Managers' leadership style and the commitment of their team members: associating concepts in search of possible relations.

Autorda Silva, Priscila Lopes

1 Introduction

This work is the result of research intended to identify how managers' leadership styles influence the commitment of their team members.

Studies such as de Sa and Lemoine (1998) and Bycio, Hackett and Allen (1995) show that leadership style influences the organizational commitment of individuals. High levels of commitment, according to Royal (2012), are not sustainable without working conditions that support the employee. In order to keep them committed over time it is necessary that they can rely on the organization's support for two main elements: optimized functions and an environment of support. In both, there is direct action from managers.

Considering that the contemporary competitive environment of organizations has led to the understanding that their employees are their most valuable assets, leadership and commitment are being identified as the key assets of high performance organizations (Yozgat, Serim & Dikmen, 2014).

There are, in the literature, studies that relate the organizational commitment and leadership themes. The work by Weaver and Yancey (2010), Mehta and Maheshwari (2013), Yozgat et al. (2014), and Colbert, Barrick and Bradley (2014) are examples. However, in Brazil, specifically in the area of Public Administration and in Business, Accounting, and Tourism, whose journals classified in the QQualis/Capes are found in the SPELL electronic library collection, there are few studies done on these themes together.

Research conducted on this basis pointed to the existence of only six articles that combine in their titles the terms commitment and leadership or commitment and leader, one of which uses the term leader to refer to companies, not managers. Thus, the five articles related to the theme are: Marques, Medeiros, Franca and Ribeiro (2007), Maciel and Nascimento (2013), Fernandes, Siqueira and Vieira (2014), Nogueira, Costa and Claro (2015), and Zanini, Santos and Lima (2015). However, none of them presents the perspective adopted in this study involving, simultaneously, the three styles of leadership present in the Leadership Style Assessment Scale (EAEG) and the seven components of commitment, according to the Organizational Commitment Scale (EBACO).

Thus, it is understood that this study, unlike the few already published in Brazil establishing the relationship between the two themes, allows us to associate the commitment construct with the styles that, as Melo (2004) argues, permeate most research on leadership: relationship, task, and situation.

In view of the above, this raised interest in answering the following question: What are the relationships between leadership styles and organizational commitment?

In order to address the proposal of this study, the following specific objectives were outlined: to determine the level of commitment of team members; to look for correlations between the level of commitment of team members and the profile of the sample; to identify managers' leadership styles; to look for correlations between managers' leadership styles and the profile of the sample; to analyze the correlation between commitment (team members) and leadership style (managers).

The study contributes to the literature indicating the positive relationship between the leadership styles adopted and some of the components of commitment, with the following results being positive: situational leadership style and general commitment; relationship-oriented leadership style and the affiliate component; and task-oriented leadership style and the normative component.

The relevance of the results is supported by Balci (2003), for whom employees with a higher level of commitment tend to contribute more to organizational goals, being more productive, handling more work responsibilities, and being more loyal and satisfied, directly affecting organizational results. In addition, and in agreement with Leite (2008), and Leite and Albuquerque (2011), managers, in exercising a direct influence on the process of gaining commitment, help maintain a cooperative/ relational psychological contract, with the development of solidarity, and sustained by values that help create organizational identity, increase commitment, and bring people together.

2 Organizational Commitment

Organizational commitment came to be investigated more frequently based on the work of Mowday, Porter and Steers (1982). In Brazil, it was in the 1990s that research focused on the theme was consolidated, with the pioneering works of Borges-Andrade, Cameschi and Silva (1990), and Bastos (1993). Some examples of recently published studies on the subject are: Silva, Leite and Rodrigues (2016); Cappi and Araujo (2015); Cardozo, Araujo and Silva (2015); Marques, Borges, Morais and Silva (2014); Oliveira, Cabral, Pessoa, Santos and Roldan (2014); Maciel and Nascimento (2013), and Lemos, Cavazotte and Nogueira (2012).

Beginning in the 1990s, commitment began to be studied as a multidimensional phenomenon, and studies were developed using the idea that there always exists more than one focus on organizational commitment. This vision of Meyer and Allen is, according to Medeiros, Albuquerque, Marques and Siqueira (2005), the one that best summarizes this perspective in calling these aspects or dimensions of the components of commitment, namely: affective - denotes the employee's identification and involvement with a given organization; instrumental - associated with the amount of loss with the employee's exit from the company; normative - denotes the employee's willingness to remain in the organization by virtue of a sense of moral obligation to it.

Using as references the work by O'Reilly and Chatman (1986), Meyer, Allen and Smith (1993), as well as others that also contributed indicators not found in these two studies, Medeiros (2003) carried out research that pointed to seven components of organizational commitment. These compose the Organizational Commitment Scale (EBACO), validated and intended for the Brazilian context, whose components and indicators are presented below, in Table 1:

In the model by Medeiros et al. (2005), from which came the EBACO, the instrumental component was divided into three parts (existence of few alternatives; imbalance in the relation between rewards and contributions; and feeling of engagement in consistent lines of activity). And the normative was divided into two parts (obligation to remain and obligation to achieve the organization's objectives).

There is a wide range of studies on this topic. In addition to those already mentioned, some others will be highlighted, taking into account their contribution to the analysis of the results found in the present study. Although Meyer, Stanley, Herscovitch and Topolnytsky (2002) understand that the correlations between commitment and personal characteristics tend to appear weak or even inconsistent, Honorio and Ribeiro (2014) argue that a greater commitment can be associated with older individuals, those with more time in the organization, a higher level job, better compensation. From this perspective, some of the results indicated in the literature follow.

The study by Yoshitake, Fraga, Torres and Passos (2009) found that, in the case of the affective component, the mean for the operational position was statistically different from the mean for the leadership position. Employees who do not hold a leadership position appear more affectively committed to the company than those who occupy such a position, in that study, the supervisory position. In contrast, Costa, Moraes and Cancado (2008) found that the instrumental component had a significant difference when it came to the position held, and those who did not hold a leadership position showed greater instrumental commitment, presenting higher means than the others. Those who held a leadership position, on the other hand, demonstrated greater commitment of the affective type.

Martins (2013) points out that normative commitment is more significant in the age groups between 36-40 years and 51-55 years. The other ranges show reduced variation, despite the noted tendency of normative commitment to be higher in the more advanced age groups. In this regard, Nawaz and Kundi (2010) point out that as one ages, one's sense of obligations also gains maturity. In addition, the opportunities for change decrease. As a result, older people have greater organizational commitment compared to younger people. The study by Suri and Petchsawang (2018) corroborates this view, finding as a result the greatest commitment in those who are 50 or older.

Other works also found similar results. Bandeira (1999) shows that older people, over 35 years of age, are more committed, in agreement with Bastos (1993) and Honorio and Ribeiro (2014), who also argue that commitment increases with age. In addition, Chang's (2001) study shows that the older the employee, the greater the pride of belonging. In this case, it is inferred that affective commitment should be greater.

Regarding years worked, Honorio and Ribeiro (2014) indicate that length of service is significantly associated with the commitment of the group of teachers who had worked less than six years at the institution, presenting greater organizational commitment than their peers with a greater length of service. The study by Suri and Petchsawang (2018), on the other hand, points out that the level of organizational commitment increases as employees progress in their positions and move up the hierarchy, gain more experience, and spend more time in their organizations. Thus, position and years of experience are positively related to commitment.

Costa, Moraes and Cancado (2008), in contrast, suggest that there is no significant relationship between commitment and length of service in the company. Similarly, research by Akintayo (2010) revealed that there is no significant difference in organizational commitment between participants with more than 10 years of work...

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