Leadership

The world of work is changing all the time. Companies have to constantly adapt and reorient themselves in order to stay competitive. Managers play an important role here in communicating new structures and processes. At the same time, however, they are also affected by such changes themselves.

Businesswoman in a meeting with young employees
© iStock/fizkes

The impacts of the adjustments that organisations constantly have to make in order to keep pace with a changing environment have been researched in various projects conducted by the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (Bundesanstalt für Arbeitsschutz und Arbeitsmedizin, BAuA). Digitalisation and the transformation of the world of work that is taking place in parallel to it are amplifying each other and altering daily work routines profoundly. As well as holding out opportunities, these developments pose risks for companies and employees, and frequently provoke resistance among staff. It is proving particularly challenging for businesses to take the whole workforce along with them on the journey to the World of Work 4.0.

Role and significance of leadership

Leadership, in the sense of the direct management of employees, denotes the process by which workers' attitudes and behaviour are influenced in organisations, and by which their work is directed and coordinated both inside and across groups in order to achieve particular organisational aims. Managers are (partially) responsible for the operational achievement of each company’s strategic goals, and serve as central mediators between different organisational levels. Leadership activities are regarded as a key factor in satisfaction, performance, well-being, and health at work. Depending on the prevalent management style, such activities may be a central resource for employees to draw on or, alternatively, a stress factor that puts pressure on them - see also Mental Health in the Working World - Leadership (German only).

However, managers themselves are not being left unaffected by the increasingly diverse requirements that have to be satisfied. Worlds of work evolving constantly at an ever faster pace and organisational restructuring processes confront leaders with new challenges and burdens: they have to evaluate themselves and their understanding of leadership over and over again, adapting to altered demands. Not only that, the expectations employees have of their leaders are also changing, as shown by BAuA's recent internet analysis The Necessity of Leadership in a Digitalised World of Work - a Netnography (German only).

Although it has previously been possible to demonstrate significant correlations between leadership behaviour and the mental health of an organisation's employees, research rarely focusses on the health of managers themselves. Furthermore, it has been proven that there is a connection between leadership behaviour and employees’ health, but the underlying mechanisms are still unclear.

Importance of organisational parameters

Leadership activities depend to a great extent on the organisational parameters within which managers perform their duties. These parameters include structural characteristics such as the size of the company, specific features of the sector in which it operates, and personnel development processes. In addition to this, the organisational climate and cultural aspects such as the company’s error culture and approach to communication are of central significance. These parameters determine the options for action managers have available to them. They have consequences both for working conditions and, indirectly, for managers’ and employees' performance and health. Nor should the active roles played by workers and the opportunities they have to exert influence be disregarded. This is true with regard to individuals' health just as much as the successful achievement of organisational goals.

BAuA’s Leadership and Organisation in the Changing World focus programme

The various topics associated with organisational transformation and the implications they have for managers constitute the new, long-term research focus for BAuA. Managers' functions and how they interact with employees are to be researched, while work design recommendations will be drawn up for real-life situations that make it easier for managers to deal with change in companies and cope with their own roles. BAuA's leadership research is closely linked with other current and past projects on restructuring, mental health, and the digitalisation of the world of work.

Inhalte

Research projects

Project numberF 2549 StatusOngoing Project Leader and employee well-being in organisational change

To the Project

Research ongoing

Project numberF 2436 StatusCompleted Project Leadership and organisation in the changing world

To the Project

Research completed

Project numberF 2504 StatusCompleted Project Leadership and Management

To the Project

Research completed

Project numberF 2305 StatusCompleted Project Restructuring in companies in terms of quality and size - a review

To the Project

Research completed

Project numberF 2372 StatusCompleted Project Learning-relevant characteristics of work design in the service-sector: The role of leadership

To the Project

Research completed

Project numberF 2353 StatusCompleted Project Mental health in the working world - determining the current state of scientific evidence

To the Project

Research completed

Project numberF 2340 StatusCompleted Project Development and piloting of training tools for middle managers and employee representatives to support successful restructuring

To the Project

Research completed

Publications

Search results

Empirical Followership Research Since the Publication of the Formal Theory of Followership by Uhl-Bien et al. (2014) - A Systematic Review

Article 2024

Since Uhl-Bien et al. (2014) presented their Formal Theory of Followership (FTF), followership research has been perceived as an …

To the Publication

Leader-member exchange differentiation and followers' psychological strain: exploring relations on the individual and on the team-level

Article 2024

Due to social comparison in the team, leader-member exchange (LMX) differentiation has been shown to play a crucial role for …

To the Publication

The analysis of collective orientation and process feedback in relation to coordination and performance in interdependently working teams

Article 2024

Effective teamwork is not only essential for teams themselves, but also for organizations and our society. To facilitate team …

To the Publication

Unveiling the interplay between leadership behavior and leader well-being: a person-centered approach

Article 2024

Purpose: Drawing on COR theory and based on a person-centered approach, this study aims to explore profiles of both leadership …

To the Publication

Followership styles scrutinized: temporal consistency and relationships with job attitudes and self-efficacy

Article 2023

While followership has been repeatedly acknowledged as an important part of leadership, key questions are still awaiting …

To the Publication

In what ways does age-differentiated leadership influence employee health?

Article 2023

According to Wegge et al. (2014), leadership behavior can affect employee health in several ways. The model describes leaders …

To the Publication

Leaders' mental health in times of crisis: work intensification, emotional demands and the moderating role of organizational support and self-efficacy

Article 2023

This article focuses on leaders' specific demands in times of crisis and the role of personal and organizational resources …

To the Publication

Leadership in the Focus of Interest - Special Requirements for the Practice of Leadership and Recommendations for Risk Assessment of Psychosocial Stress

Article 2023

The complete article can be purchased in German at the website of the Journal "Arbeitsmedizin, Sozialmedizin, Umweltmedizin", …

To the Publication

Temporal dynamics of shared leadership, team workload, and collective team member well-being: a daily diary study

Article 2023

In this diary study, we consider shared leadership and team workload as antecedents of team mental health. We draw on …

To the Publication

A diary study on shared leadership, team work engagement, and goal attainment

Article 2022

Theory of shared leadership has suggested that this informal source of team leadership is highly dynamic and changes over time. …

To the Publication

results per page: