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The impact of leadership styles on employee performance in the consultant civil engineering industry.

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The consultant civil engineering industry forms part of the service industry. All designers follow the same design code. Hence, companies attempt to gain competitive advantage through quality control, producing efficient and cost effective designs, fostering good relationships with clients and through the performance of their employees. This study focuses on employee performance more specifically on how leadership styles impact upon it. An extensive literature review revealed that leadership styles do impact upon employee performance. It went on to identify job satisfaction as an influencing factor as well. There has been very little research concluded on the leadership styles employed by South Africans and almost none pertaining to South Africa’s consultant civil engineering industry. The aim of this study is to bridge that gap by determining the impact of leadership styles on employee performance at different levels of the profession. The target population for this empirical study was any civil engineering technician, technologist and engineer (candidate and professional) in the consulting industry. However, the number of people operating in this industry is unknown. As a result, the Consulting Engineers South Africa’s Young Professionals Forum (CESA YPF) was contacted and permission was gained for a questionnaire to be sent out to their Durban members. Therefore, a population frame of 181 was established and the sample size used was 132 for a 95% confidence level and 5% margin of error. The primary data collected was analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics. The empirical findings of this study proved that job satisfaction, a manager’s leadership style and their attitude towards their subordinates collectively influence the performance of their subordinates. The findings went on to elaborate that industry predominantly uses the transformational leadership style although employees believe that the transactional leadership style would assist them to achieve the desired performance level. In terms of job satisfaction, employees state that advancement opportunities is the biggest influence on their job satisfaction. The recommendations on which leadership style is best suited to reach performance goals have been provided for. The identified limitations of this study can be used as a foundation for further research in this field.


Master of Business Administration. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Westville 2015.


Leadership., Executive ability., Management., Civil engineering--Employees--Performance., Employees--Rating of., Theses--Business administration., Leadership styles., Employee performance.