Motivation and emotion/Book/2021/Sustainable leadership

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Sustainable leadership:
What are the leadership qualities needed for sustainable enterprises?

Overview[edit | edit source]

Figure 1. Effects of climate change on the arctic snow caps over a span of 28 years.

Over the past 50 years, which might not seem like much, but when you consider that it is less than the average life expectancy of the average person, we have seen major climate change across the world. Our polar snow caps have reduced in size by over 50%, see figure 1, and rain forests have more than halved in size, according to current predictions at the rate the world is going, we have less than 10 years until we have gone past the point of no return. We have also seen a big decline in wild life and even extinction of other species from things such as overfishing, poaching and the worsening state of the natural habitats that they need to survive. In our more resent history we have seen more awareness towards living a more environmentally sustainable lifestyle, and this has also seen a great push from countries, companies and individuals and it has seen a call to action of some form of sustainable leadership.

our future has never been more unceratain due to a lot of environmental issues, the past few centuries have seen a great development in a lot of areas , there has been a great drive in medical development, scientific research and technological development. These developments have seen a steady rise in life expancatncy, between 1959 and 2016 the United Satates life expantacy has increased by at least 10 years on avavrage (Robert et al,. 2008), we have also seen a decrease in child mortality as well. With all these developmets we have also seen

When we consider a few some of the most influence sustainable organisations and enterprises, we need to consider how they have made the impact they have made and how their leadership has influenced the idea of sustainability on a micro and or macro scale.

Sustainable leadership has been a main point of focus over the past few years,[grammar?] we have seen a big push and establishment of specific world organisation hat are working towards a sustainable present and future, organisations such as the United Nations or WWF. There are a lot of industries that have seen a massive overhaul in the direction of sustainability, the automotive industries being one of the major areas of improvement. Some of the tings[spelling?] we can take into consideration are the psychological effects that sustainable leadership has or can use in effect to reach this goal.

Since global push towards a more sustainable future [grammar?], there has been a few sustainable enterprises that have come up, some where[spelling?] successful more than others and some did not last as long. This book chapter investigates what leadership qualities are needed for sustainable enterprises taking into consideration the effects motivation and emotion has to their success.

Focus questions:

  • What sustainable enterprises do you know ?
  • What are some of the challenges a sustainable enterprise might come across in the early stages?
  • What motivations does good leadership in any area need?

Sustainable leadership[edit | edit source]

Figure 2. United nations Environmental program emblem

Climate change as classified by (Tol, 2020) is one of the most pressing global issue of the 21st century, in the past few years we have started experiencing and seeing the effects of climate change such as global warming and more natural disasters caused by the worsening condition of the climate[grammar?]. These effects have seen a big push by countries and certain global powers to take initiative and create a goal to rectify these issues. When we look at sustainable leadership we need to consider organisations such as the United Nations, Tesla company and Governments such as the Australian government, where these organisations have been pushing for more sustainable alternatives within particular industries and resources.

Sustainable leadership is a leadership style that was born out of the need to cope with global need of sustainability (Iqbal, et al., 2020). The need for sustainable leadership has been caused by many factors, inclusive of but not limited to, greenhouse gases, natural causes and human causes (Hardy, 2003). Motivation plays a very important role when we consider the leadership qualities needed for sustainable enterprises, taking in to consideration psychodynamic motivational theories and concepts. Motivation can also be utilised to excel goals and targets, we need to consider how they interact with people in both micro and on a macro scale. We can look at what research shows on Maslow's hierarchy of needs and how this can also influence the leadership styles and quality. We can also look at Alderfer's ERG theory, McClelland's acquired needs, Vroom's Theory of expectancy, The Hawthorne Effect, Skinners Operant conditioning theory and Locke's Goal-Setting theory, [grammar?] this chapter mainly focuses on the theories that might apply to key leadership qualities.

Leadership qualities[edit | edit source]

Leadership is defined by (Vroom & Jago, 2007) as a process of motivating people to work together and that a good result of leadership is getting people to peruse a common goal.

