Transformational Leadership, Organizational Culture and Organizational Effectiveness in Sport Organizations

Abstract Transformational leadership and organizational culture have become increasingly popular topics over the past 10 years. Some researchers have suggested that these topics contain the key to understanding organizational effectiveness (Barney 1986; Bass & Avoilo, 1992). The purpose of this study was to review the related literature on the links between transformational leadership, organizational culture, and organizational effectiveness in sport organizations. Transformational leaders are purported to inspire followers to contribute beyond expectation (Bass & Avoilo, 1992; Yukl, 1994). These leaders provide followers with a focus and commensurate levels of support, involvement, and appreciation designed to encourage the follower to adopt the leader’s vision as their own and be committed to making it a reality (Bryman, 1992). Organizational culture is defined as the deep-rooted beliefs, values, and assumptions widely shared by organization members and powerfully shape the identity and behavioral norms for the group. Positive organizational cultures have been linked to increased staff alignment, resulting in enhanced organizational effectiveness, heightened consensus regarding strategic direction, increased employee productivity, and advanced levels of employee commitment (Barney, 1986). Only when a critical mass of their employees has taken ownership and responsibilities for the needed changes, can an organization assure a competitive advantage in today’s challenging marketplace.

Introduction

Transformational leadership and organizational culture have become increasingly popular topics over the past 10 years. There have been more than 5,000 studies on leadership (Yukl, 1994). The phenomenon of leadership continues to draw interest of academics and practitioners in many fields, including sport management. The concept of leadership carries many different connotations and is often viewed as synonymous with other, equally complex concepts such as power, authority, management, administration, and supervision. Many leadership theorists have found that ineffective leadership in any organization seems to be the major cause of diminishing the organization’s productivity and downward positioning of North American corporations on the international scale (Yukl, 1994). Transformational leaders are purported to inspire followers to contribute beyond expectation (Bass & Avoilo, 1992; Yukl, 1994). These leaders provide followers with a focus and commensurate levels of support, involvement, and appreciation designed to encourage the follower to adopt the leader’s vision as their own and be committed to making it a reality (Bryman, 1992). Leadership and organizational culture are purported to be tightly intertwined (Peters & Waterman, 1982). Leaders must have a deep understanding of the identity and impact of the organizational culture in order to communicate and implement new visions and inspire follower commitment to the vision (Schein, 1990). Transformational leaders help shape and maintain the desired culture of an organization (Schein, 1990), which may link to organizational effectiveness in sport organizations. Some researchers have suggested that transformational leadership and organizational culture contain the key to understanding organizational effectiveness (Barney 1986; Bass & Avoilo, 1992). There has been little research done on the links between transformational leadership, organizational culture, and organizational effectiveness in sport organization. The purpose of this study is to review the related literature on the links between transformational leadership, organizational culture, and organizational effectiveness in sport organizations. Transformational Leadership and Organization Effectiveness Yukl (1994) defined transformational leadership as the process of influencing major changes in the attitudes and assumptions of organizational members and building commitment for the organization’s mission, objectives, and strategies (p. 271). More recent studies on the subject of leadership have focused on transformational leadership which concerns the leader’s effect on followers (Bass & Avolio, 1992). Followers of a transformational leader feel trust, admiration, loyalty and respect toward the leader, and they are motivated to do more than they originally expected to do (Yukl, 1994). Transformational leaders pay attention to and are sensitive to the needs of their subordinates as well as their own needs. Transformational leaders cultivate the acceptance of the group mission by their followers through intellectual stimulation and individualized consideration. They seek to unite subordinates as they work toward a common purpose. Ulrich (1987) suggested a six-stage process that sport managers need to adopt if they are to function as transformational leaders: (1) creating and communicating the need for change, (2) overcoming resistance to change, (3) making personal commitment and sacrifices for change, (4) articulating a vision, (5) generating commitment to the vision, and (6) institutionalizing the vision. Sashkin (1987) stated that transformational leaders provide the basis for creating organizations that are extremely effective in terms of any criterion of performance or profit. Peters & Waterman (1982) reported that executive leadership was considered the single most important factor separating the top 100 mid-size American companies from their contemporaries. But, leadership is not viewed as the master key for organizational success. This is because organizational effectiveness is determined by a number of factors (Bryman, 1986). Kelly (1988) suggested that followers also play an important role in determining organizational effectiveness. Organizational Culture And Organizational Effectiveness Organizational culture can be defined as the deep-rooted beliefs, values, and assumptions widely shared by organizational members that can powerfully shape the identity and behavioral norms for the group. Organizational culture provides insight into the inner workings and belief system