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Leadership is the ability of an individual to initiate guidance and influence a group or an organization in order to maximize its performance. Micromanagement leadership is one such form, where the managers closely monitor and direct their subordinates. Although a select few managers and employees could benefit from such a practice, micromanagement, as a leadership style has relatively more negative implications on an employee’s behavior and his engagement towards the work at hand. This creates a sense of perceived stress leading him to behave in a counterproductive manner. In this article, we have intended to develop a theoretical framework by investigating from an employee’s perspective. Thus, highlighting the various implications of micromanaging. Interrelating the concepts of employee disengagement, perceived stress and deviant behavior, our study provides several implications for organizations and managers alike apart from a theoretical literature base for further study.
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European Journal of Business and Management
ISSN 2222-1905 (Paper) ISSN 2222-2839 (Online)
Vol.8, No.18, 2016
Micromanagement: An Employee’s Adversary
Rajkumar M
Ajay Venkataraman
Gayathri M
1.Assistant Professor, Faculty of Management Studies, PES University, Bangalore, India
2.Student, Bachelor of Business Administration, PES University, Bangalore, India
Leadership is the ability of an individual to initiate guidance and influence a group or an organization in order to
maximize its performance. Micromanagement leadership is one such form, where the managers closely monitor
and direct their subordinates. Although a select few managers and employees could benefit from such a practice,
micromanagement, as a leadership style has relatively more negative implications on an employee’s behavior
and his engagement towards the work at hand. This creates a sense of perceived stress leading him to behave in a
counterproductive manner. In this article, we have intended to develop a theoretical framework by investigating
from an employee’s perspective. Thus, highlighting the various implications of micromanaging. Interrelating the
concepts of employee disengagement, perceived stress and deviant behavior, our study provides several
implications for organizations and managers alike apart from a theoretical literature base for further study.
Keywords: Micromanagement, Employee Disengagement, Perceived Stress, Leadership
1. Introduction
An organization today operates in a highly competitive and dynamic environment. In such a situation, a
company would look for an individual to lead its employees. Therefore, the concept of leadership attracts the
limelight. Some managers, however, like to direct and control every move/task performed by their subordinates.
This creates a sense of insecurity and disengagement among the employees. This form of leadership has been
widely termed as micromanagement. It often includes planning of minor details and making the employees feel
that they are being observed (DeCaro et al.2011) . Micromanaging may be beneficial for organizations where the
interference of managers may be necessary to improve productivity. This may be due to the fact that the
employees may be inexperienced or technically incapable of performing the particular task.
However, in the present corporate world, such situations are highly unlikely. Therefore, such a
leadership style could be in fact a hindrance to the progress of the organization as a whole. It also affects the
employees by disengaging them from their work and pressurizing them. To probe this form of leadership and
understand it better we have correlated it with the concepts of employee disengagement, perceived stress and
deviant behavior to establish a cause and effect relationship.
The article hereafter is organized into sections, namely the review of literature which will provide the
basis of our research proposal, the hypothesis and the research proposition with the help of the model and finally
the discussion encompassing the arguments supporting the model and the implications for both theory and
2. Review of Literature
2.1. Micromanagement Leadership
Micromanagement is observing every move or activity performed by the employees and making them feel that
they are being watched. Excess contemplation, planning of minor details and tracking the time employees are
engaged at work or when they are found away from their desk, are also related to micromanagement. The work
of observing, planning, etc. may be assumed as a job of work managers, but they do not play a role here and
these behaviors may have an adverse effect on the organization. When the employees are made to feel that, they
are excessively watched, their performance level is reduced (DeCaro et al.2011).
There is a huge distinction between micromanagement and monitoring, monitoring is necessary for
securing performance of a critical job (Heimer, 1994), however, Micromanagement is established when the
duties are not clearly understood by the managers. Employees are ambiguous about carrying out their duties and
do not know the parameters under which they are being judged due to lack of guidance (Hymowitz, 2003).
