THE IMPACT OF ORGANISATIONAL LEADERSHIP BEHAVIOUR ON PERFORMANCE OF PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS IN GHANA: A CASE STUDY OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

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ABSTRACT

Today leadership has been regarded to have a major influence on the performance of organizations, managers and employees. “As most people are directly or indirectly consciously or unconsciously being influenced or influencing others in the role of leadership, it has been argued that for organizations to achieve business efficiency and economic development, they must adopt leadership styles that best suit their environment This study has examined the impact of leadership behavior on performance of EPA A case study research design was adopted A mixed method approach was employed to collect and analyze data As a result both questionnaires and semi-structured interviews were used to collect data The study had a sample size of 113 respondents The study findings show that leadership has indeed played a role in the improvement of performance of EPA It was found that different leadership styles are employed in the organization depending on the situation at hand The study further identified that a number of challenges plague effective leadership at EPA and for leadership to be greatly enhanced these challenges need to be addressed The study therefore concludes that leadership style has an impact on employee and organisational performance, and considering the changing trends there is need for public organizations to adopt an integrated leadership approach to achieve high levels of productivity”.

CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION

     Background of the Study

The concept of leadership exists and permeates all societies and has been deemed very essential to the functioning and effectiveness of organizations within societies (Ardichvili and Kuchinke, 2002). “Today leadership has been regarded to have “a major influence on the performance of organizations, managers and employees (Wang et al 2005) The concept of leadership has been defined in several ways Robbins and Coultar (2005) define leadership as process of influencing a group towards the achievements of goals and a leader as someone who can influence others and who has managerial authority”. Similarly Northouse (2012) also defined leadership as “a process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal.”

As most “people are directly or indirectly consciously or unconsciously being influenced or influencing others in the role of leadership, there is a growing interest in determining the components that makes or contribute in making an ordinary person a great leader (Bateman and Snell, 2002) It has been argued that for organizations to achieve business efficiency and economic development, they must adopt leadership styles that best suit their environment (Wammy, 2014) This is because every leadership style possess the potential of motivating, managing, influencing, and controlling employees as well as resolving conflicts among employees in an organization (Northouse, 2012).”

However researchers in the field of management have highlighted how organizational performance is highly dependent on leadership style adopted and applied in organizations (Hill,

2008). According to Matin and Farjami (2009) leadership theories clearly establish the influence of leadership style on employee performance as well as employee satisfaction and motivation which subsequently contributes to organizational performance. Similarly, Cordelo (2003) identified that the behaviours of leaders tend to affect the quality of organizational outcome. As a result, it has been suggested that effective leadership is where an organization adopt and apply the appropriate leadership style so as to reflect situational demands in an organizational environment (Kenneth, 1989).

Previous studies have identified various forms of leadership styles exhibited by leaders in various organizations in both the public and private sector across developed and developing countries (Bass, 1985; Avolio, 1993; Bran, Heyl and Maritz, 2000; Paracha et al 2012; Babatunde, 2015). Common among these leadership styles have been: the behavioral leadership styles which include autocratic, democratic and laissez faire leadership styles; the charismatic leadership styles which involve the transformational and transactional leadership styles (Bass, 1985; Avolio, 1993; Bran, Heyl and Maritz, 2000; Paracha et al 2012; Babatunde, 2015).

These foregoing leadership styles have helped explain various leadership behaviours exhibited by various leaders in organizations and societies (Levin, 2000). They provide a clear understanding of why some leaders behave in a certain way different from other leaders and how they either enhance performance or constrain performance in organizations.Studies have therefore highlighted the influence of the various leadership styles on employee and organizational performance (Avolio, 1993; Ismail et al., 2011; Ojokuku et al., 2012; Dalluay & Jalagat, 2016)

     Research Problem

The role of leadership in promoting performance in public sector organizations has become very significant.The public sector of Ghana has attracted several reforms which have sought to enhance public sector effectiveness and efficiency in both service delivery and overall organizational performance. However implementation of these reforms have failed to live up to expectations. One of the several challenges to the failure of these public sector reforms have been attributed to lack of effective leadership skills among top management of public sector organizations (Ayee, 2001; Adei and Boachie-Danquah, 2003). It has been established that absence of requisite leadership skills stifles innovative and strategic organizational decisions, as well as efficient management of financial and other resources (Wang et al., 2005). In attempt to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness in the management of financial resources and also to enhance performance of public sector organizations, in 2016 some public service organizations were weaned off government subvention. As a result these organizations are required  to  generate their own revenue and pay their employees from the internally generated funds.

