Authentic leadership and its effects on organizational citizenship behaviour in a provincial government department in the Western Cape.
Leaders are often thought of as being the top management team of the organisation, illuminating the way forward for individuals by directing organisational activities towards a shared vision (Fernald, Solomon & Tarabishy, 2005). As organisations are constantly facing challenges in establishing a profitable presence in a competitive marketplace, effective leadership is one difference between organisations that successfully meet the challenges and those that do not (Wherry, 2012). In order for any organisation to cope with the demands of a dynamic and ever changing environment, it is necessary for management to move towards a leadership style that allows for the empowerment of employees (Carson & King, 2005). Scholars have identified a form of leadership termed “authentic leadership” where authentic leaders display traits such as honesty, sincerity, high moral standards, ethics and trustworthiness (Avolio et al., 2004; May 2004). According to George (2003), authentic leaders are self-aware and transparent therefore this behaviour sends a strong message to their followers influencing what they, the follower, attend to, how they view themselves and ultimately how they behave. Within organisations where authentic leaders are present, the importance of employee initiative and cooperation become very important (Le Pine, Erez & Johnson, 2002). The individual or employee initiative and cooperation can be viewed as in role (within formal job descriptions) or extra role (outside of formal job description) behaviour. Extra-role behaviour is also defined as organisational citizenship behaviour. This research study investigated if the dimensions of authentic leadership (self-awareness, moral perspective, balanced processing and relational transparency) had an effect on the dimensions of organisational citizenship behaviour (altruism, conscientiousness, sportsmanship, courtesy and civic virtue). The population for this study was a provincial government department within the Western Cape. A non-probability sample based on the method of convenience was utilised of which 131 respondents completed three sets of questionnaires namely; a Biographical questionnaire, Authentic Leadership Questionnaire (Avolio, Gardner & Walumbwa, 2007) and the Organisational Citizenship Questionnaire (Podsakoff, Mackenzie & Fetter, 1990). Statistical analyses involved both descriptive (measures of central tendency and dispersion) and inferential statistics (correlation and multiple regression). The findings indicated that a moderate to weak relationship exists between the dimensions of authentic leadership (self-awareness, moral perspective, balanced processing and relational transparency) and the dimensions of organisational citizenship behaviour (altruism, conscientiousness, sportsmanship, courtesy and civic virtue). Organisational citizenship behaviour of the employees within the organisation is not largely influenced by their leader’s authentic leadership style. Therefore, other factors such as work ethic, organisational commitment, work motivation or personality may have greater influence on organisational citizenship behaviour than authentic leadership. However, a few limitations associated with the study were identified and it is suggested that a qualitative approach be implored as well as other provincial, local or national government departments in the Western Cape be used to contribute to greater representativeness and generalisability. Variables identified in this study are embodied in the human resource functions of the organisation and managers should utilise the findings of this study to better understand human behaviour within the workplace.