Original Research - Special Collection: COVID-19

Leadership behaviour, team effectiveness, technological flexibility, work engagement and performance during COVID-19 lockdown: An exploratory study

Lome Koekemoer, Leon T. de Beer, Karissa Govender, Marissa Brouwers
SA Journal of Industrial Psychology | Vol 47 | a1829 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajip.v47i0.1829 | © 2021 Lome Koekemoer, Leon T. de Beer, Karissa Govender, Marissa Brouwers | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 29 July 2020 | Published: 21 April 2021

About the author(s)

Lome Koekemoer, Yellow Seed Consulting, Johannesburg, South Africa; and, Society for Industrial and Organisational Psychology of South Africa (SIOPSA), Pretoria, South Africa
Leon T. de Beer, WorkWell Research Unit, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa
Karissa Govender, Yellow Seed Consulting, Johannesburg, South Africa
Marissa Brouwers, Society for Industrial and Organisational Psychology of South Africa (SIOPSA), Pretoria, South Africa; and, School of Industrial Psychology and Human Resource Management, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa


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Abstract

Orientation: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has taken the world by storm. Little is known about leadership, motivation and employee performance during pandemics and associated lockdowns.

Research purpose: The current study investigated a model of leadership behaviour, team effectiveness, technological flexibility, work engagement and performance in the context of a ‘hard lockdown’ in South Africa.

Motivation for the study: As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting lockdown, it was considered from an academic-practitioner perspective to explore leadership behaviour, team effectiveness, technological flexibility, work engagement and performance.

Research approach/design and method: Specifically, remote workers were sampled online via social media (n = 229). Structural equation modelling methods were used to analyse the data, also controlling optimism and pessimism at the item level.

Main findings: The results showed that the resources of leadership behaviour and team effectiveness had direct positive paths to work engagement and that work engagement had a positive path to two performance factors: adaptivity and proactivity. Furthermore, there were significant indirect relationship present from leadership behaviour and team effectiveness to both adaptability and proactivity through work engagement.

Practical/managerial implications: From the evidence it seems appropriate to recommend that organisations explore fostering the employee job resources in order to positively impact work engagement, which in turn can have beneficial performance outcomes for organisations who have employees working remotely whilst the COVID-19 regulations remain in force.

Contribution/value-add: This study was unique as it sampled from employees ‘locked down’ during a pandemic and gauged their perceptions of leadership behaviour, team effectiveness, technological flexibility, work engagement and performance.


Keywords

leadership behaviour; team effectiveness; technological flexibility; work engagement; ‘hard lockdown’

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