Westlund dissertation research

796 views
710 views

Published on

Published in: Business, Technology
0 Comments
0 Likes
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Views
Total views
796
On SlideShare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
0
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
3
Comments
0
Likes
0
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Westlund dissertation research

  1. 1. Retaining talent: Assessing relationships among project leadership styles, software developer job satisfaction, and turnover intentions Steven Westlund Doctoral Dissertation Research Capella University December 20071
  2. 2. Statement of the problem  Retention of information technology (IT) employees has been a problem in many organizations.  When key personnel leave, they may depart with critical knowledge essential to maintaining a competitive advantage.  There is increased risk of failure when turnover occurs within an IS development team before project completion.  Financial damage from failed IS projects in the U.S. is $100 billion annually.2
  3. 3. Purpose of the study  Researchers found that the leadership behavior of immediate supervisor contributes to job satisfaction and organizational commitment.  The purpose was to assess relationships among project leadership styles, software developer job satisfaction, and turnover intentions.  The primary aim was to determine whether satisfaction with supervision or overall job satisfaction is more significantly related to software developer turnover intentions.  The secondary objective was to recommend leadership styles associated with job satisfaction as a means to increase retention.3
  4. 4. Rationale  Jackofsky and Slocum (1987)  Identified leadership as a key intermediate variable between job performance and job satisfaction.  Showed that job dissatisfaction leads to thoughts of quitting, intentions to quit, and job turnover.  Bass (1996) posited that all leaders display transformational, transactional, and laissez-faire behavior to some degree.  Janis (2004) found that Bass’s theory applied to project managers.  Strang (2005) found that transformational leadership behaviors of project managers increased team member satisfaction and leader- follower relationships.4
  5. 5. Definition of Terms  Active management by exception. The transactional leadership behavior in which the leader actively monitors for deviances from standards, mistakes, and errors in the follower’s assignments and takes corrective actions as necessary.  Contingent reward. The transactional leadership behavior that contracts the exchange of rewards for effort, promises rewards for good performance, and recognizes accomplishments.  Laissez-faire leadership. The behavior representing the avoidance of leadership. Laissez-faire leaders are passive and avoid leading others. They intervene to correct mistakes and make decisions only when absolutely necessary.5
  6. 6. Definition of Terms  Passive management by exception. The transactional leadership behavior in which a leader passively waits until standards are not met before taking any corrective action.  Transactional leadership. A leader’s behavior that involves rewarding or disciplining a follower based on the adequacy of the follower’s performance.  Transformational leadership. A leader’s behavior that transforms followers into leaders by increasing their awareness of the importance and value of the task, getting them to focus first on team or organizational goals rather than on their own self-interests, and activating their high-order needs in Maslow’s (1954) hierarchy.6
  7. 7. Why did I do this study?  Turnover is a problem in my organization.  IT project leaders and managers often possess more technical skills than interpersonal (soft) skills and may benefit from this research.  Only 29 percent of software development projects were delivered on time, within budget, and with the expected functionality.  More research was needed to assess relationships among project leadership styles, software developer job satisfaction, and turnover intentions.7
  8. 8. Research Questions 1. What is the relationship, if any, between the software developers satisfaction with supervision and their turnover intentions? 2. What is the relationship, if any, between the software developers overall job satisfaction and their turnover intentions? 3. Which variable, if any, has the greater influence on turnover intentions – satisfaction with supervision or overall job satisfaction?8
  9. 9. Conceptual Framework Transformational Satisfaction And Contingent with Reward Supervision Leadership (X1) Management- Turnover by-Exception Intentions and Laissez- (Y) Faire Leadership Overall Job Satisfaction (X2)9
  10. 10. Hypothesis for Research Question 1 What is the relationship, if any, between the software developers satisfaction with supervision and their turnover intentions?  H10: There is no correlation between the software developers satisfaction with supervision and their turnover intentions.  H1A: There is a correlation between the software developers satisfaction with supervision and their turnover intentions.10
  11. 11. Hypothesis for Research Question 2 What is the relationship, if any, between the software developers overall job satisfaction and their turnover intentions?  H20: There is no correlation between the software developers overall job satisfaction and their turnover intentions.  H2A: There is a correlation between the software developers overall job satisfaction and their turnover intentions.11
  12. 12. Hypothesis for Research Question 3 Which variable, if any, has the greater influence on turnover intentions – satisfaction with supervision or overall job satisfaction?  H30: There is no significant difference in the correlation between turnover intentions and satisfaction with supervision when controlling for the effect of overall job satisfaction, and the correlation between turnover intentions and overall job satisfaction when controlling for the effect of satisfaction with supervision.  H3A: There is a significant difference in the correlation between turnover intentions and satisfaction with supervision when controlling for the effect of overall job satisfaction, and the correlation between turnover intentions and overall job satisfaction when controlling for the effect of satisfaction with supervision.12
