section will review the literature on leadership
style and performance. Conceptual clarification of leaders, leadership and
leadership styles will be examined. Theories of leadership which will form the
theoretical frameworks for this study will also be examined and reviewed.
Empirical studies will also be reviewed.
2.1 CONCEPT OF LEADERS AND
A leader is a
person who influences people to achieve a goal or an objective (Yukl, 1994) and every
organization needs a leader, as leaders play a very important role in setting
the tone and culture of the organization (Batista-Taran, Shuck, Gutierrez, & Baralt, 2009). A capable leader is one who directs and guilds
his followers to achieve the desired goals. A leader is a person who can influence the behaviour
of his followers to achieve the set goals. According to Squires (2001),
leadership is about having followers who have the utmost faith in you and can
conform to what you stand for, thus, it is concerned with the spiritual aspect
of their work.
A leader is a person
who inspires their subordinates through, directing and motivating them to perform
specific tasks in order to accomplish outlined company objectives (Ojokuku, Sajuyigbe, & Odetayo, 2012). Simply put, the
definition of a leader is “someone who sets the direction
for his people to follow, in an effort to influence them” (Fustin, 2013). Successful leaders need
to understand themselves, their followers and the tasks and procedures that
govern the organization as a whole. A leader needs confidence and strategies in
order to administer a wide range of different issues effectively – from
creating learning associations where workers mature and develop as everyday
leaders to managing the conflict inevitable in an organization; from fostering
the hierarchical clarity that comes from well-made structures and policies to inspiring
energy and creativity through bold visions (Gallos, 2008). (Lee and Chuang, 2009),
clarify that the excellent leader not only inspires subordinates to perform
more efficiently but also meets the requirements for achieving organizational
goals. Leadership also has a social
impact as the leaders influence their followers’ conduct, attitude and
motivations. Leaders play an important role in the attainment of organizational
2.2 THEORIES OF LEADERSHIP
study of leadership is crucial and has been an important part of the narrative
on management and organization conduct from time immemorial. It has fostered many
debates in most professional communities worldwide. Every organization seeks to constantly develop
good leaders, as this will inevitably bring about success. However, the logical
issue with this attempt is that there are countless leadership theories and
styles. There have been a number of theories explaining leadership styles; this
is likely because of the complexity of the concept of the term leadership which
can be viewed from different perspectives.
are different schools of thought on how leaders come about. Some people believe
that leadership is a natural trait, that leaders are rather born not made while
some people believe that leaders are made and nobody is born a leader. These
differing opinions make it difficult for professionals to agree on which
particular theory or style a leader should adopt to enhance their organizations
and also to develop great leaders. Indeed, as stated in (Schwandt &
Marquardt, 2000), “no other role in organizations has received more interest
than that of the leader”. Consequently, several theories of leadership abound,
a few of which are discussed below.
trait theory posits that personal characteristics like personality traits,
cognitive skills, and interpersonal skills can determine an individual’s
potential for leadership roles and can distinguish leaders from non-leaders
(Furham, 2005). Thus, the trait theory establishes the fact that, leaders are
born and not made, that leadership is unique to certain individuals. As Parry and
Bryman (2006) put it, “nature is more important than nurture”; that is to say,
an individual’s predisposition to leadership (his or her “nature”) has a
greater influence than the environment within which they are raised.
trait theory often identifies a particular attribute an individual possesses
and compares this to the personality or behavioural
characteristics shared by leaders that have come before them. However, the
theory is flawed in the sense that there are people that possess the qualities
of a leader but are not leaders and individuals who possess all the traits as
opposed to individuals who are leaders that have certain singular traits. This
makes it difficult to use trait theories to explain leadership as traits cannot
be accurately measured. (Ackerman & Heggestad, 1997; Judge, Jackson, Shaw,
Scott, & Rich, 2007).
theory, also known as Contingency theory, of leadership is more concerned with
the context of applied leadership as it relates to the situation at hand and the
followers of the organization. Here, leadership focuses on situational
variables: the leader adjusts their leadership style to correspond to their own
personal characteristics and the situation at hand (Krumm, 2001). Proponents of
this theory are of the belief that for a leader to be effective, they should
know how to adapt their personal characteristics to the situation.
leadership theory holds that great leaders are made not born. This leadership
theory focuses on what actions leaders take and their concern for people and
production processes. The theory states that an individual or person can learn
the art of leadership through teaching
and observations and the success of that leader can be defined in terms of his
action. (Nahrgang, Morgeson, & Ilies, 2009).
a result of the presumed failures and failings of early studies in the Trait
theory, researchers from the 1940s through the 1960s began studying behaviours exhibited by leaders as a means to
separate leaders from non-leaders. The primary difference between studying leadership
behaviours and leadership traits, is that
traits are the attributes one possess, thus trait studies attempted to mould the “great man” who had inborn
characteristics that can supposedly make one a good leader. Behaviors, on the other hand, can be taught and learned
and by being taught these behaviors, managers are trained to develop an effective
leadership style and in turn, the people under them can be trained to be better
leaders (Nahrgang, Morgeson, & Ilies, 2009).
leadership theory is of the opinion that an ideal leadership style, is that which
welcomes the input and contributions from those who are affected by the
decisions being made or are a part of the team and such inputs are accepted and
are taken into account. These leaders encourage members of their team to play a
role by participating and contributing and this helps team members feel more
relevant and in turn, more committed to the decision-making process. In
participative theories, however, the leader retains the right to allow the contributions.
