New Approach to Job Satisfaction and Transformational Leadership

5. 5. 2020

An organization that has no good leadership is like a ship on the high sea without a captain. No wonder leadership has continued to be one of the most widely discussed topics by researchers from all over the world (Kuchler, 2008). Leadership is discovered to play an important role in creating an effective organization for the success of the organization. According to Nave (2006), the success or failure of businesses depends on the leadership styles used by the leaders. Van (2005) also asserted that all organizations need leadership to guide organizational operations. In other words, effective leadership is critical to achieving organizations' success, in particular. Leadership is one of the most discussed and debated topics in the social sciences (Bennis, 2007). For instance, Beaver (2003) found that the primary cause of small business failures in the United States was management incompetence by leaders. It is, therefore, impossible to get success without managerial effort and dedication.

Leadership is defined as a process of interaction between leaders and followers where the leader attempts to influence followers to achieve a common goal (Northouse, 2010). The subject of leadership has received much attention from scholars and researchers over the last decades. Research has shown that, as leaders interact with their subordinates; their leadership style significantly affects their subordinates’ perceptions and organizational outcomes (Altman, 2002). The manager’s leadership style could directly affect subordinates’ working attitude, satisfaction, and enterprise success. Effective leadership is the main cause of competitive advantage for any kind of organization (Zhu, Chew & Spangler, 2005). Effective leadership and satisfied subordinates are, therefore, important in achieving organizational goals.

The fundamental factors influencing the effectiveness of an organization are leadership and employee job satisfaction (Kennerly, 1989). Several studies have examined the relationship between the two factors and concurred that leadership has a significant impact on job satisfaction (Rad & Yarmohammadian, 2006). Employee job satisfaction is influenced by the internal organizational environment such as leadership styles (Seashore & Taber, 1975). Therefore, recognizing, adopting, and practicing the appropriate leadership styles are vital for leaders as it affects employees’ job satisfaction and the firm’s productivity. Studies indicate that leadership style that is concerned only with the output of the workers and does not care about their feelings failed to get the best out of their staff (Cumming, Macgeregor, Davey, Lee, Wong, Lo, Muise & Stafford 2010). According to Galup, Klein, and Jiang (2008), successful organizations normally have satisfied employees while poor job satisfaction can cripple an organization. Organizations with satisfied workers are more likely to do well than their competitors (Ostroff, 1992).

In an attempt to understand leadership effectiveness, researchers have studied two main lines of theory. Transformational leadership, which has emerged as a dominant approach, is contrasted in many studies with transactional leadership. Both transformational and transactional leaders are active leaders who actively intervene to solve and prevent problems from occurring. Despite, the number of studies conducted in leadership and satisfaction studies, very little has been researched and documented in the context of Ghana (Zame & Hope 2008). This study, therefore, focuses on the transformational leadership style and its influence on job satisfaction.

Research hypothesis

H1: There is a significant positive relationship between idealized influence and employees’ job satisfaction.

H2: There is a significant positive relationship between inspirational motivation and employees’ job satisfaction.

H3: There is a significant positive relationship between intellectual stimulation and employees’ job satisfaction.

H4: There is a significantly positive relationship between individualized consideration and employees’ job satisfaction.

Literature Review

Leadership styles

According to Kuchler (2008), leadership is one of the most widely studied topics in the world. In the business world, leadership is considered an important aspect of management because it has a significant bearing on a range of activities that can lead to the attainment of organizational outcomes (Hukpati, 2009). Northouse (2010) defined leadership as a process of interaction between leaders and their employees whereby leaders try to influence employees to fulfill a common goal. According to Oyedijo (2011), leadership is the process of influencing individuals and providing them with an enabling environment so that they can achieve their goals.

