Leadership Style and its Influence on Employee Motivation in the Office of the Upper West Regional Coordinating Council

Thesis (M.A.), 2020

54 Pages, Grade: 90.%





1.1 Background of the Study
1.2 Research Aims and Objectives
1.3 Research Hypothesis
1.4 Research Questions
1.5 Rationale of the Study
1.6 Significance of the Study
1.7 Outline of the Dissertation

Literature Review
2.1 Theoretical Framework
2.2 Transformational Leadership
2.3 Transactional Leadership
2.4 Laissez-Faire Leadership
2.5 Authoritative (Autocratic) Leadership
2.6 Leadership Theories for Employee Motivation
2.7 Effect of Employee Motivation on Output
2.8 Job Satisfaction, Engagement, and Commitment
2.9 Previous Studies on Public Sector Leadership
2.10 Summary of the Literature Reviewed

Research Methodology
3.1 Research Design
3.2 Research Approach
3.3 Research Instrumentation
3.3.1 Questionnaire
3.4 Data Collection
3.4.1 Primary data collection
3.4.2 Secondary data collection
3.5 Sampling Technique
3.6 Data Analysis
3.7 Ethical Considerations
3.8 Limitations to the Methodology
3.9 Conclusion

Data Analysis and Findings
4.1 Data Analysis
4.1.1 Demographics
4.1.2 Theme 1 – leadership communication is critically important.
4.1.3 Theme 2 – autocratic-authoritarian leadership style used in the Office of the Upper West Regional Coordinating Council.
4.1.4 Theme 3 – recognition and acknowledgment motivate and engages employees.
4.1.5 Theme 4 – intrinsic rewards are more valued than extrinsic rewards.
4.2 Findings of the Study

Conclusions and Recommendations
5.1 Conclusions
5.2 Recommendations
5.3 Scope for Future Studies



I dedicate this work to my beloved friend, Francis Asenso-Boakye, Deputy Chief of Staff at the Office of the President of Ghana.


This study examines the influence of leadership style on employee motivation in the office of the Upper West Regional Coordinating Council in Ghana. A sample size of 12 respondents from the office of the Upper West Regional Coordinating Council in Wa was contacted. Questionnaires were given to respondents, and they were to fill them and send to the researcher. The respondents were given enough time to react to all the 14 items on the questionnaire.

The research finding indicates that communication between leadership and those being led are hugely important. Also, the study observed that the majority of people in leadership positions in the Office of the Upper West Regional Coordinating Council of Ghana use the autocratic or authoritarian style of leadership.

The study recommends public sector organisations to be responsible in the way they treat the public and to ensure this becomes the norm; the public sector leadership must lead the way, be a role model, and ensure that public sector employees are satisfied with their jobs. Such a development would help enhance the cordial relations currently existing between the management and staff of the office of the Upper West Regional Coordinating Council.



1.1 Background of the Study

Leadership has remained a prominent area of interest for both academics and practitioners for several decades. This interest is based on the notion that leadership styles correlate with organisational performance (Al Khajeh, 2018). In these modern times, when there are increased complexities surrounding the needs of society and increased competitiveness among organisations and nations, achieving high outputs and performance is even more critical. The role of leaders in assuring this high organisational performance is noted in the literature (Al Khajeh, 2018). Leadership is a process in which people are influenced to work towards organisational goals. It involves the ability to motivate people as well as building the capacity of followers to be able to achieve organisational goals (Klein, Cooke & Wallis 2013). As noted by Akparep, Jengre, and Mogre (2019), the leadership style adopted by an organisation impacts on operational success. Leaders influence the behaviour of workers through processes such as training, rewards, communication, and discipline (Alghazo & Al-Anazi 2016).

