Cultural Hierarchies, Leadership, and Employee Happiness

Chris Biggadike, Eduardo Ahumada-Tello, Richard Evans, Mark Wehde

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Positive workplace cultures prioritize employees' health and well-being, encourage respect and trust among all, and forgive mistakes. They promote employee happiness and retention, improve team performance, and enhance talent while effective leadership enables engineering managers to capture the full potential of employees' skills and knowledge. Previous research demonstrates that happier employees are more engaged and productive. This article proposes a conceptual model of culture from the perspective of organizational leadership theory. In particular, the model is derived from a longitudinal study of complexity leadership and represents culture at three scales: societal (macro), organizational (meso), and team (micro). At each level, culture is conceived as a set of actively promoted or discouraged behaviors, what might be called active culture. We also propose that employee happiness is largely influenced by the form and interplay of leadership and these layered cultures. Our aim is to provide practical implications for engineering managers wanting to develop business or team culture, leadership, and employee happiness while seeking to promote productivity and engagement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8-12
Number of pages5
JournalIEEE Engineering Management Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2023
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 1973-2011 IEEE.


  • Active culture
  • business culture
  • complexity
  • employee happiness
  • leadership
  • societal culture
  • team culture


Dive into the research topics of 'Cultural Hierarchies, Leadership, and Employee Happiness'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this