The report focuses on the issue of leadership of women in Australian business sector. The report analyses a case study situation that occurred in Westpac because of the departure of their female chief executive. The issue, in this case, is the low rate of female leaders and the fact that every company want to be led by a male candidate. This issue is worthy of researching as female leaders consist of about 3% in Australia. This report identifies the issue in depth and discusses the issue using transactional and transformational theories. The arguments based on the issues are discussed as a part of the recommendation.
Identification of issue
The management issue, in this case, is the fact that the number of women leaders in Australia are on the decline. Most of the business organisations prefer to be led by a male candidate as per stereotype perceptions. However, research has shown that with the presence of a woman on board, companies improve in terms of financial as well as non-financial situations. The management function that can be linked with the issue is the style of leadership that is followed in business organisations. Leadership is the ability to inspire people and changes in an organisation. Proper analysis of the current and prediction of future situations make a leader effective in organisations (Antonakis & Day, 2017). In this regard, two such theories can be used that defines the making of leadership qualities among individuals. These theories include the transactional and transformational styles of leadership. These two leadership styles can help in the effective analysis of the situation. The topic at hand is worthy of future research as the number of female leaders in Australia is as low as 3%.
Furthermore, women have been discriminated based on the status of pregnancy and the fact that some of the women are mothers as well. This raises the question of effectively managing work life and family life. Hence, opportunities regarding leading an organisation are often lost to them. It has also been seen that most women reach the top of an organisational hierarchy by accepting the dominant nature of their managers. Research has shown that the introduction of female leaders in the organisational set up has helped an organisation gain success at every level of business. Although men have dominated most of the time in the business market, the contribution of women in leadership cannot be overlooked based on certain discriminations.
In order to analyse the issue, the use of leadership theories can be taken into consideration. One such theory that can be applied is the transactional leadership theory. It has been stated that transactional leadership focuses on the supervision of an organisational performance (Boezeman & Ellemers, 2014). In this style of leadership leaders, make the followers compliant by using both rewards and punishments. Leaders involved in this type of leadership wait on the results of the performance of the employees. Providing punishment as well as rewards to the employees indicates that the employees are treated based on each result received (Breevaart, et al., 2014). Leaders using this type of leadership style do not take the past and overall performance of the employees into consideration.
It has been seen that this type of leadership is effective in situations that require excellent quality of work or to manage any crisis. In this regard, it can be said that transactional leaders are expected to set up the goals and ensure that the employees are rewarded for their performance. However, punishment can also be provided to the employees underperforming in the organisation. This type of leaders also focuses on increasing the efficiency of the employees by performing such acts (Bolman & Deal, 2017). However, despite this transactional leadership are faced with certain criticisms. It is seen that this type of leadership style affects the creativity of the employees as the employees remain in fear of failure. In this context, it can be said that the employees are also held accountable for any failure that happens in the organisation (Carter, Mossholder, Feild, & Armenakis, 2014).
Based on the situation at hand, it can be said that adopting a transactional leadership by female leaders may not be good. This is mainly because of the fact that the people do not prefer female leaders. The less popularity of the female people coupled with the adoption of transactional leadership style may be the cause of the further decline of female leaders. Despite the fact that every employee is judged on spot, the fact that it hampers the progress of the employees is a huge negative factor for this type of leadership (Chemers, 2014).
Another form of leadership is the transformational leadership. This type of leadership can be related to the participative form of leadership style in which leaders and employees work together in order to help an organisation. Every decision taken by the leaders are communicated with the employees and viewpoints of the employees are taken into consideration. The leaders provide the subordinates with an inspired vision to implement changes in the organisation. It has been seen that transformational leadership style helps to enhance the morale and job performance of an employee (Chen & Chen, 2013). This creates an interest among the employees in terms of completing a particular task in an efficient manner. However, despite the advantages of the theory, it is met with certain criticisms as well. These criticisms highlight the disadvantages that the application of this leadership may present.
For example, one such criticism faced by the transformational leadership style is the lack of attention to detail (Dong, Bartol, Zhang, & Li, Journal of Organizational Behavior). It is seen that most of the time a transformational leader fails to build a strong corporate structure that makes working in an organisation more effective. The big picture is taken into consideration without the concern of the small details. Apart from this, it is seen that transformational leaders work via motivation. They encourage employees to work hard but if the managers do not provide encouragement to the leaders, the leaders fail to incorporate the skills. This is a huge disappointment as most of the times it is stated that self-motivation is important for success (Daft, 2014).
In the case of the situation in Westpac and the Australian business, the adoption of transformational leadership style can help in increasing the reputation of women. The 3% women leaders that exist in the Australian business can adopt this type of leadership in order to create an impact in the organisations. This can help in gaining the confidence of the employees in terms of wanting female personnel to lead an organisation to success. It is already an established fact that women at the highest level in an organisational structure can help in gaining financial and non-financial success (Fairhurst & Connaughton, 2014).
After analysing the different leadership theories and the situation faced at Westpac and the Australian business, it can be said that in order to be successful, female leaders need to ensure that they develop a proper leadership style. The adaption of transformational leadership style can help the females gain the confidence of the employees. It is already established that females tend to be more compassionate than men are. Hence, the support that the female leaders can provide can help Westpac to develop the business. From the case study, it is seen that the female leaders are appreciated for maintaining the balance of the organisation in terms of financial as well as non-financial issues. Hence, this can be an advantage in terms of gaining the confidence of the employees. Proper leadership style can help in maintaining this reputation of the female leaders. In this regard, it can be said that the success rate of transformational leadership can be attributed to success attained by certain organisations. In this regard, it can be said that Forming Circles Global is one such company that has tasted success with women in the lead. The fact that this company have used the females well has suggested that proper training provided to the women can be effective for an organisation. Apart from this, another factor that can be considered is that the women employees can be provided with proper training. This can help the women employees to be developed in the organisation and they can be possible leaders in the future. The current stereotype that surrounds women leadership can be overcome by the application of the transformational leadership style. However, in order to apply this style, it is necessary to train the women employees in Westpac and other Australian business organisations.
Thus, it can be said that in order to be successful in business it is important for female and male workers to work harmoniously with one another. The success of an organisation depends upon the rate at which employees and employers coordinate with one another. In the case of Westpac, the departure of Gail Kelly can be considered as a huge problem for the company. However, with the application of the transformational theory of leadership, it can be possible for the female employees to emerge as successful leaders in the business.
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