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The Impact of Participative and Directive Leadership on Organisational Culture: An Organisational Development Perspective

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Vol 5 No 23
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1970
The Impact of Participative and Directive Leadership on Organisational Culture:
An Organisational Development Perspective
Clement Bell*
Department of Industrial Psychology, University of Fort Hare, South Africa
*Clementbell86@gmail.com
Murugan Chan
Department of Industrial Psychology, University of Fort Hare, South Africa
cmurugn@ufh.ac.za
Petrus Nel
Department of Industrial Psychology, University of the Free State, South Africa
nelpetrus@gmail.com
Doi:10.5901/mjss.2014.v5n23p1970
Abstract
Leadership is critical for the success of any organisation developing a sustainable and competitive culture. Organizational
culture mediates the association between leadership styles and organizational performance. The purpose of the present study
was to assess the impact of participative and directive leadership on organisational culture from an organisational development
perspective. The data was collected from a sample of 246 administrative departmental employees at Fort Hare University using
a self-designed biographical and occupational questionnaire. To measure participative leadership, a six-item 5-point rating
scale adopted from Arnold et al. (2000) was also employed. To measure directive leadership, a seven-item bi-polar rating scale
adopted from Litwin and Stringer (1968) was also employed. And to measure organisational culture, a four-item 5-point rating
scale adopted from the Denison Organizational Culture Survey (Denison & Neale, 1996) was also used. Data analysis was
done using various statistical techniques, including descriptive statistics, Pearson Product Moment Correlation Technique and
Multiple Regression Analysis. The results showed that participative and directive leadership have positive and significant
impact on organisational culture. However, directive leadership has negative and insignificant impact on adaptability. The
results also indicated that participative and directive leadership combined have no additive impact on organisational culture.
However, participative leadership had a stronger effect on organisational culture than when was combined with directive
leadership. The present study therefore, recommends managers to use participative leadership in their efforts to adapt their
organisational cultures to achieve a sustained competitive culture. However, directive leadership may be used in certain
organisational contingencies that demand it.
Keywords: Participative; directive; leadership; organisational culture; organisational development.
1. Introduction
An organisational culture affects the way in which members of the organisation behave and has to be considered as an
important contingent variable when developing organisations. It is created and embedded by organisational leaders
(Armstrong, 2009). Scholars therefore, believe that they are the managers of culture change (Schein, 1985; Trice &
Beyer, 1993). They influence beliefs, attitudes and behaviour of organisational members (Sarros, Cooper & Santora,
2008). As such, they are able to shape and position the organization’s culture (Denison & Mishra, 1995; Schein, 1992).
The organizational culture literature also gives evidence of the function of leaders in developing and sustaining certain
types of culture (Ogbonna & Harris, 2000). The ability of an organisation to change its culture is therefore strongly
controlled by leadership (Finchum & Rhodes, 2005). Leaders shape and develop the social reality of the organisation for
members. As such, they shape values and attain the vision of the organisation (Finhum & Rhodes, 2005). For the last 10
years, scholars have seen a decrease in research focusing exactly on culture and leadership. However, efforts to shape
culture are still a role of the leadership of organizations (Dull, 2010). Scholars argue that an association of leadership and
organisational culture is still an important target (Fleenor & Bryant, 2002). Organisational culture has many potent
ISSN 2039-2117 (online)
ISSN 2039-9340 (print)
Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences
MCSER Publishing, Rome-Italy
Vol 5 No 23
November 2014
1971
benefits as a lever for organisational change and development. The two variables are very critical to the operation of
organizations (Fiedler, 1996; Schein, 1992). Leadership and organizational culture are more associated in the process of
change and development (Sarros, Cooper & Santora, 2008). Scholars therefore, believe that it is only through leadership
that organisations can effectively develop and sustain a culture that is adaptive to change (Kotter, 1998). The behaviours
and attitudes of leaders strengthen the foundations of the culture (Denison, 1990). Leadership and organisational culture
therefore, is still critical to the needs of change and development in many organizations today (Dull, 2010). Organizational
culture, more than other variables, show an organization’s ability to survive (Pascale, 1990). It is also important in
explaining organizational effectiveness (Denison, 2000). It affects performance of organisations, regardless of the
attributes of the organisation (Fisher & Alford, 2000). Furthermore, it gives the means through which the leaders’ vision
are manifested, and helps build an environment that is favourable for organizations to become change oriented (James,
Choi, Ko, McNeil, Minton & Wright, 2007). Thus, organizational climate is regarded as the mirror of the underlying cultural
behaviours that develop in response to contingencies in the organization’s internal and external environment (Ostroff,
Kinicki & Tamkins, 2003). Even if there are implicit and explicit theories linking leadership and culture, there is still not
enough critical research attention that has been solely directed to an understanding of the relationships between the two
variables (Ogbonna & Harris, 2000).
