Leadership in the remote working environments in India

By HEMALATHA and Priya Chetty on April 17, 2022

In the modern business era, technology is constantly evolving. Employees’ needs and inspirations have changed with these technological advancements. Industries, including the service sectors, experienced unprecedented growth in recent years due to the digitalisation of businesses. Remote working environments have become popular, causing an increase in virtual team collaboration and electronic processing.

These factors have necessitated changes in different leadership styles to meet new demands. There are different types of leadership styles such as autocratic leadership, democratic leadership, laissez-faire leadership, spiritual leadership, etc. Technology and remote working setup have caused an impact on the way business leaders plan and execute their strategies. The aim of this study is to assess the impact of different leadership styles on remote working environments in the case of Indian service sector organizations.

Survey of employees from remote working environments in the service sector of India

200 employees from 10 medium-sized organisations belonging to the service sector across India were surveyed using a structured, close-ended questionnaire. They were asked questions about the leadership style followed in their company and how it affected their remote working environment. The employees belonged to the operations, marketing and finance departments. The companies belong to the information technology and hospitality industries. The responses of 200 employees were extracted, coded, and processed for hypothesis testing based on SPSS software.

Demographic profile of remote working employees

Demographic profile of employees working in remote working environments across India
Figure 1: Demographic profile of employees working in remote working environments across India

Most of the employees belong to the age group 30 to 40 years with 42.8%, 20 to 30 years age group with 32.8%, and 40 to 50 years with 15.9%. Most of the respondents are male, i.e., 61.7%. A majority of the respondents have work experience of 0-5 and 5-10 years with the highest percentage of 30.8% and 35.3% respectively. More number of employees working as full-time professionals. 31.3% earn a monthly income of Rs. 60000 to Rs.80000.

Level of knowledge of different leadership styles among these employees

For understanding the basic characteristics of respondents and their perception of leadership styles, the frequency analysis is presented below.

General background of employees working remotely in the service sector companies of India
Figure 2: General background of employees working remotely in the service sector companies of India

The above illustrates the general background of employees, including up to which extent they are aware of different leadership styles. Most of the employees are aware of the leadership with 96% and only 4% of people do not have knowledge of leadership. About 50% of organizations have usage of transformational leadership style, 19.5% of people have a situational type, 5.5% autocratic, and 3% authoritative leadership style.

Further, 23% of employees agreed that individualized support is provided by enabling a remote working environment. 20% considered that the intellectual stimulation ensures with the remote working. 17% of employees thought that overall communication has been improved. 15.5% of people considered the shared vision and motivation to be enhanced while 9.0% of employees were considered the building of consensus.

Based on this analysis, it can be concluded that more people are well aware of the leadership, but do not have much knowledge about all types of leadership styles. The individualized support, stimulation, and communication are increased in remote working environments. Other factors like consensus and motivation have not been much impacted with the remote working.

Estimating the extent of the impact of leadership on performance

Businesses in the service sector of India can achieve efficient management of resources with the implementation of a remote working environment. Therefore, it is essential to understand the effect of different leadership styles on the remote working environment effectiveness, i.e. authoritative, transformational, autocratic, situational, and transactional leadership styles. The analysis reveals that most of the respondents are well-aware of leadership style and most of the organizations were implementing transformational leadership style. Employees accept that individualized support would be provided by enabling a remote working environment.