Vision and goals[edit | edit source]

Vison can be very instrumental as a quality of leadership, vision and goals is something that is shared among groups and can also help show help people or enterprises gain support. Vison can serve as a method to energise and motivate followers (Kantabultra & Avery, 2006), [grammar?] this is something that can be instrumental to a sustainable enterprise. One of the main goals of a sustainable enterprise is getting as many people to work towards sustainability collectively, by working towards a goal that would work to benefit the enterprise and the people.

Success[edit | edit source]

Previous success can also be a quality people would look for in leadership. (Hahm, et al., 2009) in a study that looked at the election of Lee Myung-bak [where?], what they found was that people believed in his ability as a leader because they of his previous success as mayor and these created illusions that he was effective and because of the praise he received of being a very tough minded decision maker. This can help us understand how culture and diversity might create different ideas and ideologies when it comes to leadership. In most cases, there are some leadership qualities that people seek in a leader, [grammar?] we can also look at how these leadership qualities can be implemented at an enterprise level.[factual?]

Trustworthiness[edit | edit source]

Trustworthiness is another great leadership quality, [grammar?] one of the challenges that gaining the trust of the followers is for an enterprise to be consistent, honest, transparent about their goal and achievements and reliable. (Wolugbom & Samuel, 2020) [Use APA style for citations] looked at how certain things like, honesty, consistent behaviour, being steadfast, straight forward, reliable and truthfulness of a business helped gain peoples trust and loyalty towards a business. These added benefits can be very influential towards attain the goal and furthering the success and strength of the enterprise.[factual?]

Effective communication[edit | edit source]

Great communication might be one of the most important skills on leadership qualities, [grammar?] people need to understand what an individual or a organisation stands for and this can help gain more followers increasing their reach and influence. We can look at how former American president Barack Obama was able to capitalise on new media such as Facebook (Hughes & Allbright-Hannah, 2010), the campaigns ability to understand how they can reach people who would have typically missed some of these campaigns.

Case study

The WWF[explain?] in its early stages of the organisation saw that they had solid funding which came from their investors and also from general public. This was because they were able to capitalise on air time, TV and radio, but in the past 10 years they have seen a steady decline [factual?] as people have stopped watching free to air tv and listening to the radio, rather opting for streaming entertainment services, such as Netflix, Disney and Spotify. These challenges, [grammar?] have affected how their range of influence and they are wondering what ways they can get more people to fund and volunteer to help where the help is needed. The organisation barely has a social media presence and seeing as this has become one of the most common spaces for communications. Looking at the leadership qualities, they figure out that they haven not been able to adapt and they decide to create a social media department for the organisation, they start engaging with people on the different platforms. Donations start increasing and also volunteers as word of mouth starts to spread they also start seeing that people started to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle.[factual?]

Motivation theories[edit | edit source]

This book chapter will mainly focus on the 7 theories on motivation stated and will look to see how these can be implemented as a leadership quality for a sustainable leadership. Motivation is a a very key component needed for leadership, [grammar?] it can help us understand the motives and goals which in turn can help create sustainable leadership. Some of the theories can also bring some insight on the people being lead, [grammar?] leadership can only be successful when you have the backing of those being led, by understanding theses we can also look at how they can use this to govern what types of leadership qualities are needed.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs[edit | edit source]

Figure 3, image of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

Maslow based his hierarchy of needs as being a key motivator based on a five tier model of human needs (McLeod, 2007). As shown in figure 2, Maslow's focusses on these five stages, Psychological needs, safety needs, belongingness & love needs, esteem needs and self actualization, his theory states the needs on the bottom need to be fulfilled before a person focusses on the higher needs. These tiers also fall into 3 sub categories Psychological needs and Safety needs would fall under basic needs, belongingness & love and esteem needs would be grouped under psychological needs and finally self actualisation under self-fulfilment needs.

