Golding, David (2016) The privatised leader: an empirical study of the relationship between privatisation, its impacts on leadership, and the motivational outcomes. Masters thesis, University of Huddersfield.

The study aims to determine the impacts of privatisation on leadership and the relationship between the leadership styles and characteristics on the employees’ motivation. The conservative government began privatising public leisure services in the UK in 2011/12 to kick-start the economy by increasing private sector investment, increasing efficiency of leisure centres, and maximising profits to be returned to the economy. Privatisation became a primary economy boosting strategy due to the financial advantages; for example, following privatisation British Gas’s, in 1989, stock prices rocketed from £1.35 per share to £11.09 per share (Kirby, 2013). However, the impact on employees has minimal significant research to explain how privatisation can add stresses and strain to workers that are required to dramatically alter their working ethos and priorities to meet the needs of a profit driven organisation. The responsibility of management is to ensure workers are able to perform to their duties to their maximum capacity, expectations are clearly communicated, and support is offered to employees where necessary. The relationship between management and employees is vital to the longevity of success in any organisation (Avolio & Gardner, 2005; Dansereau Jr, Graen, & Haga, 1975; Salovey & Mayer 1990).

The Rebecca Adlington Swimming Centre (RASC) in Mansfield was bought by Serco Leisure, a sub-company within Serco PLC, one of the largest public service providing businesses in the UK. RASC was used as a case-study where a snapshot study took place to establish the impact of privatisation on the Duty Managers (DMs) and the subsequent impacts on the employees’ motivation. Traditional and contemporary leadership and motivation theories were used to compare and contrast primary findings from RASC’s employees to theories such as Emotional Intelligence (EI) (Salovey & Mayer 1990); and Leader-Member Exchange (LMX) (Dansereau Jr, Graen, & Haga, 1975) to understand how and why the DMs were disengaged from the employees. The dissertation determines how employees’ motivation is impacted by EI and LMX; for example, the findings displayed poor vertical relationships and communication causing a perception of exploitation as the effort:reward ratio is perceived as inequitable (Adams, 1963).

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