Concept of perceived effective leadership

The literature review will focus on two dimensions of literature. The first is to look at the kind of leadership that is termed as effective by looking at numerous definition of leadership and the conceptualization of leader effectiveness done by previous studies as well as conceptualization by Kouzes and Posner (2002) in which he measured effective leadership using his Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI). The second is to look at the definition of integrity and how it is conceptualized and measured from the perspective of leadership. To this, the author wishes to use the Perceived Leader Integrity Scale (PLIS) developed by Craig and Gustafson (1998) as previous studies indicated that it is one of the reliable ways to measure integrity from perspective of leadership. Having the two components of this study defined, this paper also attempted to explain the theory underlying the relationship between the two components based on previous studies.

This chapter critically and selectively reviews the concept of perceived effective leadership and perceived integrity in leadership and their relationship from published journals and articles. The author believes that this could be useful for understanding and the development of theoretical models.

2.2. Effective leadership

As public organizations are facing an increasingly complex environment due to globalization, advancement in technology and communication, more diverse workforce, the need to meet and satisfy citizens’ and customers’ satisfaction through high-quality services, the outcry for effective leadership in public organizations has become crystal-clear though it has been contended that effective leaders with integrity are often lacking in organizations (Haberfeld, 2006; Rowe, 2006) to bring the desired impact.

Previous research indicated that leadership is a complex process and leadership theories have been defined and developed substantially over the last decades and as claimed by Bennis and Nanus (1985) cited in Olu Oyinlade (2006) that leadership had been defined by researchers in over 350 different ways in the 30 years prior to 1985. This was also agreed by Bass in 1990 who stated that there seems to be many definitions of leadership than the number of researchers striving to study the concept. According to Conger (1992) also cited in Olu Oyinlade that so far there is no single agreed-upon definition as “leadership is largely an intuitive concept” and this is agreed by Bennis (2007) that recent research suggests “there is no one-size-fits-all approach to leadership”. The most common so far of leadership theories are the traits theory, behavioural theory, contingency theory, and leader-member exchange (LMX), the transformational and transactional theory. Due to the vast definitions of leadership, Bass (1990) cited in Schafer (2009) hinted and pinpointed some common unifying theory implying that leadership is the persuasive power and ability to influence group of people or individuals or other behaviours in an coordinated manner to achieve some pre-determined goal.

Kouzes and Posner (2004) defined leadership by their followers and it involves a relationship between those who want to lead and those who choose to follow. They suggested that any discussion of leadership should follow this norm of relationship. Kouzes and Posner’s assertion for leader’s and follower’s relationship is based on followers’ perception and they normally depend upon leaders for collective success. Thus, the implication to follow good leaders is high and to follow bad leaders is too costly as it cannot be denied that some leaders are often tempted and lured to manipulate their position for personal gain (Van Vugt et al., 2008).

Previous studies on followers’ assessment of leadership focused on the behaviours associated with effective leadership and past findings also indicated that dimensions of what they call as effective leadership vary from instrument to instrument of research. To this, prior study by Parry and Proctor-Thomson (2002) in citing Bass (1985) in their study on Perceived integrity of transformational leaders in organisational settings suggested that effective leadership can be related to transformational leadership behaviours of idealized influence, inspiring motivation, intellectual stimulation, and individual consideration which are very much admired and could become respected role-model. The researchers used Perceived Leader Integrity Scale (PLIS) by Craig and Gustafson (1989) to measure leader’s integrity and Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ) developed by Bass (1985) to measure transformational leadership involving a sample 1,354 out of 6,025 managers throughout New Zealand and found a strong positive relationship between perceived integrity and demonstration of transformational leadership behaviours. However, this study will not apply the MLQ as an instrument to measure effective leadership as it is criticised on the ground that it lacks ability to measure accurately and distinguish the four dimensions of transformational leadership from one another (Bycio, Hackett & Allen, 1995; Tepper and Percy, 1994; Tracey & Hinkin, 1998; Yammarino & Dubinsky, 1994) although it has been widely used in many investigations of transformational and transactional leadership (Den Hartog, Van Muijen & Koopman , 1997).

