Economic Topics
Core Competence
Leadership behaviour in successful organisations: Universal or situation-dependent?
Time:2022-01-22 16:50

Johan Larssona and Stig Vinbergb,c 

a Department of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Mid Sweden University, Campus O¨stersund, 831 25 O¨stersund, Sweden; b Swedish National Institute of Public Health; c Department of Health Sciences, Mid Sweden University, Campus O¨stersund, 831 25 O¨stersund, Sweden


Leadership behaviour has a critical role in the creation of successful organisations. This article reviews dimensions of leadership behaviour theory and their relationship to effectiveness, productivity, quality, health and job satisfaction in organisations. The article has two purposes: (1) to identify and summarise leadership behaviours common among successful organisations; and (2) to use these common elements to discuss those theoretical implications which concern situational aspects of successful leadership behaviour. The successful organisations studied for this work were two manufacturing companies, one hospital and one retail operation. The case studies were performed in connection with two leadership research projects. They focused on quality work, effectiveness, working environment, subordinate health and perceptions of the leadership. The common leadership behaviours were explored using a comparative qualitative method. The identified common leadership behaviours were then analysed in relation to the three-dimensional leadership behaviour theory (change-, structure- and relation-orientation) to explore distributions between dimensions. Nine common groups of behaviours were identified and described. The qualitative analyses showed that the identified behaviours were in all three behaviour dimensions. Also evident was that relation-oriented leadership behaviour was by far the strongest of the three. The conclusion is that a successful leader uses high relation-orientation as a base. At the same time, this successful leader uses all three behaviour dimensions. The two additional dimensions of structure- and change orientation can be altered by leaders according to situational factors. This conclusion implies that successful leadership behaviour includes both universal and contingency elements.


Keywords: leadership; leadership behaviour; quality; quality management; health; job satisfaction; productivity; effectiveness


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