Leadership Style And Employee Attitudes In Turkish Management Culture

Abstract

Leaders take on many different roles in organizational life and aim to reach the goals of the organization, provide coordination in the process of achieving success, balance with the environment and organize the internal dynamics of the organization. For the companies and the organizations operating in Turkey; social structures, values, beliefs, organizational culture has an influence on leadership styles, and it is important to examine leadership styles effects on determining the role stress and job performance of individuals in terms of the achieving the goals of the organization. In this study, in the context of behavioral leadership, in the Turkish management culture, the task and people-oriented leadership style's effects on job performance, role ambiguity, and role conflict are examined in a broader perspective. This study has been carried out in five medium and large sized enterprises operating in Kocaeli. The results suggest that people-oriented leadership style plays a significant role in reducing the role stress and increasing job performance in Turkish management culture. The findings of the study could provide a significant contribution to the managerial applications with the reduction of the role stress and the increase of the job performance of the employees.

Keywords: Turkish management cultureleadershiprole stress

Introduction

In the course of time, businesses have needed new management understandings and leaders in order to adapt to the ever-changing environment created by the economy, technology and social change. In the development process of their understanding of management, leaders have emphasized '' efficiency, system, strategy, culture and continuous innovation '' and issues that put them into effect (Erdem, 1996). Especially since the 1980s, the concept of culture has been studied prominently and the solutions have been sought on the basis of this concept to the constant and incoherent pace of change. In an environment where change and globalization are building a new version of it each day, it is possible to foresee the effects of it on the management process, to know the behaviors of the human resources which are perceived as the most strategic source of the organizations in the last period, and to evaluate the dynamics that give way to the behavior of these individuals. Organizations operate in a particular environment, and within this environment; the structure of culture, which includes specific characteristics, value judgments, and certain behavioral patterns, play a decisive role. It can be said that the culture is a factor that directs the operations of the enterprise and is a significant issue in terms of management (Erdoğan, 1991). Also as Peter Drucker mentioned: the management is seen as a process of bringing individuals together in a common ground to reach a certain goal and establishes a very close relationship with the structure of culture and society (Drucker, 2000). Hofstede (1983), who has studied the influence of culture on the management and has a decisive influence in the literature; examined the national culture within the framework of cultural dimension theory in terms of '' power distance, uncertainty avoidance, individualism and collectivism and masculinity and feminism '' and summarized the characteristics of the Turkish management culture as showing a feministic characteristic, having high tendency to uncertainty avoidance, responding uncertainty avoidance by increasing the level of power distance , behaving in a way that keeps the interests of the community above their individual interests, respecting the social hierarchy, loyalty and trust are the forerunners, being less individualistic more collectivistic and having external control focus. Moreover, it is stated that the Turkish manager exhibits a people-oriented leadership style even in the conditions where the task-oriented leadership should be exhibited, and it originated from the culture that formed itself (Sargut, 2001). In this study, in the context of behavioral leadership, in the Turkish management culture, the task and people-oriented leadership style's effects on job performance, role ambiguity, and role conflict are examined in a broader perspective. Leaders take on many different roles in organizational life and aim to reach the goals of the organization, provide coordination in the process of achieving success, balance with the environment and organize the internal dynamics of the organization (Çekmecelioğlu, 2014). In this context, the findings of the study about leadership styles exhibited in the Turkish management culture could provide significant guidance contributions to the managerial applications, with the reduction of the role stress and the increase of the job performance of the employees.