Some theorists also raised questions regarding the notion that transformational leadership may not necessarily lead followers to higher ethical ground but instead may lead to unethical and immoral direction (Giampetro, Brown, Browne & Kubasek, 1998; Yukl, 1998) as cited in Parry and Proctor-Thomson (2002). This has given rise to another dimension of transformational leadership in what Bass and Steidlmeier (1999) called as authentic which refers to real ethical leader and pseudo-transformational which is unlikely to be ethical leader. This notion of transformational leader related to effective leadership will not be applied in this study as some researcher like Ciulla (1995) raised the issue of ‘Hitler problem’ who argued that Hitler must not be in the same category as Martin Luther King, Jr. though the Nazis during his time might have treated him to be effective and transformational.

The idea of charismatic leadership too will not be related to effective leadership in this study although Conger and Kanungo (1998) described charismatic leaders to possess all the qualities of “vision, drive, passion and ability of leaders to inspire their followers into action”. But Bass (1985) argued that charismatic leaders often lead to dictatorship than real leaders with inclusion of qualities such as narcissism, manipulation of people and defensiveness in the example such as Hitler and Mussolini.

To this, Kouzes and Posner (1988) came up with their Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI) to conceptualize leadership behaviours associated with leader effectiveness based on five dimensions of practices: Modelling the Way, Inspiring a Shared Vision, Challenging the Process, Enabling Others to Act, and Encouraging the Heart. The construction of LPI is although not designed for transformational or transactional leadership styles, but the instrument’s contents of different scales may from subordinates’ point of view contains elements of transformational and transactional leadership styles (Fields & Herold, 1997).

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Other studies indicated an increase in perception of effective leadership can lead to an increase in subordinate and organizational effectiveness. To this, researchers like Jaussi and Dionne (2004) in their study on Unconventional leader behaviour, subordinate satisfaction, effort and perception of leader effectiveness cited Bass (1990) claimed that “an increased in perception of leader effectiveness can lead to elevated subordinate performance which in turn can enhance organizational effectiveness” as one the three outcomes documented in previous leadership literature.

As there are too many literatures associated with effective leadership, this paper only attempted to use the term effective leadership as derived by Kouzes and Posner (2002) through his Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI) and the dimensions that articulate and explain effective leadership. The reason as to why practices are selected rather than traits and characteristics of leadership is based on the understanding of leader’s behaviour through the role theory that can provide insight and understanding on how roles and behaviours influence subordinates’ behaviour. Role has been defined as a “socially specified pattern of behaviour that accompanies a particular position within a social context” (Deaux & Wrightsman, 1988) cited in Huse (1998). In another definition, roles are also “the combination of expectations and performances on the part of those who are interacting with each other” (Neal, 1983). Hooijberg and Quinn (1992) also stated that in order to increase their effectiveness, leaders may perform and execute variety of leadership roles and practices in the organizational setting.

Another reason for the role theory to be accepted and not the traits theory is because previous literatures on the traits theory popularised in 1930s only explained leadership effectiveness by means of natural characteristics, skills and abilities such as self-efficacy, decisiveness, and interpersonal competences to be associated with organizational effectiveness. But this theory has been subjected to criticism on the ground that this theory lacks predictive power in linking leadership traits to performance (Stogdill, 1948). Consequently, in 1940s and 1950s, the leadership behaviour theory was introduced to explain leadership effectiveness based on leader’s behaviours and practices they should play to provide new perspective on understanding leadership effectiveness (Steers, Porter & Bigley, 1996) cited in Oyinlade (2006). The theory explains that the behaviour of the leader occurs within the context of various roles and practices the leader plays. This further justifies why leadership practices and behaviours are important to influence subordinates’ behaviour and this also helps to explain that the effectiveness of the leader is influenced by his/her role’s obligations and expectations.

2.3. Measurement of effective leadership

In a study done in 2008 to more than 1,000 police supervisors attending the FBI National Academy (NA) in Quantico, Virginia which involved 1,042 of the 1,071 (97.3 percent) NA attendees completed all or part of the survey, the survey concluded that efficacy of police chiefs who are effective leaders was most strongly linked with integrity, work ethic, communication, and care for personnel while ineffective leaders were characterized as failing to express these traits or were characterized as suffering from questionable ethics and integrity. The study revealed that 37.5 percent of respondents ranked honesty and integrity as the most important characteristics of an effective leader. The study also acknowledged that development of effective leaders and leadership practices is a persistent problem in policing (Schafer, 2009)

A study done in 2008 involving a total of 1,000 high public school teachers in Amman, Jordan which studied the behaviours of their principals using Kouzes and Posner’s LPI has shown that 550 school teachers represent 55 per cent of the targeted respondents of 1,000 have assessed their principals as moderately practising Kouzes and Posner’s leadership practices model and identified them as transformational which is also associated with effective leadership (Abu-Tineh et.al. 2008).