2. Problem Statement
The University of Fort Hare is in its phases of transformation and development. The aim is to develop a culture of the
organisation that is conducive to producing high quality education of international standards contributing to social-
economic development of the nation, continent and the global world (Student Guide, 2013). To spearhead this
transformation process, the University of Fort Hare has also revitalised its organisational development department (OD).
The management of the University of Fort Hare is using a transformational leadership style to champion this
transformation and development process. This style of leadership has been important in changing the culture of the
university because culture change needs huge energy and commitment to achieve outcomes. Through transformational
leadership, the University believes that leaders can help create a strong organizational culture, and thereby contributing
to a positive climate for organizational performance. The top echelons of leaders are believed to be in a position to
significantly influence cultural identity and development (Barlow, Jordan & Hendrix, 2003). However, so far, the university
has not produced the much needed cultural change and development. To manage change and development requires that
people find their stability and security in the culture and direction of the organisation. It requires that they feel integrated
with the entire organisation rather than being indentified with the parts for a short period of time (Finchum & Rhodes,
2005). In an effort to speed up the change and development process, the present study proposes that the management
of the University of Fort Hare should use more of the participative and directive leadership styles, which were also found
to be the components of a transformational leadership (Yammarino, 1994). There is an important relationship between
participative leadership and a culture of change and development, as a predictor of organizational performance (Ogbonna
& Harris, 2000). It has been consistently perceived as critical for initiation and continuous development of an organisation
(Somech, 2005). Hence, it leads to improved innovation and organisational members attitudes (De Dreu & West, 2001;
O’Hara 2001). Change and development leaders possess both practices of directive and participative leadership. They
show a strong sense of inner purpose and direction, and motivate organisational members to take actions that support
the leader’s vision. And they also show a participative orientation through giving autonomy to organisational members
and developing their abilities to achieve long-term organizational goals (Yammarino, 1994). As such, the purpose of the
present study was to assess the impact of participative and directive leadership on organisational culture from an
organisational development perspective among the University of Fort Hare’s administrative department employees.
3. Objectives of the Study
(a) To determine the impact of participative leadership on organisational culture
(b) To determine the effect of directive leadership on organisational culture
(c) To determine the additive or complimentary effect of participative and directive leadership on organisational
culture
4. Hypotheses
In relation to the above-mentioned objectives, the following hypotheses have been established. The hypotheses of the
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1972
present study are diagrammatically presented in Figure 1 below.
Figure 1. Hypotheses
(A) Participative leadership has an impact on organisational culture (H1)
(B) Directive leadership has an impact on organisational culture (H2)
(C) Participative and directive leadership have an additive effect on organisational culture (H3)
5. Significance of the Study
The main value of the present study was to ascertain the impact of participative and directive leadership on organisational
culture from an organisational development perspective. Leadership and organizational culture control the processes of
change and development (Sarros, Cooper & Santora, 2008). Organizational culture is an important determinant of
organisational environment. It pervades the entire environment of the organisation. As such, organisational environment
reveals the shared knowledge and meanings embodied in an organization’s culture (Moran & Volkwein, 1992; Furnham &
Gunter, 1993). This therefore, provides the basis for communicating and understanding in an organisation. Organisational
culture affects the behaviour of organisational members and is an important contingent factor when developing
organisations. It is therefore, important for organisational development programmes, human resources policies and
practices. It also helps organizations to determine their strengths and weaknesses (Denison & Neale, 1996). More
importantly, it is the ‘social glue’ that helps to prevent the processes of differentiations that are unavoidable exist in
organisations (Furnham & Gunter, 1993). It also shapes the ways in which groups and individuals work together to
achieve organisational goals (Eldridge & Crombie, 1974). It also helps organisations to adapt to the problems from the
external environment and to achieve an internal integration (Schein, 1985). Organizational culture is specific to an
organization, relatively constant, and can also influence inter-organizational associations (Beugelsdijk, Koen &
Noorderhaven, 2006). For these reasons, it is widely viewed as a source of sustained competitive advantage in
organisations (Miron, Erez & Naheh, 2004). Furthermore, it is important variable in explaining organizational effectiveness
(Denison, 2000). Hence, it generally affects the performance of organisations. Lastly, but not least, the present study
helps to augment the literature on leadership and organizational culture.