Micromanagers follow the principle of time; they create deadlines for establishing the targets and are extremely
demanding for irrelevant status details or descriptions (Heimer, 1994). Leader- Member exchange theory (LMX)
researchers concluded that those managers who are hesitant to delegate the task to their subordinates often
become micromanagers as they lacked confidence in their subordinate’s skill and knowledge, they also consider
it to be highly technical and hence, doubt the capability of the employees (Leana, 1987).
Micromanagement may take place for numerous reasons. For example, in the view to finding a solution
the board may interfere with the functioning of other organizational elements in order to enforce management
decisions (Hildy Gottlieb, 2009). To mitigate this form of leadership the board must engage in vibrant and
constant discussions, formulate standards of performance and remain accountable to the entire organization
European Journal of Business and Management
ISSN 2222-1905 (Paper) ISSN 2222-2839 (Online)
Vol.8, No.18, 2016
(Betz and Eadie).
2.2. Employee Disengagement
The harmonious relation between employees and their duties is the highlight of the employee engagement
concept (Kahn, 1990). The notion of engagement can be correlated to the already present concept of task/job
involvement (Brown, 1996). Creating involvement in the job is of ubiquitous importance to managers. Since,
negatives such as dissatisfaction and low morale/commitment arise due to the disengagement of staff from their
duties (Aktouf, 1992). A task without much substance or significance usually results in its disconnection from
the staff performing it. Moreover, it can lead to an indifferent and lethargic approach by the employee (Thomas
et al. 1990).Disengagement at a personal level comprises of the concurrent retraction and shielding of oneself in
an environment that advocates physical and emotional imbalance leading to substandard or inferior performance
(Kahn, 1990).
Disengaged workers can be characterized by their absence of concern about their organization, the
ambiguity surrounding the function they carry out in its framework and the unsatisfactory relationship that they
share with their colleagues (Wellins & Concelman, 2005). Such employees often experience depression and are
apprehensive in nature (Robinson et al. 1997). In addition, they are mentally frazzled and extremely cynical
(Maslach et al. 2001). This lack of commitment leads to absenteeism and initiates an intention to abandon the
company (Saks, 2006). At the preliminary stages of disengagement, employees exhibit traits of absenteeism,
being dilatory and increasing withdrawal at the workplace (Branham, 2005). Other symptoms include repeated
mistakes, low energy levels and lack of enthusiasm (Pech & Slade, 2006). Apart from experiencing health
problems themselves, such employees tend to spread and influence the negativity to the immediate environment
around them (Bakker & Demerouti, 2008).
2.3. Perceived Stress
Stress refers to a reaction that a person exhibits when there is a sense of incapability to cope with the pressures at
hand (Health and Safety Executive, Raymond 2000). It is usually a consequence of inadequacy of resources to
meet the requirements (Lazarus & Folkman, Stress, 1984). Moreover, all factors in the workplace which result in
an individual perceiving anxiety or burden can be termed as occupational stress/work stress (Rohany, 2003). It
can also be described as the mismatch between the prerequisite for a job and the employee’s capability of
performing it (NIOSH, 1999). Perceived stress can be conceived as a combination of work stressors
impositions that employees may discern to be a threat, for example, specifications of a task/job to be performed,
and work strains unfavorable results due to the inadequacy of resources in coping with occupational stress
(Koslowsky, 1998). Therefore, it can be implied that work strain is the element balancing a firm’s inefficiency
and work stressors (Darr & Johns, 2008).
Work stress could have numerous sources and its impact is subjective to each individual. The inability
of an organization to change and lengthy working hours contribute to stress in the workplace (Davey et al. 2001).
Frequent conflict and non-supportive supervisors/managers add to the pressure perceived by an employee (Leka,
Griffiths, & Cox, 2003). Ambiguity about the task (Fairbrother & Warn, 2003) and lack of authority (Pawar &
Rathod, 2007) are among the other factors.
