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The influence of leadership styles on employee engagement: The moderating effect of communication styles

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International Journal of Advanced and Applied Sciences , 4(3) 2017, Pages: 107-116
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International Journal of Advanced and Applied Sciences
Journal homepage: http://www.science-gate.com/IJAAS.html
107
The influence of leadership styles on employee engagement: The
moderating effect of communication styles
Abdul Kadir Othman *, Muhammad Iskandar Hamzah, Mohd Khalid Abas, Nurzarinah Mohd Zakuan
Faculty of Business and Management, Universiti Teknologi MARA, 42300 Bandar Puncak Alam, Selangor, Malaysia
A R T I C L E I N F O
Article history:
Received 4 November 2016
Received in revised form
9 January 2017
Accepted 17 January 2017
Keywords:
Employee orientation
Change orientation
Production orientation, employee
engagement
Communication style
1. Introduction
*
With the stiff competition in the marketplace,
organizations have put high emphasis on human
capital or talent management. Human Resource
Management has been given the top priority to
ensure that the right talent is selected and recruited.
Besides, various strategies have been devised and
implemented to ensure that employees are fully
developed and optimized to gain the highest level of
productivity. To ensure that the talent is retained,
fair remuneration and promotion is implemented.
Although all these strategies seem to be adequate to
motivate and retain the human capital with the
organizations, in some instances they are not
sufficient to make them engaged with the
organizations. Other than the perennial matter of
task-reward equity, several issues emerged that
some experts fear that employee engagement may
end up becoming just another ‘HR fad’ (Garrad and
Chamorro-Premuzic, 2016; Guest, 2013).
Task fragmentation that arises from aggressive
yet ill-planned outsourcing strategy, for example,
*
Corresponding Author.
Email Address: abdkadir@salam.uitm.edu.my (A. K. Othman)
https://doi.org/10.21833/ijaas.2017.03.017
2313-626X/© 2017 The Authors. Published by IASE.
This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license
(http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/)
may create functional silos that hinder people from
being responsibly attached to their originally
assigned tasks (Van Caeneghem and Bequevort,
2016). In another instance, employees that are
overtly engaged with their work possibly would
undermine the benefits of negative thinking by
dismissing pessimistic instinct or temporary role of
‘devil’s advocate’. Such move may prove to be
detrimental as it creates less fear and halting their
spirit of breaking away from the status quo among
the employees (Garrad and Chamorro-Premuzic,
2016). In tackling these issues, the creation of a
sense of purpose and meaning in the employees’ jobs
is nothing short of essential. For that matter,
leadership style is suggested to be the determinant
of employee engagement. Undeniably, leaders are
assigned as agents trusted by the organization to
reinforce and instill the sense of purpose and
meaning among the community of their followers.
1.1. Employee engagement
An engaged employee is considered to be
emotionally attached to the organization, is
passionate about his or her work, and cares about
the success of the organization (Seijts and Crim,
2006). When employees are deeply engaged with an
organization, there will be heightened sense of
positive and intense feelings among them to exert
Othman et al/ International Journal of Advanced and Applied Sciences, 4(3) 2017, Pages: 107-116
108
their best effort for the success of the organization. It
is more than just feeling satisfied with the work-
related factors in the organization. Macey and
Schneider (2008) defined employee engagement as a
desirable condition among employees that
encompasses the following attributes (1) has an
organizational purpose, (2) connotes involvement,
commitment, passion, enthusiasm, focused effort
and energy, and (3) involves both attitude and
behavioural components. While work engagement
involves employees’ optimistic vibes towards their
work, employee engagement deals with employees’
positive feelings towards the organization.
Apparently, employee engagement and work
engagement are often used interchangeably in the
literature partly due to the indistinct psychological
needs and satisfaction that are associated with both
constructs (Schaufeli, 2013). Nevertheless,
engagement is theoretically distinguishable from
other often overlapping constructs; namely,
organizational commitment, citizenship behaviour
and job involvement (Saks, 2006). Among the factors
that are expected to lead to employee engagement is
leadership style.
1.2. Leadership style
Apparently, a clear and precise consensus of
leadership does not exist. There is no single accepted
universal definition or theory of leadership (Gill,
2011). Nevertheless, transformational leadership is
among the most discussed leadership style in the
modern literature. Burns (1978) described
transformational leaders as individuals who inspire
and challenge subordinates to go beyond their
personal interests in order to achieve goals or
benefits to the wider group or organization. In
contrast, transactional leadership explains the
relationship between leader and follower as an
exchange of well-defined transactions. Although
transformational leadership is a fervent approach to
visionary leaders and empowered followers among
academicians and practitioners alike, the prominent
theory has its own limitations. The crux of the
problem lies within the insufficiency of the
transformational leadership theory in addressing
political, social and economic issues from the
organizational context (Malloch, 2014).
