1.1       Background to the Study

Leadership and supervisory trust have become important issues in the determination of organizational commitment. In recent years, there has been an increase in competitive pressures on organizations to increase productivity which demands higher level of commitment from the workforce (Obiwuru et al, 2011: 100). From a social information processing perspective, the power relationships between an organization’s leader and the subordinates constitute an important aspect of the subordinate’s social environment (Fenwick and Gayle, 2008: 46). The social environment according to Finegan (2000), significantly influences a subordinate’s perceptions and is critical to the understandings of his/her attitudes and behaviours. Thus, perception, although subjective in nature, emerges as an important mediating variable for leaders’ power and subordinates’ behaviour, and a key predictor of employees’ well- being and commitment (Finegan, 2000).

Today’s business environment is more turbulent, chaotic and challenging than ever before. Organisational changes are increasingly becoming a major component of everyday organisational functioning. The basic principles of doing business successfully are also fundamentally changing. Customers now shape organisations by demanding what they want, when they want it, how they want it and what they will pay for it. The historical boundary between customers, workers and organisations ‘ leaders are increasingly becoming blurred. Many organisations have responded to these competitive pressures by downsizing, restructuring and transformation, and thus created a less secure organisational climate. The result of this, according to recent findings is that the organisation is accompanied by shortage of skilled, competent and committed employees. To arrest the situation, scholars (Omole, 2004: 77) have advocated for shared leadership and supervisory trust purposely to increase workers’ commitment as well as productivity.

An organization is a social set up, which has a boundary that separates it from its environment, pursues its own collective goal s, and controls its own performance. In a formal organization, interactions are rationally coordinated and directed through time on a continuous basis. The person at the helm of affairs is usually the leader. Kraines (2001) stressed that the word leadership has been used by most disciplines: political science, business executives, social workers and educationist. However , there   is large disagreement as regards the exact meaning.


Agba et al (2010) also found that when employees were treated with consideration, they displayed greater levels of commitment. These employees are more likely to reciprocate by being more committed to their organisations than employees in more traditional organisations. Agba et al (2010) further suggests that shared leadership influence followers’ organisational commitment by encouraging them to think critically by using novel approaches, involving followers in decision-making processes, inspiring loyalty, while recognizing and appreciating the different needs of each follower to develop their personal potential. In addition, Meyer and Botha (2000) suggest that shared leadership is a strategic organisation development intervention, designed to enhance the impact of leadership on commitment. Committed employees, working in an environment of trust, flexibility, and empowerment, are expected to act in the best interests of an organisation (Liden, et al., 2000).

This has sparked the need to enquire about the relationship between shared leadership and employee commitment to the organization on one hand, and impact of supervisory trust employee commitment to the organization on on the other hand

1.2       Statement of the Problem

Accumulating evidence suggests that leadership style and supervisory trust are positively associated with work attitudes and behaviours at both an individual and organisational level (Dumdum, Lowe & Avolio, 2002). According to Walumbwa and Lawler (2003), there is considerable research available suggesting that the shared leadership model is positively associated with organisational commitment in a variety of organisational settings and cultures.

Adebola (2005)I ndicated that shared leadership and supervisory trust are able to influence employees’ organisational commitment by promoting higher levels of intrinsic value associated with creating a higher level of personal commitment on the part of the leader and followers to a common vision, mission, and organisational goals. Walumbwa and Lawler (2003) indicated that by encouraging employees to seek new ways to approach problems and challenges as well as identifying with employees’ needs, organizations who operate the shared leadership model are able to motivate their employees to get more involved in their work, resulting in higher levels of organisational commitment.

However, the common feature of the above studies is that they were not focused on the Nigeria experience. Very few studies in Nigeria have reported positive correlations between leadership behaviours such as charisma, intellectual stimulation, individualised consideration, and contingent reward on the one hand, and affective, continuance, and normative commitment, on the other hand (Adebola, 2005; Akinboye, 2003; and Agba et al, 2010). Thus, there is a need for greater understanding of the relationship between shared leadership and supervisory trust and work-related attitudes (such as employee commitment) in order to develop a leadership style that will encourage organisational commitment.

1.3              Research Questions

The following research questions will be addressed by this study:

  1. To what degree does shared leadership affect workers ‘commitment?
  2. Of what importance is supervisory trust in motivating workers for improved job performance?
  3. Is there any relationship between shared leadership and workers’ commitment?
  4. Is there any relationship between supervisory trust and workers’ commitment?

1.3       Research Purpose

              The general purpose of the study is to examine the influence of shared leadership and supervisory trust on workers’ commitment in an organization. This general aim is expressed in the following specific objectives which are to:

  1.        Examine the concept and nature of shared leadership;
  2. Examine the concept and nature of supervisory trust;
  3. Investigate the importance of shared leadership and supervisory trust on workers in an organization;
  4. Analyse the relationship between shared leadership and workers’ commitment in an organization;
  5. Examine the relationship between supervisory trust and workers’ commitment in an organization; and
  6. Examine the influence of shared leadership and supervisory trust on workers commitment in an organization

1.4       Research Hypotheses



1.5   Significance of the Study

This will aid our knowledge about shared leadership and supervisory trust and how these two variable affect the commitment of workers in Nigerian organisations. It will also show why there is need for organisations to develop effective leadership and communication systems to enable them perform better at their workplace.

This study will bring about understanding with regard to what problems leaders encounter in performing their duties at the workplace. This will then allow the development of improved strategies of help or intervention either by the organisation on solving those problems.

This study is deemed important given the scarcity of adequate literature or studies on the influence of shared leadership and supervisory trust on workers’ commitment in an organization.

Lastly, it will serve as a contribution to knowledge in the subject area. In this regard, it will be useful for other researchers who might want to carry out research in related areas.

1.6       Scope of the Study

This study centers on the influence of shared leadership and supervisory trust on workers’ commitment in an organization using some selected organizations in Oyo as a case study.

1.7       Limitations of the Study

Apart from shortage of fund and timeframe to conduct the study, this study is further limited by the following factors:

  1. Findings are going to be based on self-reported responses to the two questionnaires that are to be developed and, therefore, rely on the accurate self-assessment, honesty, and motivation of responders.
  2. Testing workers commitment over an extended period of time among members of an organization will be limited to three years study, despite that most members of the sampled organizations have worked more than three years in those organizations.

 1.7       Definitions of Terms


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