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1.1 Background to the research

The presence of effective leadership within an organization is beneficial enough to motivate the co-workers to enhance their potential contribution in order to achieve the organizational objectives effectively. In the case of HSBC Holdings, it can be observed that the leadership within this firm is not only effective to provide a stable environment for the employees whereas it is also applicable to communities. The managers of HSBC follow the democratic leadership style for directing as well as motivating the workers (Hsbc, 2022). Even after having a motivated workforce, the presence of Covid-19 was able to affect the profit level of HSBC severely. The agile workforce has been adopted by this firm as well and in the pandemic situation, this workforce culture has been modified effectively to get such positive outcomes.

Figure 1: Adjusted quarterly net income of HSBC from 2014-2020

(Source: Bbc, 2020)

As per the below figure, it has been observed that the profit fall by 50% and along with it, the “pre-tax earnings” for first 3 months came in the $3.2 billion. It was down from the $6.2 billion a year ago (Bbc, 2020). In this context, it can be stated that the leadership strategies of HSBC need to be developed as early as possible as workforce motivation is highly needed to achieve business goals.

1.2 Research rationale

This research is able to highlight the significant benefits of effective leadership in order to keep the employees within an organization motivated enough. In addition to this, it is also possible to understand from this research how the performance area of individuals is also influenced by leadership. This study will also assess the practical and theoretical implications regarding the development of the leadership style to influence workers in the present era to gain the best organizational outputs.

1.3 Aim and objectives

The aim of this research is to identify the impact of leadership on employee motivation and performance in the context of HSBC Holdings.

  • To evaluate the impacts of leadership on employee motivation and performance in HSBC Holdings
  • To demonstrate the possible required changes in leadership for HSBC Holdings to influence workers more in changing business context

1.4 Research questions

RQ1: What are the impacts of leadership on employee motivation and performance in HSBC Holdings?

RQ2: What are the possible required changes in leadership for HSBC Holdings to influence workers more in changing business context?

2. Literature review

2.1 Effectiveness of leadership on employee performance and motivation in HSBC Holdings

Leadership has a strong influence on the smooth progress of an organization and the quality of the leader is considered the most important factor to ensure the success rate of the firm. From the viewpoint of Shella (2018), the presence of better leadership is capable to support the high motivation through which it is also possible to enhance employee performance. Focusing on HSBC, it is observed that leaders have a profound influence on workers and also help them for managing the workplace-related challenges more consequently. The presence of democratic leadership context in this firm is able enough to influence the employees for taking a participative role in the decision-making process that helps them to feel connected with the workplace more. It is an employee-friendly bank and the higher authority takes good care of its workers at the time of Covid-19 (Hsbc, 2022). The above-stated aspects are relevant enough to promote employee performance on a strong aspect to gain such positive outcomes.

In the case of motivation, it is often observed that HSBC is able to understand the fact that the “chance to achieve ambitions” is the major motivation for workers in the workplace. In this aspect, HSBC motivates its workers by providing them the actual recognition such as to promote them as per their abilities and skills (Hsbc, 2022). Moreover, the presence of an appropriate combination of financial rewards and a high pay scale are also relevant enough to motivate workers here. The leaders of this firm are able to understand the need and want of the employees severely with the help of suitable leadership approaches which work best to retain the workforce and also to maintain a high satisfaction level here. On the contrary Brands & Edel (2021), argued that democratic leadership is not effective enough to manage a crisis situation. In order to handle the pandemic situation, this type of approach did not work best for HSBC, and as an impact; net income has been affected severely.

2.2 Impact of leadership to adopt agile workforce structure in HSBC Holdings in the pandemic era

A flexible working process is observed in HSBC Holdings on a long-term aspect and it is also a part of the culture of this firm. The presence of the Covid-19 situation is able to accelerate as well as normalize it most effectively. The presence of an effective leadership approach of the global head of IT operations in HSBC is able to help this giant corporation for adopting the agile and digital future easily (Peoplemattersglobal, 2022). In such a short time, the organization is able to make strong progress to maintain the smooth flow of business as well as to provide seamless services to its customers.

