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Organisational leadership is an essential component in the long term survival of firms. Leadership refers to the process of influencing other peoples’ behaviours (McColl-Kennedy & Anderson 2002).
In the course of their operation, firms experience different challenges emanating from the internal and the external business environment. Consequently, it is important for organisational leaders to be effective in developing and sustaining their firms’ competitive advantage. Leadership impacts the performance of a particular organisation (Makilouko 2004).
Various approaches have been developed to explain the concept of leadership. Some of the approaches include trait theories, style approach, behavioural approach, contingency approach and situational approach (Iqbal et al 2012). Considering the dynamic nature of the business environment, it is important for firm’s management teams to incorporate the most effective leadership styles in order to deal with issues that emerge.
One such issue relates to organisational politics. Buchanan (2008) defines organisational politics as “attempts to influence others using discretionary behaviours to promote personal objectives” (p.51). Political behaviour is a common phenomenon in the operation of an organisation.
This is further affirmed by Vigoda-Gadot and Drory (2000) who are of the opinion that “organisational politics is an important leadership issue in the development of an environment conducive for enhancing productivity” (p.331).
However, failure to manage organisational politics can adversely affect various organisational processes such as the decision making process, increase the rate of employee turnover and lower employee productivity. According to Vigoda-Gadot and Drory (2000), organisational politics leads to creation withdrawal behaviour amongst employees.
Currently, the Asian and Hong Kong accounting firms are experiencing intense competition. Consequently, it is essential CPA firms within the industry to consider the most effective strategies that can enhance their competitiveness.
The objective of this paper is to illustrate how the concepts of leadership and politics are integrated in an organisation’s operational process. The paper evaluates how CCIF CPA Limited has integrated the two concepts.
CCIF CPA Limited is a private limited company that was established in 1980 in Hong Kong. The firm deals with provision of various professional services to clients within Hong Kong and China.
The firm has a human resource base of 300 employees who work in various departments which include the professional, support and technical departments. The firm is committed towards ensuring that its clients receive optimal services. Moreover, CCIF CPA Limited is also focused towards improving its workforces’ career.
Integration of leadership within CCIF CPA Limited
The leadership style adopted by an organisation impacts its overall performance (Givens 2008). CCIF CPA has integrated transformational leadership style. Decision to incorporate this leadership style has been motivated by the firm’s quest to attain an optimal market position.
Transformational leadership is very effective in influencing the behaviour of followers. In the course of its operation, CCIF CPA Limited has effectively integrated transformational leadership style. One of the ways through which the firm’s leaders have achieved this is by fostering economic and human transformation amongst the employees.
The firm’s management team has achieved this by formulating comprehensive organisational vision, goals and mission. Through transformational leadership, the firm’s management team has been able to motivate and inspire its employees to be focused towards attaining the set organisational goals (Barbuto 2005).Transformational leadership has contributed improvement in the quality of services offered by the firm.
Transformational leadership has also contributed towards development of positive organisational citizen behaviour amongst the firm’s employees. This is evidenced by the fact that the firm’s employees perform duties that go beyond their job description.
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In an effort to promote the level of employee loyalty, CCIF CPA Limited has integrated the concept of delegation. The firm has attained this by integrating the concept of teamwork. Dionne et al (2004) argue that transformational leadership improves group performance. In the course of executing their duties, team leaders delegate tasks to members thus providing them with an opportunity to develop their careers.
This arises from the fact that employees are assigned challenging tasks that contribute towards their career development. Dionne et al (2004) argue that “delegation enables managers to nurture their subordinates’ potential hence increasing the likelihood of attaining the set organisational goals and objectives” (p.669).
Additionally, the firm has developed an effective reward system. One of the ways through which the firm achieves this is by recognizing employees who depict exemplary performance. The firm has achieved this by developing an effective employee appraisal system. The system ensures that employees are recognised in accordance with their performance.
One of the issues that the firm takes into account in the appraisal process relates to how best the employee adhered to the firm’s code of conduct and the effectiveness with which he or she has relied on the best accounting practices in the course of providing services to clients. This has played a significant role in improving the employees’ morale hence their productivity.
The firm also integrates all employees in the process of implementing change hence minimising the likelihood of employee resisting to the intended change. This arises from the fact that the employees feel valued and involved in the firm’s operational processes.
The firm’s management team provides employees with the necessary support, encouragement and development that they require in undertaking their tasks. The firm provides employees with feedback on the appraisal process. This plays an important role in assisting employees to focus on their areas where they are weak hence improving their performance.
The resultant effect is that their level of job satisfaction is increased. Thus, one can assert that integrating transformational leadership has enabled the firm to nurture a high level of organisational identity amongst the employees (Ling et al 2008). Most employees are proud to be associated with the firm.
By incorporating transformational leadership, CCIF CPA Limited has been able to develop an effective internal communication system. The firm has achieved this by creating an environment whereby lower level employees have an opportunity to share their opinion in the decision making process. The firm is very committed in listening to its employees (Hamilton 2005).
