Nowadays,in this rapidly changing world the need for effective leadership for success oforganization is increasing ever before.
There are many definitions of leadership that come fromnumerous studies over the years.Yukl (2008, p 26) defined leadershipas the process of influencing others to understand and agree about what needsto be done and how to do it, and the process of facilitating individual andcollective efforts to accomplish shared objectives. According to House et al., (1999,p. 184) leadership is the ability of an individual to influence, motivate, andenable others to contribute toward the effectiveness and success of theorganization. DuBrin (2010, p. 2) describe leadership as the ability to inspireconfidence and support among the people who are needed to achieveorganizational goals.Despite the multitude of ways inwhich leadership has been conceptualized, Northouse, (2016, p.
6) identified thefollowing components as central to the phenomenon: a) Leadership is a process,b) Leadership involves influence, c) Leadership occurs in groups, d) Leadershipinvolves common goals. Based on these components Northouse defined leadershipas a process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to achievea common goal.Leadershiphas passed through number of models and theories. However the focus of thisstudy is on full range leadership theory. New leadership approach transactionaland 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 andconcluded in 1985 that those two styles were complementary and important in organizations.
Transformational leadership focuseson what the leader accomplishes yet still pays attention to the leader’spersonal characteristics and his or her relationship with group members. Transformationalleader helps bring about major positive changes by moving group members beyondtheir self-interests and toward the good of the group, organization, or society(Andrew J. DuBrin, 2010 P. 83). Avolio (2011, p. 63) noted that transactionalleadership occurs when the leader rewards or disciplines the follower’sbehavior or performance. Transactional leadership depends on laying outcontingencies, agreements, reinforcements, and positive contingent rewards orthe more negative active or passive forms of management-by-exception.
However, the most popularand acknowledged model among other Transformational Leadership models in theresearch community remains the Full-Range Leadership model (FRLT) developed byBass and Avolio (Barnes 2013, p. 1567; Bass 1985;1990a,b; Bass and Avolio 1994cited in Gill 2010, p. 51). According to Bass (1998, and Bass & Avolio(1995,1997) cited in Avolio and Yammarino (2002, p. 9) FRLT comprises ninefactors reflecting three broad classes of behavior of transformational,transactional, and laissez-faire leadership. The purpose of this study is toidentify if the relationship exist between these three leadership styles andemployees organizational commitment in public sector organizations.Cohen (2003, p xi) statesthat commitment is a force that binds an individual to a course of action ofrelevance to one or more targets.
Miller (2003, p 73) also states thatorganizational commitment is a state in which an employee identifies with aparticular organization and its goals, and wishes to maintain membership in theorganization. This description of commitment relates to the definition oforganizational commitment by Arnold (2005, p 625) that is the relative strengthof an individual’s identification with an involvement in an organization. Meyerand Allen (1997, p 106) use the tri-dimensional model to conceptualizeorganizational commitment in three dimensions namely, affective, continuanceand 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 organizationalcommitment, which refers to the degree of value congruence between anorganizational member and an organization.
Continuance commitment refers toawareness of the costs associated with leaving the organization. It iscalculative in nature because of the individual’s perception or weighing ofcosts and risks associated with leaving the current organization (Wiener andVardi 1980, p 86) Meyer and Allen, (1997, p 11) describe normative commitmentas the work behavior of individuals, guided by a sense of duty, obligation andloyalty towards the organization. Numbers of studies relateleadership styles to employees’ organizational commitment. According to Robins (2005),as cited in Samson Babalola (2016, p 937) the adoption of appropriateleadership style influence subordinates to develop trust in management and commitment.Wang, Law, Hackett, Wang, and Chen (2005) cited in Samson Babalola (2016, p937) show that leadership has major influence on employees’ performance andcommitment without reference to leadership style. So examining the relationshipbetween leadership style and employees’ organizational commitment is veryimportant for countries like Ethiopia which has ambitious vision to reducepoverty and intention to become middle-income country. Ethiopia has got on implementing highly intensive andcomprehensive agenda to achieve its vision to become middle-income country in2025(MOFED 2010).
However, there were capacity constraints among leaders andpublic servants at different administrative levels involved in key aspects of Planfor Accelerated and Sustained Development to End Poverty (PASDEP)implementation. To address this challenge during PASDEP, the governmentlaunched a number of process reengineering and training programs to improve skillsand ensure appropriate implementation capacity (MOFED, 2010). Because withouteffective leadership and public sector organization employees’ commitment, itis very difficult to achieve the national and organizational goal.
The purpose of this study isto examine the relationship between leadership style and employees’organizational commitment in public sector organizations of Sidama zoneSouthern Nations Nationalities and Peoples Region of Ethiopia.