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Uncertainty reduction in teams: The role of transformational leadership

EasyChair Preprint no. 1183

21 pagesDate: June 13, 2019


Post-bureaucratic organization forms such as teamwork have been introduced in the public sector due to changing demands in society, requiring public organizations to be flexible, innovative, and responsive. These decentralized and deregulated organization forms may lose what was the original purpose of bureaucracies: reducing uncertainty for employees (Gajduschek, 2003). Uncertainty can be defined as a problem of incomplete, unclear or conflicting information about goals, roles, and tasks.

In the absence of rules uncertainty reduction is to be realized through social interactions among team members and their supervisors. In this study, we therefore look at the effect of leadership and interaction of employees with their peers on employees’ uncertainty experiences.

By researching these managerial rather than structural antecedents of uncertainty, this article expands on the current literature in which uncertainty reduction is generally achieved through high levels of formalization in the organization (cf. Raaphorst 2018). This has implications for practice as well, since it would allow organizations to maintain their decentralized and deregulated organization form whilst at the same time managing uncertainty for employees.

The theoretical expectations include the hypothesis that transformational leadership is aimed at elevating and aligning individual interests with organizational goals and therefore reduces goal uncertainty. On the other hand, the process of team information elaboration, which can be defined as ‘the exchange, discussion, and integration of task-relevant information and perspectives’ (Van Dick et al 2008: 1466), is expected to reduce task uncertainty.

Keyphrases: Bureaucracy, Teamwork, transformational leadership, uncertainty

BibTeX entry
BibTeX does not have the right entry for preprints. This is a hack for producing the correct reference:
  author = {Bernard Bernards},
  title = {Uncertainty reduction in teams: The role of transformational leadership},
  howpublished = {EasyChair Preprint no. 1183},

  year = {EasyChair, 2019}}
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