Running Head: Impact of Leadership Styles
The Impact of Leadership Styles on Employee Performance
P. Parks Duncan
University of Central Florida
The need to develop better leadership styles is becoming increasingly important in all organizations. The purpose of this paper is to ascertain if there is a correlation between the supervisor’s leadership style and the employees’ performance, particularly in the law enforcement field. This paper reviews three recent and widely utilized leadership styles: contingency theory, transactional theory, and transformational theory. There is a lack of total agreement in the reviewed literature as to the best leadership style to be used in law enforcement, but transactional theory appears to be more effective than contingency theory. Transformational theory is considered by many to be an improvement to the transactional theory of leadership. There appears to be an ever increasing number of studies supporting the benefits of the transformational theory. In today’s ever changing climate, there are some researchers whose findings suggest the optimal leadership style may be a blend of transactional and transformational theories.
This paper attempts to find a correlation between the supervisor’s leadership style and the employee’s performance, particularly in the law enforcement field. The use of the correct and appropriate leadership style in all fields has long been a topic of discussion and debate by both scholars as well as practitioners. “The desire to develop better leadership styles is becoming a matter of increasing importance in the public sector and especially in law enforcement agencies.” (Bruns & Shuman, 1988, p 145). Police leadership is often not well developed because of the police culture, the law enforcement’s bureaucratic rank and file structure and the civil nature of the job (Densten, 1999). As a result, a variety of theories on different leaderships styles have evolved but many have multiple similarities (Engel, 2001). Engel (2000) initially reported that many earlier works have suggested that supervisory styles have a significant impact on patrol officer behavior although the author noted no research has been attempted to evaluate the varying influence that different supervisory styles have over police officer behavior. Engel (2003) later reported a more recent and important finding that the style or quality of supervision can significantly influence patrol officers’ behavior. Supervision by the sergeant can influence some patrol officer behaviors, but this influence varies according to the style of supervision. As Engel (2001 & 2003) notes, first-line supervision is extremely important to police organizations’ success and the implementation of organizational goals. But the author also reports that studies on police supervision are limited in scope and fail to answer many questions on differences in leadership styles.
For the purposes of this work, performance is defined as the execution or accomplishment of work, acts, feats, etc. Satisfaction is defined as the fulfillment or gratification of a desire, need, or appetite (dictionary.com). Job satisfaction is defined as the extent to which people like (satisfaction) or dislike (dissatisfaction) their jobs. “Traditional job satisfaction facets include: co-workers, pay, job conditions, supervision, nature of the work and benefits.” (Williams, 2004). For the purposes of this paper, it is assumed that leaders aspire to increase subordinates’ job satisfaction and performance. In addition, it is further assumed job satisfaction and performance have some degree of positive correlation and they are linked in some fashion. For example, if employee job satisfaction increases, then employee job performance improves. It should be noted this relationship between job performance and job satisfaction has been the topic of numerous studies...
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