The outcomes of ungoverned stress could lead to disharmony among workers, increase the
remuneration paid and decline of rapport between the organization and its customers in terms of sub-standard
customer services being rendered (Kahn & Byosiere, 1992). Furthermore, these pressures lead to frequent errors
causing mishaps and reducing productivity, in due course of time they contribute towards absenteeism and
demotivation of workers (Pflanz & Ogle, 2006).
2.4. Deviant Behaviour
A type of voluntary behaviour which endangers the prosperity of an organization and its staff by
disrupting/disregarding the operational framework within which it functions (S.P. Robbins and T.A. Judge,
2007). The ramification of such behaviour is quite severe since it has its influence on various aspects such as
framing of policies and a firm’s efficiency (Appelbaum et al.2007).
This negative attitude usually arises from certain provocations assumed by the employee (Hollinger &
Clark, 1982). These provocations emerge due to an imbalance between a person’s present state and an optimal
state where the need, wants and desires of the person are fulfilled. Therefore, results in a sense of failure and
dissatisfaction (Robinson et al.1997). Often identified as a retaliation to stress perceived, deviance can imply its
negative effect on the overall working aspects of an organization (Robinson et al. 1997). The study of workplace
deviance gains enormous priority as all companies act as a home ground for authority and defiance to change
(Krackhardt & Mintzberg, 1985).
An atmosphere where morally sound behaviour is not promoted, there is a presence of an antagonistic
working condition and a bleak fortune for career success would certainly result in occupational dissonance
European Journal of Business and Management
ISSN 2222-1905 (Paper) ISSN 2222-2839 (Online)
Vol.8, No.18, 2016
leading to dissatisfaction at work (Koh & Boo, 2001). On the other hand, job satisfaction is seldom linked with
unethical and unlawful acts (Appelbaum et al.2006). This type of behaviour usually arises in an organization
where the employees are primarily involved in activities to promote their self-interests (Appelbaum et al.2006).
3. Research Proposition and Theoretical Model
3.1. Micromanagement and Employee Disengagement
Micromanagement mainly thrives on the exorbitant attention to detail and ensuring that employees notice they
are being closely observed. This kind of leadership has often proven to be unfavourable since it decreases the
performance of employees (DeCaro et al.2011). The fundamental concept of employee engagement emphasizes
the need for a balanced relation between staff and their duties (Kahn, 1990). Micromanaging has often resulted
in disconnecting the employees from their tasks. Therefore, it can be inferred that employee disengagement
arises as a consequence of micromanagement.
Micromanagers often hesitate to delegate duties, assuming that their subordinates are incapable of
performing them (Leana, 1987). Thus, diluting the work given to the employees and reducing their morale.
Furthermore, work without substance and a fair set of challenges have frequently lead to disengagement
(Thomas et al. 1990) and lack of commitment has been proven to be an aftereffect of the same (Aktouf, 1992). In
accordance with the statements, our proposition:
Hypothesis 1 (H
): There exists a positive relation between the concepts of Micromanagement and employee
3.2. Micromanagement and Perceived Stress
The harmful responses which can be physically or emotionally stimulated due to the disparity between an
employee’s capability and the job at hand can be interpreted as work stress / perceived stress (NIOSH, 1999).
Micromanagers often plan insignificant details to the minute (DeCaro et al.2011) and demand continual status
reports (Heimer, 1994). Thus, resulting in the creation of pressure, which is perceived by the employees.
Perceived stress can also be an outcome of inadequate support from the supervisors / managers (Leka et
al., 2003). This arises due to the practice of micromanagement. In this form leadership, there is an absence of a
harmonious superior-subordinate relation since, micromanagers do not trust their staff with carrying out any task
(Leana, 1987). Managers directly impose pressure on employees by their behaviour towards them and their work
(Tepper, 2000). It has repeatedly been established that employees feel demotivated and stressed when their
superiors adopt the micromanagement leadership style. Hence, Micromanagement is directly involved in
invoking a sense of pressure in the employees and more a manager micromanages higher is the stress perceived
by the employee. Conforming with these above, we propose:
Hypothesis 2 (H
): A positive relation exists between the concepts of Micromanagement and Perceived stress.
