Author: Chan, Tak-shing Antony
Title: The impact of subordinates' professionalism on leadership effectiveness in the construction industry
Degree: Ph.D.
Year: 2005
Subject: Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Construction industry -- Management
Organizational effectiveness
Department: Department of Building and Real Estate
Pages: xvii, 272 leaves : ill. (some col.) ; 30 cm.
Language: English
Abstract: Professionalism is often considered as the extent to which skilled personnel are committed to their profession and their work, which is characterized by a set of attributes including a commitment to professional organisation and profession, and a strong belief in altruistic service, self-regulation and autonomy. Previous research suggested that professionalism among skilled personnel served as a form of resistance and control for coping with the leadership behaviour of their leaders. It was revealed that professionalism, as possessed by professional subordinates, would reduce their need for dependence on task-related information and reduce the effects of leadership from their leaders. In fact, professionalism is considered one of the key-determining factors prevailing in leadership research of professionals working in organizations. In this regard, it is particularly relevant and significant to have a thorough understanding of how subordinates' professionalism influences their work outcomes under different leadership styles. The purpose of this study is to empirically analyse professionalism as a moderating variable in the leader-subordinate relationship. Specifically, it explores the effects of subordinates' professionalism on the relationships between transformational, transactional and laissez-faire leadership styles, and subordinates' work outcomes in the construction industry. A conceptual model is constructed to explain the hypothesized relationships. The main objectives of this study are: - to investigate the level of professionalism among professional subordinates. - to examine the leadership styles of building professional leaders as perceived by their professional subordinates. - to examine the relationships between leadership styles and subordinates' work outcomes. - to analyse the moderating effects of subordinates' professionalism on the relationships between leadership styles and subordinates' work outcomes (subordinates' extra effort, leader effectiveness perceived by subordinates, and subordinates' satisfaction with leaders).
A cross-section of 510 qualified building professionals, stratified by professional affiliation (architects, structural engineers and surveyors) and countries (Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, and the United Kingdom), was drawn to explicate the identified issues from a cross-national perspective. Questionnaire survey through electronic mails was adopted as the primary instrument of data collection. This study is based on two main hypotheses: (1) Leadership styles (transformational, transactional and laissez-faire) are significantly correlated with subordinates' work outcomes (subordinates' extra effort, perceived leader effectiveness and satisfaction with leaders). (2) Subordinates' professionalism has a significant moderating effect on the relationships between leadership styles and subordinates' work outcomes. The findings of this study support the proposition that transformational and transactional leadership are in general positively correlated with subordinates' work outcomes while laissez-faire leadership showed negative effects. The results further support that transformational leadership can augment transactional leadership to produce more effective subordinates' work outcomes. The results of moderated regression analyses suggest that subordinates' professionalism has different moderating effects dependent upon the type of leadership styles and the type of subordinates' work outcomes. The results of this study reveal that high levels of professionalism among subordinates serve to enhance the positive relationships between transformational leadership and subordinates' work outcomes. However, these same high levels of professionalism will differently neutralise or exacerbate the impact of transactional leadership on subordinates' work outcomes. They will also exacerbate the negative relationships between laissez-faire leadership and subordinates' work outcomes. All in all, the findings of this study suggest that appropriate use of leadership styles for the management of professionals in organisations can lead to more effective work outcomes in subordinates. Taken together, transformational leadership is more compatible with and conducive to a professional culture in organisations in the built environment than either transactional or laissez-faire leadership.
Rights: All rights reserved
Access: open access

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