oa Journal of Management & Administration - An Investigation into the Relationship between Leadership Styles and Employee Work Engagement in KwaZulu-Natal Companies - research

Volume 2017 Number 2
  • ISSN : 1728-9157



The study focuses on relationships between leadership styles and employee work engagement at Company X in the KwaZulu-Natal Province. Work employee engagement is considered as one of the fundamental components towards organisational effective performance and business competitive advantage. Employee work engagement is determined by vigour, dedication, and absorption. Data was collected from the operational employees of KZN Company X. The response rate obtained was 100%. The data was reliable at 0.87 using the Chronbach’s alpha test. The findings indicated that Company X exhibited leadership styles, namely authoritarian, democratic, and laissez-faire. The findings were obtained through the followers (subordinates of business unit managers). The majority of the followers indicated that their managers have democratic leadership styles, followed by laissez-faire leaders, with the minority being led by the leaders possessing the authoritarian leadership style. The study was also interested in obtaining the employees’ work engagement levels. The findings in this research reveal that the majority (48%) of the employees have moderate levels of work engagement, about 32% showed low levels of work engagement, and only 20% showed high work engagement levels. These findings were anticipated, since the flow of production at Company X had been experiencing some challenges. The third research question addresses which leadership style is a statistical significant predictor towards employee work engagement. However, with unsatisfying Pearson values for all the leadership styles being investigated, a democratic style is found to be a better predictor than the other two. These findings are not surprising, since it is argued that performance and work commitment are achieved with managers who exhibit not just one leadership style, but multiple leadership styles, so that they are able to respond to all situations reinforced by the nature of competitive business. The relationship between the leadership style and the followers’ work engagement, for all three leadership styles, indicate that the relationship is not satisfactory. This study found that managers should exhibit various leadership styles if work engagement is to be enhanced. The following section discusses the recommendations to the senior management of Company X.

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