  13. 13. Secondary Hypothesis 1  SH10: There is no correlation between the software developers’ perceptions of their project manager’s transformational and contingent reward leadership styles (attributed idealized influence, behavioral idealized influence, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation, individualized consideration, and contingent reward) and their satisfaction with supervision.  SH1A: There is a correlation between the software developers’ perceptions of their project manager’s transformational and contingent reward leadership styles (attributed idealized influence, behavioral idealized influence, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation, individualized consideration, and contingent reward) and their satisfaction with supervision.13
  14. 14. Secondary Hypothesis 2  SH20: There is no correlation between the software developers’ perceptions of their project manager’s management-by-exception and laissez-faire leadership styles (active management-by- exception, passive management-by-exception, and laissez-faire) and their satisfaction with supervision.  SH2A: There is a correlation between the software developers’ perceptions of their project manager’s management-by-exception and laissez-faire leadership styles (active management-by- exception, passive management-by-exception, and laissez-faire) and their satisfaction with supervision.14
  15. 15. How I studied this problem  This quantitative study used a cross-sectional survey and a correlational design.  The independent variables were satisfaction with supervision and overall job satisfaction.  The dependent variable was turnover intentions.  Relationships among the variables were assessed through linear regression and parametric measures of association  Hypotheses were evaluated with a significance level of 0.05.15
  16. 16. Instrumentation  Organizations were given the option of a paper-and- pencil or on-line survey.  The survey consisted of:  The Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (Avolio & Bass, 2004)  Job Satisfaction Survey (Spector, 1985)  Measure of Turnover Intentions (Jackofsky & Slocom, 1987)  Demographics questionnaire developed by the researcher.  Cover letter, instructions, and demographics questionnaire were field tested by ten developers at Washington University for readability and clarity.16
  17. 17. Sample population  The population consisted of 496 software developers from 24 organizations located in the continental United States.  The software developers worked work full time, did not have supervisory responsibilities, and reported to an information systems project manager or project leader.  The organizations were from the sectors of higher education, consulting, defense contracting, and local government.17
  18. 18. Responses  One hundred fifty of the 496 participants responded.  Twenty-two surveys were discarded during the data cleaning process.  One hundred twenty-eight surveys were usable.  The overall response rate was 25.8 %.18
  19. 19. Demographics  Percentages of females, older workers, and employees with advanced degrees were slightly higher in the sample’s population compared to the U.S. IT workforce composition statistics.  Hours worked per week by the sample’s population were typical for the IT profession.  Percentages of male and female supervisors were comparable to the U.S. IT workforce composition statistics.19
  20. 20. Primary Hypotheses Testing  The results provided support for the hypotheses with a 95% confidence level and 7.5% confidence interval.  Higher turnover intentions were associated with lower satisfaction with supervision and lower overall job satisfaction.  Turnover intentions were influenced more by overall job satisfaction than satisfaction with supervision.  Overall job satisfaction was found to be significantly and negatively related to turnover when controlling for the effect of satisfaction with supervision.  The relationship between turnover and satisfaction with supervision alone was not found to be significant.20
  21. 21. Secondary Hypotheses Testing  The researcher reduced the nine component variables in Bass’s (1996) full range of leadership model to two factors:  Transformational and contingent reward leadership styles were labeled as proactive Leadership  Management-by-exception and laissez-faire styles were labeled as reactive leadership.  The results also revealed that proactive project leaders tend to have more satisfied project team members.  Reactive project leadership was associated with less satisfaction with supervision.21
  22. 22. Positive Relationship between Proactive Leadership and Satisfaction with Supervision  Finding supports prior research (Bass & Steidlmeier, 1999; Deluga, 1988; Janis, 2003).  Proactive project managers use transformational leadership styles to:  Motivate and inspire the team.  Facilitate innovation and creativity.  Attend to growth needs of subordinates.  Empower the team to succeed.  They use contingent reward behavior to:  Acknowledge a job well done.  Provide bonuses or pay increases in exchange for success.22
  23. 23. Negative Relationship between Reactive Leadership and Satisfaction with Supervision  Finding supports prior research (Strang, 2005) and the firelighter- firefighter framework (Barber & Warn, 2005).  Reactive project managers use transactional behavior to:  Keep track of mistakes made by subordinates.  Note deviances from development standards.  Document errors in computer systems and processes.  Implement controls to detect and report issues when they occur.  Discourage subordinates from taking risks or seeking innovative solutions.  Project managers exhibiting laissez-faire behavior wait for a problem to develop into a crisis before intervening.23