One key public institution that has been given this status is the “Environmental Protection Agency an agency of the Ministry of Environment, Science Technology and Innovation established by EPA Act 490 (1994) As a regulatory body the EPA is basically dedicated to improving, conserving and promoting the country’s environment and striving for environmentally sustainable development with sound, efficient resource management, and enforcement of environmental law and regulations.” After two years of being weaned off government payroll, there seems to show an improvement in the management and operations of

the agency. Employees can be observed to show commitment to work and job assignments. General performance has seen a significant positive trend. It is therefore important to identify what could be causing the general improvement in the operations and performance of the agency. This study therefore sought to examine whether leadership has played a significant role in the performance of the agency.

     Research Objectives

The study was underpinned by the following objectives:

  1. To identify the leadership styles exhibited at EPA.
  • To examine the relationship between leadership andperformance of EPA.
  • To examine the challenges to effective leadership behavior at EPA.

     Research Questions

The study was guided by the following research questions:

  1. What leadership styles are exhibited at EPA?
  • What is the relationship between leadership style and performance of EPA?
  • What are the challenges to effective leadership behavior at EPA?

     Scope of the Study

This study was undertaken at the EPA head office in Accra. In examining the leadership style influencing performance of EPA, the study focused on the following leadership styles: autocratic, democratic, laissez faire, transformational and transactional leadership styles. With regards to performance, the study examined the performance of EPA over the last 2 years since it

was weaned off government subvention (thus from 2016 to 2018). As a result only respondents who have been employed in the institution for the past two years were involved in the study since it was presumed that they would have gone through the performance appraisal process and thus have their performance assessed.

     Significance of the Study

“The results of the study would enable organizational leadership to determine which styles to adopt so as to enhance employee motivation and commitment, and hence develop a much better engagement and connection with the organization Adoption of the appropriate style would help promoteemployee trust and loyalty for the organization.”

The study sought to “highlight how employees’ values, attitudes, and leadership styles play a very crucial role in enhancing employee performance, and these can be carefully adjusted to produce a strong impact on employee performance at EPA.”

This “study further sought to examine the influence of leadership on employee performance so as to provide an overview on the general performances of individuals at EPA Moreover, the results of the study would help to inform decision makers and policy makers to be aware of the influence of leadership on the performance of employees in the public sector Furthermore findings from this study would be used by EPA and other government agencies and government authority decision makers in setting the appropriate management policies in their working areas.”

Finally the “findings will also provide up-to date information for researchers and organization decision makers to the already existing body of knowledge on the influence of leadership styles on the performance of employees in public sector It has further explored some of the reasons for poor performance in various organizations and recommended the proper measures that need to

be undertaken in order to improve the performance of employees, subsequently enabling organizations to meet their objectives.”

     Organization of the Study

The study was organized into five chapters: “Chapter one which is on introduction consisted of background of the study, statement of the problem, objectives of the study, research questions, significance of the study, and organization of the study; Chapter two basically looked at existing literature and the reviews of such literature on the subject under review; Chapter three discussed the methodology that was used to conduct the research; Chapter four focused on the analysis of collected data and discussions of the findings of the study; and finally Chapter five presented the summary of findings, recommendations and conclusion of the study.”

CHAPTER TWO LITERATURE REVIEW

     Introduction

This chapter presents review on various theories and leadership styles advanced by scholars on the concept of leadership. It presents discussions on the concept of leadership from various scholarly perspectives. It further highlights various theories on leadership followed by discussion on employee and organizational performance. The chapter further review literature on the relationship between leadership style and performance and subsequently presents the conceptual framework for the study.

     The Concept of Leadership

The concept of leadership has been regarded as one of the most important and relevant issue in organizational setting. Leadership as a concept has therefore attracted much attention by both scholars and practitioners in both the private and public sector. This stems from the fact that leadership has been deemed as very critical to organizational success and effectiveness. There is no one accepted definition of leadership. This is because leadership has been defined in several ways by various scholars. Leadership is therefore considered as a very complex concept (Adlam, 2003). Jaques and Clement (1991:3) define leadership “as a process in which an individual sets direction for other people and carries them along in that direction with competence and productivity.” Schermerhorn, Hunt and Osborn (2000:21) also define leadership “as a case of interpersonal influence that get individuals, or groups of people to do what the leader wants to be done.” Similarly Armstrong (2003:54) believes that leadership “is the ability to persuade others willingly to behave differently for achieving the task set for them with the help of the group”.

Arguing in the same vein Hill (2008) defines leadership as “the process of motivating, influencing and directing others in the organization to work productively in the pursuit of organization goals.” It is also believed that “leadership is the ability to convince and mobilize others to work together as a team in order to achieve a certain goal” (Sundi, 2013). According to Kumar (2014) leadership is defined “as a process by which a person influences others to accomplish an objective and directs the organization in a way that makes it more cohesive and coherent.”

The foregoing definitions present some agreements and disagreements as to what constitute leadership. All the definitions address the fact that for leadership to happen there must be a leader and followers. Thus leadership involves interaction between two or more people and the leader seeks to influence the behavior of other people. In addition it is agreed among scholars that the role of leadership is to ensure the achievement of set objectives and goals. Thus effective leadership is determined by the extent to which organizational goals and productivity are achieved.

