in this rapidly changing world the need for effective leadership for success of
organization is increasing ever before. There are many definitions of leadership that come from
numerous studies over the years.
Yukl (2008, p 26) defined leadership
as the process of influencing others to understand and agree about what needs
to be done and how to do it, and the process of facilitating individual and
collective efforts to accomplish shared objectives. According to House et al., (1999,
p. 184) leadership is the ability of an individual to influence, motivate, and
enable others to contribute toward the effectiveness and success of the
organization. DuBrin (2010, p. 2) describe leadership as the ability to inspire
confidence and support among the people who are needed to achieve
Despite the multitude of ways in
which leadership has been conceptualized, Northouse, (2016, p.6) identified the
following components as central to the phenomenon: a) Leadership is a process,
b) Leadership involves influence, c) Leadership occurs in groups, d) Leadership
involves common goals. Based on these components Northouse defined leadership
as a process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve
a common goal.
has passed through number of models and theories. However the focus of this
study is on full range leadership theory. New leadership approach transactional
and transformational emerged in the 1970s. Inspired from Burns’ work (1978), Bass and Avolio as cited in Song Pantaleon (2015, p.
25) investigated the two leadership styles and
concluded in 1985 that those two styles were complementary and important in organizations.
Transformational leadership focuses
on what the leader accomplishes yet still pays attention to the leader’s
personal characteristics and his or her relationship with group members. Transformational
leader helps bring about major positive changes by moving group members beyond
their self-interests and toward the good of the group, organization, or society
(Andrew J. DuBrin, 2010 P. 83). Avolio (2011, p. 63) noted that transactional
leadership occurs when the leader rewards or disciplines the follower’s
behavior or performance. Transactional leadership depends on laying out
contingencies, agreements, reinforcements, and positive contingent rewards or
the more negative active or passive forms of management-by-exception.
However, the most popular
and acknowledged model among other Transformational Leadership models in the
research community remains the Full-Range Leadership model (FRLT) developed by
Bass and Avolio (Barnes 2013, p. 1567; Bass 1985;1990a,b; Bass and Avolio 1994
cited in Gill 2010, p. 51). According to Bass (1998, and Bass & Avolio
(1995,1997) cited in Avolio and Yammarino (2002, p. 9) FRLT comprises nine
factors reflecting three broad classes of behavior of transformational,
transactional, and laissez-faire leadership. The purpose of this study is to
identify if the relationship exist between these three leadership styles and
employees organizational commitment in public sector organizations.
Cohen (2003, p xi) states
that commitment is a force that binds an individual to a course of action of
relevance to one or more targets. Miller (2003, p 73) also states that
organizational commitment is a state in which an employee identifies with a
particular organization and its goals, and wishes to maintain membership in the
organization. This description of commitment relates to the definition of
organizational commitment by Arnold (2005, p 625) that is the relative strength
of an individual’s identification with an involvement in an organization. Meyer
and Allen (1997, p 106) use the tri-dimensional model to conceptualize
organizational commitment in three dimensions namely, affective, continuance
and normative commitments.
Meyer and Allen (1997, p 11)
define affective commitment as the employee’s emotional attachment to,
identification with, and involvement in the organization. Tetrick (1995, p 589)
also describes affective commitment as value rationality-based organizational
commitment, which refers to the degree of value congruence between an
organizational member and an organization. Continuance commitment refers to
awareness of the costs associated with leaving the organization. It is
calculative in nature because of the individual’s perception or weighing of
costs and risks associated with leaving the current organization (Wiener and
Vardi 1980, p 86) Meyer and Allen, (1997, p 11) describe normative commitment
as the work behavior of individuals, guided by a sense of duty, obligation and
loyalty towards the organization.
Numbers of studies relate
leadership styles to employees’ organizational commitment. According to Robins (2005),
as cited in Samson Babalola (2016, p 937) the adoption of appropriate
leadership style influence subordinates to develop trust in management and commitment.
Wang, Law, Hackett, Wang, and Chen (2005) cited in Samson Babalola (2016, p
937) show that leadership has major influence on employees’ performance and
commitment without reference to leadership style. So examining the relationship
between leadership style and employees’ organizational commitment is very
important for countries like Ethiopia which has ambitious vision to reduce
poverty and intention to become middle-income country.
Ethiopia has got on implementing highly intensive and
comprehensive agenda to achieve its vision to become middle-income country in
2025(MOFED 2010). However, there were capacity constraints among leaders and
public servants at different administrative levels involved in key aspects of Plan
for Accelerated and Sustained Development to End Poverty (PASDEP)
implementation. To address this challenge during PASDEP, the government
launched a number of process reengineering and training programs to improve skills
and ensure appropriate implementation capacity (MOFED, 2010). Because without
effective leadership and public sector organization employees’ commitment, it
is very difficult to achieve the national and organizational goal.
The purpose of this study is
to examine the relationship between leadership style and employees’
organizational commitment in public sector organizations of Sidama zone
Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples Region of Ethiopia.