6. Literature Review
6.1 Definition of concepts
6.1.1 Participative leadership
Participative leadership is defined as the process of having a shared influence in decision making, by a leader and his or
her subordinates (Koopman & Wierdsma, 1998). It is an important concept in research, policy, and organisation practice
(Durham, Knight & Locke 1997; Yukl, 2002). Although there is more research on participative leadership in organisations,
there are few or none empirical studies that have been specifically directed toward ascertaining the impact of this
leadership style on organisational culture (Yammarino & Naughton, 1992). It is also viewed as a relatively equal
participation level in decision making within an organisation (Torres, 2000). Furthermore, scholars argue that participation
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1973
in decision making needs some degree of agreement between the leader and organisational members on environmental
factors.
6.1.2 Directive leadership
Directive leadership is defined as the process of providing the subordinates with a guideline for decision making and
action that is in favour with a leader’s perspective (Fiedler, 1995; Sagie, 1997). It is also commonly perceived as a task-
oriented behaviour, with a strong tendency to control discussions, dominate interactions, and personally direct task
completion (Cruz, Henningson & Smith, 1999). Leaders who give directives to subordinates, focus less on participation as
compared to leaders who takes subordinates’ development as the most important part of effective leadership (Fiedler,
1995; Sagie, 1997). This leader therefore, makes organisational members to be more dependent and inflexible,
facilitating them to be less initiative (Euwema, Wendt & Van Emmerik, 2007).
6.1.3 Organisational culture
Organisational culture is defined as the entrenched structure of organizations, which is embedded in the values, beliefs
and assumptions internalised by organizational members (Denison, 1996). As such, it refers to the meanings revealed in
the actions, procedures, structures, and standards of organizational behaviour. It is also regarded as “the normative
beliefs and shared behavioural expectations in an organization” (James et al., 2007; p. 21). Other scholars view it as the
unique configuration of norms, values, beliefs and behavioural ways that characterise the manner in which groups and
individuals work together to achieve organisational goals (Eldridge & Crombie, 1974). Furthermore, it is regarded as a
pattern of basic beliefs that are embraced by a given group as it develops strategies to manage the problems of external
adaptation and internal integration that has worked well enough to be considered important, and therefore, to be
embedded to new members as the correct way of behaving in relation to these problems (Schein, 1985). In the present
study, organizational culture and climate are regarded as different, but interrelated concepts (Glisson & James, 2002).
6.2 Participative and directive leadership, and organisational culture
Leadership is important for the success of any organisation to change and develop its culture (Brown, 2011). Thus, there
is an association between leadership and organisational culture (Loki, Westwood & Cranford, 2005). Organizational
culture controls the relationship between the leadership styles and organizational performance (Ogbonna & Harris, 2000).
However, an incorrect analysis may reveal that leadership styles are not critical to achieve desired performance. The
present study adopts a functionalist perspective, which proposes that leaders make cultural change (Schein, 1985; Trice
& Beyer, 1993). They achieve this by using substantive and visible actions, and symbolic roles they play (Meindl, Ehrlich
& Dukerich, 1985). They also give organisational culture to subordinates by providing direction and coherence; sustaining
important values and behaviour patterns (Loki et al., 2005). Different leadership styles lead to different cultures (Ogbonna
& Harris, 2000). To manage change and development, it is important that subordinates find their stability in the culture,
and direction of the organisation. It also requires that they feel integrated with the entire organisation rather than being
indentified with peripheral things for a short period (Finchum & Rhodes, 2004). The present study focuses on the two
opposing styles of participative and directive leadership (Sagie et al., 2002). A manager with either or both of these
leadership styles, to be regarded as effective, his/her leadership must produces all the facets of organisational culture
identified by Denison and Neale (1996). As such, effective managers must be adaptive, yet highly consistent, and to
promote high involvement, but to do so within the context of a shared sense of mission (Fleenor & Bryant, 2002; p. 9).