Transformational leadership

The concept of “transforming leadership” was first used in 1978 by James MacGregor Burns in his book “Leadership” to differentiate between transformational leadership and transactional leadership. Burns laid ample stress on the concept of transforming leadership and explained that transforming leadership involves a relationship of mutual stimulation and elevation that converts followers into leaders on one hand and may on the other hand convert leaders into moral agents. He indicated that “transforming leadership occurs when one or more persons engage with others in such a way that leaders and followers raise one another to higher levels of motivation and morality…” Later in 1985, another prominent author named Bernard Bass developed and extended Burns’ concept of “transforming leadership” into “transformational leadership”. Bass (1990) explained that a leader is one who motivates individuals to do more than they are actually expected to do. To him, transformational leaders encourage and intellectually stimulate followers to challenge the status quo, question assumptions, take risks, suggest innovative ideas, and engage in divergent thinking. He further explained that the activities of transformational leaders broaden and elevate the interests of their employees when they generate awareness and acceptance of the purposes and mission of the group, and when they inspire their employees to look beyond their own self-interest for the good of the group (Bass, 1990).

According to Cacioppe (1997), transformational leaders inspire their subordinates purposely to adopt the vision of the organization as their own, while attempting to increase their values, concerns, and developmental needs. It is believed that when followers are inspired they put forth extra efforts or strive harder in order to achieve additional outcomes (Martin & Epitropaki, 2001). According to Bass and Avolio (2004), transformational leaders inspire and encourage their followers to the extent that the followers see challenges as opportunities and the leaders cooperate with them to raise their expectations, needs, abilities, and moral character. In addition, inspired employees consider organizational goals as their own causes and views (Avolio & Bass, 2004). In this regard, transformational leaders enhance followers to believe in their own potential in order to create a better prospect and future for the organization (Daft, 2010).

Additionally, a transformational leader is expected to provide a clear vision and mission, motivate self-esteem and gain trust and reverence through charisma (Gwavuya, 2011). The leader is at all times concerned with looking for ideas that will move the organization to realize its vision (Burns, 1978). Parry (1996) stated that for transformational leaders to perform effectively they need to have some key attributes of leadership such as creativity, group orientation, power of teaching, appreciation, responsibility, and recognition. Thus, with creativity attributes, transformational leaders also empower their followers to be problem solvers such that the followers mature in creativity by learning from their failures and experimenting with various choices without fear of failure (Jung, 2000; Jung, Chow & Wu, 2008). Transformational leaders influence major changes in attitudes and assumptions of organizational employees and build commitment to the organization’s mission and objectives (Yukl, 1989).

Bass (1990) admitted four types of transformational leadership styles including idealized influence, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation, and individual consideration. Leaders with idealized influence are identified, admired, and respected by followers. Such leaders are believed to have referent power or charisma that pulls followers along. According to Moss and Ritossa (2007), transformational leaders are perceived as strong role models who people feel glad to emulate in the organization. Also, transformational leaders have a vision and a sense of mission, instill pride in and among the group, gain respect and trust from followers, sacrifice their personal gains for the benefits of the group, set a personal example for followers, and demonstrate high ethical standards (Bass, 1990, Humphreys & Einstein, 2003).

Through inspirational motivation, transformational leaders create and present an attractive vision of the future, use symbols and emotional influences, and demonstrate confidence and eagerness (Kark, Shamir & Chen, 2003). Transformational leaders talk optimistically about the future, talk enthusiastically about what needs to be accomplished, articulate a compelling vision for the future, and express confidence that goals will be achieved (Bass & Avolio, 2004). Leaders act in ways that motivate those around them by providing meaning and challenge to their follower's work (Bass et al., 2003). Thus, leaders give employees a reason to be determined, hopeful, focused, and enthused as they provide them a very bright and attractive future that they can meet their expectations.

Also, leaders, with individualized consideration, coach support and encourage subordinates. Bass and Avolio (2004) stated that transformational leaders teach and help followers to develop their strengths and listen attentively to the concerns of followers. Lastly, transformational leadership through intellectual stimulation provides followers with challenging new ideas and encourages them to view and handle problems from a fresh perspective (Bass, 1990). Leaders arouse the endeavors of followers to be innovative and creative (Limsila & Ogunlana, 2008), and also consider timeworn problems in the organization with a new perspective (Moss & Ritossa, 2007). Hence, such leaders critically assess existing events because they do not accept things as they are. They challenge the status quo, beliefs, and values, and encourage followers to do the same.

