Building momentum: Leadership style and team effectiveness for new leaders in transition

by Pape, Philip B., Ph.D., CAPELLA UNIVERSITY, 2011, 140 pages; 3481363


Successfully managing leadership transitions is an important component of organizational strategy. The first several months of a new leader's tenure are pivotal toward the success of his or her team. Employee loyalty has declined, the pace of change in a globalized economy has increased, and numerous internal and external pressures contribute to turnover. As a result, nearly half of new leaders fail within 18 months. With the costs of leadership turnover and failure so high, organizations and new leaders would benefit from a formal assimilation and development plan linking behaviors to outcomes. However, the empirical evidence on what factors contribute to success during a new leader's transition, as measured by the effectiveness of the team, is scarce. The purpose of this study was to test the relationship between leadership style and team effectiveness for new leaders during transition, specifically for professional knowledge-based work teams. The study sought to contribute to the integration of several recent theories of leadership transition and team effectiveness with a focus on the transformational leadership model. The researcher tested the theory that a new leader who shares more qualities with the transformational leadership style than with transactional or laissez-faire leadership styles is associated with greater productivity, level of social processes, and individual well-being for members of his or her team. The hypotheses were tested using a quantitative, non-experimental survey design. Responses from 529 employees on professional knowledge-based work teams in medium and large U.S. companies were gathered using the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ) by Mind Garden and the team outcome sections of the Team Diagnostic Survey (TDS) by Dr. J. R. Hackman. Results indicated that there is greater team effectiveness—represented by team productivity, team social processes, and individual well-being—associated with transformational leadership than with the other leadership styles for new leaders. The results also indicated a high correlation with the higher-order attribute of transactional leadership. Consequently, the findings suggest that organizations and individuals should focus on developing transformational and higher-order transactional attributes in the early phase of a team leadership tenure in order to build momentum and positively influence team outcomes.

AdviserJohn Machnic
Source TypeDissertation
SubjectsManagement; Organizational behavior
Publication Number3481363

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