Task and relationship centred leadership
theories were among the earliest that contribute to
the enrichment of the ideologies underlying today’s
various interpretation of leadership styles (Blake
and Mouton, 1964; Fiedler, 1972). Considering that
the model of task and relations orientation in
leadership is too commonly used in research, Ekvall
and Arvonen (1991) conceptualization of change-
centred leadership is an added value in research.
This is based on their argument that the two-
dimensional model of leadership (task versus
relationship) may not be sufficient for firms to be
competitive in a rapidly dynamic environment.
Leadership styles are categorized into three
dimensions comprising employee orientation,
production orientation and change orientation
(Ekvall and Arvonen, 1991) and it is simplified as the
CPE model. Despite employee and production
orientations reflect the essence of relationship and
task centred leadership styles respectively, change-
centered orientation is empirically proven as a valid
construct that is independent from the two factors
(Skogstad and Einarsen, 1999; Yukl et al., 2002).
Limited studies have been carried out in areas
outside the healthcare industry (which the CPE
scales were widely used) and Scandinavian (as it is
originated from Sweden) and western regions.
Hence, its validity within this region is indeed a
matter of interest among behavioural scholars. The
CPE model is briefly described as Table 1.
Table 1: Ekvall and Arvonen (1991) CPE model description
Dimensions
Definition
Relevant Underpinning Concepts/Theories
Change-orientation
Leader is interested in innovation, creativity
and new ways to accomplish tasks. By
learning and adapting in order to change the
status-quo, the leader is also a risk taker as
well.
Developmental culture (Denison and Spreitzer, 1991),
openness to experience (Costa and McCrae, 1992),
double looped learning (Argyris, 1976)
Production-orientation
Leader concentrates effort on achieving
goals, thus engaging subordinates work
activities in task accomplishment roles.
Rational culture (Denison and Spreitzer, 1991),
concern for production (Blake and Mouton, 1964),
need for achievement (McClelland, 1961) and Theory
X (McGregor, 1960)
Employee-orientation
Leader is sensitive to subordinates’ needs,
thus the focus is on maintaining friendly and
supportive relationships through friendship,
mutual trust and respect.
Group culture (Denison and Spreitzer, 1991), concern
for people (Blake and Mouton, 1964), need for
affiliation (McClelland, 1961), Theory Y (McGregor,
1960)
1.3. The relationship between leadership styles
and employee engagement
Previous studies were conducted to investigate
the influence of various factors that might contribute
to employee engagement. Among these factors,
leadership styles have been found to be significant
predictors of employee engagement. Among the
leadership-related predictors are transformational
leadership (Breevaart et al., 2014; Zhu et al., 2009),
authentic leadership (Giallonardo et al., 2010),
leadership position and ‘team-supportive’ leadership
(Xu and Cooper, 2011) and charismatic leadership
(Babcock-Roberson and Strickland, 2010).
Furthermore, ‘employee-engagement’ competency of
leaders in terms of respect for others and concern
for their development and well-being are found to be
a good predictor of employees’ job performance, job
Othman et al/ International Journal of Advanced and Applied Sciences, 4(3) 2017, Pages: 107-116
109
satisfaction and organizational commitment (Alimo-
Metcalfe et al., 2008).
However, the findings of these studies are not
consistent as some studies have discovered mixed
results. There is a notable missing link between
‘good management and mentoring’ leadership style
and employee engagement among entrepreneurial
CEOs’ subordinates (Papalexandris and Galanaki,
2009). ‘Good management and mentoring’
leadership style encapsulate management practices
such as “administratively effective”, “performance
oriented”, “role clarifying”, “integrity”, “self-
confident” and “intellectually stimulating”, whereas
elements of employee development practices are
also included such as “follower confident”, “power
sharing”, and “communicator” (Papalexandris and
Galanaki, 2009). Furthermore, a study conducted
using Britt et al. (2006) four-item scale of the single
factor engagement construct indicates that
transformational leadership brings no significant
impact towards employee engagement while
another study using Schaufeli et al. (2002) scale with
the same criterion indicates an otherwise significant
relationship (Wefald et al., 2011).
Markos and Sridevi (2010) underlined the
dearth of research that link both leadership and
employee engagement, especially in third world
countries. Their argument made sense since much of
the literature has been focusing on the western
context, or within the nursing and teaching
environment. In contrast to the western cultural
values of individualism and low power distance,
Malaysians are recognized as collectivists and have
higher levels of power distance (Hofstede, 1991).
Abdullah (2001) supported this view, highlighting
the social norms of Malaysian employees such as
group-oriented, respect towards elderly and loyalty.
Hence, the way leadership is perceived and its
impact on employee engagement in the local setting
may provide a different insight from that of the
western literature. Given the various incongruent
interpretation of leadership styles, more research on
how leadership have leverage in influencing levels of
employee engagement is needed to understand the
extent and ways in which such relationship occurs
(Crawford et al., 2013). Based on the discussion, the
following hypotheses are developed:
H1: Production orientation leadership style is
significantly related to employee engagement.
H2: Employee orientation leadership style is
significantly related to employee engagement.
H3: Change orientation leadership style is
significantly related to employee engagement.