It is otherwise referred to as transactional leadership.
leadership is focused more on the exchanges between leader and follower and it
is a theory which promotes compliance. The followers are rewarded or punished for
either meeting specific objectives or performance criteria or not meeting the
required goals (Jung, 2001). The leader provides rewards and positive reinforcement.
Transactional leadership is more practical in nature because of its emphasis on
meeting specific targets or objectives (Jung, 2001). An effective transactional
leader recognizes and rewards their followers’ accomplishments in a timely manner.
However, subordinates of transactional leaders are not necessarily expected to
think innovatively and may be monitored on the basis of predetermined criteria,
which may stifle creativity and lead to poor performance. Poor transactional
leaders may be less perceptive to problems among their followers or within
their organization and thus, may be less likely to intervene before these problems
grow out of their reach while more successful transactional leaders make
fitting moves in an auspicious manner (Jung, 2001). A transactional leadership
style is appropriate in many settings and may support adherence to practice standards
but not necessarily receptiveness to development.
theories, also known as transformational theories, focus on the connections
formed between leaders and followers. Transformational leaders are great
influencers who inspire and motivate employees by helping them know the importance
and the benefits of performing tasks. These leaders are not entirely focused on
the performance of the group as a whole, preferring to be more particular about
individuals performing their duties. Leaders with this style often have high
ethical and moral standards.
leadership can be likened to charismatic or visionary leadership.
Transformational leaders are inspirational leaders, who focus on motivating
their followers in ways that go beyond rewards. Transformational leadership
operates especially well in close, personal supervisory relationships, compared
with more distant and impersonal relationships (Howell & Hall-Merenda,
1999), and closer supervision is often more typical in mental health settings.
This close relationship may be typical of a supervisor-supervisee relationship
and is also captured in the notion of “first-level leaders” (Priestland &
Hanig 2005), who are thought to be important because of their proximity to
supervisees in an organizational setting. A transformational leader aims to
expand and their followers’ motivations through the expression of the value and
importance of the leader’s goals (Howell, 1997; Gardner, Avolio, 1998).
Studies on leadership have been ongoing for a long
time, researchers have carried out various studies which are relevant to this
paper. One of such studies is one carried out by Koech & Namusonge (2012) on the effects of leadership styles on organizational performance at state-owned
corporations in Kenya. The researcher specifically sought to discover the
degree to which various leadership styles such as laissez-faire, transactional
and transformational affected organizational performance at state-owned
corporations in Kenya. A descriptive survey research based on the perceptions
of middle and senior managers in thirty (30) state-owned corporations based in Mombasa,
Kenya was undertaken and a structured, self-completed research questionnaire
was thereafter distributed.
Various factors and three independent
variables were identified and measured. These were transactional; transformational
and laissez-faire leadership styles. The dependent factor was represented by
the degree to which the organization has achieved its business objectives in
the previous financial year. Correlation analysis was employed to discover the
leadership styles that influence organizational performance. The relationship between
the transformational-leadership factors and organizational performance ratings was
recorded as high, whereas the relationship between the transactional-leadership
behaviours and organizational performance
were relatively low. There was no significant correlation between laissez-faire
leadership style and organizational performance.
From the study, recommendations about transactional
leadership styles were made as managers were advised to get involved in the organization’s affairs and should give maximum
guidance to their subordinates; effective reward & recognition systems
should be formulated and employed by managers. It was further recommended that
managers should: inspire subordinates by providing meaning and challenging to
work; and become a role model to his subordinates by helping them improve and stimulate
subordinate efforts to become more innovative & creative; and lastly, for the
achievement and growth of the organization, managers should pay greater
attention to each of his followers needs. The study is similar to the present study
as it determined the impact of leadership styles on organizational performance.
It, however, differs in that it was carried out in state-owned cooperation while the present study is aimed at
evaluating the leadership style and performance in an e-commerce industry.
Another study similar to this present one is
that of Abasilim (2014) which reviewed organizational performance in a Nigerian work environment and how it
relates to transformational leadership. It relied on secondary data as its main source of information; however, a review
of available literature for description and analysis of the subject matter was
performed and thus, this could serve as the primary method of study. The
researcher revealed the important role leadership style plays in an organizational
performance, with particular reference to transformational leadership style. This,
however, depends on the situation and the
environment of the organization. Based on this study, it was implied that
transformational leadership style will be best appropriate for ensuring organizational
performance in Nigerian work environment.
study recommended that no particular leadership style is the best and that leaders
should adopt a leadership style that is suitable for the environment and the
situation in order for organizations to ensure optimal performance. Leaders
should attend leadership summits and training schools to enhance their
leadership style and for the benefit of their organizations. It also recommends
that leaders must learn to choose the right leadership style that matches the
tactics they are taking to achieve their objectives and suits the prevailing
situations and the environment if they
must achieve the goals and objectives of their organization as a whole. The
study is different from the present study as it is only a review of literature
while the present study is set to carry out an investigation on the influence
of leadership style and performance on employees’ performance and satisfaction
in Payporte Nigeria Limited and this will be conducted using questionnaires and conducting interviews.
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