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    Investigating the Practice of Transformational Leadership and Its Role on Organizational Performance

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    Leadership is a powerful term, but it is often weakly conceptualized. (Pollit & Hupe, 2011: 641-658) argue that leadership is a ‘magic concept’; it is inspiring for scholars and practitioners, but it also vague, meaning everything and nothing at the same time. Various authors have tried to make sense of the apparent confusion. (Yukul, 2013:4-5) Make analysis on the definitions used by different researchers and distinguish the common features that leadership is about an influencing process, more specifically a process whereby intentional influence is exercised over other people to guide, structure, and facilitate activities in groups or organizations.

    Although the modern scientific study of leadership dates only from the turn of the twentieth century, interest in leadership defines history from its earliest writing ranging from great men theory to transformational leadership schools. The nineteenth century was dominated by the notion of “great man’ theory. Particular great men (women were invariably overlooked despite great women in history such as Joan of Arc, Elizabeth I, and Clara Barton) somehow move history forward due to their exceptional characteristics as leaders. The scientific mood of the early twentieth century fostered the development of a more focused search for the basis of leadership. What traits and characteristics do leaders seem to share in common? Researchers developed personality tests and compared the results of average individuals with those perceived to be leaders (Van Wart, 2012:4).

    Until 1978, the focus of the majority literature was on leadership at lower levels, which was open to small group and experimental methods with similar variable models, while executive leadership(with its external demands) and more amorphous abilities to induce large scale change were largely ignored. Burn’s Book on leadership dramatically changed that interest by introducing the notion that only transactional leadership was being studied and that the other highly important arena transformational leadership was largely being ignored(Van Wart, 2012:4-5).

    The infusion of the transformational leadership school led to re-invigoration of academic and non-academic studies of leadership as well as to deal of initial confusion. Leadership is such broadly used concept that it can be ambiguous if not defined narrowly. One way to define types of leadership is by the kind of followers being led, and another is by the nature of the work that is the primary focus of the leader (Van Wart, 2012:4-5). The main focus this study organizational leaders who have a primary focus on employee.

    Leadership is defined as a process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal (Northouse, 2007:2). Leadership is about how well leaders manage themselves and others but not all about intellectual ability or technical expertise it (Mitchel, 2013). Leadership is a set of behaviors that supervisors and managers at all levels of seniority and hierarchy, experience and education can learn and apply. The expected outcome for all public, private, or non-profit organizations is the achievement of operational and strategic objectives with more committed employees. Getting extraordinary achievements in organizations through ordinary people remains the objective and the challenge (Kouzes & Posner, 2007). In line with this general definition, scholars conceptualized more specific leadership styles, like transformational leadership, transactional leadership. But the researcher will only focus on the transformational leadership.

    Transformational leadership has rapidly become the approach of choice for much of the research and application of leadership theory. In many ways, transformational leadership has captured the imagination of scholars, of noted practitioners, and of students of leadership. because transformational leadership provides a better fit for leading today’s complex work groups and organizations, where followers not only seek an inspirational leader to help guide them through an uncertain environment but where followers also want to be challenged and to feel empowered, if they are to be loyal, high performer (Bass & Riggio, 2006).

    Transformational leaders are those who stimulate and inspire followers to both achieve extraordinary outcomes and, in the process, develop their own leadership capacity. Transformational leaders help followers grow and develop into leaders by responding to individual followers’ needs by empowering them and by aligning the objectives and goals of the individual followers, the leader, the group, and the larger organization (Bass.& Riggio, 2006:3).

    Organizations have an important role in our daily lives. Although the concept of organizational performance is very common in the academic literature, its definition is difficult because of its many meanings. For this reason, there isn’t a universally accepted definition of this concept. Recent literature reveals that, the realization that the identification of organizational objectives is more complex than initially considered. Managers began to understand that an organization is successful if it accomplishes its goals (effectiveness) using a minimum of resources (efficiency) (Corina,. Livia & Roxana, 2011:258-300).

    An increasing in public demands made on all public organizations improving performance. According to (Arslan & Staub, 2013:102 – 111) with the aim of meet the needs of the highly competitive markets, organizations should increase their performance. As said by previous researchers such as (Peterson, Smith, Martorana, and Ownes, 2003:795-808) the role of leadership is critically important for achieving the performance of organizations. Recently Transformational leadership style, among any other style, has rapidly become the style of leadership chosen for application in transforming the performance of organizations. This is because of transformational leadership, can create a difference and bring a change or a transformation in many ways (Bass & Riggio, 2006:53-55)

    Effective public sector management is a critical component for sustainable development for developing countries like Ethiopia. That is why the Ethiopian government has shown commitment to improve public service leadership by launching different initiatives under the umbrella of Civil Service Reform Program. Public service leaders at different level advocate transformational agenda to achieve growth and transformational plan (GTP) goals. According to (Mesfin 2006; Paulos 2000 as cited in Tesfaye & Zerihun, 2014:1-3) However, public service organizations’ performance highlighted a number of implementation deficiencies in terms of effectiveness, efficiency and a leadership practice has not been up to expectations.

    Therefore, the researcher intended to conduct a study to investigate the practice of transformational leadership and its role on organizational performance in public sectors of city government of Addis Ababa.

    Effective leadership has become dominant in modern public service reform. Effective leaders are needed to enhance the readiness of employees to deal with change and crises (Yukl, 2007:10) and are serves as the engine for organizational performance. The importance of effective leadership in public organization cannot be overemphasized, because without appropriate leadership it is difficult to achieve the predetermined goal of any organization.