1.4. The moderating effects of communication
styles on the relationship between leadership
styles and employee engagement
Given the several inconsistencies of previous
findings, the present study was conducted to
investigate the influence of leadership styles on
employee engagement and to clarify to role of
communication styles in influencing the relationship
between leadership styles and employee
engagement. The theoretical framework of this study
integrates Ekvall and Arvonen (1991) CPE model
and Richmond and McCroskey (1979) concept of
management communication styles in predicting
employee engagement. The management
communication style is a continuation of
Tannenbaum and Schmidt (2009) seminal work on
the leadership continuum that gradually delineate
the polarizing and dichotomous nature of autocratic
versus democratic approach. Definitions of the four
communication style dimensions are described in
Table 2.
Table 2: Richmond and McCroskey (1979) management communication styles dimension
Dimensions
Definition
Communication Direction
Telling
Manager provides top-down directive which is non-interactive and lack of
subordinates’ concern.
Primarily downward and unidirectional.
Selling
Manager makes decisions by persuading subordinates to accept them.
Questions from subordinates are encouraged but counterarguments are
provided if the decisions are challenged.
Primarily but not exclusively downward,
and sometimes bi-directional.
Consulting
Manager makes decisions only when problems and solutions have been
discussed with subordinates, to ensure that their well-being needs are met.
Primarily upward, bi-directional and
interactive.
Joining
Manager delegates total authority to the subordinates, by setting the limit
within which the decisions must be made and allowing decision to be made
upon majority’s opinion.
Primarily horizontal, some
bi-directional and highly interactive.
Both leadership and communication effectively
form a social fabric of an organization in which these
two components are reciprocally embedded within
the organization. Supportive leaders and clear
communications positively enact social
connectedness between managers and subordinates.
For instance, Perceived Organizational Support and
Leader-Member Exchange are found to positively
moderate the relationship between employee
engagement and organizational citizenship
behaviour (Alfes et al., 2013). This is consistent with
Soane (2013) contention that generating and
sustaining social engagement is an important aspect
of engaging leadership.
Besides the elaborated evidence of the cause-
effect linkages between leadership styles and
employee engagement, some studies have suggested
that communication styles will exert a positive
influence on leadership styles. Communication skills
are partly essential in driving organizational change
Othman et al/ International Journal of Advanced and Applied Sciences, 4(3) 2017, Pages: 107-116
110
(Schaufeli, 2013), and thus are indispensable for
change-oriented leaders to exert their influence in
the right and meaningful way. Xu and Cooper (2011)
suggested that transparent and honest
communication enables production-oriented leaders
increase their followers’ engagement, especially
among the leaders who are less able to develop their
interpersonal skills. Leaders who are being
transparent and consistent in communication are
likely to be trusted by their followers. In turn, trust
indirectly leads to employee work engagement
through perceived authentic leadership (Hsieh and
Wang, 2015). While leaders are encouraged to
exercise open and clear communications, a ‘Joining’
communication style empowers the employees with
ample opportunity for their voices to be heard. For
an instance, employees’ ability to speak up was
found to be able to influence their engagement (Rees
et al., 2013). Furthermore, the use of both directive
and discursive communication makes the employees
feel valued thus contributing to higher levels of
employee engagement (Reissner and Pagan, 2013).
These suggestions and findings connote that
communication is an established predictor of
employee engagement. Therefore its hypothetical
interaction effect on the linkage between leadership
styles and employee engagement is clearly
warranted. Effective communication strategies that
effectively balance the act of authority and
discretionary behaviours among leaders are
expected to change the positive effects of their
perceived leadership styles on their employees’
engagement. Hence, the following hypotheses are
highlighted:
H4: Telling communication style moderates the
relationship between leadership styles and
employee engagement.
H5: Selling communication style moderates the
relationship between leadership styles and
employee engagement.
H6: Consulting communication style moderates the
relationship between leadership styles and
employee engagement.
H7: Joining communication style moderates the
relationship between leadership styles and
employee engagement.
2. Methodology
The research used correlational design with the
objective of testing the relationship between
leadership styles and employee engagement, besides
testing the moderating effects of communication
styles on the main hypothesized relationship. The
present study was carried out among the employees
of Johnson Controls Automotive Sdn. Bhd. located in
Shah Alam, Alor gajah, Pekan and Kulim, Malaysia.
The total number of population is 693 and the
sample size is 126. The sample size is determined
based on the Krejcie and Morgan (1970) table. The
number of returned questionnaire is 112 making the
response rate for the study to be 93.3%. The
instrument used in the study is a survey
questionnaire, with items adapted from previous
studies.
Items for leadership styles were adopted from
Ekvall and Arvonen (1991) that comprise 36 items
measuring change orientation (10 items), employee
orientation (14 items) and production orientation
leadership styles (12 items). The responses were
captured using a 5-point Likert scales which ranging
from 1 for strongly disagree to 5 for strongly agree.
