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The impact of leadership styles on organizational performance.

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Many contemporary private and public enterprises have been hit by scandals and underperformance which have been linked to organizational leadership. This study therefore sought to establish the impact of leadership styles on organizational performance. Leadership and organizational performance crises that have rocked institutions such as Eskom, the South African Broadcasting Corporation and the South African Airways, Steinhoff, Enron and others necessitated the study. The study focused on MBA year three students (class of 2017) at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. The assumption has been that since these are masters’ students, they have once been exposed to various leadership styles, some of them are leaders, all have studied leadership styles and therefore likely to understand how these styles impact on organizational performance. This is a quantitative study. The total population was 140 students of which a total of 100 were targeted. Simple random sampling was used. Most of the participants revealed that there is a significant link between leadership styles and organizational performance. They unanimously agreed that there is definitely a noteworthy relationship between leadership styles and the organizational performance. The respondents also revealed that transformational leadership style is the most complimentary leadership style to organizational performance followed by strategic and open leadership styles respectively. Participants agreed that toxic leadership style and autocratic leadership style are undermining the organizational performance. It is therefore recommended that organizations ensure continuous checks on leadership in order to ensure that available leadership can assist in the realization of organizational goals. In addition, it is also recommended for organizations to assess the "type" of a leader in terms of leadership styles before he/she is promoted to take leadership roles in the organization in order to make proper placements. This will allow the organization to assess whether that type of a leader is suitable for the organization. Future research is needed on how models can be developed on how to make proper placements to leadership levels/roles. Research should also focus on how leadership styles dovetail with other organizational efforts that are meant to boost organizational performance.


Master’s Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.