Introduction Chris Harrison is a self employed contractor. He works out of Newfield New York. He was interviewed on two different occasions about a month apart with the aim of finding out how he felt about his work. During these two interviews a major sociological theme emerged. It was the theme of leadership styles and the relationship between Chris and his workers. Chris believes in treating the men that he has working for him as men.
"The rest of them may only be eighteen or nineteen but they are all men in my eyes" (Harrison 2005 A). Chris believes in his men very much. He says that they do not just work together but have a good friendship outside of work too. Chris knows that they all have fun while they are working. They laugh and joke around but he knows that when the deadline is getting close that his men will have the job done and done right. Chris believes that his leadership style reflects the relationship that he has with his workers and the productivity that they get done.
According to Madzar 2001, there are two different types of leadership styles. There are transactional and transformational. Transactional leadership is an exchange-based and leader-controlled relationship. Transformational leadership is to arouse the needs of the subordinates in accordance with the leader's own goals, the final result being performance beyond expectation. Chris believes that he is a transformational leader. He does not control the relationship he has with his workers.
He sees them as equals. Chris knows that his workers know what the goals are that he needs accomplished at any given time. He helps them when they need it but most of the time just lets them work and do things at there own pace. Methodology The primary research method used for this study consisted of two semi-structured, qualitative interviews conducted about a month apart. The interviewer asked five questions during the first interview. These questions were very general with the aim of finding out how Chris Harrison felt about his work.
These questions included 1) what makes you get up and go to work everyday? ; 2) Describe your coworkers; 3) how did you enter this career? ; 4) How does your job affect other aspects of your life? ; 5) What is the most rewarding / challenging part of your job? This interview was fully transcribed (see appendix A). The researcher then used inductive reasoning to do a content analysis of the interview. The researcher did this to identify the most important themes that stood out. Leadership styles and employer-employee relationships became the focus of the research. After the themes were identified, the researcher conducted a literature search.
The researcher located relevant sources. The Researcher then used these sources to develop a second, more focused interview. The questions for the second interview were based on hypotheses generated from the secondary research sources (see appendix B). Chris hypothesized that his leadership style and his relationship with his employees went hand in hand. He treats each of them as equals.
He helps them when they need it. He knows that they all have a common goal. The secondary research points to the same hypotheses that Chris has. In the second interview, the researcher used deductive reasoning to find out what Chris thought about these alternative explanations from the secondary sources. The methods used for this study were qualitative rather than quantitative. The primary unit of analysis was Chris Harrison, a self employed contractor from Newfield.
The researcher attempted to study the subject in depth. The goal was to see Chris through his point of view. The results of this study can not go for every self employed contractor, but the secondary research suggests that leadership style does have an effect on the relationship between an employer and his / her employees. An ethical dilemma that this research poses is that Chris Harrison is the researcher's employer. This could have clouded the researcher's ability to analyze the data. Positives to this are that both Chris and the researcher might have been more honest with one another.
They may have been more honest because they already trust each other and respect each other. Literature Review According to Chris Harrison, leadership style directly affects the relationship between employers and employees. Madzar 2001 supports Chris's observation. "Their perceptions of the superiors' goals and motives are likely to appear as a crucial determinant of their proactivity in information seeking. Further, information-seeking patterns are likely to, in turn, influence their task performance, affect their relationship with their superior, as well as their attitudes toward the organization" (Madzar 2001). "Personally I think that the transformational leader would be more respected and get better results over a transactional leader.
This is from my own experience from working for people and then owning my own business' (Appendices B). Chris believes that the transformational leader would gain the best results from his/ her workers. Chris has experienced this. He held many jobs working for many different people before he came to own his own business. Chris worked for his father when he was very young. He then started working for his stepfather who was also a contractor.
Chris learned a lot of what he knows from his stepfather. Chris also went to TST Boces for rough and finish carpentry. Right out of high school Chris enlisted in the Navy. After Chris returned home from the Navy he worked for many different construction companies. Chris then decided to open his own business. Mackoff and Wenet 2001 describe how successful leaders are able to draw upon their own lives to turn difficult challenges into opportunities for leadership.
Chris takes a lot of the lessons that he has learned throughout the years and teaches them to the men that he has working for him. "Inner work (of leaders) is the process that leaders use to install the lessons of past experiences into their leadership behaviors" (Mackoff and Wenet 2001). Discussion The secondary research supports Chris's idea that leadership style influences the relationship between employer and employee. Being a transformational leader will make the employees more comfortable and respect the employer more. This in turn creates a better relationship between the employer and employee.
It creates a sense of respect and equality. That is exactly how Chris is with his employers. He treats them with respect and as equals. This allows them all to have a relationship outside of work. "We are also friends outside of work. We get together and BBQ once on a while.
These guys keep me young" (Appendices A). The men that Chris has working for him respect him because of his leadership style. They feel equal and comfortable around him. They all have the same common goal while working. That goal is productivity. "We all joke around and have a good time but we still get all the work done that needs to be done" (Appendices A).
According to Svjetlana Madzar 2001, managers act as a major source of information to their subordinates, who need a variety of information types for their organizational well being. Many businesses go under because of productivity. This is a major issue. Chris is doing very well because he and his crew have a high level of productivity. This is because his men respect him and he respects them.
Conclusion Both the primary and secondary research for this paper support Chris Harrison's perception that leadership style affects the relationship between employer and employee. This raises an issue in a society where productivity is crucial. In order to change leadership style it would require a new type of socialization for the roles of both employer and employees. The employer would have to become more of a transformational leader and the employees would have to be willing to accept the common goals.
Works CitedMackoff, Barbara and Gary Wenet. 2001. "The Inner Work of Leaders: Leadership as a Habit of Mind." Personal Psychology 54 (3); 760. (InfoTrac, accessed 3/31/05) Madzar, Svjetlana. 2001. "Subordinates' Inquiry: Exploring the Effect of Perceived Leadership Style and Individual Differences." Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology 74 (2) 221.
(InfoTrac, accessed 3/31/05).