LEADERSHIP, COMMUNICATION AND UNION COMMITMENT IN LATVIA: DEVELOPMENT PERSPECTIVES OF STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT
Keywords:Trade unions, leaders, leadership, communication, strategic management
The aim of the paper is to analyse the contiguity between the strategic management and leadership of Latvian trade unions and to assess member participation in decision making, communication between members and union leaders, and union commitment. The tasks of the study are to analyse literature about leadership peculiarities in trade unions, and member participation in trade union management; to justify the methodology of the study; to analyse the results of the study in order to obtain conclusions about leadership in Latvian trade unions in the context of strategic management.
The theoretical and methodological basis have been constructed using scientific literature, publications and online resources issued by the European Union countries as well as Canada, Finland, Australia and the United States. The authors have used a non- experimental quantitative research design that includes a cross-sectional design: comparative and correlational design. The results (N = 452) have been acquired by the means of a questionnaire, comparing two random groups’ opinions on the research question: trade union leaders (N = 170) and members (N = 282).
In the literature review, the following issues have been analysed: the process of leadership in trade unions, its distinctive features in comparison to other types of organizations, the assessment of the impact between leaders and followers (emphasising the leadership role in the formation of a collective action), the interaction between leaders and members of trade unions forming a shared leadership to ensure democratic process management. The research provides an evaluation of contemporary (2003 - 2013) research on leadership and communication in trade unions.
The research results analysis: the literature analysis showed that in trade union leadership investigations most attention has been paid to analysing leaders’ main personality characteristics and the extent to which leadership affects union members’ satisfaction with the organisation, however, leadership aspects in regards to communication have been little researched. The survey results indicate that there are statistically significant correlations between leadership and strategic management, meanwhile discovering that there are strategy at the enterprise trade union level is mostly influenced by enterprise trade union leaders’ opinions, showing lack of democratic leadership in these organisations. The overall level of enterprise trade union members’ participation in making decisions can be evaluated as medium or low. The results indicate an ineffective two-way communication between trade union members and enterprise trade union leaders, revealing a leadership problem: industry trade union leaders cannot or do not want to find out members’ opinions on significant issues about the trade union’s activities. The leadership issue affects member commitment, which can be viewed as medium or low. The discovered problems show the possible directions of Latvian trade union strategic management improvements.