Mancheno-Smoak abstract fall 2009

The Individual Cultural Values and Job Satisfaction of the Transformational Leader

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TITLE: The Individual Cultural Values and Job Satisfaction of the Transformational Leader
RESEARCHER: Lolita Mancheno-Smoak, Grace M.Endres, & Yvonne A. Athanasaw
Organizational Development Journal
Vol. 27 (3), Fall 2009: 9-21

The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of culture at the individual level on a leader’s propensity towards engaging in transformational behaviors.

The research for this study was conducted utilizing a mailed survey instrument targeting Human Resources executives/managers each representing one of the Fortune 500 companies within the United States. The self-administered questionnaire survey had four parts: Demographic questions, Leadership Practices Inventory Self, Cultural Dimensions scale (Dorfman & Howell, 1988), the Abridged Job Descriptive Index (Smith, Kendall, & Hulin, 1969). A composite score of Transformational Leadership was formed by combining the five leadership practices from the LPI.

The first hypothesis proposed that there was a significant correlation between work related cultural values and self-reported transformational leadership behaviors of individuals. The correlations yielded uncertainty avoidance and collectivism/individualism as statistically significant and positive, while power distance and masculinity/femininity were significant and negative.

The second hypothesis proposed a significant correlation between job satisfaction and transformational leadership behaviors of individuals. Only two facets of job satisfaction were correlated with transformational leadership. Opportunity for advancement showed was positively related while satisfaction with the job in general showed was negatively related to transformational leadership. The authors suggest “that the higher a person rates him or herself on transformational leadership, the more he/she is satisfied with opportunities for advancement on the job. However, the higher the self reported transformational leadership, the less satisfied one is with the job overall” (p. 16).

The third hypothesis proposed work related cultural values and job satisfaction are related to transformational leadership. The model’s regression equation was statically significant (p. < .001), thereby asserting that job satisfaction and work related cultural values are related to transformational leadership; however, only two aspects of job satisfaction and three of the four cultural values showed as significantly related to leadership. The coefficient of determination indicted that 42 percent of the variation in transformational leadership can be explained by the independent variables, cultural values and job satisfaction.

The authors assert that this study offer evidence in support of cultural values at the individual level and job satisfaction factors as indicators of a leader’s propensity towards exhibiting transformational behaviors. They do, however, raise some interesting questions by the directional nature of the relationships. For example: that the individual cultural work values of uncertainty avoidance and collectivism being positively correlated with transformational leadership. The expectation, they say, “was that the transformational leader as a change agent would favor ambiguity and risk taking when charting out a new path as depicted by challenging the process. Also there was the expectation that the transformational leader would tend towards individualism when independently seeking opportunities to make change as well as when envisioning the future. However, upon further reflection of the individualism/collectivism dimension it high lights that an individual with collectivist values would be more apt to fostering collaboration, strengthening the team, enlisting others towards a shared vision, and celebrating team accomplishments” (p. 16-17).

The low power distance and low masculinity dimensions, the authors, point out, “do conform to what is expected in the transformational leader practices of encouraging the heart, inspiring a shared vision, enabling others to act, and modeling the way. The passion for people, belief that together can make a difference, recognizing individual value contributions, and strengthening the team all harmonize with compassion for the well being of others and low acceptance for unequal distribution of power by treating each other as equals” (p. 17).