Figure 2: Impact of agile workforce structure in the banking system of HSBC Holdings

(Source: Influenced by Guzmán et al. 2020)

From the above figure, a clear identification of the benefits of the agile work process within HSBC Holdings has been gained. As opined by Guzmán et al. (2020), the critical thinking and ability to handle the changing business consequences of leaders in the era of Covid-19 are helpful enough to ensure better management of the workplace. The generous thinking and ability to manage complex business situations of the leaders in this firm help to implement the agile workforce structure here. Through this context, it is also possible to enhance the “level of trust” among employees as well as high collaboration to achieve business goals more suitably. These are also able to enhance employee satisfaction and make them influenced enough to provide their best possible efforts to gain organizational success. On the other hand Ter Hoeven & Van Zoonen (2020), argued that it is not possible to maintain the level of collaboration within an agile workforce for all time as it can enhance an extreme level of flexibility for the workers. As an impact, it can raise conflict situations within the workplace along with dissatisfaction perspectives.

2.3 Trait theory of leadership

The trait theory of leadership mainly suggests the fact that innate qualities within an individual such as self-confidence, intelligence, determination along with integrity make an individual an efficient leader. As stated by Hunt & Fedynich (2019), leadership traits are beneficial enough to measure the level of success or failure of an individual severely. In this context, focusing on HSBC Holdings, it is quite clear that the six leadership traits are well maintained by the leaders here that help to adapt to the changing business culture and also modify the business environment in such a way to gain significant outcomes. For example, the presence of intelligence skills of the head of IT operations in this firm helped to adopt an agile workforce context through which it is possible to motivate employees for conducting their business activities smoothly even in crisis situations.

Figure 3: Trait theory of leadership

(Source: Influenced by Hunt & Fedynich, 2019)

Moreover, the presence of trustworthiness has helped to develop a collaborative workplace culture to deliver quality services to the customers in the Covid-19 situation. Thus, from the above context, it can be illustrated that the leaders of HSBC Holdings consist of greater leadership traits and these can help the firm to achieve favorable outcomes even in the upcoming era.

2.4 The situational theory

This theoretical aspect is able to highlight the fact that an efficient leader must be flexible enough to change the leadership styles based on the existing situation. This type of leader can respond to the situation by coaching, participating, delegating, or persuading and others (Lee, 2020). In the case of HSBC Holdings, it can be stated that the leaders are not able to have such flexibility to change the leadership aspects based on the situation. As an impact, the organization has faced severe financial loss which is a strong matter of concern for this firm to run the business smoothly in a post-pandemic situation. It is essential enough to resolve this issue as early as possible to get favorable outcomes.

3. Methodology

3.1 Research philosophy

Positivism research philosophy will be used for this research as it is associated with the nature of a logical perspective that can help to gather realistic information about the impact of leadership on employee performance and motivation in HSBC Holdings. Through this philosophy, it will also be possible to conduct a concise discussion regarding the ability of the leaders of this firm to motivate its workers in a changing business context by keeping a focus on their valid knowledge of them (Žukauskas, Vveinhardt & Andriukaitien?, 2018). An in-depth analysis will also be conducted here by observing the recent progress of employee performance within the firm along with the gained business competencies.

3.2 Research approach 

In order to conduct this research, the deductive research approach will be used here. This type of approach will be suitable enough to answer the research questions by making an effective analysis of the existing literature regarding the importance of leadership to keep the workers motivated (Maarouf, 2019). It will also be possible to provide the simplest explanations about the fact that how the presence of leadership traits makes an individual an efficient leader in the context of HSBC Holdings. It can also be possible to highlight the facts regarding the effectiveness of leadership traits to handle the business competencies of HSBC Holdings in a pandemic situation by conducting a scientific investigation. The presence of scientific investigation will be able to ensure the accurate collection of information.

3.3 Data collection strategy

The survey will be conducted for this research and in this case, a questionnaire will be developed here as well. Through the survey, it will be possible to gather reliable information from the employees of HSBC Holdings that how they are motivated by their leaders and whether it is satisfactory or not. With the help of a questionnaire, it will also be possible to retrieve practical data in this context and participants will also be capable to share their “point of view” more properly (Pumptow & Brahm, 2021). Close-ended questions will be developed in this regard and each of them will be closely related to the research topic. "Google Forms" will be used here to gather data through the survey as it is the safest way to collect relevant information during the time of pandemic situation.

3.4 Sample/Study participants

The participants of this survey will be the employees of HSBC Holdings and a total of 51 participants will take part here. The participants must have 4 years of experience in this organization and this criterion will be maintained for selecting the participants. As for the sample size, 12 questions will be prepared among which 2 are the demographic and the rest are the survey questions. As the sampling strategy, random sampling will be used here as it helps to maintain a fair probability of selecting the answers. Through this context, it will also be possible to identify the most preferable answers effectively.

