Leadership styles: a predictor of employee wellbeing in the current economic climate

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Maher, Elizabeth
Issue Date
BA in Psychology
Dublin Business School
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The primary aim of this study is to investigate to what extent the style of leadership predicts employee psychological wellbeing. While the secondary aim of this study is to investigate the extent the type of coping and Type A personalities predict psychological wellbeing. The importance of this study is to help identify the most cost productive type of managerial or leadership style within the workplace which is of grave importance within the current economic climate. This current study employed a between-subject design whereby participants (N=147) were randomly selected and invited to participate by completing a questionnaire. The dependent variable, health outcome prediction (GHQ) was constant. The main predictor and independent variable was leadership style (Q1) and had four conditions. The secondary predictors were the four different types of coping styles: avoidant; approach; altered consciousness and seeking support along with Type A personality. While some respondents were known to the researcher, a snowballing method was employed to distribute and collect questionnaires to maintain anonymity and encourage unbiased responses. Within this current study, the results of a one-way ANOVA test, with the GHQ as the dependent variable for question 1 on the questionnaire, on the different styles of leader/manager as the independent variable shows that between participants perception for one of the four types of manager there is no significant difference in the reported GHQ: F = 4.05, p>.001. However, there was the exception of that between the autocratic leader and the transformational leader. Those who perceived their manager/leader as autocratic reported a mean GHQ of 3.829 which was significantly higher than those who reported their leader as transformational with a GHQ mean of 1.375. Correlation tests run between GHQ and the four types of coping and Type A personality showed that there is a significant positive relationship with the four types of coping while there is no significant relationship with Type A personality, p>0.001. This result, with respect to Type A personality, does not uphold previous literature. A regression with GHQ as the outcome measure showed that R squared was .209 and the Adjusted R squared .186 indicating that 18.6% of the variance on GHQ scores could be explained by the four types of coping. However, coefficients show that the two significant predictors were avoidance coping (Beta=.314, p=.001) and seeking support (Beta=.240, p=.012). It is concluded that while there is positive relationship between transformational management/leadership style and employee psychological health, there is a negative relationship between autocratic management/leadership style and employee psychological health. It is also conceded that coping skills are not effective in preventing a negative psychological health outcome while the result on Type A personality in inconclusive. This study supports the findings of Wynne and Rafferty, 1999 in that that the most effective response that a company could make when developing a stress prevention strategy was to improve management styles.