the subordinate interact (Jing & Avery, 2011). This research is written by interest in the effectiveness of current leadership styles in legal service organizations. Legal service organizations are categorized in the context of knowledge-intensive organizations. Knowledge-intensive organizations are often indicated as organizations with the great latitude of their employees, emphasizing their freedom and the important of intellectual skills, as the core competence of the organization. Knowledge is thereby identified as one of the most important resources that contribute to the competitive advantage of an organization (Politis, 2001). Research about leadership in knowledge-intensive organizations emphasize leadership as particularly important. Leadership in knowledge intensive organizations is often characterized by leaders shaping organizational conditions in order to allow the presumed core competence (the professional employees close to the products and services) to develop their creativity so as to perform and innovate successfully (Alvesson & Sveningsson, 2003). The drivers of interest in today`s leadership theories are associated with changes and complexity in business and organizational environments (Higgs, 2003). Nowadays, a growing interest in the literature is focused on authentic leadership, complexity leadership, cross-cultural leadership, e-leadership, ethical leadership, servant leadership, shared leadership, spiritual leadership and responsible leadership (Avolio, Walumbwa & Weber 2009; Brown, Treviño & Harrison, 2005; Carter & Greer, 2013). In the literature are no articles found who compares these different current leadership styles on their effectiveness in the context of knowledge-intensive organizations. In this research the authentic, ethical, and servant leadership styles are chosen as variables for the current leadership styles. The reasons for the choice of these leadership styles is based on two aspects. The first aspect is based on the available and usable information in the literature. These leadership styles getting (again) attention in the literature over the last few years, and were so interested that several researches already developed different definitions, conceptualizations and measures of these leadership styles. The second reason for these leadership styles is based on the fact of why these leadership styles were used or again used. These leadership styles were al getting attention in the literature after the corporate scandals and management malfeasance from the previous years. In the literature many performance indicators are given, but a performance indicator is specific chosen, depending on the goals of the organization (Carter & Greer, 2013; Popova & Sharpanskykh, 2010; Richard, Devinney, Yip, & Johnson, 2009). In this research the performance indicators are defined as customer satisfaction, job satisfaction, and revenue. These performance indicators are findings from a research from 6 leaders in different organizations. These leaders are managing a knowledge-intensive organization or a knowledge-intensive part of an organization, meaning that a large part of the work in the organization of part of the organization is primarily intellectual, it draws on mental abilities rather than physical strength or manual craft. This legal service organizations research is taken by 38 lawyers from 10 different legal service organizations in the period November 2013. The choice of the legal service organizations is based on the connection within the researchers` social network. In every organization one person is working who knows the researcher personally. These persons were the contact persons for the organization and they were asked for more lawyers to fill in the survey in their organization. In every organization that has more than 20 lawyers, the survey is filled in by one of every ten lawyers. In every organizations who has less than 20 lawyers the survey is filled in by one of every five lawyers. The research is taken in a web survey with open and closed questions. To measure the goal of this legal service organizations research, the 38 lawyers from the different legal service organizations rated their leader on the different leadership styles and performance indicators. These leadership styles and performance indicators need to be filled in by a Likert scale (Vennix, 2006). Based on the results from the legal service organizations research only one leadership style has significant influence on one performance indicator. This leadership style is the ethical leadership style and the performance indicator is customer satisfaction. Ethical leadership leads to most customer satisfaction in the different legal service organizations, the other measured leadership styles and performance indicators are not significant related to each other.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:85 business administration, organizational science
Programme:Business Administration MSc (60644)
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