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Article
Publication date: 1 June 2022

William T. Holmes

The purpose of this conceptual paper is to engage the field of leaders, practitioners, organizational trainers, and scholars into the idea that leader talk and the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this conceptual paper is to engage the field of leaders, practitioners, organizational trainers, and scholars into the idea that leader talk and the implementation of Motivating Language Theory takes ability. It takes thought and intentionality. It goes beyond just the use of the three leadership languages known as the Motivating Language Constructs that are so often written about in Motivating Language Theory research as “Motivating Language” when indeed they are not.

Design/methodology/approach

The conceptual approach behind this quick primer is to take previous research in Motivating Language Theory and refine and expand the work centered around Motivating Language Ability in order to bring greater attention and focus to Motivating Language and the necessary skills leaders need to bring it about.

Findings

The findings of this conceptual paper explicitly highlight levels of leader talk and Motivating Language usage and provides ideas and strategies for the implementation of Motivating Language Ability.

Research limitations/implications

The research implication of this conceptual paper is to assist scholars in clarifying their use of Motivating Language in research as there are times when researchers will identify Motivating Language in their research but not have Motivating Language as a significant variable.

Practical implications

The practical implication of this conceptual paper is to provide guidance and information to practitioners in the field on content that is critical for leader and organizational development.

Originality/value

The value of this conceptual paper is that it builds off of research already published and adds additional clarification and emphasis to an understudied and discussed element of Motivating Language Theory and leader talk in general.

Details

Development and Learning in Organizations: An International Journal, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1477-7282

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 10 July 2021

Md Karim Rabiul, Tan Fee Yean, Ataul Karim Patwary, Ahmad Edwin Mohamed and Haim Hilman

This study aims to validate the motivating language scale developed by Mayfield et al. (1995) in the context of the hotel industries of Bangladesh and Malaysia.

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to validate the motivating language scale developed by Mayfield et al. (1995) in the context of the hotel industries of Bangladesh and Malaysia.

Design/methodology/approach

For Study 1, data were collected from employees (lower and mid-level) of three to five-star hotels in Bangladesh. Customer-contact employees working in four- and five-star hotels in Malaysia participated in Study 2. Both studies featured a cross-sectional survey design.

Findings

Factor analysis revealed that both samples provided three-factor solutions for the motivating language scale in both countries. Convergent, discriminant and nomological validity were assessed by testing with outcome variables of motivating language.

Research limitations/implications

Future studies may use all three versions of the scale (Bengali, Malay and English) to collect data, as all three have been validated.

Originality/value

By validating the Bengali and Malay versions of the motivating language scale, this study contributes to the leadership language literature, specifically that related to hotel industries in developing contexts.

Details

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, vol. 33 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0959-6119

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 14 December 2015

Sandra Gutierrez-Wirsching, Jacqueline Mayfield, Milton Mayfield and Wei Wang

The purpose of this paper is to propose motivating language as a mediator to increase the positive effects of servant leadership on subordinates’ outcomes. The authors…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to propose motivating language as a mediator to increase the positive effects of servant leadership on subordinates’ outcomes. The authors propose that motivating language acts as a mediator to transmit servant leadership traits and enhances the positive impact that servant leadership verbal behavior has on employees’ performance.

Design/methodology/approach

By developing a conceptual model, the authors propose a connection between servant leadership and motivating language.

Findings

In the proposed model, motivating language acts as a full and a partial mediator. The authors further categorize three distinct outcome sets that should be improved from this relationship. The first set includes improved worker performance, job satisfaction, absenteeism and worker innovation. The second set is composed of self-efficacy, organizational citizenship behavior and employee commitment. Finally, the third set includes trust, satisfaction with the leader and inspiration to become servant leaders.

Research limitations/implications

Empirical research needs to be conducted to test this model.

Practical implications

The positive effects of servant leadership through the use of motivating language could be operationalized in multiple ways. First, potential servant leaders could take the well-established, reliable and valid motivating language scale to diagnostically identify their leader-member communication strengths and weaknesses. Then, tailored motivating language trainings could be implemented which target motivating language weaknesses and key strategic outcomes in the proposed model. Furthermore, motivating language training would be a valuable instrument for transmission of a servant leadership culture.

Social implications

Servant leadership style responds to the demand for positive ethical behavior that is much needed during these times when emphasis is given to profitability and lack of concern for people is the norm rather than the exception. It is also synchronized with the current benefits of organizational citizenship behaviors that have recently emerged in the field of managerial research.

Originality/value

This paper aims at addressing a gap in the literature by developing a model of how leader strategic language, namely, motivating language, mediates between servant leadership and worker outcomes.

Details

Management Research Review, vol. 38 no. 12
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-8269

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 3 August 2020

Cau Ngoc Nguyen, Wei Ning, Albi Alikaj and Quoc Nam Tran

This study aims to examine the impact of managerial use of motivating language on employee absenteeism, turnover intention, job satisfaction and job performance for…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to examine the impact of managerial use of motivating language on employee absenteeism, turnover intention, job satisfaction and job performance for employees from three nations: India, the USA and Vietnam.