Job satisfaction

The concept of job satisfaction is one of the most regularly measured organizational variables in both research and applied settings that have been studied in organizational behavior and organizational psychology (Nancy & Marie, 2007). It is regarded as a non-trivial issue for every organization because satisfied employees are by and large known for their good performance (Sattar, Nawaz & Khan, 2012) and their loyalty and commitment to work which immensely contribute to organizations’ capacity of becoming more productive (Shah & Jalees, 2004). In addition, job satisfaction is considered a vital indicator of how employees feel about their job and a predictor of work behaviors such as absenteeism, organizational citizenship, and turnover (Mount, Ilies & Johnson, 2006).

According to Locke (1976), job satisfaction is a pleasant or positive emotional state that emanates from the appraisal of a person’s job or job experience. McCormick and Ilgen (1985) also defined job satisfaction as an association of attitudes that employees hold in an organization. Ivancevich, Olelans, and Matterson (1997) support this assertion by defining job satisfaction as an attitude that employees have regarding their jobs. The attitude of employees may arise as a result of their perception of their job. Hence, job satisfaction is seen as the emotional response of an individual’s perception as to whether his needs and wants are satisfied by his job (Gordon, 1999). Employees’ perception of a job may influence their expectations of that job. So any imbalance between what employees perceive and expect to gain and what they actually gain, particularly where the former fall short of the latter, could lead to disillusionment and dissatisfaction. Castle, Engberg, and Anderson (2007) argued that employees’ level of job satisfaction depends on the difference between what they actually gain from their job and what they anticipate to gain from their job.

More so, some authors believe that job satisfaction has to do more with the emotions or feelings of individuals towards their jobs. According to Spector (1997), job satisfaction is all about the feelings that employees have about their job and its various aspects. Similarly, Luthans (2005) viewed job satisfaction as an emotional response to a job situation, which is determined by how well outcomes meet or exceed expectations. He stressed the fact that fair and unfair treatment of employees could result in job satisfaction and/or dissatisfaction. Thus, if employees are treated unfairly, and work hard but receive less reward, they will have a negative attitude toward their work, boss or coworkers, and consequently, become dissatisfied. However, if they feel that they are being treated well and paid equitably, they are more likely to be positive about their job, and accordingly become satisfied. On the contrary, Weiss (2002) strongly disagreed that job satisfaction has an emotional reaction, and rather viewed it as an attitude. He went on to define job satisfaction as a positive or negative evaluative judgment one makes about his or her job or job situation.


The target population of the study was made up of all employees of Micheletti and Co. Limitedspecifically Spintex branch, Tesano branch, Legon branch, and Accra Mall branch. The study is focused on a sample size of 71 employees of the selected branches of Micheletti and Co. Limited. The researcher used the convenience sampling technique for respondents’ selection. The questionnaire was the main instrument used to collect data for the study. The researcher used the 19-items scale of the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ) by Bass and Avolio (2004) to assess managers’ transformational leadership styles. The questionnaire consisted of which comprises of idealized influence, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation, and individualized consideration. A 7-item scale of overall job satisfaction developed by Taylor and Bowers (1974) was used to measure job satisfaction.

The researcher used Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) for the analysis of the data collected. Multiple regression was also used to examine the relationship between transformational leadership styles of managers and the job satisfaction of employees.

Findings and Discussion

This section presents the analysis of the data gathered from the respondents and the findings thereof. It further gives clear discussions of the findings based on the existing literature.

Testing of Research Hypotheses

Multiple regression was carried out in this study to examine the relationship between transformational leadership style and employee job satisfaction.