It was reported that the measure is highly reliable
with Cronbach’s alpha ranging from 0.78 to 0.88. The
sample item for change orientation is, “My leader
encourages thinking along new lines”, for employee
orientation, the sample item is, “My leader relies on
his/her subordinates”, and for production
orientation, the sample item is, “My leader creates
order”.
Employee engagement was measured using
Schaufeli and Bakker (2003) 9-item of Utrecht Work
Engagement Scale (UWES-9). This instrument
measures three underlying dimensions of employee
engagement; vigour, dedication, and absorption.
Respondents in this study rated each item on a 5-
point Likert scale ranging from strongly disagree (1)
to strongly agree (5). The reported Cronbach’s
alphas range from 0.70 to 0.95 for the three
dimensions across 15 studies. The sample item for
vigour is, “At my work, I feel bursting with energy”,
for dedication is, “I am enthusiastic about my job”,
and for absorption is, “I feel happy when I am
working intensely”.
Managerial communication styles were
measured using Management Communication Scale,
which was developed by Abdul et al. (2013) based on
the conceptualization of the construct by Richmond
and McCroskey (1979). The measure contains 27
items measuring telling (5 items), selling (8 items),
consulting (6 items) and joining (8 items). The
responses were gauged using a 5-point Likert scale
that ranging from 1 for strongly disagree to 5 for
strongly agree. It was reported that the measure is
highly reliable with Cronbach’s alpha of 0.92. The
sample items are “My manager receives decision
from the top management and announces it to
subordinates” (telling), “My manager persuades the
subordinates of the desirability of decisions made by
the top management or him/her” (selling), “My
manager only makes final decisions after he/she has
discussed it with the subordinates” (consulting), and
“My manager always delegates decision-making to
the subordinates” (joining).
The data were analyzed using descriptive,
correlation and multiple regression analyses.
3. Results and discussion
Respondents were asked questions on their
demographic characteristics including gender, age,
marital status, ethnic group, education level, working
experience and job position in order to understand
the data distribution and representativeness of the
samples (Table 3).
Othman et al/ International Journal of Advanced and Applied Sciences, 4(3) 2017, Pages: 107-116
111
Table 3: Respondents’ profile
Variable
Description
Frequency
%
Gender
Male
46
41.1
Female
65
58.0
Age
≤ 25 years
14
12.5
25-35
59
52.7
36-45
30
26.8
46-55
8
7.1
Marital Status
Single
31
27.7
Married
72
64.3
Divorced
8
7.1
Ethnic Group
Malay
88
78.6
Chinese
13
11.6
Indian
10
8.9
Education
SPM/STPM/CERT
19
17.0
Diploma
23
20.5
Bachelor Degree
51
45.5
Master and PhD
16
14.3
Others
1
.9
Working Experience
≤ 4 Years
32
28.6
4-6 years
33
29.5
7-9 years
9
8.0
≥ 10 years
36
32.1
Job Position
Specialist
51
45.5
Clerk
8
7.1
Engineer
17
15.2
Supervisor
16
14.3
Others
15
13.4
Regarding gender, the number of female
respondents is greater than male respondents (56
female respondents or 58% and 46 male
respondents or 41.1%). Pertaining to age group of
respondents, 56 of them or 52.7% were in the age
group of 25 to 35 years old, followed by those in the
age group of 36 to 45 years old. A total of 14
respondents were aged less than 25 years old and
the remaining eight respondents were aged between
46 to 55 years old. Examining their marital status,
majority of respondents (72 or 64.3%) were married
while 31 respondents (27.7%) were still single. Eight
respondents were divorced. Out of 102 respondents,
88 (78.6%) are Malays, 13 (11.6%) are Chinese and
10 (8.9%) are Indians. In terms of educational
qualifications, 51 respondents (45.5%) had bachelor
degree, 23 respondents (20.5%) had diploma, 19
respondents (17%) had SPM/STPM/certificates, and
16 respondents had master degree or PhD as their
highest academic qualifications. Concerning their
working experience, 36 respondents (32.1%) had
been working for more than 10 years, followed by
those with 4 to 6 years of experience, and those with
less than 4 years of experience. Only nine
respondents had 7 to 9 years of working experience
on the job. Respondents involved in the study were
mainly specialists with 51 representatives (45.5%),
followed those 17 (15.2%) engineers, and 16
(14.3%) supervisors. 15 respondents (13.4%) did
not respond to the item (Table 4).
A Principle Component factor analysis with
varimax was conducted to determine the
dimensionality of the items measuring the
independent variables. Originally, there were 35
items measuring the three leadership styles;
employee orientation (14 items), change orientation
(12 items) and production orientation (nine items).
The results of factor analysis indicate the existence
of three factors as originally conceptualized;
employee orientation (11 items), change orientation
(8 items) and production orientation (8 items). A
total of 8 items were removed due to high cross
loadings or loadings different from the original
conceptualization. The 27 items explained 66.41 of
the total variance in the model which is above the
minimum percentage of 60%. The KMO value is
0.921 (χ²= 2272.989, p < 0.01), indicates that the
correlation index is suitable for factor analysis to be
conducted. The MSA values are in the range of 0.838
to 0.971, indicating adequate correlation index for
each item which is suitable to be factor analyzed.