Design/methodology/approach

Data is collected from 614 employees working in India, the USA and Vietnam. A variance-based partial least squares structural equation modeling technique is used to test the hypotheses. In addition, a statistical test is used to examine the statistical differences in the results across the three nations.

Findings

The findings are consistent with the motivating language theory, in that managerial use of motivating language can be an effective strategy in motivating employees. Specifically, motivating language is found to significantly decrease employee absenteeism and turnover intention, as well as significantly increase job satisfaction and performance across the three nations. The effect sizes indicate that, across all samples, motivating language has a medium effect for all employee outcomes, except absenteeism, which is shown to have a small effect size. Moreover, the results indicate that employees in different cultures perceive and interpret the leader’s use of motivating language in different ways. Whereas motivating language may receive greater success in promoting workers’ job performance in eastern cultures, it is also more effective in retaining employees in western cultures.

Originality/value

The study adds to the literature in three major ways. First, it provides evidence for two understudied relationships: motivating language and absenteeism and motivating language and turnover intention. Second, it assesses the generalizability of the motivating language theory by investigating data from India, the USA and Vietnam. Finally, this paper offers a statistical comparison of the three samples to analyze how the relationship between motivating language and worker outcomes differ among the three samples.

Details

Management Research Review, vol. 44 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-8269

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 30 March 2020

William T. “Toby” Holmes

The purpose of this conceptual paper is to increase the leadership and organizational effectiveness concepts presented by Simon Sinek in his 2009 book “Start with Why” by…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this conceptual paper is to increase the leadership and organizational effectiveness concepts presented by Simon Sinek in his 2009 book “Start with Why” by connecting them to Motivating Language Theory and presenting the integrated framework within a double-loop organizational and developmental learning model.

Design/methodology/approach

The approach of this conceptual paper is to link Sinek’s concepts WHY/HOW/WHAT with Motivating Language Theory’s constructs Meaning-Making Language/Empathetic Language/Direction-Giving Language to support deeper implementation as well as maximize implementation of WHY/HOW/WHAT through implementation of the higher-level variable Motivating Language. Additionally, this conceptual paper expands upon Sinek’s discussion of process and outcomes through the illustration of a double-loop organizational learning and development model that highlights data-driven decision-making, working from the inside-out organizational processes, and the connection between outcomes and reflection to improve organizational work.

Findings

The findings of this conceptual paper are motivating language theory can enhance and extend Sinek’s organizational and leadership assertions, and the creation of a double-loop organizational learning and development model provides greater clarity and insight to Sinek’s initial concepts presented in Start with Why. These findings provide practitioners greater tools and resources for implementation in the field as well as continue to provide scholars with an ongoing thread of connections and applications of Motivating Language Theory.

Originality/value

The originality of this conceptual paper builds off Sinek’s assertion that communication is vital to leaders and organizations by giving it context and specificity in the form of a well-established leadership and organizational communication theory.

Details

Development and Learning in Organizations: An International Journal, vol. 35 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1477-7282

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 9 September 2022

Fauzia Syed, Saima Naseer, Fatima Bashir and Tasneem Fatima

Recent evidence suggests that leaders' communication is central to an organization's success. The purpose of the current research is to examine how the leader's motivating

Abstract

Purpose

Recent evidence suggests that leaders' communication is central to an organization's success. The purpose of the current research is to examine how the leader's motivating language (direction giving, empathetic and meaning-making) translates into positive career outcomes through the mechanism of positive affective tone.

Design/methodology/approach

A three-wave time-lagged research design was applied to collect data (N = 320) from employees of the telecom sector of Pakistan.

Findings

Employing structural equation modeling (SEM) analysis, the study results indicate that high levels of leader's motivating language (direction giving and meaning-making) result in positive affective tone in employees, which further creates career motivation (career insight, career resilience and career identity) and career satisfaction. In contrast, positive affective tone does not mediate between empathetic language and career motivation (career insight, career resilience and career identity) and career satisfaction relationship.

Research limitations/implications

The present study's findings explicate the unique effects and mechanism through which leaders motivating language becomes influential in reaping its benefits for followers' career outcomes. More research is warranted to examine other attitudinal and behavioral outcomes of leaders motivating language. This study research prepares future researchers to investigate other mediators and moderators in the leaders motivating language–career outcomes relationship. The authors recommend further implications of the study's findings for research and practice in the domain of leadership, affect and careers.

Originality/value

The current study opens up a new perspective in leaders motivating language literature by examining the underlying mechanism of positive affective tone.

Article
Publication date: 14 September 2021

William T. Holmes, Michele Parker, Jentre J. Olsen and Jam Khojasteh

The purpose of this study was to determine the influence of rural superintendent’s talk on the perceived outcomes of principal communication competence and organizational…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study was to determine the influence of rural superintendent’s talk on the perceived outcomes of principal communication competence and organizational communication satisfaction. More specifically, this study explored whether the source credibility dimensions of goodwill, competency and trustworthiness had a greater impact on the perceived outcomes when mediated by motivating language (ML) than not.

Design/methodology/approach

Direct and indirect paths between superintendent and principal communication were modeled, analyzed and evaluated using descriptive and inferential methods, including R version 3.6.1 with the lavaan package and the Sobel mediation test.