Literature Review and Theoretical Framework

Organizational Culture and The Characteristics of The Turkish Management Culture

Hofstede (1983), who has studied the influence of culture on the management and has a decisive influence in the literature; examined the national culture within the framework of cultural dimension theory in terms of '' power distance, uncertainty avoidance, individualism and collectivism and masculinity and feminism ''. Power distance is about how the society treats the fact that the less powerful ones are strongly unequal (Hofstede, 1983). In organizations, the power distance level depends on the centralization of authority and the degree of autocratic leadership. In cultures with high-level power distance, the hierarchy emerges as an important management feature and the relationship between subordinates and superiors shows a strict hierarchical character (Hofstede, 2011)

Another dimension is the uncertainty avoidance and it is what the reaction of individuals to changing circumstances in social life practice and what they are doing to avoid them. Uncertainty is an unignorable fact and part of life practice, While this situation is accepted in some societies, it is considered as an element to be avoided in some other societies (Hofstede, 1983). Societies with a low level of uncertainty avoidance assess uncertainty as "defeating the future". The uncertainty avoidance; it is not about the low level of risk capacity but about how societies describe it and how they deal with the unexpected situations (Hofstede, 2011).

Another dimension is individualism-collectivism. It is believed that everybody should be interested in the values that their group cares about and should not have any other opinions or beliefs other than the opinions and beliefs of the group. As a result, the community protects them in difficult conditions and circumstances. Individualistic societies are considered to be loosely and collectivistic societies are tightly integrated (Hofstede, 1983) and the tightness and loosening of social ties are relevant to the superiority of the individual's priorities to the community's priorities (Hofstede, 2011).

The status of femininity and masculinity is closely related to the gender-dependent distribution of roles in society. The distribution of this role varies in different society. The concepts associated with feminine societies; "Compassionate, gentle, loyal," and masculine societies can be described as "aggressive, athletic and competitor, dominant and oppressive, self-confident, independent " (Sargut, 2001)

Hofstede's (1983) study results about Turkey can be summarised as that it exhibits "high-level power distance, low level individualistic, high-level uncertainty avoidance and feminine characteristics". Again parallel to these findings, in researches on local scale, as Sargut (2001) stated; contrary to the expectation, Turkish Society exhibits feministic characteristic, having high level of uncertainty avoidance, responding high level of uncertainty avoidance by increasing the level of power distance, behaving in a way that keeps the interests of the community above their individual interests, respects the social hierarchy, loyalty and trust are the forerunners, less individualistic more collectivistic. In addition to these, it is estimated that the locus of control is external, having a resistance to change, and the expectations from their leaders are different from western societies.

For the companies and the organizations operating in Turkey; social structures, values, beliefs, organizational culture has an influence on leadership styles exhibited by leaders, and it is important to examine leadership styles effect on determining the role stress and job performance of individuals.

Behavioral Leadership, Task and People-Oriented Leadership Styles

Many definitions have been made about the concept of leader and leadership. The Leadership is defined as "motivating others to act towards one purpose, using authority to make decisions" (Çekmecelioğlu, 2014). Again as stated by Çekmecelioğlu (2014); leaders take on many different roles in organizational life and aim to reach the goals of the organization, provide coordination in the process of achieving success, balance with the environment and organize the internal dynamics of the organization. Organizations are made up of individuals with different understandings and needs, and because of the broad definition of leadership, different theories try to explain it. To mention the main theories; these are trait theory, behavioral leadership theory, situational leadership theory and new approaches in leadership (Robbins, 1998; Eren, 2001; Koçel, 2005). In this study, the theory of behavioral leadership was taken into consideration because it examines the leadership behaviors and how these behaviors affect the members and performances of the organizations at the Turkish management culture in the managerial process. In the scope of the Behavioral Leadership Theory, which examines the behavior of the leader in managerial practice, Leadership studies at Ohio State University, The studies of the University of Michigan Institute, Blake and Mouton's Managerial Grid Matrix, and Likert's System 4 approach and Leadership behavior scale studies have considered the leader's behavior in two dimensions which are the task and people-oriented (Çekmecelioğlu, 2014). One of these two dimensions, people oriented leaders; individuals who are aware of the needs and desires of the individual, who attach importance to them and accept individual differences (Robbins, 2000). They also exhibit a behavior that is closely related to the personal development of the employees, which is based on the delegation of authority, trying to improve the conditions of the organization in order to increase employee job satisfaction (Koçel, 2015). Task-oriented leaders mainly focus on the realization of tasks (Robbins, 2000). They are individuals who control their work according to pre-determined principles and methods and use formal authority in a widespread manner (Koçel, 2015). It is stated that the employees with people-oriented leaders who give importance to their employees are satisfied and motivated by their work, and the employees with highly task-oriented leaders who are motivated to work have an increase in corporate productivity (Robbins & Judge, 2015).

