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Examining perceptions of the impact of participatory leadership in a recycling business in Durban.

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Globally, there is an evolution in organisational leadership, where employee contribution to the organisational decision-making process is required. This evolution requires that the utilisation of employees be intensified in order for the organisation to ensure competitiveness. South African business leaders will need to follow suit if they want to be competitive globally. Their competitiveness will have to incorporate the strategy of the organisation, organisational performance, efficiency, and productivity. Participative Leadership (PL) is being recognised as one of the tools to increase global competitiveness. The aim of this research was to examine and study perceptions of the impact of PL at Lindizwe Scrap Metal (LSM), a recycling business in Queens burgh, Durban. It addressed the existence and practice of PL at LSM. The approach of the study was qualitative in nature. The research methodology focused on the collection of descriptive data through a semi-structured interview process. The qualitative research methodology approach, which incorporated purposive sampling, was employed in the study. The data was analysed applying thematic analysis. There were fifteen respondents, made up of management and employees. These participants were selected from different hierarchical positions in the departments. Some of the themes that emerged were: understanding, beliefs, suitability, allowance, benefits, motivation, impact, challenges, and recommendations. The research findings indicated that pmiicipative leadership was indeed present and workable at L S M, but the system was beneficial to a limited extent. The benefits found were: increased morale, innovation, cohesion, a sense of warmth, and better communication. The challenges experienced which included PL, were inclined more towards administration than operations. There was also a lack of unity amongst employees in participating in the decision-making process, which led to lack of respect and consideration for PL. Some of the recommendationsindicated were: a serious change of mind-set amongst leadership and employees alike, and an improvement in the education, training, communication and implementation of an incentive system. In addition, the enhancement of current PL practices is vital. The implications of this study is to activate a motion of PL research that can ultimately benefit organisations and employees to be competitive, and to sustain their position locally and globally. Future research could focus on job satisfaction, innovation, and motivation, in addition to trust, commitment, and performance, linking it to PL.


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