6.2.1 Participative and directive leadership, and involvement
Involvement refers to building human capacity, ownership, and responsibility (Denison & Neale, 1996). The behaviours of
managers are a motivating force, especially if the subordinates value them so highly. Effective organisations are rooted
on openness, trust, honesty, and collaboration (Brown, 2011). With participative leadership, managers have an important
task of providing subordinates with the experience of intrinsic motivation, feelings of self-worth, and a sense of self-
determination (Deci, Connell & Ryan, 1989). They also provides a feeling of ‘‘psychological ownership’’ among the
subordinates (Sashkin, 1976); increase subordinates’ self-efficacy, and reduces their sense of powerlessness (Arnold,
Arad, Rhoades & Drasgow, 2000). Involvement is therefore, heightened if there is a feeling of ownership among
subordinates in the sense of believing that they are truly accepted by the leaders as important human assets in the
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organisation. This concept of ownership therefore, extends to decision making involvement (Armstrong, 2009). Creating a
climate where subordinates are involved makes them to feel empowered and not threatened to communicate, and can
reduce resistance to cultural change. Attitudes of respect, understanding and communication produced by a participative
leader help to remove the cycle of reciprocal threat and aggressiveness (Brown, 2011). Allowing subordinates to
participate in the decision making process rather than being forced to support it, is a basic strategy for increasing the
acceptance of cultural change. People who help to develop a change culture have interest and ownership of it that may
develop motivation and understanding (Brown, 2011). Participative leadership also empowers the subordinates (Ahearne,
Mathieu & Rapp, 2005). This feeling of empowerment is a form of intrinsic motivation to be involved in cultural change
(Huang, Iun, Liu & Gong, 2010). The intrinsic motivation controls the link between participative leadership and
subordinates involvement in the organisation (Eby, Freeman, Rush & Lance, 1999). Directive leadership on the other side
stimulates subordinates thinking processes (Sagie & Koslowsky, 2000). The directiveness of these leaders helps in the
acquisition and diffusion of knowledge, which may also build the capacity of subordinates. These leaders attempt to
cultivate organizational culture as a strategy of controlling behaviour and building subordinates competences (Dull, 2010).
Other scholars however, argue that directive leadership is not associated with building human capacity, ownership, and
responsibility (Loki et al., 2005). It is a very slow and unpredictable method of building subordinates capacity, and
problems that are exacerbated by a directive culture (Dull, 2010).
6.2.2 Participative and directive leadership, and consistency
Consistency refers to defining the values and systems that are the foundation of a strong culture (Denison & Neale,
1996). Organisational culture is more effective if it is consistent in its components and shared among organisational
members, and it makes the organisation unique, thus discriminating it from other organisations (Furnham & Gunter,
1993). The performance of an organization is contingent on a conscious integration of subordinates’ values with the
espoused values of organisation strategy. Scholars argue that cultures that are consistent are positively associated with
organisational effectiveness (Ogbonna & Harris, 2000). Participative leaders motivate organisational members to develop
more effective organisational systems (Sagie et al., 2002). Strongly embraced values are achieved only if the culture of
an organisation is aligned towards the external environment. And this is caused by the extent to which a leader is
supportive of subordinates and includes them in decision-making processes (Ogbonna & Harris, 2000). Positive
associations between externally oriented cultures and performance suggests that organizational culture change efforts
should focus more on developing external focus than creating internal cohesion and consistency. Directive leaders
emphasis on integration, internal cohesiveness, and development of uniformity. They create the values of control, clear
delineations of responsibility and authority, and high degrees of systematisation and formality. Scholars therefore, argue
that such leaders change components of the organisation’s history, tradition and direction to help shape culture. They
also do so by focusing on values, ideas and norms characterising the organisation and use them to socialize and enforce
compliance from organisational members (Loki et al., 2005). Directive leaders also develop clear rules for conduct, and
this however, is linked to high performance levels (Katzenbach & Smith, 1993). As such, they stimulate organisational
members to develop effective organisation processes and systems (Sagie et al., 2002). Furthermore, directive leadership
strengthens the behaviours of adherence to standards of rules and procedures, which promotes job performance
(Somech, 2005).