Role Ambiguity and Role Conflict as Role Stress Sources

The "role structure" in the organization is a decisive factor in reaching the targets that organizations determine. The concept of role is defined as "the pattern of expected behaviors of certain positions that individuals possess within the organizational structure" (Tınaz, 2009). In the study entitled "The Study of Man," Linton made a statement that " Role is the dynamic part of the status" and It has been stated that the rights and responsibilities of an individual within a particular social group are specified and that the role is defined, that is, what can and cannot be done within the status frame (Erdoğan, 1991) It also refers to the way the individual perceives his position within the organization. It is important for the individual to reach the goals of the organization in order to exhibit the situation in the group and the behaviors accordingly.

In a working environment, groups are defined by a structure and this relationship between individuals differs according to their goals. At this point, the role makes the complex relationship and making it clearer and enables the individual to approach the process in a meaningful and clear way in reaching its goals. The role of the individual in this process; is categorized into two groups; situational and personal factors. Situational factors are '' Task requirements, leadership style, position in communication pattern '' and personal factors are "Values, attitudes, motivation, talent and personality" (Tınaz, 2009)

Role ambiguity is defined as the lack of clear instructions related to the work (Rizzo, House & Lirtzman, 1970). It is also stated that the information required to fulfill the task is inadequate, and not be known exactly what is expected of him (Sager, 1994). Role ambiguity is seen in situations where expectations are not formally predicted, and where the change is continuous and rapid (Tınaz, 2009). Again, this environment psychologically pushes the individual to insecurity and reduces employee motivation and interest. In addition, the two sources that role ambiguity mainly feeds are organization and individual (Basım, 2010). Another source of role stress is role conflict and it has many definitions in the literature. The widely accepted definition is that a person who has to fulfill more than one role at the same time, consider one of the role requirements more than the others (Erdoğan, 1991). This concept could be evaluated that individual has multiple roles and the incompatibility exists in this case. Pearce (1981) emphasizes the concepts of '' uncertainty '' and '' lack of information '' as common points of definitions. Also, he describes one of the structural antecedents of role ambiguity is “formalization”.

Job Performance

Job performance is a crucial issue that is being examined by researchers, managers, employees and all stakeholders as a whole. In achieving the goals and sustainable competitive advantage, high-performing employees and the factors that affect them are important. Individual and group performance is an indication of how the individual can reach the targets and standards set for him/herself in the direction of the goal he/she wants to achieve the job. The organizational performance also describes the total performance of the system (Çekmecelioğlu, 2014). In this study, job performance is defined as the achieving of business objectives, production of products with quality standards, completion of work on time, and resolution of problems, and it was considered a perceptual condition.

Relations Between Task and People Oriented Leadership Style and Role Ambiguity, Role Conflict and Job Performance