of the unit and offers behavior codes for employees. Positive organizational cultures have been linked to increased staff alignment, resulting in enhanced organizational effectiveness, heightened consensus regarding strategic direction, increased employee productivity, and advanced levels of employee commitment (Barney, 1986). Avolio et al. (1991) stated that organizational culture holds the key to increased commitment, productivity, and profitability. Transformational Leadership And Organizational Culture Schein (1990) analyzed organizational cultures from perspectives of culture strength and culture type. The researcher concluded that the strength and type of culture are critical to the organization’s success and survival. Executive leaders should put their energies on developing a strong organizational culture that supports the following activities; managing change, achieving goals, coordinating team work, and customer orientation in organization (Schein, 1990). These activities will contribute to organizational effectiveness. Denison (1990) noted that successful organizations, over time, are likely to possess a strong, well-defined culture. Golden (1992) suggested that the organizational culture must support activities linked to the mission of the organization. Weese (1995) conducted a study to investigate the concepts of transformational leadership and organizational culture with Big Ten and Mid-American Conference university recreation programs. The researcher concluded that high transformational leaders possess strong organizational cultures and carry out culture-building activities, especially the customer orientation function, to a greater extent than other leaders do. Leaders have offered tempered positions relative to the impact that a leader can have on shaping and preserving the culture of an organization (Weese, 1995). They have suggested that the culture is the organization, not something that the organization possesses, and consequently, culture change is an arduous assignment. The current thinking in the area of leadership is devoted to the leader’s role in maintaining the organizational culture or in changing it to implement a change of direction dictated by a new vision (Bryman, 1992). The researcher suggested that the leader can alter or impact the organizational culture. According to Oakley & Kruy (1991), transformational leaders not only have the vision, but also have the ability to get their employees to accept ownership for that vision as their own, thus developing the commitment to carry it through to completion. They actually don’t need to have the vision themselves; they need only to possess the willingness and ability to draw the vision from their employees and inspire and empower them to do what it takes to bring the vision into reality. Conclusions The ability to create new organizational forms and processes, to innovate organizational cultures and create stronger organizational cultures, is crucial to remaining competitive in an increasingly turbulent world. In order to have organizational effectiveness in sport organizations, it is necessary for transformational leaders to possess a stronger organizational culture and to carry out culture-building activities. By the virtue of their formal role in sport organizations, sport administrators are responsible for empowering subordinates to establish goals and the vision, and for motivating members toward achieving these goals and vision. The goal of transformational leadership is to “transform” people and organizations in a literal sense to change them in mind and heart; enlarge their vision; clarify purposes; make behavior congruent with beliefs, principles, or values; and bring about changes that are permanent, self-perpetuating, and momentum building. It requires vision, initiative, patience, respect, persistence, courage, and faith to be a transformational leader. Again, successful transformational leaders play a significant role in the development and maintenance of the culture of their organization. Transformational leaders not only have the vision, but also have the ability to get their employees to accept that vision as their own, thus developing the commitment to bring the vision into reality (Oakley & Kruy, 1991). Only when a critical mass of their employees has taken ownership and responsibilities for the needed changes, can an organization assure a competitive advantage in today’s challenging global marketplace? More research relating to transformational leadership, organizational culture, and organizational effectiveness should be conducted in sport organizations. References Avolio, B., Waldman, D., & Yammarino, F. (1991). Leading in the 1990s: The four Is of transformational leadership. Journal of European Industrial Training, 15, 9-16. Barney, J. (1986). Organizational culture. Academy of Management Review, 11(3), 656-665. Bass, M., & Avolio, B. (1992). Developing transformational leadership: 1992 and beyond. Journal of European Industrial Training, 14, 21-37. Bryman, A. (1992). Charisma and Leadership in Organizations. London, Sage. Denison, D. (1990). Corporate Culture and Organizational Effectiveness. New York: John Wiley & Son. Golden, K. (1992). The individual and organizational culture: Strategies for action in highly-ordered contexts. Journal of Management Studies, 29(1), 1-21 Kelley, R. (1988). In praise of followers. Harvard Business Review, 66(6), 142-148. Oakley, E. & Krug, D. (1991). Enlightened Leadership, Fireside, New York. Peters, T., & Waterman, J. (1982). In Search of Excellence. Warner Books, New York. Schein, E. (1990). Organizational culture and leadership. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Schein, E. (1987). A new vision of leadership. The Journal of Management Development, 6(4), 19-28. Weese, J. (1994). A leadership discussion with Dr. Bernard Bass. Journal of Sport Management, 8, 179-189. Weese, J. (1995). Leadership and organizational culture. Journal of Sport Management, 9, 119-133. Yukl, G. (1994). Leadership in Organizations (3rd ed.). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall

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