3.3. Employee Disengagement and Deviant Behaviour
Disengagement can be understood from two aspects; the Organizational aspect: Where workers are identified
by their lack of concern towards their workplace and a strained relation with their co-workers (Wellins and
Concelman, 2005) and the Personal aspect: Retraction and shielding of oneself resulting in unsatisfactory
performance (Kahn, 1990).
Disengaged workers are increasingly absent and have the intention to abandon the company (Saks,
2006). It is at such a stage that they indulge in counterproductive activities such as workplace deviance. Deviant
behavior is a type of voluntary behavior which jeopardizes the growth of an organization (S.P. Robbins and T.A.
Judge, 2007). Moreover, a presence of an antagonistic working condition and increasing occupational dissonance
are key aspects leading to such behaviour (Koh & Boo, 2001). Furthermore, it is vital to know that these
symptoms arise due to the consequences of unchecked disengagement of employees.
Therefore, we can say that Employee disengagement impacts workplace deviance directly and the
Degree of workplace deviance is determined by the disengagement level of an employee. In accordance with
these inferences, we propose:
Hypothesis 3 (H
): There exists a positive relation between the concepts of employee disengagement and
deviant behaviour
3.4. Perceived stress and Deviant Behaviour
The willful act of an employee in obstructing the progress of an organization by indulging in practices that
disrupt its functional framework can be termed as deviant behaviour (Robbins and Judge, 2007). This kind of
behaviour can be analyzed as a reaction to stress perceived (Robinson et al. 1997). Therefore, it can be implied
that perceived stress influences workplace deviance.
Stress is subjective to every individual and could have numerous sources (Davey et al., 2001). But, it
more often than not leads eventually to a negative consequence. When unrestrained, pressure on employees
European Journal of Business and Management
ISSN 2222-1905 (Paper) ISSN 2222-2839 (Online)
Vol.8, No.18, 2016
begins to show in the form of disharmony among workers and a strained relation between the organization and
its customers (Kahn & Byosiere, 1992). These occurrences derail the prosperous future of the company, thus,
coinciding with the main motive of deviant behavior.
From the above statements the following facts emerge; Perceived stress directly impacts the nature of
workplace deviance and, the degree of deviance is determined by the pressure the employees are exposed to.
Therefore, we propose:
Hypothesis 4 (H
): There is a positive relation which exists between stress perceived and workplace deviance.
3.5. Perceived stress and Employee Disengagement
An employee is expected to be stressed, when pressure perceived exceeds the ability to cope with the demand
(Cooper & Palmer, Conquer Your Stress, 2000). Stress may be physically and emotionally experienced when the
employee’s capability, demand, and ability do not match the job requirement (National Institute of Occupational
Safety and Health, 1999). This gradually separates the employee from the job. Thus, it can be said that stress
perceived has an impact on disengagement of an employee.
Employees with decreased engagement towards the job suffer from nervousness and distress (Robinson
et al. 1997). Certainly noticeable signs include absenteeism, disengagement, and tardiness (Branham, 2005).
Stress perceived also diminishes the productivity, increases faults in the workplace, discourages the attendance at
work, increases unhealthy relation with others in the workplace causing problems and brings about a negative
attitude in an employee (Pflanz & Ogle, 2006). It has constantly been established that the employees’
engagement towards their job may be inferred from the stress level they perceive. Therefore, we can infer that;
Perceived stress directly influences employee disengagement and that higher the stress perceived higher is the
level of employee disengagement. In light of these facts, we propose:
Hypothesis 5 (H
): There exists a positive relation between stress perceived and employee disengagement.
3.6. Micromanagement and Deviant Behaviour
Micromanagement occurs when managers track and record every move of the employees to make them
conscious while at work. This often reduces their performance (DeCaro et al.2011). On the other hand,
counterproductive work behaviour can be termed as any attempt to obstruct the progress of an organization and
limit the growth of the employees that work within its framework (Robbins and Judge, 2007).