An enterprise can look at this theory and use it in place to work within the organisation and also look at real world applications of this theory. What Maslow suggests is that when we a [grammar?] persons psychological needs, safety needs, love and belonging needs and esteem needs are met, the person has room and the ability to work on self actualisation. Within the organisation, if they notice that there has been a decline in productivity and creativity they can look at this needs structure and see where these needs might be lacking and also see what ideas they can implement to help get productivity up and more ideas flowing within the groups. Another area to consider area to consider are the needs of the people/public, in the case that they have been effective communication of the goals they hope to attain and people understand what is at risk, but there is no action of compliance they can also look at this hierarchy of needs and see if there are certain areas that they might be able to improve. See case study bellow.

Case study

In a polution[spelling?] study a group of scientist decide to carry out a survey between six countries. The condition of the survey was that three fo[spelling?] the countries had to be considered as 3rd world countries and the other three had to be 1st world countries (in economical terms). The study found that people in the third world countries even after being educated as the those in the first world countries showed no improvement on the pollution, where the first world countires[spelling?] showed improvements. One of the researchers suggests that, the underlying reason they did not find an improvement was that people in the first world countries seemed to have most of their needs met in accordance to Maslow's Hierarchy of needs and in having that, they tended to car[spelling?] more about social economical problems. The other countries did not have the same needs met they were too focused on these need to have enough time to focus on any other needs.

Something to consider: Would you care about sustainability when the only thing you can do for a living to provide for your family was in an industry that was unsustainable or would your first responsibility be for you and your family's wellbeing?

Alderfer's ERG theory[edit | edit source]

Alderfer's ERG theory originated from when Alderfer was attempting to address some short comings with Maslow's theory of hierarchy of need, [grammar?] what he came up with was that a person is motivated by only three core needs. These needs were, Existence, Relatedness and Growth needs (ERG) (Arnolds & Bosshoff, 2002). This theory does resemble almost a shortened version of Maslow's theory, the difference being that the ERG theory seems shorter. The Existence needs resemble the basic needs that a person needs to survive, Relatedness needs resemble the need to have some interpersonal relationships, such as social groups and family, and Growth needs resemble self actualisation, and the desire for personal growth.[How does this relate to sustainable leadership?]

McClelland's acquired needs[edit | edit source]

David C McClelland theory of motivation similar to Alderfer's ERG theory in that it had three central ideas on motivation. This theory states that motivation is closely associated with learning concepts, the needs are learned through one interaction with their learning environment (Pardee, 1990). McClelland focuses on these three needs, the need for achievement, the need for power and the need for affiliation. The need for achievement is when a person tries to be better and archive more, this can be likened to Maslow's self-actualisation stage. The need for power is when a persons [grammar?] strives for power or control and they use this as their main motive to have the power, the third need is the affiliation, [grammar?] these are individuals who are motivated by social connections.

Hawthorne effect[edit | edit source]

The Hawthorne effect was founded on the investigation of the effects of how changing the environment can increase the productivity, and this was conducted by Hawthorne in his company. His investigation was to see if improving or reducing the lighting in the factory had an effect on the productivity (McCarney, et al., 2007).

Case study

An [grammar?] sustainable enterprise, has a global goal to improve the carbon footprint of the nation, but they notice that it is had been difficult to get people to worry about the future impact of global warming while they are busy worrying about things in that are happening around them. So they start looking at satisfying some of the basic needs and by making sure that the peoples[grammar?] needs are met people wand[spelling?] over time the same group reaches a level of self-actualization[spelling?] and start coming up with better and more economical ways that help them deal with the issues of sustainability.

1 Looking at the case study above, which theory of motivation would you say that the enterprise is using?

Maslow's hierarchy of needs theory.
Adlers[grammar?] ERG theory.
McClelland's acquired needs theory.

2 In Alderfer's ERG theory, the letter G stands for Growth?


Leadership and relationships[edit | edit source]

Figure 4. Rimac automobili electric car

Relationships and quality of relationships are very instrumental to leadership, [grammar?] enterprises by ways of building and sustaining relations stand to gain from them as well as having other sources that can bring recognition to their organisation. World Wildlife Fund is a sustainable enterprises that has developed relationships with different countries and also different stakeholders. One of the most important relationships for leaders are the followers and the people who might not be followers but want to follow them, this can bring in to play a lot of factors, such as public perception, word of mouth and also getting the message spread about the goals of the organisation.