The first component reflects employee
orientation, which explains 27.443% of the variance
in the leadership style model. Three items were
removed due to high cross loadings or loadings
different from the proposed model. The loadings
range from 0.709 to 0.847. The original name
remains. The second factor corresponds to change
orientation, which explains 20.552% of the variance
in the model. Four items were deleted due to high
cross leadings or loadings different from the original
model. The loadings of the remaining items range
from 0.586 to 0.813. The original name was used.
The third component concerns production
orientation of leaders, which explains 18.415% of
the variance in the model. One item was removed
because of high cross loadings or loadings different
from the original model. The loadings of the eight
items range from 0.582 to 0.726. The original name
of production orientation was retained (Table 5).
A principle factor analysis was also performed to
determine the dimensionality of the dependent
variable; work engagement. Initially, there are nine
items measuring the intended variable. However, the
outcome of factor analysis indicates the existence of
one factor with eight items. One item was removed
to low leadings. The uni-dimensional variable
explained 69.268% of the variance in the model,
which exceeds the recommended threshold value of
60%. The KMO value of 0.887 indicates the factor
matrix allows factor analysis to be conducted. The
MSA values ranging from 0.884 to 0.914 indicate that
there are sufficient correlation coefficients for each
item. The loadings ranging from 0.794 to 0.880 are
high enough to indicate the dimensionality of the
factor. The original name of employee engagement
was retained (Table 6).
A principle component of factor analysis with
varimax rotation was also performed for the
moderator variables; Management Communication
Style. At the beginning, there were five items for
telling communication style, three items for selling
communication style, five items for consulting
communication style, and five items for joining
communication style. After factor analysis was
conducted, 11 items were retained and seven items
removed due to high cross loadings and items loaded
Othman et al/ International Journal of Advanced and Applied Sciences, 4(3) 2017, Pages: 107-116
112
differently from the original conceptualization. The
four factors explained 80.144% of the variance in the
model (25.6% for joining communication style,
20.7% for telling communication style, 16.95% for
consulting communication style, and 16.8% for
selling communication style). The KMO value of
0.832 indicates the suitability of factor analysis to be
performed. The MSA values ranging from 0.713 to
0.920 denote the adequacy of the correlation matrix
for the items.
Table 4: Results of factor analysis of the independent variables
Component
1
2
3
Employee Orientation
My leader is considerate
0.847
My leader is flexible and ready to rethink his / her point of view
0.789
My leader creates trust in other people
0.785
My leader stands up for his / her subordinates
0.778
My leader has an open and honest style
0.773
My leader is just in treating subordinates
0.773
My leader creates an atmosphere free of conflict
0.772
My leader allows his / her subordinates to decide
0.733
My leader listens to ideas and suggestions
0.727
My leader criticizes in a constructive way
0.719
My leader shows regard for the subordinates as individuals
0.709
Change Orientation
My leader experiments with new ways of doing things
0.813
My leader sees possibilities rather than conflicts
0.748
My leader initiates new projects
0.744
My leader encourages thinking along new lines
0.691
My leader likes to discuss new ideas
0.669
My leader offers ideas about new and different ways of doing things
0.666
My leader is willing to take risks in decisions
0.661
My leader makes quick decisions when necessary
0.586
Production Orientation
My leader is controlling in his / her supervision of work
0.726
My leader makes a point of following rules and principles
0.706
My leader creates order
0.694
My leader gives information about the results of the unit
0.666
My leader is very clear about who is responsible for what
0.658
My leader pushes for growth
0.657
My leader is very exacting about plans being followed
0.612
My leader defines and explains the work requirement clearly
0.582
% variance explained (66.410)
27.443
20.552
18.415
Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin Measure of Sampling Adequacy
0.921
Bartlett’s Test of Sphericity
Approx. Chi-Square
2272.989
Df
351
Sig.
0.000
MSA
0.838-0.971
Table 5: Results of factor analysis of the dependent variable
Component
1
At my job, I feel strong and vigorous
0.880
My job inspires me
0.861
When I get up in the morning, I feel like going to work
0.846
I am proud of the work that I do
0.832
I am immersed in my work
0.827
I am enthusiastic about my job
0.809
I feel happy when I am working intensely
0.806
At my work, I feel bursting with energy
0.794
% variance explained
69.268
Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin Measure of Sampling Adequacy
0.887
Bartlett’s Test of Sphericity
Approx. Chi-Square
692.860
Df
28
Sig.
0.000
MSA
0.844-0.914
The first component contains four items
measuring joining communication style with
loadings which range from 0.716 to 0.827. One item
was removed due to high cross loadings. The original
name was retained. For the second component, three
items loaded highly on this factor known as telling
communication style. Two items were removed as
they cross loaded under different components. The
loadings range from 0.582 to 0.896 and its original
name was retained. The third contained only two
factors (out of five original items) with loadings
which range from 0.767 to 0.911. These items are
meant to measure consulting communication style
and the name was used. The last component reflects
Othman et al/ International Journal of Advanced and Applied Sciences, 4(3) 2017, Pages: 107-116
113
selling communication style containing only two
items (there are originally three items) measuring
with loadings which range from 0.729 to 0.816. The
original name was kept (Table 7).
