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Better leadership, higher work engagement? Comparative study on Finnish and Russian private sector employees

Tiina Saari (Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland)
Harri Melin (Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland)
Evgeniya Balabanova (Department of Sociology, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russian Federation)
Azer Efendiev (Department of Sociology, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russian Federation)

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy

ISSN: 0144-333X

Article publication date: 6 August 2018

Issue publication date: 20 September 2018

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Abstract

Purpose

This paper focuses on the relationship between leadership and work engagement (WE) in Finnish and Russian private sector organizations. The purpose of this paper is to analyze how Finland and Russia differ in the level of WE; in the level of satisfaction with leadership and in specific components of leadership as most important antecedents for WE.

Design/methodology/approach

The empirical analysis of this study is based on survey data collected in Finland and Russia. The analysis focuses on 1,570 Finnish and 490 Russian private sector, full-time employees with permanent contracts, who have no managerial responsibilities. The data are analyzed using descriptive methods and binary logistic regression analysis.

Findings

The results show, first, that both satisfaction of leadership and WE are higher in Finland than in Russia. Second, WE in Finland is facilitated by nearly all components of leadership – both materialistic- and relationship-based – while in Russia WE is predicted by rewarding good performers and such relationship-based practices as feedback, delegating responsibility, discussing work matters, and building trust. Contrary to the hypothesis, such materialistic-based components as providing equal treatment turned out to be insignificant for WE in Russia.

Practical implications

Organizations should invest in leadership quality to enhance WE and thus, to get a competitive advantage.

Originality/value

This study adds to the limited comparative research on WE and its predictors.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This research has been supported by the Finnish Work Environment Fund and by a grant from the National Research University Higher School of Economics through the Basic Research Program. The authors thank the anonymous reviewers for their detailed and helpful comments.

Citation

Saari, T., Melin, H., Balabanova, E. and Efendiev, A. (2018), "Better leadership, higher work engagement? Comparative study on Finnish and Russian private sector employees", International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Vol. 38 No. 11/12, pp. 922-943. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSSP-12-2017-0181

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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