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The influence of transformational leadership on employee engagement in the South African Revenue Service, Kwazulu-Natal Region.

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The current turbulent economic era coupled with the fourth industrial revolution disruption considers leadership to be the most vital and effective machinery of an organisation for overcoming the current changing business trends and limiting socioeconomic issues. Leaders are bestowed with the bigger responsibility of channelling all the efforts and activities of their subordinates towards achieving the organisational goals and objectives. Effective and supportive leadership determines the success or failure of the organisation. Management at all levels in an organisation need to understand that organisational performance, which is realised through an engaged workforce, is a direct consequence of how people are managed and led. The study investigated the influence of transformational leadership on employee engagement in the South African Revenue Services (SARS) within the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) area. Transformational leadership distinguishes itself from the rest of the contemporary theories because transformational leaders influence followers to transcend self-interest and commit themselves to strive for higher order needs and excellence. The study used mixed-methods research methodology to ascertain that the constructs of transformational leadership such as “idealised influence”, “inspirational motivation”, “intellectual stimulation” and “individualised consideration” have a strong influence on employee engagement. Two hundred and thirty-one copies of questionnaire were distributed to the workforce within the KZN area, of which two hundred and twenty-one were returned, giving a 95 per cent participation rate. Eighteen participants were also interviewed. It was discovered that idealised influential leadership practices fostered teamwork, a collective sense of mission (purpose) and made employees feel valued. It was further found that the character of the leader was a very important attribute, as this considered their moral and ethical conduct. Findings also revealed that inspirational motivation made employees feel empowered and self–driven, and they experienced a sense of inclusion, whereas poor performance, low morale and decreased motivation were the consequent effects of a lack of inspirational leadership. Intellectually stimulating leadership allowed employees opportunities to suggest new ways of doing their job assignments. It promoted liberated minds, innovation, decision-making and trust. Lastly, the presence of individualised consideration leadership practices took cognisance of employees’ needs, abilities and aspirations and as such, employees were able to receive appropriate coaching and development, thus making them feel valued for their contribution to the organisation.


Doctoral Degrees. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.