Work Alienation and Organizational Leadership

20 Pages Posted: 13 Sep 2003

See all articles by J.C. Sarros

J.C. Sarros

Monash University - Department of Management

G.A. Tanewski

Daedalus Consulting Group

R. P. Winter

University of New South Wales - School of Economics Management

J.C. Santora

Daedalus Consulting Group

Abstract

This study examines the extent to which a leader's behaviour (i.e. transactional and transformational styles) and aspects of an organization's structure (i.e. centralization, formalization dimensions) directly and/or indirectly relate to elements of work alienation (i.e. powerlessness, meaninglessness, self estrangement). The study utilized structural equation modeling techniques to estimate the goodness of fit of a leadership-organizational structure-work alienation model based on the responses of personnel in a major US eastern seaboard fire department (a bureaucratic, quasi-military type organization) (= 326). Goodness of fit statistics indicate good fit to the observed data. Results show that transformational leadership was associated with lower work alienation, whereas transactional leadership was associated with higher work alienation. Organizational structure was not significantly predictive of work alienation, but was negatively associated with transformational leadership and positively associated with transactional leadership. The significant indirect effects between organizational structure and work alienation, and between organizational structure and transformational leadership, provide further evidence that the leadership style of the organization has a more significant impact on feelings of work alienation than antecedent conditions such as organization rigidity. The study argues that managers as well as leaders need to question bureaucratic orientations to work and manager-employee relations by rethinking their value orientations and adapting new models that encourage individual fulfilment, learning and personal development.

Suggested Citation

Sarros, James C. and Tanewski, G.A. and Winter, R. P. and Santora, J.C., Work Alienation and Organizational Leadership. British Journal of Management, Vol. 13, pp. 285-304, 2002. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=371181

James C. Sarros (Contact Author)

Monash University - Department of Management ( email )

Wellington Road
Clayton, Victoria 3168
Australia

G.A. Tanewski

Daedalus Consulting Group

Normandy Beach, NJ
United States

R. P. Winter

University of New South Wales - School of Economics Management

High Street
Sydney, NSW 2052
Australia

J.C. Santora

Daedalus Consulting Group

Normandy Beach, NJ
United States

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