Communication style inventory: validation and investigation of relationships with leadership styles in the South African manufacturing industry
Interpersonal communication is a major organisational concern to the relevant stakeholders within the South African manufacturing environment. Leadership's communication has a significant impact on an organisation. The reason is that employees are reportedly experiencing conflict situations and deviant behaviour due to inefficiently managed communication styles. However, to date, no interpersonal scale for communication styles has been validated and shown to be reliable for measurements within a South African organisation. Thus, organisations and researchers are unable to measure the communication styles of employees accurately to identify the eventual effect within a South African context. The present study underwrites the notion that supervisors, who utilise strong leadership and communication styles, may have a positive impact on employees, which in turn will improve the performance of the organisation, giving it a competitive edge. Therefore, it is important to create an awareness of leadership styles and concurrent communicational styles within organisations. Presently, there is a lack of research on the impact that leadership styles have on communication styles of leaders as perceived by their subordinates, Therefore, it is important to assess these relationships. The general objective of this study was firstly to evaluate the internal and convergent validity of the subscales from the Communication Styles Inventory (CSI). Secondly the relationships were determined between perceived leadership styles (transformational and transactional) and communication styles among employees within South African manufacturing organisations. A cross-sectional research design was used. A combined non-probability purposive and convenient sample (<i>N<i> = 564) was done among employees from various South African manufacturing organisations. Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) was used to determine the internal validity of all the CSI subscales individually by investigating the items loading on the subscales and its reliability. Furthermore, the convergent validity was determined by examining the relationships between the CSI subscales and the sub-constructs of the Communication Styles Measure (CSM). The methods used to analyse the data was descriptive statistics (i.e. means, standard deviation, skewness, and kurtosis) and inferential statistics (i.e. correlations and multiple regression analysis). The reliability of the constructs was also established through Cronbach's alpha coefficients as tested by the IBM SPSS version 25 statistical programme. The results provided evidence that not all the subscales of the CSI were completely valid to use, as most of the items did not show acceptable item loadings and reliability on the subscales. Only the subscales of <i>preciseness, verbal aggressiveness, emotionality, and impression manipulativeness<i> showed acceptable validity and reliability. In addition, convergent validity was provided. The findings revealed significantly positive and negative statistical relationships between the perceived transformational as well as transactional leadership styles with the perceived communication styles. The findings showed that perceived leadership (transformational and transactional) significantly predicted lower or higher levels of perceived communication styles. This indicates that a leader may utilise a specific communication style to impact the relationship between superior and subordinates. This could encourage communication behaviour for improved organisational outcomes among employees in a South African manufacturing environment. Finally, recommendations were made for organisations to follow up and for future research on the topic.
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