To understand the correlation, we consider the previously elaborated concepts - With respect to
Employee Disengagement; Disengagement is a consequence of micromanaging employees and Deviant
Behaviour is the aftereffect of unrestrained employee disengagement. On the other hand, with respect to
perceived stress; Micromanaging eventually leads to perceived stress and furthermore, Stress perceived
retaliates to form counterproductive work behaviour.
Therefore, micromanagement causes both stress perceived and disengagement, Deviant Behaviour
arises as a consequence of the same concepts. Thus, we can infer that Deviant Behaviour and Micromanagement
share an indirect relation and that more micromanaging results in higher workplace deviance. In view of these
statements, we propose:
Hypothesis 6 (H
): There exists a positive, but an indirect relation between the concepts of micromanagement
and deviant Behaviour.
3.7. Theoretical Model
(Source: Model framed by researchers)
European Journal of Business and Management
ISSN 2222-1905 (Paper) ISSN 2222-2839 (Online)
Vol.8, No.18, 2016
4. Discussion and Implications
We have intended to formulate a theoretical framework elucidating the effects of Micromanagement Leadership
from the employee’s perspective. Our hypothesis that micromanagement is positively and indirectly the source
for workplace deviance can be substantiated since both disengagements, as well as work stress, arise as a
consequence of micromanaging. Moreover, the unrestrained effects of both these concepts are the primary
sources leading to the counterproductive behaviour of an employee. The degree of influence of these concepts on
deviance, however, is subjective to an employee’s attitude, personality and performance. Similarly, the degree of
impact of disengagement on work stress is debatable in all respects. We have also argued that even the presence
of either consequence, i.e. disengagement/perceived stress can be the predecessor to workplace deviance.
As per our knowledge of this concept, micromanagement, and its implications have not been
highlighted in a broad spectrum. Although, the concepts of Micromanagement Leadership, Employee
Disengagement, Perceived Stress and Workplace Deviance have their own literature bases, there has been no
specific study attempting to establish the relationships among these topics. Hence, the theoretical need of this
article arises, justifying its implications in the field of management literature.
It is of ubiquitous importance for both a manager and the management to check and reduce the
influence of workplace deviance among their employees. This can be achieved by understanding and tackling the
combined derived consequences of micromanaging. Employees too can avoid this form of leadership by
depleting the need for its implementation, i.e. by performing in accordance with the standards with negligible
deviation. This would reduce the interference of managers in the duties of the staff ultimately reducing
micromanagement. If empirically valued by future researchers this article could have major practical
implications apart from the ones already stated.
5. Limitations
Even though we attempt to elucidate and substantiate our work, it is not without limitations. Firstly, this article
has been written keeping all other relevant concepts constant (citrus Paribas), therefore, a presence of a change in
the static environment could endanger the functioning of the model stated. Secondly, the model highlights
mainly the negative aspects of micromanaging based on a prejudged notion of its ill effects. Lastly, the model is
intended from the employees’ perspective, not considering the other elements in the organization.
6. Conclusion
In the course of our article, we have highlighted the concept of Micromanagement and its negative effects on the
overall functioning of the organization. Through our research proposition, we have attempted to probe this
concept which is relatively new to the field of management. Arguing from an employee’s perspective, we have
formulated a theoretical model. With this understanding of micromanagement, managers must adopt it with
caution by assessing the extent of pressure an employee can handle and the level of support he/she requires to
perform well.
