University of Oulu

Contemporary outlook on leadership : Finnish labor market case study

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Author: Tähtivuori, Aaro1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Oulu Business School, Department of Management and International Business, Management
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.2 MB)
Pages: 61
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Oulu : A. Tähtivuori, 2023
Publish Date: 2023-11-14
Thesis type: Master's thesis
Tutor: Puhakka, Vesa
Reviewer: Puhakka, Vesa
Sipola, Sakari


With employee input and output being of great significance to the overall organizational performance, managers at organizations need to take the needs and wants of their subordinates into consideration regarding their treatment and management of the latter — especially given that managers failing to live up to these expectations will increase the likelihood of diminished employee performance and motivation. This deliverance on subordinate needs and wants has become more necessary as lower-level employees have gained autonomy and power with the transition to a more digital, knowledge-driven economy. However, needs and wants of lower-level employees vary according to a constellation of factors, personality and sociocultural climate being perhaps the most notable ones. With respect to the Finnish corporate culture, organizations are generally characterized by flatter hierarchies, predisposition to collaboration and interpersonal harmony, and individualism displayed in task deliverance and behavior at work. However, previous research has not delved into employees’ specific outlooks on effective leadership at Finnish organizations.

The aim of this research was to determine the current subordinate view on effective leadership at Finnish organizations by looking into which leadership style was the likeliest to work with Finnish lower-level employees. The leadership theories that Finnish employees’ views were juxtaposed with were transformational, servant, collective and authentic leadership. What type of leadership is the likeliest to elicit a favorable response from a Finnish employee? was the main research question. Answering this entailed looking at three things: Finnish employees’ preferred qualities for leaders in terms of behavior and action, any clear preferences for a specific leadership style as indicated by the preferred leader qualities and employees’ own inclinations and differences in preferences between demographics. A quantitative approach to research was taken to the acquisition and analysis of data. Numerical data was collected from research participants with a Google Forms survey provided to them via link on LinkedIn/Facebook and after that, the data was analyzed on SPSS. 195 individuals ended up taking part in the research.

Based on the research findings, transformational leadership was overall the most effective style with which leaders at Finnish organizations could elicit a positive response from their followers, especially regarding desired leader ability/role and perceived employee trait/priority. While not as popular among Finnish employees, collective leadership was concluded to be the second-best approach to subordinate management from their point of view, the strongest indication of this being perceived employee motivation; servant and authentic leadership overall proved to be effective styles only when applied in instalments. As for differences in views, the likelihood of them occurring within demographics was noted to be higher than that of differences between them. From a practical standpoint, these findings suggest that Finnish managers ought to be supporters and encouragers of their subordinates’ contribution to the overall organizational output; additionally, genuine disposition, acknowledgement/fulfilment of subordinate needs and interests, and instillment of work-related emotional security can be presumed to be effective behavioral and affective models for the treatment and management of Finnish lower-level employees.

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Copyright information: © Aaro Tähtivuori, 2023. Except otherwise noted, the reuse of this document is authorised under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC-BY 4.0) licence ( This means that reuse is allowed provided appropriate credit is given and any changes are indicated. For any use or reproduction of elements that are not owned by the author(s), permission may need to be directly from the respective right holders.