Table 1: Regression Analysis Result



Standard Error

t Stat







Idealized Influence





Inspirational Motivation





Intellectual Stimulation





Individual Consideration





**alpha value of 0.05; R-square =0.30; Dependent variable – Job satisfaction

Table 1 above shows regression coefficients (β) of .24, .22, .04 and .46 for idealized influence, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation and individualized consideration respectively. The signs of the regression coefficients are positive and therefore have positive effect. However, intellectual stimulation reported p values of .73 which is not significant (exceed .05). This implies that intellectual stimulation is not making significant unique contributions to the prediction of employees’ job satisfaction. Hence, hypothesis 3 which states that ‘‘there is a significant positive relationship between intellectual stimulation and employees’ job satisfaction” was found to be insignificant.

Idealized influence, Inspirational motivation and individualized consideration on the other hand recorded significant and positive relationships with employees job satisfaction (β=.25, p=.01, β=.23, p=.02 and β=.47, p=.03 respectively). This means that as idealized influence, inspirational motivation and individualized consideration increase, the job satisfaction of employees also increases.

The regression coefficient (β) of .25 for idealized influence means that one unit change in idealized influence will lead to 25% change in employees’ job satisfaction. There it can be concluded that Hypothesis 1 which states that “there is a significant positive relationship between idealized influence and employees’ job satisfaction” is supported.

Also, the regression coefficient (β) of .23 for inspirational motivation means that one unit change in inspirational motivation will lead to approximately 23% change in employees’ job satisfaction. Therefore, Hypothesis 2 which states that ‘there is a significant positive relationship between inspirational motivation and employees’ job satisfaction’ is supported.

With regard to individualized consideration, the regression coefficient (β) of .47 means that unit change of individualized consideration will result in a 47% change in the job satisfaction of employees. The multiple regression analysis revealed a significant and positive relationship between individualized consideration and employees job satisfaction (β= .46, p= 0.00). Therefore, Hypothesis 4 which states that ‘there is a significant positive relationship between individualized consideration and employees’ job satisfaction’ is supported. The beta value of (.47) for individualized consideration is the largest among all the transformational leadership styles, which means that individualized consideration makes the strongest unique contribution to explaining the job satisfaction of employees, when the variance explained by all the other variables in the model is controlled.

Discussion and Findings

The data gathered and analyzed clearly shows that individual consideration is the most transformational leadership style that is mostly used by project managers of Micheletti and Co. Limited although all the four dimensions of transformational leadership styles positively predict employee job satisfaction, employees tend to be more satisfied with their job when working with individual consideration than working with intellectual stimulation, inspirational motivation, and idealized influence. This posits that in spite of employees’ appreciation for managers’ gestures of giving subordinates attractive rewards as a satisfaction booster they prefer their leaders to be more concerned about behaviors that would support, encourage and develop individual employee welfare in the organization. It can therefore be concluded that managers of Micheletti and Co. Limited do coach, teach, help or support and encourage subordinates in the development of their strength and listen attentively to the concerns of followers. This is therefore in support of Bass and Avolio (2004) who stated that transformational leaders teach and help followers to develop their strengths and listen attentively to their concerns of followers.


It was observed from the findings of this study that leadership behaviors continue to be an important predictor of organizational outcomes such as job satisfaction. The findings proved the significant positive relationship between transformational leadership styles (idealized influence, inspirational motivation, and individual consideration) and job satisfaction. This suggests that managers’ leadership behaviors that focus on the development of followers’ welfare as well as giving alluring rewards could potentially enhance the enthusiasm and glee employees derive from their job.

The constantly changing business environment requires managers’ behaviors that develop enhanced interpersonal relationships with their employees and encourage creativity, innovation, and problem skills. Therefore, project managers can adopt both transformational leadership styles in order to consistently and efficiently improve job satisfaction among employees in Micheletti and Co. Limited. However, the findings of this study indicated individual consideration aspect of transformational leadership style influences job satisfaction more than idealized influence, inspirational motivation, and individual consideration. Managers should therefore consider engaging more in behaviors that are concerned with developing employee welfare.

In furthering the field of leadership research, it is recommended that further studies should include both questionnaires and interview sessions together as this will provide a more comprehensive outcome.


AUTHOR: Aziizu Issifu, a student at LIGS University, supervised by the lecturer Grigory Sergeenko. 


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