Leaders take on many different roles and aim to achieve the organization's goals, provide coordination, balance with the environment and organize the organization's internal dynamics. In this process, the leader behaves in a specific leadership style and this behavior has some consequences for the organization and the employees (Çekmecelioğlu, 2014). In this study It is examined the results of leadership style in terms of employee attitudes and behaviors; studies in the literature have been examined, findings of the relationships between task and people-oriented leadership style and role ambiguity, role conflict, and job performance are shared. It is known that the leaders have a remarkable effect on the success of the organization (Hennessey, 1998). It has been determined that the leaders' task (production, work) and people-oriented behaviors have different results. While the leader's task-oriented style increases production and productivity, people-oriented leadership style increases the job satisfaction of employees (Northcraft & Neale, 1990; Robbins, 2000). Also, some studies show that task and people-oriented leadership style have positive effects on employee attitudes, does not affect productivity, on the other hand, task-oriented leadership style does not have a clear effect on attitudes or productivity (Mullins, 1996; Wagner & Hollenbeck, 1992). Some researchers point out that there is no significant relationship between leadership orientation and job performance (Waldman, Ramirez, House, & Puranam, 2001). And also some studies mentioned that leadership is considered as one of the key driving forces for improving firm performance (Zhu, Chew & Spangler; 2005). In addition, in a study conducted in the tourism sector, it has been found that the perceptions of task and people-oriented leadership styles are positively related to employees' task and contextual performance, and that employee perception of people-oriented leadership is higher than task-oriented leadership perceptions (Özdevecioğlu & Kanıgür; 2015). According to the general results of a study at the University of Michigan; highly productive departments have been achieved that managers are closer and more people oriented (employee-centered) to their employees and managers of low-level productive departments are task oriented (production centered) supervisors. In addition to this, at the study, it is concluded that people oriented (employee-centered) managers have more effective results than task oriented (production centered) supervisors and that employee satisfaction was not directly related to productivity and the type of supervision was the key to their performance (Luthans, 2011). However, in a study conducted in businesses with high-performance in Turkey, it has concluded that the 'people-oriented leadership with initiative focus increases the organizational performance " (Özşahin & Zehir, 2011).

As indicated by Tinaz (2009); the work stress is considered as one of the most effective factors of job satisfaction, job performance, productivity, absenteeism and employee turnover, and the primary situational factors that determine work stress due to roles and role-related issue are job requirements and leadership style. Also, House and Rizzo (1972) mentioned in their study that there is a negative relationship between "task-oriented leadership", "formal practices" and role ambiguity. It is stated that the role conflict that will be experienced in the organization is decreasing the organizational effectiveness (Erdoğan, 1991). Another study which is aimed to determine the relationship between the supportive supervisor and role ambiguity and performance shows that there is a negative relationship between supervisor support and role ambiguity (Zhou, Martinez, Ferreira, & Rodrigues, 2016). As mentioned by Çekmecelioglu (2014), In some studies; the production (work) oriented leadership approach is considered similar to the autocratic leadership approach, and the employee-oriented leadership approach is considered similar to the democratic leadership approach. In this context, in a study on organizations in China, authoritarian supervisors cause employees to perceive their job roles as conflicted, ambiguous, and overloaded and there is a negative relationship between the authoritarian leadership (task (production)-oriented leadership style) and role conflict and ambiguity ( Zhang & Xie, 2017).

Chen and Silverthorne (2005) mentioned that there are established influences of the leadership style on ‘‘the job performance, satisfaction, stress, and turnover intention''. In addition to this; another study examining the effects of job stress, which is the result of leadership behaviors and their effects on subordinates shows that leader behaviors do relate to the degree of stress experienced by their staffs (Offermann & Hellmann, 1996). The study conducted by Azmsha Mehdipour, & Heydarinejad, (2012) shows that there was a significant relationship between the task-oriented leadership style and job stress but not any significant relationship between the relation-oriented leadership style and job stress. As mentioned at the beginning of the literature section, the cultural characteristics of Turkish society and management could be summarized that it has feministic characteristic, having high level of uncertainty avoidance, responding it by increasing the level of power distance to uncertainty, as a result of this having a high power distance, behaving in a way that keeps the interests of the community above their individual interests, respects the social hierarchy, loyalty and trust are the forerunners, less individualistic more collectivistic and have an external locus of control (Sargut, 2001). Moreover, It is stated that the Turkish manager exhibits a people-oriented leadership style even in the conditions where the task-oriented leadership should be exhibited, and it originated from the culture that formed itself (Sargut, 2001). A tendency to belong to a group and be well adjusted to this group is intensely experienced in Turkish management culture, and even in the conditions where the task-oriented leadership should be exhibited, leaders exhibit people-oriented leadership style. In this context Power distance and collectivism were negatively related to role ambiguity and positively related to role overload and leaders play an important role in resolving the role stresses in the high-power-distance country and organization (Peterson et.al, 1995). The hypotheses formed in this framework are as follows:

H1: Task-oriented leadership style has a significant negative effect on role ambiguity

H2: People –oriented leadership style has a significant negative effect on role ambiguity

H3: Task –oriented leadership style has a significant negative effect on role conflict.