Findings

Research findings indicated the importance of superintendent talk and motivating language theory (MLT) that, when combined, constitute the medium of superintendent practice and enable a superintendent to execute their roles and duties. Additionally, the authors found the dimensions of goodwill and competency had the most significant impact on the two outcomes mediated by ML. This finding indicates that principals are calling for a more empathetic and interactive form of credibility than the long-established form of credibility based on expertise and stewardship. Finally, as the authors call for an expanded role from the community in research, scholarship and implementation of MLT, they suggest due to the lack of significance in trustworthiness mediated by ML, future research into trustworthiness and trust.

Originality/value

This study’s value is to increase understanding of educational administration scholars of MLT and its power to influence employee and organizational outcomes and highlight a reframing of superintendent credibility away from say and do agreement and expertise and stewardship.

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 59 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 6 March 2019

William T. Holmes and W. Reed Scull

The purpose of this paper is to integrate the Bolman and Deal’s (2017) Four Frames of Reframing Organizations with the Mayfield and Mayfield (2018) Motivating Language

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to integrate the Bolman and Deal’s (2017) Four Frames of Reframing Organizations with the Mayfield and Mayfield (2018) Motivating Language Theory so that those who lead organizations can better do so and those who guide the improvement and development of organizations can better prepare organizational managers/leaders.

Design/methodology/approach

Through the fusion of the Four-Frames Assumptions and Motivating Language Categorical Forms into one integration table, linkages and connections between the two frameworks are identified.

Findings

The findings of this work provide a “voice” to the Four Frames of Reframing Organizations and extend the field Motivating Language Theory as the medium of leader praxis.

Research limitations/implications

The implications for researchers are new opportunities for research and teaching.

Practical implications

The implications for those in the field are new opportunities for leader development and training leading to improved outcomes for employees and organizations.

Originality/value

This is the first integration of the Four-Frames and Motivating Language Theory extending and enriching both fields.

Details

Development and Learning in Organizations: An International Journal, vol. 33 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1477-7282

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 4 September 2017

William T. Holmes and Marsha Carr

The purpose of this article is to provide support for leader improvement, development, and learning as well as provide a twenty-first century training program that meets…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this article is to provide support for leader improvement, development, and learning as well as provide a twenty-first century training program that meets the needs of all organizations and employees within the context of motivating language (ML) and through the framework of a trending self-initiated training practice referred to as self-mentoring (SM).

Design/methodology/approach

The approach of this paper is to merge the robust and well-generalized ML model with the emergent SM model around a set of guided questions to create a framework for training.

Findings

The integrated findings of the ML and SM models create a process for training that supports a well-developed organizational system, as well as a system that is void of systematic elements for leader development.

Research limitations/implications

The implications call for expanded scholarship in the ML model and SM as tools for leadership and organizational development (OD).

Practical implications

Continued training in the ML model for leaders and application of SM as an institutional vehicle for training.

Originality/value

This is the first paper bringing ML and SM together.

Details

Development and Learning in Organizations: An International Journal, vol. 31 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1477-7282

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 29 April 2014

James C. Sarros, Elvira Luca, Iain Densten and Joseph C. Santora

– The purpose of this paper is to use Motivating Language Theory (MLT) as a framework in determining leader use of different language styles during times of dynamic change.

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to use Motivating Language Theory (MLT) as a framework in determining leader use of different language styles during times of dynamic change.

Design/methodology/approach

This exploratory study of executive members of the Australian Institute of Management examined how MLT may provide a mechanism for analyzing what leaders say in the context of a work setting. Written transcripts of interview data were analyzed to determine leaders’ use of three language styles: meaning-making (locutionary), direction giving (perlocutionary), and empathetic (illocutionary) language. The software program NVivo was used to help aggregate themes emerging from written and interview data into discrete modules to enable more robust and comprehensive analysis of the data.

Findings

A range of issues pertinent to the way executives lead and manage their businesses, both in private and not-for-profit organizations, was identified in this study. Direction giving language was most prominent in management activities and leadership that was strategic or people related, followed by meaning-making and empathetic language. The findings suggest that business leaders could develop a repertoire of language approaches in order to achieve organizational outcomes.

Research limitations/implications

More research of the language of leadership and its implications for organizational outcomes is warranted. For instance, the strategic integration of motivating language with a compatible set of leader behaviors, organizational objectives, and cultures may reveal mechanisms as yet unknown for achieving outcomes. Research is needed to determine the content and construct of these behaviors, objectives, and cultures. Some questions also remain regarding the appropriateness of using the Motivating Language Scale to examine the types of language used by managers and leaders in the work place. The authors recommend further application of MLT through the Motivating Language Scale in order to help clarify these queries.

Originality/value

This paper used MLT as a framework for identifying leader use of different language styles during times of dynamic change. MLT has been used to identify the speech patterns of leaders during verbal communication exchanges with staff and work colleagues, but this study is the first example of the use of MLT when examining leader responses to interviews and in their written responses to survey questions.

Details

Leadership & Organization Development Journal, vol. 35 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-7739

Keywords

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