Motivation is the process that determines the worker’s passion, direction, and persistence in the effort toward attaining organisational goals. Motivation also leads to goal-directed behaviour. This is because the worker behaves in a way that enables him or her to meet his or her needs (Alghazo & Al-Anazi 2016; Al Khajeh, 2018). Research evidence shows that motivation correlates with employees’ productivity (Alghazo & Al-Anazi 2016; Al Khajeh, 2018). Motivation is, therefore, fundamental for high worker outputs and consequently high organisational performance. Cultivating and sustaining employee motivation represents a critical function of leadership, one that supports the ability of the organisation to meet its goals and objectives. Leaders have to understand the diversity of employee needs and apply appropriate methods to meet those needs and improve worker’s motivation. Successful organisations deploy effective motivational strategies to motivate their workers to deliver high performance (Naile & Selesho 2014). Some scholars are of the opinion that the development of the motivational levels of workers and their value system of employees, should be done in tandem with the development of their skills (lghazo & Al-Anazi 2016; Al Khajeh 2018).

The public sector also referred to as the state sector, is the state or government organisation that is responsible for the production, allocation, and delivery of goods and services for citizens. Public sector activities include areas such as organising national defence, urban planning, and social security (Dartey-Baah, Amponsah-Tawiah, & Sekyere, & Abankwa 2011). However, some countries including Ghana, face a challenge in creating effective public sector organisations that are capable of facilitating sustained national development. Dartey-Baah et al (2011) noted that the public sector in Ghana is largely considered ineffective and inefficient with a number of policies geared towards regime survival rather than duties to citizenry. As noted by the World Bank (2018), a well-functioning public sector is critical to Africa’s development process.

Ghana obtained its independence from Britain in 1957, the public sector in the country has continued to attract interest among development partners, politicians, public servants, and citizens of the country. This is because a professional and effective public service is essential to the meaningful progress of developmental governance capacity (Ayee 2019). Ghana is a Lower Middle Income (LMIC) country with a GDP annual growth rate averaged 6.67% from 2000 until 2019. The country has a stable environment, human resource capacity as well as democratic consolidation. However, there are still problems such as regional inequalities in the country with poverty reduction patterns that show reduction in some regions while other regions are prosperous (The World Bank 2018). These regional inequalities exist as a result of economic, environmental and geographical differences amongst the regions in Ghana. The Government launched a 2018-2023 reform strategy known as the National Public Sector Reform Strategy (NPSRS). The project focuses on public sector reform based on six pillars: focus on citizens and the private sector, regulating the public sector regulatory framework, improved work conditions, strong government structures, digitalisation of systems, and having a capable workforce (The World Bank 2018). The inclusion of the workforce in these reform goals indicates the need to assure that the employees of the public sector are well-motivated, supported, and delivering high outputs.

The ability of any organisation and, therefore, any sector, to achieve its goals depends on the commitment, engagement, and persistence exhibited by its workers (Naile & Selesho 2014). Given the function of leadership in cultivating motivation among employees, a better understanding of the leadership styles adopted in the sector and its influence on workers' motivation may be critical for efforts to improve the performance of Ghana’s public sector. Several leadership theories have been put forward across the past fifty years. These theories attempt to explain how leadership influences overall organisational effectiveness. The modern private sector environment is associated with challenges such as dynamic change, cultural shifts, and evolving employee needs. Public sector organisations have to employ leadership strategies that enable them cope and to survive in the modern environment (Akparep, Jengre & Mogre 2019). There are many leadership styles, such as autocratic, transformational, situational, and charismatic leadership (Alghazo & Al-Anazi 2016). These leadership styles are associated with different behaviours and practices.

In the context of the present study, understanding the various elements associated with these leadership styles and how they influence the components of work motivation may help promote understanding of what leadership styles can be most effective for achieving public sector goals. The study will, therefore, seek to explore the leadership style adopted in a public sector organisation in the country with a view to finding out how employee motivation is affected by the leadership style. It is notable that there is a gap in the literature about the most effective way to institute the components of leadership that are most effective in engaging, motivating, gaining commitment, and driving the superior performance of employees in the public sector.