6.2.3 Participative and directive leadership, and adaptability
Adaptability refers to translating the demands of the business environment into action (Denison & Neale, 1996). It is also
perceived as the ability to solve problems and react with flexibility to changing environmental demands (Brown, 2011). An
adaptive culture reflects a learning orientation that promotes inventiveness combined with the goal of better knowledge
(Charbonnier-Voirin, Akremi & Vandenberghe, 2010). Organizations with an adaptive culture are more ready to accept
cultural changes and development (Tsui et al., 2006). Organisations are changing speedily and subordinates’ ability to
acquire new skills and adapt to different contexts becomes a critical factor that helps organizations attain their objectives
(Charbonnier-Voirin et al., 2010). They need to have the flexibility and dynamism in their foundations (Finchum & Rhodes,
2005). Organisational culture therefore, helps organisations to adapt to the problems from the external environment and
to achieve an internal integration (Schein, 1985). For an organization to provide a source of sustainable competitive
advantage, the culture must be adaptable to external contingencies (Barney, 1991). Thus, managers need to adapt their
leadership style, values, and goals to fit the changing demands of the environment. Participative leadership is associated
with an adaptive culture as a predictor of organizational performance (Ogbonna & Harris, 2000). As such, participative
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leadership is positively associated with adaptive and therefore, competitive forms of organisational culture. This indicates
that the development of an organizational culture, which is externally oriented is critical. It is caused by leaders supportive
of subordinates, and that include them in decision-making processes (Ogbonna & Harris, 2000). Only through
participative leadership, can the organisation truly develop and nurture a culture that is adaptive to changes. It
encourages organisational members to find new opportunities and challenges, to develop through acquiring, sharing, and
combining ideas (Edmondson, 1999). It is also important when organisations are struggling to reinvent themselves to
respond to a growing demand for flexibility by organisational members (Scott-Ladd, Travaglione & Marshall, 2006).
Participative leadership, in times of organizational change and development, promotes higher levels of change
acceptance and effectiveness (Sagie & Koslowsky, 1996). Scholars argue that strongly embraced values are attained
only when the culture is external environment oriented. Thus, adaptive and therefore, competitive cultures which are
sensitive to external contingences have a strong and positive impact on organizational performance. Directive leadership
is negatively linked to adaptable culture and therefore, external contingencies. It produces internally oriented
organizational cultures that are comparatively ineffective. The negative links between directive culture and performance
suggest that bureaucratization hinders long-term growth, and may even affect the survival of the organization (Ogbonna
& Harris, 2000). Thus, managerial focus on internal integration and controls are ineffective and even damaging to the
organisation.
6.2.4 Participative and directive leadership, and mission
Mission refers to defining a meaningful long-term direction for the organization (Denison & Neale, 1996). Leaders have an
important role in managing shared values and vision (Loki et al., 2005). They have a significant influence in shaping and
sustaining the vision. A vision provides meaning (Brown, 2011). It also increases the visibility of organizational processes
and leads to innovative organisational contexts (Elenkov & Manev, 2005). Managers should develop a shared vision
because it provides direction and commitment. The visions should be compelling and involving all organisational
members in striving towards goals (Brown, 2011). They should also provide directions that subordinates are willing follow.
Thus, the leader should be strategic oriented (Brown, 2011). They should also communicate an image of the future and
motivate for a shared vision of the organisation. Organisational culture is the means through which leader’s vision is
revealed and helps creates a climate necessary for organizations to become innovative (James et al., 2007). Effective
leaders foster, support, and sustain organizational cultures that supports the type of cultural change envisioned
(Hennessey, 1998). To articulate the long-term goals in organisation, the style and spirit of leadership that is desirable,
and the value system used in making decisions must win the subordinates to the same general value system so that the
self-direction is achieved. Change is achieved when the leader implements a unique vision designed to change internal
organizational cultures (Kavanagh & Ashkanasy, 2006). Leaders are therefore, the orchestrator of the mission, and
shaping it into long-term commitment to a new strategic direction (Finchum & Rhodes, 2005) Participative leadership
increases the feeling of ownership of goals among subordinates, in the sense of believing that they are truly accepted by
their leaders as important human assets in the organisation (Armstrong, 2009). They also give autonomy to
organisational members and developing their abilities to achieve long-term organizational goals (James et al., 2007).
Thus, they communicate a vision and empower subordinates to achieve it (Yammarino, 1994). Participative leaders
manage shared values and vision (Loki et al., 2005). They have a significant influence in shaping and sustaining culture.
Consideration and motivation derived from a leader’s vision and values contributes to a culture that supports
organizational innovation (Elenkov & Manev, 2005). Directive leaders show a strong sense of inner purpose and
direction. And they inspire organisational members to take actions that support the leader’s vision (Yammarino, 1994).