Consequently, the firm has been able to nurture a high level of collaboration amongst employees in the various departments. This has contributed towards improvement in the level of information sharing and hence the quality of professional services offered.
Dionne et al (2004) assert that CPA firms are knowledge intensive organisations. As a result, their effectiveness in developing competitive advantage arises from how well they manage their human capital with constitutes their unique trading asset.
Transformational leadership has also contributed towards improvement in the level of employee commitment towards the organisation. According to Carter et al (2012), transformational leadership enables firms’ management team to transmit a strong sense of organisational vision. This stimulates employees to transcend their personal interests for the sake of the organisation.
The lower level employees perceive the firm’s leaders as role models. This increases their level of trust and admiration amongst the followers. The leaders also stimulate employees to be creative and to think critically in the course of undertaking their duties. Through this strategy, CCIF CPA Limited has been able to enhance the level of intellectual stimulation amongst its employees.
This has significantly improved the effectiveness with which the firm solves the problem it faces in the course of its operation. Moreover, transformational leadership has enabled the firm to develop a strong organisational culture. As a result, the firm’s management team has been able to create unity of purpose amongst the employees.
Political behaviour in the organisation
According to Vigoda-Gadot and Drory (2007), politics is an important factor that firms management teams should take into account in order to improve the likelihood of their organisations’ success. In the course of its operation, CCIF CPA Limited perceives politics to include both positive and negative behaviours. Consequently, the firm has integrated a number of strategies to control political behaviour amongst its workforce.
One of these strategies entails ensuring that the employees effectively understand their duties and responsibilities. This has been attained by developing comprehensive job descriptions which clearly outline the employees’ roles and responsibilities. Moreover, the firm’s management team ensures that all the employees are equipped with the necessary resources to enable them execute their duties.
For example, CCIF CPA Limited has provided the technical and support staff with computers that are installed with various accounting software and intranet and internet connection. As a result, the firm has been able to lower the level of competition for resources substantially.
Buchanan (2008) asserts that ensuring a high level of structural differentiation for example by ensuring that an organisation is equipped with the necessary resources lowers resource conflict amongst employees.
On the other hand, ensuring that employees understand their jobs has significantly reduced conflict of interest between the firm and the employees. This has played a significant role in lowering conflict of interest between the firm and the employees.
The firm ensures that a high level of unity of purpose is developed amongst its employees. CCIP CPA Limited ensures that free flow of information is maintained within the organisation. One of the aspects that the firm has integrated in enhancing free flow of information is impression management. This has played an important role in stimulating information sharing amongst employees.
Additionally, the employees do not feel alienated from the operation of the organisation but feel very involved. According to Hoag and Cooper (2006), free flow and sharing of information are paramount in stimulating innovativeness amongst employees. This culminates in improvement in the competitiveness of an organisation.
The firm’s management team is cognisant of the fact that existence of conflict of interest amongst employees can lower the level of employee productivity (Klimoski & Koles 2001). One of the factors that stimulate conflict of interest amongst employees is lack of work-life balance. To eliminate this hurdle, the firm has integrated a work life balance policy.
The policy entails a number of programmes that are aimed enhancing the level of employee flexibility. Some of these strategies include working on a part time basis, monthly and annual leaves and flexible working hours. Through these strategies, the firm has been able to support employees in their quest to balance between family, work and other personal interests such as career development.
The professional accounting industry in Hong Kong has experienced a significant increment in the intensity of competition over the past decade. Consequently, firms within the industry are required to adjust their operational strategies in order to remain competitive. Such changes are likely to attract employee resistance.
To deal with this challenge, CCIF CPA Limited has adopted an effective change management strategy. The strategy entails involving all employees in the process of implementing change (Buchanan 2008). The firm communicates the intended change to employees prior to its implementation. As a result, the firm is able to minimize resistance.
Conclusion and recommendation
The effectiveness with which an organisation develops high competitive advantage depends on various factors. Some of these factors relate to the leadership strategies integrated and how organisational politics are managed. CCIF CPA Limited has managed to integrate an effective leadership style. The firm has achieved this by incorporating transformational leadership style.
As a result, the firm has managed to create an environment conducive for working. Additionally, transformational leadership has enabled the firm to nurture a high level of collaboration between the lower and the top levels of management. This has led to creation of unity of purpose amongst employees.
The leadership strategy adopted has stimulated information sharing amongst employees thus leading to creation of synergy between departments (West 2012). The firm’s management team has also managed to improve the level of job satisfaction amongst employees by involving employees in the firm’s operational processes.
In an effort to manage political behaviour amongst employees, the firm has integrated a number of strategies such as ensuring that employees understand their duties, providing sufficient resources and creating free flow of information.
However, to survive in the long term, the firm should conduct a continuous review of the leadership style adopted. One of the ways through which the firm can achieve this is by seeking the opinion of employees regarding the firm’s leadership. This will aid in identifying possible gaps hence adjusting them accordingly.
The firm should also review the employees’ behaviour in order to identify possible political tendencies that might affect the firm negatively. However, the firm should encourage positive political behaviour amongst employees in order to improve its competitiveness.
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