Ghana’s public sector is very large and complex. Ghana has experienced a decline in government effectiveness and institutional quality in the past two decades. The public sector has been politicised thereby giving room for a lot of unqualified persons to be recruited into that sector by politicians. This act by politicians has led to a decline in government effectiveness and institutional quality of the public sector in Ghana. Planned reforms such as improving services, service standards, and public sector performance, have not been effectively implemented. These problems undermine the ability of the country to achieve sustained national development (The World Bank 2018). Development programs in the country are not implemented effectively, and there are concerns regarding the waste of resources that go into formulating plans that will not be implemented as well as programs that are not implemented effectively. In order to ensure that the country makes gains in economic growth, the country needs to address its institutional deficiencies (Ayee 2019; Dartey-Baah, Amponsah-Tawiah & Sekyere-Abankwa 2011).

Previous attempts to improve public sector performance in Ghana, although expansive, only yielded modest results. Numerous government documents contain measures designed to improve public sector performance. Despite these measures, the results have been unimpressive (Ayee 2019; The World Bank 2018). This makes an examination of leadership styles in the sector and its influence on employee motivation even more relevant since people are responsible for creating, leading, and implementing public sector activities.

Because it is well acknowledged that leadership is critical to institutional performance, aligning the leadership style adopted in public sector organisations is central to improving performance is critically important. Adopting leadership styles that can improve the motivation of workers to devote their full efforts towards achieving the goals of the public sector may be critical towards solving these problems. Where employees are passionate, motivated, and committed to the programs and goals of the public sector, it can be expected that high performance will be achieved in such programs, rather than unsatisfactory outcomes since ultimately, workers are responsible for executing programs.

There are many styles of leadership described in the literature. The challenge is to identify what type of leadership will lead to employee motivation in the public sector organisation in Ghana. Understanding the needs of public sector workers in the country will be of critical importance in understanding the strategies through which leadership may influence their motivation. The study will adopt a qualitative methodology to explore this problem and find answers to the research questions.

1.2 Research Aims and Objectives

The purpose of this qualitative case study research will be to explore the influence of leadership style on employee motivation in the office of the Upper West Regional Coordinating Council in Ghana. In order to achieve this objective, the study will seek to achieve the following specific objectives:

1) Identify the leadership style adopted in the office of the Upper West Regional Coordinating Council;
2) Examine the impact of the leadership style on the work behaviour of workers;
3) Explore how the leadership style relates to the level of motivation among workers in the organisation; and
4) Develop recommendations on an effective leadership style that can be adopted by public sector organisations in Ghana towards improving employee motivation.

1.3 Research Hypothesis

The hypothesis of the research in this study is one claiming that the transformational leadership style and practices will support the government to realise its reform goal.

1.4 Research Questions

In order to achieve the research objectives, the study will answer the following research questions

1) What leaderships styles are commonly used by leaders in the Ghanaian public sector organisations?
2) How does the leadership style adopted by leaders in the organisation impact on the workers’ passion for their work?
3) How does the leadership style adopted by the organisation impact on the persistence of workers in regard to efforts to achieve organisational goals?
4) How does the leadership style adopted by leaders in the organisation impact on the direction of employee efforts?
5) What leadership practices do employees perceive as being important for improving their levels of motivation?

1.5 Rationale of the Study

The present study will examine the leadership practices and styles currently being utilized in the Office of the Upper West Regional Coordinating Council to determine if the leadership practices and styles are conducive to meeting the goals set in the government’s 2018-2023 reform strategy or the National Public Sector Reform Strategy (NPSRS). Therefore, directly examining the perceptions of those in the Office of the Upper West Regional Coordinating Council on the leadership styles and strategies will inform the government as to what changes need to be made in leadership to support it reaching its reform goals.

1.6 Significance of the Study

The study will have both scholarly and practical implications. The challenges faced by the public sector have evolved over time. There is still limited literature regarding effective leadership styles that can support the goals of the public sector leadership in Ghana and lead to sustainable advancement in national development. The findings from the study will serve to contribute to the literature regarding leadership in the Ghanaian Public sector. Public sector leaders can benefit from understanding how leadership influences employee motivation and what leadership practices can be expanded or drawn upon to improve employee engagement. The findings from the study will, therefore, provide information on leadership that can help public sector leaders improve their leadership practices towards engendering higher levels of employee motivation and organisational effectiveness. The study will also have methodological implications as public sector organisations that wish to evaluate how their leadership styles affect the levels of employee motivation may adopt the design of the study to conduct research to find answers to the problem in their own specific contexts.