H4: People –oriented leadership style has a significant negative effect on role conflict

H5: Role ambiguity has a significant positive effect on role conflict.

H6: Task -oriented leadership style has a significant positive effect on job performance.

H7: People-oriented leadership style has a significant positive effect on job performance.

H8: Role ambiguity has a significant negative effect on job performance.

H9: Role conflict has a significant negative effect on job performance.

Research Method

Sample and Data Collection

The purpose of this paper is to describe and analyze the mutual relationships among task oriented and people oriented leadership styles, role ambiguity and role conflict and job performance. In order to empirically investigate the hypotheses, the research was carried out in five small and medium-sized enterprises operating in Kocaeli. A total of 215 questionnaires among small and medium-sized firms has returned. The mean age of the participants were 30,47; the proportion of men, 90%, and married 81%. Of the participants, %36 had university educations and %1 had a master degree.

Analyses

The constructs in our study are developed by using measurement scales adopted from prior studies. All constructs are measured using five-point Likert scales with anchors strongly disagree (= 1) and strongly agree (= 5). Items for measuring Leadership style (17 items) is adapted from Clark’s (2004) Managerial Grid-scale. Role stress is measured using six items- three for role ambiguity and three for role conflict- from Rizzo et al.`s (1970) role stress scale. Job performance of employees was measured with four items adapted from Kirkman and Rosen (1999). Since the scales were used with a new sample all scale items were submitted to exploratory factor analysis separately. We used the Cronbach's Alpha to estimate reliability for scales. Mean scale scores were calculated for all measures. Then we analyzed the sample by correlation analysis and multiple regression models to examine the proposed relations in the research model.

Findings

Factor and Reliability Analysis

In order to certify that the questions in the survey were divided into relevant factors as expected, exploratory factor analyses’ was conducted using the SPSS 14.0 program. The best fit data was obtained with a principal component analysis with a varimax rotation. After eliminating one poor performing item of Leadership style scale of Clark’s (2004), the exploratory factor analysis of all scale items displayed a five-factor structure including task-oriented leadership (TSL), people-oriented leadership styles (POL), role ambiguity (ROM), role conflict (ROC) and job performance (JP). The determined five factors explain 93,1% of the total variance (KMO value is 0,912 and Barlett test result is significant at 0.001 level). Factor reliabilities were checked with Cronbach's Alpha values and these were 0.92, 0.93, 0.86, 0.93 and 0.88 respectively (Table 2 ). The factor loadings are seen in Table 1 .

Table 1 -
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We calculated means and standard deviations for each variable and correlation matrix of all variables. Means, standard deviations, reliabilities and correlations among all scales used in the analyses are shown in Table 2 . As indicated in this table, the internal consistency reliabilities of all variables measured in this study were quite respectable. The findings indicated that all the independent variables investigated were significantly related to job performance.

Table 2 -
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Regression Analysis

To examine the relationship among leadership styles, role stress and job performance we developed three multiple regression models (Table 2 ) and we compared the relative effects dimensions of leadership styles on role stress and the effects of leadership and role stress on job performance. All models were found statistically significant (p < 0.001). In Model 1, the effects of task-oriented and people-oriented leadership on role ambiguity was investigated and the results revealed that people-oriented leadership has a significant negative effect on role ambiguity (β=-.451). In Model 2, the effects of leadership styles and role ambiguity on role conflict were investigated and the results revealed that people-oriented leadership have negative effect on role conflict. Furthermore in Model 2 results indicated that role ambiguity has positive effect on role conflict. In the last model (see Model 3) the effects of all leadership style and role stress on job performance were investigated and results indicated that task-oriented leadership style and people-oriented leadership style have positive effects on job performance. However, the effect of people-oriented leadership on job performance is higher than the effect of task-oriented leadership on job performance. Furthermore, the results show that both role stress factors (role ambiguity and role conflict) have negative effects on job performance. But, the effects of role conflict on job performance (β -.346**) is stronger than the effect of role ambiguity (β -.193*) on job performance. These findings (Table 2 ) support the H2, H4, H5, H6, H7, H8 and H9 whereas H1 and H3 are not statistically supported.