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Purpose – Employee engagement has become a hot topic in recent years among consulting firms and in the popular business press. However, employee engagement has rarely been studied in the academic literature and relatively little is known about its antecedents and consequences. The purpose of this study was to test a model of the antecedents and consequences of job and organization engagements based on social exchange theory. Design/methodology/approach – A survey was completed by 102 employees working in a variety of jobs and organizations. The average age was 34 and 60 percent were female. Participants had been in their current job for an average of four years, in their organization an average of five years, and had on average 12 years of work experience. The survey included measures of job and organization engagement as well as the antecedents and consequences of engagement. Findings – Results indicate that there is a meaningful difference between job and organization engagements and that perceived organizational support predicts both job and organization engagement; job characteristics predicts job engagement; and procedural justice predicts organization engagement. In addition, job and organization engagement mediated the relationships between the antecedents and job satisfaction, organizational commitment, intentions to quit, and organizational citizenship behavior. Originality/value – This is the first study to make a distinction between job and organization engagement and to measure a variety of antecedents and consequences of job and organization engagement. As a result, this study addresses concerns about that lack of academic research on employee engagement and speculation that it might just be the latest management fad.
This article presents a cognitive model of empowerment. Here, empowerment is defined as increased intrinsic task motivation, and our subsequent model identifies four cognitions (task assessments) as the basis for worker empowerment: sense of impact, competence, meaningfulness, and choice. Adopting an interpretive perspective, we have used the model also to describe cognitive processes through which workers reach these conclusions. Central to the processes we describe are workers' interpretive styles and global beliefs. Both preliminary evidence for the model and general implications for research are discussed.
This study began with the premise that people can use varying degrees of their selves. physically. cognitively. and emotionally. in work role performances. which has implications for both their work and experi­ ences. Two qualitative. theory-generating studies of summer camp counselors and members of an architecture firm were conducted to explore the conditions at work in which people personally engage. or express and employ their personal selves. and disengage. or withdraw and defend their personal selves. This article describes and illustrates three psychological conditions-meaningfulness. safety. and availabil­ ity-and their individual and contextual sources. These psychological conditions are linked to existing theoretical concepts. and directions for future research are described. People occupy roles at work; they are the occupants of the houses that roles provide. These events are relatively well understood; researchers have focused on "role sending" and "receiving" (Katz & Kahn. 1978). role sets (Merton. 1957). role taking and socialization (Van Maanen. 1976), and on how people and their roles shape each other (Graen. 1976). Researchers have given less attention to how people occupy roles to varying degrees-to how fully they are psychologically present during particular moments of role performances. People can use varying degrees of their selves. physically, cognitively, and emotionally. in the roles they perform. even as they main­ tain the integrity of the boundaries between who they are and the roles they occupy. Presumably, the more people draw on their selves to perform their roles within those boundaries. the more stirring are their performances and the more content they are with the fit of the costumes they don. The research reported here was designed to generate a theoretical frame­ work within which to understand these "self-in-role" processes and to sug­ gest directions for future research. My specific concern was the moments in which people bring themselves into or remove themselves from particular task behaviors, My guiding assumption was that people are constantly bring­ ing in and leaving out various depths of their selves during the course of The guidance and support of David Berg, Richard Hackman, and Seymour Sarason in the research described here are gratefully acknowledged. I also greatly appreciated the personal engagements of this journal's two anonymous reviewers in their roles, as well as the comments on an earlier draft of Tim Hall, Kathy Kram, and Vicky Parker.
Purpose This paper aims to provide an overview of the recently introduced concept of work engagement. Design/methodology/approach Qualitative and quantitative studies on work engagement are reviewed to uncover the manifestation of engagement, and reveal its antecedents and consequences. Findings Work engagement can be defined as a state including vigor, dedication, and absorption. Job and personal resources are the main predictors of engagement; these resources gain their salience in the context of high job demands. Engaged workers are more creative, more productive, and more willing to go the extra mile. Originality/value The findings of previous studies are integrated in an overall model that can be used to develop work engagement and advance career development in today's workplace.
Based on a survey of 237 managers in Singapore, three measures of organizational ethics (namely, top management support for ethical behavior, the organization's ethical climate, and the association between ethical behavior and career success) are found to be associated with job satisfaction. The link between organizational ethics and job satisfaction is argued from Viswesvaran et al.'s (1998) organizational justice and cognitive dissonance theories. The findings imply that organizational leaders can favorably influence organizational outcomes by engaging in, supporting and rewarding ethical behavior.