Organisational relationships[edit | edit source]

Cooperation between organisation can work to create mutual benefits[grammar?], Rimac Automobili which is an up starter car company which used to specialise in creating batteries for other car manufactures like Koenigsegg, was able to start start making their own fully electric cars whilst still providing batteries for other manufactures[spelling?]. They are able to do this by receiving funding and investments from other organisations such as the VW group whilst the VW group gains battery technologies that they can use in their cars. In this industry we have also seen similar relationships between car manufacturers.

Conclusion[edit | edit source]

A sustainable enterprise can be considered and[spelling?] not for profit or for profit organisation that works towards archiving[spelling?] sustainability, [grammar?] this can be in wide range of industries. Stainable[spelling?] organisations have a big task at hand, [grammar?] the challenges can only be over come with great leadership skills, the ability to change with the times and building relationships. Form what has been covered in this book chapter we can see how multifaceted an sustain enterprises has to be to be able to reach their goals. Sustainability is not a challenge a single organisation can take on by itself, but is a challenge that an organisation with good strategies and leadership might be able to make an impact on, by getting as many people to engage on the strategies and coming up with innovative ideas.

By applying motivational theory we can also see how these enterprises can effectively improve on the productivity and also having greater influence on the public which would also add to their success. Sustainable leadership is a fair[spelling?] new form of leadership and has shown promising results of paving a new lifestyle that is beneficial to both nature and humans, [grammar?] it will only improve over time as we learn more about it and develop better methods of this leadership.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

Arnolds, C. A., & Boshoff, C. (2002). Compensation, esteem valence and job performance: an empirical assessment of Alderfer's ERG theory. International Journal of Human Resource Management, 13(4), 697-719.

Hahm, S. D., & Choi, Y. H. (2009). An early assessment of the lee myung-bak presidency: Leadership style and qualities*. Korea Observer, 40(4), 615-638. Retrieved from

Hardy, J. T. (2003). Climate change: causes, effects, and solutions. John Wiley & Sons.

Hughes, S. G. F., Allbright-Hannah, K., Goodstein, S., Grove, S., Zuckerberg, R., Sladden, C., & Bohnet, B. (2010). Obama and the power of social media and technology. The European Business Review, 16-21.

Iqbal, Q., Ahmad, N. H., & Halim, H. A. (2020). How Does Sustainable Leadership Influence Sustainable Performance? Empirical Evidence From Selected ASEAN Countries. SAGE Open, 10(4), 2158244020969394.

Kantabutra, S., & Avery, G. C. (2006). Follower effects in the visionary leadership process. Journal of Business & Economics Research (JBER), 4(5).

McCarney, R., Warner, J., Iliffe, S., Van Haselen, R., Griffin, M., & Fisher, P. (2007). The Hawthorne Effect: a randomised, controlled trial. BMC medical research methodology, 7(1), 1-8.

Pardee, R. L. (1990). Motivation Theories of Maslow, Herzberg, McGregor & McClelland. A Literature Review of Selected Theories Dealing with Job Satisfaction and Motivation.

Robert, L., Robert, A. M., & Fülöp, T. (2008). Rapid increase in human life expectancy: will it soon be limited by the aging of elastin?. Biogerontology, 9(2), 119-133.

Tol, R. S. (2020). The economic impacts of climate change. Review of Environmental Economics and Policy.

Wolugbom, R. K., & Samuel, J. (2020). HONESTY IN BUSINESS: A PANACEA FOR BUSINESS SUSTAINABILITY AMONG SMALL AND MEDIUM SCALE ENTERPRISES. Nigerian Journal of Business Education (NIGJBED), 7(1), 367-379.

Vroom, V. H., & Jago, A. G. (2007). The role of the situation in leadership. American Psychologist, 62(1), 17.

External links[edit | edit source]

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