Table 3 -
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Conclusion and Discussions

This research offers a contribution to the management and organizational behavior literature by presenting a model of interrelationships among leadership styles in terms of task-oriented and people-oriented leadership, role stress and job performance. By highlighting the role of leadership styles in influencing role stress perceptions and job performance, this study offers a framework for researchers and practitioners to visualize and understand the ways to induce perceived role stress and to raise individual job performance through leadership styles, thus enhancing the movement of Role Theory in the OB literature.

In this study, it is seen that the leadership behaviors exhibited in the organization under the influence of Turkish management culture cause the employees to make a significant difference in reducing role stress and increasing job performance. The results of our research have found that people-oriented leadership behaviors exhibited by leaders have a significant role in reducing the role stress in the management culture which is influentially defined as having high power, being collectivists and having a low-level uncertainty avoidance (Hoftsede, 1983; Sargut, 2011). This finding shows that in the process of managing group performance, people-oriented leadership behaviors with an emphasis on employee needs, individual differences, and supportive attitudes have a major effect in reducing role conflict and role ambiguity. In the study, it was seen that there was no statistically significant effect of task-oriented leadership style in decreasing the role conflict and role ambiguity in the regression analysis. However, in the analysis of correlations showing interrelationships between variables, task-oriented leadership behaviors have been found to reduce role ambiguity and role conflict and in the regression analysis of the effects of both leadership behaviors on role stress shows that people-oriented leadership style comes into prominence and plays an important role in influencing employees. Reducing the role ambiguity which means that sufficient information about the task they are doing is not given and not clear enough what is expected of them, and the role conflict which is defined as the inconsistency between the contradictory orders given to the persons and the lack of requirements of the role, essentially requires managers to demonstrate both task-oriented and people-oriented leadership. In our research, it seems that people-oriented leadership style plays a more influential role in reducing role ambiguity and role conflict. In our culture which is giving importance to interrelationship and solidarity among people, having a high level of loyalty to society and being collectivist; it is quite clear and precise that there is an important role of people-oriented leadership style on increasing the job performance of employees and reducing the role stress.

Within the scope of the results obtained in our research; it appears that role ambiguity also increases role conflicts, reduces job performance by creating anxiety and loss of confidence. On the other hand, in terms of leadership behaviors, it is seen that managers should exhibit that task-oriented and people-oriented behavior enhances business performance, but people-oriented behavior results in a higher rate of job performance. While few studies have examined the results of the task- and people-oriented leadership behaviors, a few studies in this area have shown that task-oriented leadership increases productivity, while people-oriented leadership increases job satisfaction (Northcraft & Neale, 1990; Robbins, 2000). In addition, there are views that task-oriented leadership is not clearly affecting either attitudes or productivity, and that people-oriented leadership has a positive effect on employee attitudes (Mullins, 1996; Wagner & Hollenbeck, 2005). The results of the study vary according to the organizations operating under the influence of social and organizational cultures and leadership style. In this context; the companies and the organizations, which operate in the Turkish management and social culture which is characterized by having high-level power distance, low-level uncertainty avoidance, being collectivist and feminine, are also influenced by these features. This study has been carried out in five medium and large sized enterprises operating in Kocaeli. It would be meaningful to conduct a similar research in other provinces and regions and in businesses operating in different areas in order to compare research results and achieve generalizable results.

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Business, Innovation, Strategic management, Leadership, Technology, Sustainability

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Yıkılmaz*, İ., & Gündüz Çekmecelioğlu, H. (2019). Leadership Style And Employee Attitudes In Turkish Management Culture. In M. Özşahin, & T. Hıdırlar (Eds.), New Challenges in Leadership and Technology Management, vol 54. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 420-431). Future Academy. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2019.01.02.36