1.7 Outline of the Dissertation

Chapter one of the study has presented the background of the study, the research aims and objectives, the research hypothesis and research questions, and the rationale and significance of the study. Chapter two will present a review of literature in the study. Chapter three will describe the research design and methodology, the instrument used in collecting the data, and the data analysis methods, along with the limitations of the study. Chapter four will present data analysis and findings. Finally, chapter five of the study will present the conclusion of the study, as well as any recommendations arising from the study, and the scope for future research.


Literature Review

2.1 Theoretical Framework

The theoretical framework upon which the present study is based is that of transformational leadership theory. According to Lan, Chang, Ma, Zhang, & Chuang (2019), “leadership is defined as a motivation that influences people to have the same vision to achieve, and how the leader leads and influences his subordinates to reach organisational goals” (p. 3). Transformational leadership is a style of leadership that enhances motivation, performance, and morale (Lan et al. 2019). Lan et al. (2019) reported that Bass (1985) first set out the components of the transformational leader to include: (1) idealized influence; (2) inspirational motivation; (3) intellectual stimulation; and (4) individualized consideration. Idealized influence is reported to mean that the leader is trusted and respected because of their self-confidence, ideology, and their passion and vision (Lan et al. 2019). Inspirational motivation is reported to mean that the leader can utilize their personal charm to relate the organisational goals and instil hope and optimism in those being led with a focus on motivation in the workplace (Lan et al. 2019). Intellectual stimulation is stated to mean that the leader encourages those being led to enhance the knowledge they possess, as well as their creativity and deep thinking about problems to identify effective solutions (Lan et al. 2019). Finally, individualized consideration is reported to mean that the leader cares for and respects those who are being led and make them feel that they are a critical part of their team, and ultimately inspiring them to work very hard (Lan et al. 2019).

2.2 Transformational Leadership

Previous studies have examined the impact of transformational leadership on various aspects of employee performance, engagement, motivation, and other such factors. Al-Amin (2017) reported a study that examined the relationship that exists between the transformational style of leadership and the performance of employees. In addition, Al-Amin (2017) examined how engagement of employees has a mediating role in the performance of employees. Al-Amin (2017) noted that according to Bass (1994) the “transformational leadership plays a role in bridging the gaps between leaders and followers to develop a clear understanding of follower’s interests, values, and motivational level” (p. 30). This, in turn, assists the understanding of the leader about how those being led can be driven or motivated toward the goals of the organisation, as well as in helping them to achieve those goals (Al-Amin 2017). Al-Amin (2017) reported findings in the study conducted that transformational leadership style does result in employees that are more engaged, and that ultimately exhibit higher levels of performance. Transformational leaders were found to produce behaviours that are positive and that serve to encourage those being led for better performance (Al-Amin 2017). In an older study that was conducted and reported in 2010, but which has been included in this study because of the importance of the information reported, Pandey (2010) examined public sector transformational leadership and stated that there are several potential explanations for the existing discrepancy between the “leadership theoretical expectations” that are mainstream and empirical observation, and likely due to the fact that organisations of the government are not in reality as bureaucratic as is assumed by leadership theorists” (p. 76). Additionally, stated is that the discrepancies are focused on mechanisms of bureaucratic control that do not have an adverse effect on the transformational leadership style's effectiveness (Pandey, 2010). Pandey (2010) reported findings that the study conducted found that the bureaucratic structure in the public sector organisations did not adversely affect the effectiveness of transformational leadership; however, some of the characteristics of bureaucracy were found to inhibit transformational leadership practice and behaviours. Specifically stated was,

“the greater reliance on hierarchical authority and weaker lateral/upward communication were both associated with a lower prevalence of transformational leadership behaviours, the presence of human resource or procurement red tape seemed to have no effect” (Pandey, 2010, p. 85).

