Welcome to Business Briefs! The world of academic publications features fascinating findings from real-world experiments in business and the marketplace. Here are some key takeaways and applicable nuggets of knowledge that may be helpful for your business.
Task vs. Relationship Leadership
Researchers surveyed 405 workers about two things: 1) Their bosses, and 2) How they felt about their workplace. At issue was an investigation into the sort of leadership creates the the best employee outcomes. Two leadership styles were compared: task-focused leadership and relationship-focused leadership.
Task-focused leadership is defined as being vision-centered, creative, and sort of controlling. Relationship-focused leadership is defined as being generally benevolent and valuing two-way communication. That is, relationship-focused leaders are interested in employee ideas and contributions.
The survey asked participants questions about their leaders such as, ‘Does your leader clearly communicate his/her vision about the future of the company?’ Or, ‘Does your leader treat employees like family members?’ The survey also asked questions about whether workers felt “emotionally attached” to their organization.
Employees who ranked their leaders highly in relationship-focused areas tended to have a bigger sense of commitment towards their work. Moreover, those workers were also more protective of their organization’s reputation, engaging in “scouting” behaviors such as reading internet reviews and articles about their workplace.
The takeaway? According to the researchers, “By supporting subordinates, showing confidence and trust in employees, and being friendly and considerate, CEOs help employees perceive communication environments as symmetrical, which, in turn, encourages them to become emotionally attached to and identified themselves with their companies.”
Or more simply, relationships build loyalty.
The Impacts of CEO Leadership Behaviors on Employees’ Affective Commitment and Scouting Behavior – Yeonjae Lee and Jaron Kim, Leadership and Organization Development Journal
Alcohol & Advertising
Big companies have big budgets to develop their marketing strategies. So it’s informative to take a close look at how they’re positioning themselves to promote their wares. Over an 18-month period, researchers studied the Facebook and Instagram posts of 20 alcohol (beer, wine, liquor) brands, with a particular interest in “gendered” posts. That is, posts directed at men or women in particular. All in, the team collected 2,250 gendered social media posts over the time period.
Of the posts, only 42% of the posts used images of people actually drinking.
In photos, women were presented engaging in solitary drinking (82 times) more often than men (49 times).
In photos of people drinking, drinking was overwhelmingly depicted as a social activity (759 times). This was generally true for ads targeted to both women and men.
For women in particular, female friendship, the concept of pampering yourself, and me-time were all popular angles used in the promotions.
Which says something interesting either about women, or about the way women are perceived.
Pretty in Pink and Girl Power. An Analysis of Targeting and Representation of Women in Alcohol Brand Marketing on Facebook and Instagram – A.M. Atkinson, B.R. Meadows, C. Emslie, A. Lyons, & H.R. Sumnall, International Journal of Drug Policy
Location & Trust
For any business, building consumer trust is what drives success. That’s a business fundamental.
A 2022 survey demonstrated that sometimes trust factors are determined by variables that might fly under the radar. Based on a survey with 138 responses, a research team found that the location of a business can influence customer trust. Clients located in the same region as the headquarters of a service firm tend to have more trust in that firm than clients from outside the region.
But that level of trust can also be impacted by a region’s culture. People from regions that tend to be open (inclusive) tend to be more trusting of outside brands than people from regions with closed cultures.
Building Brand Trust by Choosing the Right Location – Christian Gomes e Souza Munaier, Rodolfo Rocha, and Jerônimo Henrique Portes, ResearchGate