2.4. Integrity

Integrity is a concept commonly discussed in a formal and informal way and usually associated with leadership and organisational theory, but it is yet to be defined and theoretically understood (Rieke & Guastello, 1995) as cited in Parry and Proctor-Thomson (2002). Previous definitions on integrity indicated that integrity has been defined in different manner and in different forms due to different lines of research by previous researchers. This was conceded by Hooijberg et.al (2010) that the complexity regarding its meaning and interpretation makes it difficult to be understood. Hence, its broad dimensions had led to many researchers to associate it with ethics, honesty, trust, credibility, and character that have been used and applied interchangeably in many past literatures (Hooijberg et.al., 2010; Becker, 1998; Yukl & Van Fleet, 1990); Kouzes and Posner (2002); Ciulla (2004). In 2007 and 2009, Palanski and Yammarino cited in Hooijberg et. al. who successfully found evidence of relationship between integrity and honesty also asserted that it involves “matching deeds to words, a sense of morality and that it lies in the eyes of the beholder”. This was shared by Kirkpartrick and Locke (1991) and Covey (1992) described integrity as walking the talk “with no desire other than for the good of others”. This was supported by Mayer, Davis, and Schoorman, (1995) by stating that integrity should be more than walk the talk but is associated to an individual’s full commitment to underlying principles.

For Kolthoff et al. (2010) stated integrity has its foundation in ethics and Lawton (1998) asserted that ethics and integrity encapsulate a code of conduct as basis for actions. Notably some examples of ethics violation in public organizations include lying, cheating, rule-bending, stealing public property, harming others and so on (Ciulla, 2004). For Van der Wal; Huberts; Van Den Heuvel and Kolthoff (2006), they described integrity within organizational context to constitute ‘wholeness’ and in the Latin word -integritas – which means acting according to moral values, norms and rules and which must take place within the context and environment in which one works or operates and accepted by the members of the organisation.

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For integrity also means trust as Bennis (1989) stated that “integrity is the basis of trust” and Simons (1999) in asserting that trust of subordinates in leader’s behaviours is very important suggested behavioural integrity (BI) rather than self-perceived integrity or any statement on integrity as the main focus research on integrity to describe leadership’s style and behaviours as there often mismatch between actual values and enacted values of leader’s behaviour. The author duly admits that this has been the common flaw in public service where leaders normally ignore subordinates’ trust and in many instances they do not need subordinates’ trust as they probably feel proud to helm public organizations and hence could have acted on their own for selfish gain. It is here that mistrust and dishonesty exist within public organizations and as Kolthoff et al. (2010) pointed out that integrity is affected. Other researchers like Padilla, Hogan, and Kaiser (2007) also believed and argued that the occurrences of corruption, unethical and bad behaviours, mismanagement and so on perpetrated by people in position of power appointed in public organizations can be traced to issues of integrity. That is why integrity must be perceived as a moral courage and the will and willingness public servants ought to do and to go against what is not right and believes to be wrong (Kolade, 1999).

How integrity is important for leadership? Kirkpatrick and Locke (1991); Kouzes and Posner (2002) cited in Hooijberg et.al (2010) asserted that integrity is not only good for organizations but also to be an important trait of leaders. Becker (1998) argued that excellent leaders are people viewed and perceived to be high in integrity because they do not want to gain something out of organizational resources for selfish reasons. This is consistent with Badaracco and Ellsworth’s (1990) notion that leaders with values and integrity normally make decisions in accordance with the enacted values of the organization and for Kouzes and Posner, (2002) added that leaders with integrity would be able to convince followers that they are worth to be followed. While Kanungo and Mendonca (1996) cited in Parry and Proctor-Thomson (2002) also stated that integrity in leadership has become an increasing concern for business and organisations. To this, many theorists now believe that leadership without integrity may put the organisations at risk, (Morgan, 1993; Mowday, Porter & Steers, 1982; Posner & Schmidt, 1984).

