Positive Communication Improves Group Performance

[We’re pleased to welcome Hassan Abu Bakar of  Universiti Utara Malaysia. Dr. Abu Bakar recently published an article with co-author Robert M. McCann of BPCQ/IJBC3.inddUniversity of California, Los Angeles, entitled “An Examination of Leader-Member Dyadic Politeness of Exchange and Servant Leadership on Group Member Performance” online in International Journal of Business Communication.]

Communication literature has indicated that perceptions influence interpersonal communication, which in turn, reinforces perceptions of relationships between dyads, thereby reinforcing their attitudes towards the group. Inspired by these developments, we found the impact of servant leadership on group member performance varied as a function of leader-member dyadic politeness of exchange. One implication of our results that creating a positive communication atmosphere in a work group is vital; it is valuable for both group managers and members to develop communications that are congruent with their social norms. This serves to reduce the possibility of social loafing and role ambiguity problems in a work group. One promising direction for future research is to examine live exchanges between supervisors and subordinates that are recorded and analyzed both qualitatively and quantitatively, a methodological approach going beyond conventional survey-based research.

The abstract:

Integrating conversational constraint theory and models of homophily and relational dyadic communication, this study investigates how leader-member politeness exchange and servant leadership influence group member performance in a Malaysian organizational context. Using hierarchical linear modeling with data obtained from a sample of 510 employees, 65 workgroups, and 3 organizations, a politeness of exchange-servant leadership model was tested. Results show that servant leadership was positively and significantly associated with workgroup manager’s ratings of group member’s performance. The positive association between servant leadership and group member performance is more pronounced when managers and members in workgroups are high in politeness of exchange in their interactions. As predicted, leader-member dyadic politeness of exchange within the workgroup manager-group member dyads moderated this positive association.

You can read “An Examination of Leader-Member Dyadic Politeness of Exchange and Servant Leadership on Group Member Performance” from International Journal of Business Communication by clicking here. Want to know about all the latest research from International Journal of Business Communication? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!

Hassan Abu BakarHassan Abu Bakar is an associate professor in the Department of Communication, School of Multimedia Technology and Communication, and Othman Yeop Abdullah Graduate School of Business, Universiti Utara Malaysia, Malaysia. His main research interests are in dyadic communication in workplace, leadership style, organizational communication and intercultural communication.

Robert M. McCann (PhD, Communication, University of California, Santa BarbarRobert M. McCanna) is the Associate Dean for Global Initiatives at the UCLA Anderson School of Management, where he is also on the School’s Management & Organization faculty. Dr. McCann’s core areas of research interest include intergroup communication, intercultural communication, and workplace ageism.


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