Finally, the study found that when performance measures are utilized by the organisation, that there was an association with increases that were of a significant nature with the use of transformational leadership style in the public sector organisation (Pandey, 2010). Pandey (2010) concluded by stating that the study’s “findings challenge the strong and pessimistic a priori expectations fostered by mainstream (or generic) management literature about the prospects of transformational leadership in the public sector” (p. 86).

Jones (2018) reported that the idealized influence of the transformational leader is such that it involves the leader being a role model that influences those being led and causes them to desire to emulate the leader and their characteristics. The transformational leader also instils confidence and trust in those being led by putting the needs of others before their own needs (Jones 2018). The inspirational motivation provided by the transformational leader is such that it places the leader squarely in the role of being a cheerleader and motivator of those being led by displaying optimism, enthusiasm, and support (Jones 2018). Moreover, the transformational leader formulates a relatable vision for those being led and demonstrates how it is that those being led can be contributors to the vision (Jones 2018). The transformational leader displays individualized consideration by investing in developing those being led to hone their inherent abilities and increase their skills (Jones, 2018). Finally, the transformational leader is an intellectual type of leader that promotes innovation and creativity, asks questions, approaches problems in new ways, and reframes the problem (Jones, 2018).

2.3 Transactional Leadership

Transactional leadership, according to Mensah, Addaquay, and Davis (2018), involves an exchange between the leader and those being led. In other words, those being led are promised something for their performance at work. Transactional leadership also involves the leader taking measures to correct the performance of those being led when they do not perform well (Mensah et al., 2018). From the view of transactional leadership, those being led are rewarded for performance, indicating extrinsic motivation, which will be covered later in the review of literature. Transactional leadership is reported to be a leadership style that manages using clarification of the responsibilities of those being led and providing rewards when they achieve the set standards (Mensah et al., 2018). The focus of the transactional leader includes standards, short-term goals, rules, procedures, as well as control (Jones 2018). Transactional leaders focus on maintaining the organisation’s status-quo and strive to avoid any risks that are unnecessary (Jones 2018). Transactional leadership is reported to be useful in realising organisational goals and to some degree, employee engagement commitment, performance, and loyalty; however, the flexibility of transformational leadership has been found to be more effective (Jones, 2018).

2.4 Laissez-Faire Leadership

The laissez-faire type of leadership style is based on a belief that is quite strong that the organisational employees know best how to do their jobs and, therefore, does not require supervision that is direct (Mensah et al., 2018). Laissez-faire leadership style provides employees with a great deal of freedom about what they do and make provision of only a minimum amount of information by the leader to the employees (Mensah et al., 2018). It has been stated that the laissez-faire leadership style puts low emphasis on the performance of employees, which is based on the assumption that people are uncontrollable and predictable (Mensah et al., 2018). The laissez-faire leader believes that they should keep away from any potential difficulties, keep a profile that is low, and give employees the freedom to pursue tasks as they see fit (Mensah et al., 2018). However, the laissez-faire leaders are also known to abdicate making any decisions and to avoid the taking of any type of action (Mensah et al., 2018).

2.5 Authoritative (Autocratic) Leadership

Authoritative or autocratic leadership style involves those in leadership positions, never allowing those who are being led to make any decisions. Autocratic leadership is a type of leadership that has been referred to as being leadership by coercion or force (Chukwusa 2018). The autocratic leadership style is one in which the individual in the position of leadership has control over every decision made and does not seek any input from employees. The ideas of the autocratic leader are formulated upon their own judgments and ideas, and advice is rarely if ever sought from those being led (Chukwusa 2018). The autocratic leader is reported to use “absolute, authoritarian control over staff” (Chukwusa 2018, p. 3). The autocratic leader has expectations that orders will be obeyed by those being led (Chukwusa 2018). The organisations with autocratic leadership are characterized by absenteeism and high turnover (Chukwusa 2018).


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Leadership Style and its Influence on Employee Motivation in the Office of the Upper West Regional Coordinating Council
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leadership, style, influence, employee, motivation, office, upper, west, regional, coordinating, council
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Hafiz Bin Salih (Author), 2020, Leadership Style and its Influence on Employee Motivation in the Office of the Upper West Regional Coordinating Council, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/948493


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