Janne Mällinen, Media Management MA student, department of Culture and Media, Arcada UAS
Supervisor Dr. Nathalie Hyde-Clarke Examiner: Dr. Mats Nylund
My Master’s Thesis investigates the concepts of leadership and to what extent the perceptions about leadership changed during a studio and content renewing project at YLE’s News and Current Affairs in 2018-2019.
Leadership style plays a significant role when predicting organization performance or outcomes. It also enhances employees’ well-being. According to previous research, leaders and supervisors can change or mix their leadership styles during big projects. The best leaders typically display both transformational and transactional leadership, and they stress a range of factors of the leadership styles during longer projects.
To investigate change trends in the leadership at YLE News and Current Affairs, quantitative data was collected with surveys and qualitative data with semi-structured discussions. Thirty people were selected for the sample group, all of them were performing different managing tasks in Yle News and Current Affairs at that time.
The study was carried out in four phases. In the first phase, a questionnaire was sent to the sample group in January 2019. After analyzing the answers, the responses were discussed in the group meetings in phase 2 in February 2019. These discussions allowed for more detailed and empirical information to be drawn. In the third phase of the research, the survey was repeated in November 2019. The results were then reviewed in the phase 4, in a group meeting with the participants in December 2019.
The survey method was based on BoMentis Coaching Houses’ questionnaire, which measures 35 different interaction competences of the coaching leadership style. In the survey the supervisors were evaluating their own performance, action, and attitudes. The responses were normalized to bring out change trends at YLE News and Current Affairs. The normalization of responses indicates areas for improvement that the organization should focus on in the future.
According to the surveys and the interviews, management is at a superior level at YLE News and Current Affairs. An annual staff survey conducted in the autumn 2019 supports this finding. According to the personnel survey, the work of supervisors at YLE is of a high standard and highly valued. However, during the year 2019 supervisors’ perceptions, reflections and priorities in the different areas of the coaching leadership style changed. The results suggest that the renewing project of the studios and content were demanding a change in the leadership styles and concepts at YLE News and Current Affairs.
In light of the results, one can see a transition from participatory leadership to a selling and telling style leadership. In the selling style leadership, relationship behaviors are low, but task behavior is high and readiness of subordinates can be low. In the telling style, the leader of the group tells each member what to do – this approach is less collaborative and more directive, the leader simply provides instructions for the team members. The discussions held after the surveys supported this finding. In the debates, the superiors said that more assertive leadership was needed during the year as the organization was reformed and the structure of the teams in YLE News and Current Affairs changed. On the other hand, during the autumn, co-operation with team members had increased, and responsibilities were shared more than in the spring. The hardest times seemed to have been at the start of the process, and now managerial work is shifting again towards collaboration and participatory leadership at YLE News and Current Affairs.
I have been interested in leadership and leadership theories throughout my career. I have worked in various management positions at YLE News and Current Affairs since 2008. The thesis work was a learning process for myself, and I see it as a part of my professional development. The results were also reported to the Finnish Broadcasting Company YLE and the study will be used in the future for the supervisor coaching in the company.
To support future research at Arcada, the study contributes towards understanding managerial thinking. The study also broadens awareness of how the leadership can change, for example during longer projects.
Briggs, Ann R.J. & Coleman, Marianne & Morrison, Marlene. 2012. Research methods in educational leadership & management. London: Sage Publications Ltd. 432 pages.
Cheung, Millissa F.Y & Wong, Chi-Sum. 2011, Transformational leadership, leader support, and employee creativity. Leadership & Organization Development Journal, Vol 32 Issue: 7, pp. 656-672.
Glegg, Stewart & Kornberger, Martin & Pitsis, Tyrone. 2008, Managing & Organizations. An introduction to theory & practice. London: Sage Publications Ltd. 680 pages.
Iszatt-White, Marian & Saunders, Christopher. 2014, Leadership. United Kingdom: Oxford University Press. 318 pages.
Ristikangas, Marjo-Riitta & Ristikangas, Vesa. 2018, Valmentava johtajuus. 5. painos. Helsinki: Alma Talent. 299 pages.
The full thesis may be downloaded from Theseus.fi (External link) from December 2019.
Are you looking for tools to manage the rapidly changing media industry? Or do you find yourself in the media industry struggling to see the bigger picture? Learn more about our MA in Media Management here: https://www.arcada.fi/en/master/media-management (External link)