Table 6: Results of factor analysis of the moderating variables
Component
1
2
3
4
Joining Communication Style
My leader allows decision to be made based on the majority opinion after open discussion
0.827
My leader sets parameters and lets subordinates make decisions
0.774
My leader always delegates decision-making to the subordinates
0.769
My leader allows decision be made without his/her presence
0.716
Telling Communication Style
My leader only accepts questions concerning how work is to be done
0.896
My leader expects me to carry out tasks given by him/her without any questions
0.863
My leader makes his/her own decision and announces it to the subordinates
0.582
Consulting Communication Style
My leader always explores the advantage and disadvantages of various options before making any decision
0.911
My leader always makes sure that the decisions made by the top management or him/her will conserve the
well-being of the subordinates
0.767
Selling Communication Style
My leader persuades the subordinates of the desirability of decisions made by the top management or him/her
0.816
My leader encourages inquiries from subordinates concerning clarification of the decision being made
0.729
% variance explained (80.144)
25.62
20.73
16.95
16.84
Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin Measure of Sampling Adequacy
0.832
Bartlett’s Test of Sphericity
Approx. Chi-
Square
676.1
Df
55
Sig.
0.000
MSA
0.71-0.92
Table 7: Results of correlation and reliability analysis
No
Variables
Mean
SD
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
1
Employee orientation
3.28
0.60
(0.951)
2
Change orientation
3.25
0.57
0.610**
(0.923)
3
Production orientation
3.34
0.54
0.627**
0.798**
(0.912)
4
Employee engagement
3.95
0.65
0.483**
0.383**
0.405**
(0.935)
5
Joining
3.56
0.82
0.633**
0.620**
0.587**
0.528**
(0.878)
6
Telling
3.44
0.85
0.083
0.265**
0.260**
0.252**
0.389**
(0.805)
7
Consulting
3.81
0.87
0.414**
0.407**
0.423**
0.158
0.540**
-0.100
(0.815)
8
Selling
3.86
0.72
0.485**
0.580**
0.633**
0.460**
0.629**
0.407**
0.410**
(0.788)
**Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (1-ta iled)
Examining the relationship between the
variables, all the independent variables (employee
orientation, change orientation and production
orientation) are highly correlated with each other,
signifying convergent validity. The r values range
from 0.610 to 0.798. On the other hand, the
independent variables are lowly and moderately
correlated with the dependent variable (employee
engagement, denoting concurrent validity). The r
values range from 0.383 to 0.483. Besides, the
independent variables and the moderator variables
(joining, telling, consulting and selling
communication styles) are highly and moderately
moderated with each other. The r values are in the
range of 0.083 and 0.633. The relationships between
the moderator variables and the dependent variable
range from very low to moderate. The values are
between 0.158 and 0.528. These findings indicate
potential moderating effects of employee
engagement on the relationship between leadership
styles and employee engagement (Table 8 and Fig.
1).
The interaction between joining communication
style and production orientation and how this
interaction affects employee engagement can be
clearly depicted using the interaction graph above.
The graph was constructed using the categorical
data (low and high) of production orientation and
joining communication style which had been
transformed earlier using the median values. The
graph explains that when leaders use low levels of
joining communication style, the increase in the
degree of production orientation will result in lower
levels of employee engagement. However, when
leaders use high levels of joining communication
style although there is an increase in production
orientation, employee engagement will intensify.
Among the three leadership styles offered in the
CPE model, production orientation is where leaders
should put their emphasis on. In high production
orientation, they set high targets for employees to
achieve. When leaders set the target alone without
the involvement from their subordinates, they will
face difficulties in securing the employees’
engagement. However, when the target is set with
the involvement of the employees via joining
communication style, employees will feel that they
are part of the deciding team. As a result, their level
of engagement will improve significantly.
This finding indicates that leaders can
successfully use production orientation in their
leadership style provided that they also implement
joining communication style; getting the employees
involved in the decision making process. This
Othman et al/ International Journal of Advanced and Applied Sciences, 4(3) 2017, Pages: 107-116
114
discovery is in consistent with previous reported
findings (Rees et al., 2013; Reissner and Pagan,
2013). Employees whose voices are equally heard
allow them to feel valued, and thus contributing to
their increased engagement towards their job
(Reissner and Pagan, 2013). Furthermore,
employees who perceive themselves as speaking up
issues, opinions and ideas are more likely to be
engaged with their work (Rees et al., 2013).