  24. 24. Negative Relationship between Satisfaction with Supervision and Turnover Intentions  Finding supports prior research (Graen, Liden, & Hoel, 1982; Jackofsky & Slocum, 1987; Mobley, 1982).  Leadership behavior of the immediate supervisor contributes to job satisfaction and organizational commitment.  Quality of relationships between supervisors and subordinates is an effective predictor of IS employee turnover  Supervisors are an important source and facilitator of employee reward and value attainment.24
  25. 25. Negative Relationship between Overall Job Satisfaction and Turnover Intentions  The researcher found that a significant negative relationship existed between the software developers’ overall job satisfaction and their turnover intentions.  This is consistent with several scholars (Jackofsky & Slocum, 1987; March & Simon, 1958; Mobley, 1977; Price, 1977; Price, 2001) who posited that job satisfaction is related to employee turnover.  Job satisfaction facets combined in the overall job satisfaction scale are: Contingent Rewards Promotion Nature of work Supervision Pay Operating Conditions Fringe Benefits Coworkers Communication25
  26. 26. Significance of Overall Job Satisfaction and Turnover Intentions  Turnover intentions were influenced more by overall job satisfaction than satisfaction with supervision.  Finding refutes Bailey’s (2004) argument that people quit their managers, not their companies.  Herzberg (1959) and Alderfer (1972) provided some insight  Satisfaction with supervision is not enough to make a job satisfying.  Intrinsic factors may have a greater influence on turnover intentions.  Pay, benefits, and operating conditions satisfy the need for existence.  Supervision, coworkers, and communication fulfill the need for relatedness.  Growth needs are facilitated through contingent rewards, promotion, and the nature of work.26
  27. 27. Limitations of the Study  The survey instruments quantitatively measured self-reported turnover intentions, job satisfaction, and perceived project manager leadership styles. Some degree of subjectiveness was inherent in the data collected.  The quantitative correlational research design did not attempt to show causation.  Although confidentiality was assured, it is possible that the scores could have been skewed if the participants perceived their responses could be intercepted or reported to management.  The sample’s population included software developers employed in institutions of higher education, local government, and consulting firms. Results may not apply to IT professionals working in other sectors.  The survey population had a higher percentage of females, older workers, and employees with advanced degrees than the national average. This may have affected the generalizability of the findings.27
  28. 28. Areas of Future Research  More research is needed to assess which of Bass’s (1996) nine leadership styles are most significantly related to software developer satisfaction with supervision.  More research is needed to assess which of the nine facets of software developer job satisfaction are most significantly related to turnover intentions.  There is an opportunity to replicate this study in other business sectors and organizational types.  Researchers may wish to expand this research to other types of knowledge workers, such as engineers and architects.  There is opportunity to investigate possible gender differences in project leadership styles and subordinate job satisfaction.  More research is required to assess the interactions of job embeddedness, ease of movement, and job satisfaction on the turnover intentions of software developers.28
  29. 29. References Alderfer, C. P. (1972). Existence, relatedness, and growth: Human needs in organizational settings. New York: Free Press. Avolio, B. J., & Bass, B. M. (2004). Multifactor leadership questionnaire: Manual and sampler set (3rd ed.). Palo Alto, CA: Mind Garden. Bailey, R. L. (2004). People don’t leave companies. Rough Notes, 147(2), 26-27. Barber, E., & Warn, J. (2005). Leadership in project management: from firefighter to firelighter. Management Decision, 43(7/8), 1032-1039. Bass, B. M. (1996). Is there universality in the full range model of leadership? International Journal of Public Administration, 19(6), 731-761. Bass, B. M., & Steidlmeier, P. (1999). Ethics, character, and authentic transformational leadership behavior. Leadership Quarterly, 10(2), 181-217. Deluga, R. J. (1988). Relationship of transformational and transactional leadership with employee influencing strategies. Group & Organization Studies, 13(4), 456-467. Graen, G. B., Liden, R. C., & Hoel, W. (1982). Role of leadership in the employee withdrawal process. Journal of Applied Psychology, 67(6), 868-872.29
  30. 30. References Herzberg, F., Mausner, B., & Snyderman, B. B. (1959). The motivation to work (2nd ed.). New York: Wiley. Jackofsky, E. F., & Slocum, J. J. S. (1987). A causal analysis of the impact of job performance on the voluntary turnover process. Journal of Occupational Behavior, 8(3), 263-270. Janis, R. S. (2003). An examination of Bass’s (1985) leadership theory in the project management environment. Doctoral Dissertation, Nova Southeastern University, Florida. Maslow, A. H. (1954). Motivation and personality. New York: Harper & Row. Mobley, W. H. (1982). Employee turnover: Causes, consequences, and control. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley. Price, J. L. (1977). The study of turnover. Ames: Iowa State University Press. Price, J. L. (2001). Reflection on the determinants of voluntary turnover. International Journal of Manpower, 22(7/8), 600-624. Spector, P. E. (1985). Measurement of human service staff satisfaction: Development of the Job Satisfaction Survey. American Journal of Community Psychology, 13(6), 393-713. Strang, K. D. (2005). Examining effective and ineffective transformational project leadership. Team Performance Management, 11(3/4), 68-103.30

×