    Challenges are faced in improving the performance of the public sector organization and addressing the complex and dynamic work environment in the world as well as in the context of our continent. So it is obvious that implementing different mechanisms and strategies in Ethiopian public sector is important in order to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the organization. The previous research shows that public organizations in Ethiopia have been faced tremendous challenges in providing quality, efficient, effective and equitable service. According to (Nigussa, 2013:1-8) inefficiency, ineffectiveness, unethical practices are the major challenges of public service delivery in Addis Ababa.

    Some researchers argue that the major problems related to organizational performance were highly related to lack of transformational leadership (Mesfin, 2006 & Paulos, 2000 as cited in Tesfaye & Zerihun,2014:1-3).Transformational leadership is critical to meet the challenges of public service in a changing environment. According to (Yukl, 2007:10) transformational leadership challenges the statuesque. They are pioneers. They are willing to step out into the unknown; their work to make a change and the statuesque is unacceptable for them.

    Over the past few decades, public service reform in Ethiopia had highly emphasized the importance of effective leaders in public sector organizations. In the top management system sub program under the umbrella of the Civil Service Reform which is launched in 2004 by the FDRE government, leaders are considered to have a visible leadership role in providing and strengthen strategic planning, monitoring and evaluation, to improve organizational performance and productivity, to advance and equipped the workforce (Minstry of Capacity Building, 2004:232-237) and are expected to transform their organization in line with the theoretical perspectives of transformational leadership. However, the leadership support and commitment to implement the Civil Service Reform was not inspiring. What effective leadership they lacked needs to be researched in order to identify and plan strategies for the improvements of organizational performance.

    According to Art (49) of the FDRE constitution as well as proclamation No 361/2003 of the Addis Ababa city Government revised charter proclamation; the city builds self-governing status in line with the conceptual framework of decentralization. Major operational and strategic duties and responsibilities of public organization in city government of Addis Ababa have been described in the charter. It is imagine that public organization in Addis Ababa are autonomous within the framework of the federal law for with respect to strategic planning, financial management, establishment of public organization and so on. This shows that the power of managing public organizations is decentralized which requires effective leadership.

    However city government of Addis Ababa report (2017) reveals that they are not meeting expectations placed by the government and the public. Employees and customers complain that instead of managing change as a leader, they are engaged in staying the statuesque. For many few exists that their leaders fail to adapt new changing and increasing public demands. Criticism from employee includes leaders fail to create an atmosphere conducive to ensuring improvement of organizational performance. Moreover, unethical practice, bad governance, inefficiency and ineffectiveness of public organization continually are increasing. As a result customer dissatisfaction, untrusted on government officials observed in Addis Ababa. From the information obtained from the report organizational performance is in questioned.

    Though, (Melese & Zerihun , 2014) studied the application of transformational leadership in public service organization in Ethiopian, (Keyrdin & Abera, 2017) studied the practice of transformational leadership in Ethiopian Technical Vocational and Training Institutions, (Biriahnu, 2016) studied transformational leadership role of principals at Ethiopian Secondary School, however so far there is no reported study that focus on the extent by which transformational leadership is practicing and its role on public sector organization performance.

    Moreover, respondents of Birhanu are teachers and students, trainee and trainer for keyredin and Abera but, in this study the respondent will be public sector employees. This study is different with Mesfin and Zerihun in the area of the study. In general there is a scarcity of research that particularly focuses on the extent which transformational leadership have been practicing in public sector organizations to create an atmosphere conducive to effective implementation of change in order improve the performance of the organization. The need to fill this gap initiated to investigate the of practicing transformational leadership and its role in organizational performance in Addis Ababa city administration.

    The results of the study are highly significant for public organization leaders of city government of Addis Ababa in providing suggestion about areas of strengths and weaknesses so that they can plan different mechanisms and strategies to improve their organizational performance. It can also increase the awareness of leaders regarding the need to improve their leadership capability to meet the challenging and increasingly changing work environment by adding some knowledge to the existing research gap regarding the practice of transformational leadership.

    The finding of the study can provide to leaders of Addis Ababa city administration with data or information concerning the practices of transformational leadership and its role on organizational performance in the public sector of the city. Moreover, it is believed that this study will help the researcher in increasing his knowledge, analytical skill and make meaningful contribution to the academic world; there by stimulating further research on the role of transformational leadership on organizational performance to provide valuable insight for both academics and practitioners.

    The study will be limited in Addis Ababa city government and is concentrated only in public sector organizations. The respondents of the study will be leaders and employees who have a minimum of 2 year experience and are currently working in public sectors, and customer of city government of Addis Ababa. This study restricted to five dimensions of transformational leadership presented by Bass & Erggio (2006) as independent variables to measure their role on independent variables which are the five determinants of organizational performance.

    Transformational Leadership is leadership behavior that centers on the development of followers by raising their individual needs to a higher level and seeking to meet those higher needs. In this study, transformational leadership characteristics include the five constructs of Idealized Influence (attribute), Idealized Influence (Behavioral), Intellectual Stimulation, Inspirational Motivation, and Individualized Consideration (Bass & Riggio, 2006: 5).

    This research proposal is organized in the three chapters: Chapter 1 is the introduction of the study. It includes background of the study, statement of the problem, objectives of the study, research questions, significance and scope of the study, operational definitions of some key terms and the organization the study. Chapter 2 discusses the literature on leadership specifically transformational leadership in public organization including definitions of leadership, transformational leadership, historical background of leadership theories, characteristics of transformational leadership, organization performance, dimensions of organization performance, the role of transformational leadership on organizational performance. Chapter 3 describes the methodology of the study, which includes the approach and design of the research, population and sampling, data source and collection instrument, data analysis and ethical consideration.

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