Perhaps, the most important definition of integrity related to leadership was given by Tan Sri Mohd. Sidek Hassan who is the Chief Secretary to the government of Malaysia in his speech dated 25 Mac 2009 that integrity can be defined as “continuous adherence to moral principles, honesty, wholeness, the quality of being unimpaired; soundness”. He also reminded civil servants on the need to instil integrity especially on the role of leadership in public institutions in order to deliver high quality of service delivery (http://www.pmo.gov.my/ksn/?frontpage/speech/detail/1512. accessed 5th April 2011).

From the so many definitions of integrity mentioned above, it is clear that integrity plays an important role in establishing and maintaining high ethical standards in public organizations but it must start with the top echelon of the organizations which must be perceived to have integrity as without it the whole system and existing reform measures will be meaningless.

2.5. Measurement of integrity

Hogan and Kaiser (2010) in their study on How to assess (not to assess) the integrity of managers stated that various attempts have been made in the past to assess and measure integrity in leadership including using the Big Five Personality Theory as researcher like Allport (1937) and other moral philosophers linked leader’s integrity to personality and they believed that leader’s personality could influence individuals and groups behaviours. To this, measurement of leader’s personality using The Big Five Personality theory was a questionable issue related to how sound the integrity test works with leaders (Howard & Thomas, 2010) and although it can predict counterproductive work behaviour based on the three dimensions of personality theory: Conscientiousness, Agreeableness and Emotional Stability; but it does not measure counterproductive behaviours. Another critic for the theory was by Mischel (1977) who suggested that personality is most important in weak situations and of course in strong situation it could provide solid cues about leader’s appropriate behaviour which resulted in people’s supportive actions.

Hogan and Kaiser (2010) also stated that another measurement technique linked integrity to leader’s competency model theory and by using the data that delivered subordinates’ ratings of 672 directors and vice presidents employed by a Fortune 500 technology firm in the United States, this method defines integrity as a leadership competency and measures it using co-worker ratings of observed ethical behaviour. The test used 23-items to measure five competencies and integrity is one of them. The result of the competency test found that the behavioural ratings suggested only a negligible proportion of managers may have integrity issues and do not identify leaders with integrity issues as most of the items in the questionnaire only reflect the desirable end of integrity construct. The study also did not differentiate between high and low-performing managers, and hence cannot be used as an appropriate measurement to identify leaders with integrity issues.

What have been done by previous measurements only focused on positive behaviours of managers that might not have been able to identify leaders with integrity issues. However, using Craig and Gustafson (1998) measurement technique of Perceived Leader Integrity Scale (PLIS) which focussed on perception of unethical behaviours of leaders using only a short version of 8-items questionnaire survey rather than 32-items, Hogan and Kaiser (2010) in their study using data from 80 employed MBA students at a university in the South-Eastern United States has proven that this technique is a reliable way of assessing leaders with potential integrity issues as correlation and regression analyses using the PLIS suggested that trust and leader’s integrity is the primary determinant of employee attitudes and effective leadership perceptions. Apart from using PLIS, Hogan and Kaiser also used Leader Behaviour Description Questionnaire (LBDQ) developed by Stogdill (1963) in the study to assess the leaders’ effectiveness via two-factor of leader’s behaviour, that is, Initiating Structure and Consideration scales (10-items for each scale) and found that PLIS is the strongest predictor of all the three predictors and another result indicated that leader perceived integrity was highly correlated with consideration rather than initiating structure which means leaders need to pay more attention to the needs of the subordinates.

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So, this study will use the PLIS to measure perceived leader’s integrity from subordinates’ assessment in the focus area, that is, the selected Sabah state’s agencies in Kota Kinabalu.

2.6. Relationship between effective leadership and perceived integrity

Parry and Proctor-Thomson (2002) in their study on Perceived Integrity of Transformational Leaders in Organisational Settings involving 1,354 useable samples out of 6,025 managers in private and public organizations throughout New Zealand using both PLIS and MLQ to measure perceived leader integrity and effectiveness respectively found that there was positively significant correlation between leader perceived integrity and a range of leader effectiveness measures in which leader effectiveness was measured with items such as ‘satisfaction with leadership’, ‘perceived leader effectiveness’, ‘extra efforts from followers’ and ‘motivation of followers’.

