Leadership at different levels : A case study at PaperPak Sweden AB
The business climate of today demands high flexibility and quick responsiveness from suppliers.
It has become essential for organizations to have effective leaders in all hierarchal
levels, which understand and are able to work under these conditions. As the market requirements
have changed, a new paradigm of leadership has evolved (Bryman, 1992). This
paradigm puts more focus on charisma and how to motivate followers, which is the essential
part of transformational leadership. According to Burns (1978), transformational leadership
is a process between leader and follower rather than exchanges. This leads to the
question of what effective leadership is and if it can be measured in some way. One
method is the use of the Multifactor leadership questionnaire, the MLQ-test, developed by
Bass 1985 from the full range model.
The conducted research for this thesis is done at PaperPak Sweden AB, a manufacturer of
disposable incontinence products located in Aneby, Småland.
The purpose of this thesis is to evaluate if any differences and/or similarities in leadership
can be found between or within the hierarchical levels. The intent with the report is also to
investigate those variances and if they are positive or negative for an organization.
A theoretical framework focusing on leadership has been collected, to enable the fulfillment
of the thesis purpose. This framework will act as support for the analysis of the quantitative
investigation, based on the MLQ-test. From this analysis, the authors have made
conclusions and recommendations. The degree of transformational, transactional and laissez-
faire leadership has been measured for the three leadership levels top, middle and low
management. It could be argued that the top management should show the highest degree
of transformational leadership, and low management the least, due to their positions and
work tasks. The result of the analysis supported that theory to a large extent. However,
lower management showed a significantly higher degree of transformational leadership
than middle management. One explanation could be that middle management lives in a
more stressful situation, working between top and low management, compared to the other
two, which is supported by Grout (1994).
Since the theoretical findings mean that leadership can be learnt and developed, the authors
suggest that organizations always have to follow up and try to develop their leaders and
managers towards higher degrees of transformational leadership. Finally the authors suggest
that further studies of the MLQ-test should investigate the possibilities to include measurements
of the technical side of leadership, since the test currently does not take those
factors into consideration.
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