3.5 Data analysis

For this research, the primary quantitative data analysis method will be used as it is suitable enough to properly analyze the collected responses of survey participants related to the research topic. Moreover, it will also be possible to get the scope of conducting the structured research through which it will be possible to collect more relevant data that how the leaders of HSBC Holdings are able to properly motivate its workers (Assarroudi et al. 2018). A better identification regarding the development of the performance level of workers will also be conducted through this method along with proper analysis.

3.6 Access

Access to the potential participants must be collected and in this regard, initially, permission from the organization will be collected. After getting the permission, a consent form will be provided to the participants through their official mail accounts. The participants who will be agreed to take part in this after knowing the entire context, and then the survey link will be provided in the same way. This type of approach will be beneficial enough to avoid the concerns regarding ethical hazards in the midway of the research. This access can be effective enough to provide a detailed understanding of the research to the participants.

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Reference list

Assarroudi, A., Heshmati Nabavi, F., Armat, M. R., Ebadi, A., & Vaismoradi, M. (2018). Directed qualitative content analysis: the description and elaboration of its underpinning methods and data analysis process. Journal of Research in Nursing23(1), 42-55. doi: 10.1177/1744987117741667

Bbc (2020). News. https://www.bbc.com/news/business-52450850

Brands, H., & Edel, C. (2021). A grand strategy of democratic solidarity. The Washington Quarterly44(1), 29-47. , DOI: 10.1080/0163660X.2021.1893003

Guzmán, V. E., Muschard, B., Gerolamo, M., Kohl, H., & Rozenfeld, H. (2020). Characteristics and Skills of Leadership in the Context of Industry 4.0. Procedia Manufacturing43, 543-550. <https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2351978920307472/pdf?md5=d103de742f211fc3289cdfa149ade6cd&pid=1-s2.0-S2351978920307472-main.pdf>

Hsbc (2022). About us. https://www.hsbc.com

Hunt, T., & Fedynich, L. (2019). Leadership: Past, present, and future: An evolution of an idea. Journal of Arts and Humanities8(2), 22-26. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18533/journal.v8i2.1582

I-cio (2017). Hsbc-hitting-the-technology-reset-button-for-an-agile-digital-future. https://www.i-cio.com/management/best-practice/item/hsbc-hitting-the-technology-reset-button-for-an-agile-digital-future

Lee, Y. (2020). A situational perspective on employee communicative behaviors in a crisis: The role of relationship and symmetrical communication. International Journal of Strategic Communication14(2), 89-104. https://doi.org/10.1080/1553118X.2020.1720691

Maarouf, H. (2019). Pragmatism as a supportive paradigm for the mixed research approach: Conceptualizing the ontological, epistemological, and axiological stances of pragmatism. International Business Research12(9), 1-12. doi:10.5539/ibr.v12n9p1

Peoplemattersglobal (2022). David-thomas-of-hsbc-on-agile-workforces-and-the-future-of-learning. https://www.peoplemattersglobal.com/article/skilling/david-thomas-of-hsbc-on-agile-workforces-and-the-future-of-learning-31290?media_type=article&subcat=training-development&title=david-thomas-of-hsbc-on-agile-workforces-and-the-future-of-learning&id=31290

Pumptow, M., & Brahm, T. (2021). Students’ digital media self-efficacy and its importance for higher education institutions: development and validation of a survey instrument. Technology, Knowledge and Learning26(3), 555-575. < https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10758-020-09463-5>

Shella, K. (2018). The influence of leadership and motivation of employee performance in UPTD BPKB of Maluku Province, indonesia. Russian Journal of Agricultural and Socio-Economic Sciences81(9). DOI https://doi.org/10.18551/rjoas.2018-09.13

Ter Hoeven, C. L., & Van Zoonen, W. (2020). Helping others and feeling engaged in the context of workplace flexibility: The importance of communication control. International journal of business communication, 2329488419898799. DOI: 10.1177/2329488419898799

Žukauskas, P., Vveinhardt, J., & Andriukaitien?, R. (2018). Philosophy and paradigm of scientific research. Management culture and corporate social responsibility121. DOI: 10.5772/intechopen.70628

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