A study done by Hooijberg et.al in 2010 involving 175 bureau chiefs and directors of a state government agency in the North-eastern USA taking part in a leadership-training program using 20-items survey of Competing Values Framework (CVF) to assess managers effectiveness through eight leadership roles: Producer, Director, Coordinator, Monitor, Mentor, Facilitator, Innovator and as Broker revealed that integrity has an above impact of leadership effectiveness followed by honesty and goal-orientation is the leadership role that bosses highly associated with leader’s effectiveness.

In addition to the above studies, other past literatures on the study of leadership focussed on the impact of leadership on organization and indicated it was the leadership’s role to protect and enhance the invulnerability of public agencies to threats of integrity as suggested by Selznick (1957) that the integrity of the institution is vulnerable to corruption if the leader fails to protect the ”institution’s distinctive values, competence and role”. The importance of leaders to demonstrate integrity was also studied by Gray (1985) and Fiedler (1995) as cited in Huse (1998) who argued that leaders will inspire others when they demonstrated integrity. This shows that leadership with integrity is vital to protect organization’s vulnerability to corruption as well as to inspire others to behave in a forthright and open-manner and lead the organization into the future which is part of leader’s demonstration of integrity.

The study by OECD in 2005 on Public Sector Integrity: A Framework for assessment regarding perception of integrity in all its member countries such as Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, New Zealand, Germay, Japan and host of other countries indicated that integrity in public agencies starts at the top and through leader’s actions and behaviour. Instilling a culture of integrity has to come from the top such as the senior management, head of department, governing board etc. Leaders in public organizations must keep integrity at the forefront activities so that employees can take their cues and examples from the top.

Other research also has shown that supervisors or leaders are the primary influence on the ethical behaviours of their subordinates (Morgan, 1993; Posner & Schmidt, 1984). Their contention is based on the belief that as integrity is also about ethical behaviours, this indicates that if leaders exercise ethical behaviour this will lead to larger implications on subordinates’ behaviours and behaviours of others in the organization. To this, an effective leadership must lead the initiatives to create an atmosphere where individuals in the organization feel safe to move forward to becoming an ideal and competitive organization. But this will depend on the leadership’s beliefs in motivation and competitive spirit of all members in the organization on the adherence to values of honesty, ethics, and trust.

What is important is a statement by Morgan (1993) who emphasized the ethical leadership’s positive impact on organisational effectiveness will result in ethical development which is very important to the leader’s success. Morgan also found that followers’ perception of leader’s ethics was positively related to their perceptions of leader’s effectiveness.

2.7. Summary of Literature Review

Based on the numerous definitions of integrity given by previous researchers such as Becker (1998), integrity is conceptualized as similar to honesty, trust, ethics, matching words with deeds and actions, and a commitment in actions to set of principles and values. In other words, integrity is about something ethical and morality in words and in actions in accordance with existing norms, cultures, values, processes, rules and laws in which managers and leaders in public organizations must adhere to in order to create and maintain public trust.

Previous studies indicated that effective leadership can be conceptualized and perceived using Kouzes and Posner’s (2002) Leadership Practices Inventory or LPI which emphasizes on leadership practices in five dimensions : Inspiring Vision, Model the Way, Challenge the process, Enable others to act and Encourage the heart. Recent study by Abu-Tineh et.al (2008) done in 2008 in Amman, Jordan involving a sample of 550 school teachers resulted in the school teachers assessed their school principals as having practiced Kouzes and Posner’s leadership practices and has identified them as transformational which is also related to effective leadership.

The leader’s integrity can be perceived by using Craig and Gustafson’s (1998) Perceived Leader Integrity Scale of PLIS in which Parry and Proctor-Thomson in 2002 has conducted a study on a sample of 1,354 private and public managers in New Zealand using PLIS and found a moderate to positive relationship between perceived leader integrity and transformational leadership behaviours measured using Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ).

Other previous literatures also pinpointed to the needs for perceived effective leadership to possess moral values such as honesty, trust and ethics or in other words integrity to maintain trust and create followers’ positive perception of leader’s effectiveness and integrity to bring the desired impact to the organizations.

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