Table 8: Results of multiple regression analysis
Tell
Sell
Join
Consult
Independent variables
M1
M2
M3
M1
M2
M3
M1
M2
M3
M1
M2
M3
Employee orientation
0.449**
0.508**
0.600
0.449**
0.417**
0.234
0.449**
0.315**
0.523*
0.449**
0.447
0.574*
Change orientation
-0.025
-0.098
0.631
-0.025
-0.077
-0.045
-0.025
-0.135
-0.356
-0.025
-0.026
-0.295
Production orientation
0.095
0.060
-0.349
0.095
0.003
-0.276
0.095
0.070
-0.716*
0.095
0.093
-0.337
Moderator
0.228*
0.757
0.282**
-0.190
0.367**
-0.876*
0.010
-0.912*
Interaction terms
Employee
orientation*Moderator
-0.160
0.304
-0.603
-0.378
Change orientation
*Moderator
-1.403
-0.038
0.592
0.711
Production
orientation*Moderator
0.804
0.523
1.822*
0.947
R
0.495
0.539
0.553
0.495
0.547
0.558
0.495
0.569
0.645
0.495
0.495
0.540
0.245
0.290
0.306
0.245
0.299
0.263
0.245
0.323
0.416
0.245
0.245
0.291
Adjusted R²
0.223
0.263
0.257
0.223
0.272
0.263
0.223
0.297
0.375
0.223
0.216
0.241
F Change
11.245
6.613
0.737
11.245
7.974
0.568
11.245
11.959
5.249
11.245
0.010
2.167
Sig. F Change
0.000
0.012
0.532
0.000
0.006
0.618
0.000
0.001
0.002
0.000
0.920
0.097
Durbin Watson
1.638
1.621
1.768
1.503
Fig. 1: The interaction between joining communication
style and production orientation to affect engagement
The paradoxical outcome of this research comes
from the insignificance of change-oriented
leadership in becoming a predictor of employee
engagement. In particular, the hypothesized
relationship between change-oriented leadership
style and employee engagement as being
significantly moderated by communication styles,
received little empirical support from the analysis.
One of the explanations can perhaps be attributed to
the ownership status of the leader in the firm where
the employees are recruited. Specifically, the effects
of visionary articulation by leaders (CEO) on
employee engagement is significantly moderated by
entrepreneurial ownership of the firm by CEOs
themselves, while the result becomes insignificant if
the CEO do not hold any ownership and is a salaried
professional (Papalexandris and Galanaki, 2009). On
another note, the influence of change-centred
leadership on employees’ wellbeing can be diverse
according to the cultural values instilled within the
firms. The effect of change-oriented leadership on
employees’ job satisfaction is insignificant
particularly in a rational culture setting as compared
to other three cultural values (Skogstad and
Einarsen, 1999).
While the result do not convincingly support
change-oriented culture as a preferred culture in
shaping positive work engagement, it is imperative
for researchers to exercise caution before making
conclusions, considering the deficiency in
generalizing what this work has to offer.
Notwithstanding, further research is needed to
understand the impact of change-oriented
leadership on employee engagement. Results of the
same construct can be diverse across different scales
used. As noted by Wefald et al. (2011), the
relationship between transformational leadership
and employee engagement becomes significant when
Schaufeli et al. (2002) measure was used as
compared to Britt et al. (2006) scale which yielded
insignificant results. Thus, the pursuit of discovering
the predictive ability of change-oriented leadership
on employee engagement should not just be put into
a halt.
4. Conclusion
One of the issues besieging organizations is how
to ensure that their human capital is fully engaged,
as engaged employees are more than happy to help
their organizations prosper. The present study
confirmed that leadership style, in particular,
employee oriented leadership style contributes in
ensuring the high levels of engagement among the
employees in the organization. This study also
discovered that join communication style moderates
Othman et al/ International Journal of Advanced and Applied Sciences, 4(3) 2017, Pages: 107-116
115
the relationship between production oriented
leadership style and employee engagement.
Production oriented leadership style can be used to
enhance the levels of employee engagement when
leaders also involve employees in the decision
making process. The findings of the study bring
some significant implications to the organizations.
4.1. Managerial implications
To ensure that the employees are fully engaged,
managers or leaders must practice employee
oriented leadership style. The employees are fairly
treated, they are treated as human beings, decisions
are made considering the needs and the capability of
the employees, the leaders criticize in an acceptable
manner, they also create an environment free of
conflict and other actions that focus on the well-
being of the employees. The finding is consistent
with the assumption that those who have favourable
emotions will react positively by showing desirable
behaviours. Therefore, leaders must ensure that
their subordinates’ are happy working with the
organization.
Some leaders are production oriented whereby
achieving the target is highly significant beyond
other things due to high market demands. They can
implement this leadership style provided that they
practice joining communication style whereby
employees are involved in setting the target and
deciding how to achieve the target. By doing this, the
needs and the ability of the employees are
positioned in the right perspective. Some practical
recommendations are ensuring the involvement of
employees or their representatives in the top
management meeting, creating a ‘suggestion box’ for
the employees to forward their ideas or opinions,
and having regular round table dialogues with all
employees such as during weekly gatherings.