On the other hand, the definitions draw attention to two perspectives of leadership. The first perspective focuses on leadership to be based on a downward exercise of power and authority over followers with no room for creativity and innovation. The other perspective that can be identified from the definitions focuses on leadership as emphasizing on power sharing with followers mixed with respect, cooperation and concern for followers who are given opportunity to be creative and innovate towards the achieve and improve organizational productivity.

     Theories of Leadership

Several theories of leadership have been advanced in literature. These theories can be categorized into three main groups: Trait theories, Behavioural theories and Charismatic theories.

           Trait Theories

“The first group of theories presented by early studies is the trait theories of leadership These theories consider personal qualities and characteristics that differentiate leaders from non-leaders Trait theory of leadership consider traits such as physical stature, appearance, social class, emotional stability, fluency of speech, sociability, drive and desire to lead honesty, integrity, self confidence, intelligence, job-relevant knowledge and extraversion (Bodla and Nawaz, 2010)”.

           Behavioural Theories

“The next group of theory is the behavioural theories that propose that certain specific behaviours differentiate leaders from non-leaders This approach identifies three styles of leadership based on leader’s behavior that are autocratic style, democratic style, and laissez-faire style.” “According to Robbins and Coultar (2005) autocratic style describes a leader who tends  to centralize authority, dictate work methods, make unilateral decisions, and limit employee participation, the democratic style describes a leader who tends to involve employees in decision making, designate authority, encourage participation in deciding work methods and goals, and use feedback as an opportunity for coaching employees and the laissez-faire style describes a

leader who generally gives the group complete freedom to make decisions and complete the work in whatever way it sees fit.”

           Charismatic Theories

Other group of theories is known as the charismatic theories of leadership. These theories “explain a form of leadership based on follower perceptions that the leader is endowed with the gift of divine inspiration or supernatural qualities.” “Charismatic leaders are more likely to come forward as leaders during times of great social crisis and are often instrumental in focusing society’s attention to the problem it faces by means of a radical vision that provides a solution.” Popular among charismatic theories is the “transformational and transactional style of leadership” advanced by Burns (1978).

Transformational leadership is a type of leadership where the leader moves the follower beyond “immediate self-interests, elevates the follower’s level of morale, motivation, maturity, morals and ideals as well as concerns for achievement, self actualization, and the well-being of others, the organization, and society Transactional leadership on the other hand is an exchange process based on the fulfillment of contractual obligations and is typically represented as setting objectives and monitoring and controlling outcomes” (Bass, 1999). Thus the transactional leader’s behaviors are primarily focused on “clarifying role and task requirements and providing followers with material or psychological rewards contingent on the fulfillment of contractual obligations.”

     Theoretical Framework of the Study

           Integrated Theory of Leadership

“The most common and extensively used approach to build leadership capacity has been the single-solution approach where organizations rely primarily on one method to build leaders.” Many “organizations implement the single-solution approach because they assume there is one answer that will solve their leadership gap problems.” The single-solution approach “does have some advantages in that it can be easy to implement.” It also ensures a certain level of consistency, since all leaders receive the same content. “It also provides leaders the opportunity to come and learn together” (Weiss and Molinaro, 2006). However, “the single-solution approach also has weaknesses and limitations that essentially make it ineffective as a sole strategy for building leadership capacity.” In many cases a single-solution approach to leadership development also has had “a tendency to adopt generic leadership models that overemphasized personal traits and characteristics of individual leaders” (Ulrich, 1999). Many of these models “provide valuable insights, but leaders typically find them to be too theoretical and often disconnected from day-to-day realities of the jobs and the problems that leaders face.” These models also “focus too heavily on the individual leader or personal leadership and do not adequately address other important elements of leadership.” “This has led many organizations to think of leadership as a product or event” (Ready and Conger, 2003).

“Today many organizations have recognized that the single-solution approach to leadership development is insufficient to build leadership capacity.” These organizations implement a more evolved approach by utilizing a range of leadership development options. Weiss and Molinaro (2006) refer to this as “the integrated approach to leadership development This approach recognizes that simple single-solutions are insufficient and multiple-solutions are necessary to

overcome the leadership gap Today, organizations have a wide array of development options available” (Saratoga Institute, 1998; McCauley et al., 1998).

“A leadership gap often persists in organizations that implement a single-solution approach to leadership development According to Weiss and Molinaro (2006), several factors are creating a new sense of urgency for organizations to evolve to an integrated solution to leadership development”:

The complexity of the business environment: “Organizations need to understand that the emerging environment in which leaders operate today is more complex and intense It is placing greater pressure and demands on leaders As a result single-solution and multiple-solution approaches to leadership development are not robust enough to build the leadership capacity required today Leadership development in today’s world needs to be more integrated and sophisticated.”