4.2. Suggestion for future research
The present study was conducted in a specific
research setting involving a manufacturing group of
companies. The results of the study may not be
applicable to others. Future studies are
recommended to expand their scope to include more
representatives. The present study focused on only
three types of leadership styles. There are other
leadership styles practiced by leaders, which were
not included in the study. Therefore, the findings are
not comprehensive to determine the leadership
styles that contribute to employee engagement.
Future studies should be conducted
comprehensively by considering other leadership
styles that are popular among leaders. The present
study only considered communication styles as the
possible moderators in its framework. In future,
other moderators should be taken into consideration
such as organizational structure (team versus
individual), organizational culture (integration
versus adaptation) and organizational nature
(product versus service).
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Introduction: The current study aims to investigate the mediating effect of leadership styles on the relationship of motivational factors and employee engagement in the context of the ready-made garment (RMG) industry in Bangladesh. Methodology: Herzberg's two-factor theory and the full range leadership model were employed in the study. The quantitative approach was utilized, and the hypotheses were explored using path analysis on 387 employees in Bangladesh's RMG industry. Result and Discussion: The findings indicate that motivational factors and leadership styles have a positive effect on employee engagement; however, the current level of motivational factors and employee engagement is not satisfactory, and the existing characteristics of transformational and transactional leaders are not appropriate in the RMG industry. The results also showed that leadership style mediates the relationship between motivational factors and employee engagement. Conclusion and recommendations: The paper discusses the implications of these results and gives practical advice on how to leverage motivational factors and leadership styles to boost employee engagement. The conclusions recommend that the industry focuses on leadership styles and motivational factors in order to fulfill more ambitious targets and sustain the business for the long term.
... The leadership and management style of supervisors also has a critical role with regards to employee engagement (Othman et al., 2017;Popli & Rizvi, 2016). The ability of a leader to guide a team and to effectively manage daily tasks and routines creates a positive climate that fosters employees' productive behaviour and sense of belonging to the organization (Liden et al, 2008). ...
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Servant Leadership is a holistic approach whereby leaders act with morality, showing great concern for the company’s stakeholders and engaging followers in multiple dimensions, such as emotional, relational and ethical, to bring out their full potential and empower them to grow into what they are capable of becoming. Servant leadership has been linked through various mediators to positive individual and collective outcomes, including behavioral, attitudinal, and performance. Among follower attitudinal outcomes, the present study aims at deepening the relationship between servant leadership and employee engagement in a large Italian consulting firm; first, by assessing the implementation of a servant leadership approach through a survey based on SL-7; second, by qualitatively investigating the servant leadership experiences lived by junior employees and their influence on individual engagement though a semi-structured questionnaire. The findings of the study suggest that employee engagement is positively influenced by servant leadership through various mediators, either leader-centered, such as empowerment, team-centered, such as team cohesion, organization-centered, such as positive organizational climate, job-centered, such as challenging tasks, and employee-centered, such as proactive personality. Some factors also emerged to hinder the relationship between servant leadership and employee engagement, particularly those related to the working environment: namely, high pressure, poor work-life balance and remote-working. The article also provides theoretical and practical implications and identifies potential areas for future research on servant leadership.
... Mung et al. (2011) posits that leaders play important roles in organization as they can affect employee engagement, satisfaction, commitment, performance and productivity by adopting the suitable leadership styles to lead the employees. Furthermore, Yisa, Alkali and Okoh (2013) highlight that leadership style which are practiced in any organization have an impact on the overall performance of the organizations, (Othman, Hamzah, Abas & Zakuan, 2017) state that leadership style contributes in ensuring the high levels of engagement among the employees. Chandio and Mallah (2013) discovered that leadership styles influenced the human resource management particularly in accumulating the competency in the organization by ensuing cost effective HR performance in the garment factories. ...
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The goal of this study is to investigate the moderating effect of motivational factors between the relationship of leadership styles and employee engagement in the Readymade Garments (RMG) industry of Bangladesh. Herzberg's two-factor and Full-range leadership theories were employed in the research. The study used a closed ended researcher-administered questionnaire to collect data from 387 employees in the RMG industry, using a deductive approach and quantitative technique. The findings demonstrate that intrinsic and extrinsic motivating factors, as well as transformational and transactional leadership styles, have a significant impact on employee engagement in the RMG industry. Intrinsic motivation moderates the relationship between transformational and transactional leadership styles and employee engagement while, Extrinsic motivation only moderates the relationship between transactional leadership style and employee engagement. For the ambitious objective of 2025, it is advised that the industry should focus on suitable leadership styles and motivating factors.
... Employee engagement continues to be a significant area of interest among researchers and organizations as engaged employees are highly involved, emotionally devoted, and exceedingly enthused about going beyond the call of duty whiles executing their tasks with excellence (Anitha, 2014). In situations whereby employees are intensely engaged in an organization, a highly positive and passionate feeling is stirred up to strive harder for the organization's success (Othman et al., 2017). Previous research has revealed that highly engaged employees are regarded as assets to the organization and serve as a reference point for retaining a talented and experienced workforce. ...
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