They encourage organisational members to transcend to challenging goals and achieve high levels of performance
(Cropanzano, James and Citera, 1993; Sagie et al., 2002). They also monitor explicit goals and turn organisational
objectives into interim goals and serve as standard guide for organisational members (Sagie et al., 1996). Highly directive
leadership promotes goal attainment by providing feedback to organisational members (McDonough & Barczak, 1991).
Therefore, the evaluation and control of activities is closely associated with this style of leading. Its control allows leaders
to adjust organisational resources and goals when required (Rosenau & Moran, 1993).
6.2.5 Participative and directive leadership: additive effects on organisational culture
Scholars have regarded participative and directive leadership styles as different styles at the opposite ends of a single
continuum. As a consequence, they regarded them as mutually exclusive (Lewis, Welsh, Dehler & Green, 2002; Sagie et
al., 2002). Investigating these two leadership styles simultaneously is a response to a call by scholars and practitioners to
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change from a traditional, schismogenic, either or perspective to a both/and perspective. This makes it easy to perceive
leadership behaviour in genuinely modern and different ways (Quinn, 1988). Moreover, leaders are able to go back and
forth between the opposite styles of leader behaviour (Lewis et al., 2002). The loose-tight approach combines both
participative and directive leadership. Thus, allowing subordinates flexibility and supporting innovation, and providing a
direction of purpose, and committing the organization to important values that should be followed constantly (Peters &
Waterman, 1982). Other scholars see a leader as someone who uses either loose or tight leadership practice according
to the prevailing organisational contexts (Fiedler, 1967; House, 1971; Likert, 1961). Participative and directive leadership
often complement each other (Sagie, 1997). This is also supported by the loose–tight leadership model which implies a
combination of directive practice and subordinates decision power (Peters & Waterman 1982). The integration of
participative and directive practices does not absolutely produce a coherent, static leadership style. However, it produces
a dynamic style in which either participative or directive leadership becomes more powerful depending on the prevailing
environmental contingences (Sagie, 1997). Each leadership style promotes motivational process, which also supports
organisational performance and innovation (Sagie et al., 2002; Somech, 2005). Participative and directive leadership are
compatible to each other (Kuhnert, 1994). As such, transformational leaders use both practices (Sagie, Elizur &
Koslowsky, 1995).
7. Materials and Methods
7.1 Research Methods
Research design is a strategy employed by the researcher to solve the main research problem (Leedy & Ormrod, 2002).
It describes the overall structure of the procedures that the researcher uses, the data that the researcher gathers and the
data analysis that the researcher conducts. Thus, it is simply a plan for the research. The present study employed a
quantitative research method because it strongly makes use of empirical analysis to make conclusions. It enables the
researcher to validate the relationships between the variables and to test hypotheses (Hair, Wolfinbarger, Ortinau &
Bush, 2008). Furthermore, variables are managed statistical to produce a representative data of the total population
(Kanengoni & Murugan, 2012).
7.2 Research technique
The present study employed a semi-structured questionnaire. To design the questionnaire, a strong attention was given
to the gaps in literature which required to be filled with new knowledge (Kanengoni & Murugan, 2012). The present study
therefore, integrated open-ended and closed-ended questions. The semi-structured questionnaire was the main source of
obtaining primary data. The responses were on a five-point and bi-polar (six-point) scales. The questionnaire was divided
into four parts. The first part tapped information on the demographic variables of gender, age, education level and tenure.
The second part tapped information on participative leadership behaviour; and the third part tapped information on
directive leadership behaviour. Lastly, but not least, the fourth part dealt with information on organisational culture.
7.3 Target population
In research, population refers to identifiable pool of cases that the researcher wants to study (Neuman, 1997). It
therefore, identifies a set of interest to the researcher, and is pertinent to the information problem (Hair et al., 2008).
Moreover, it entails the specification of the survey group which have been studied. In the present study, the population
constituted of (N= 676) employees in the administrative departments at Fort Hare University, in the Eastern Cape
Province. The departments that were used included the Human resources department, Finance department, Registrar
department, Student administration departments, Communications and marketing department, Examinations department,
Payroll department, Library department, Information technology department, Accommodation department, Maintenance
department, and Institutional support department.
7.4 Sampling procedure
Sampling procedure refers to the strategy which was employed to draw the sample as well as the way in which the
sampling units will be selected. The present study used a non-probability sampling method to select respondents from the
population. As such, a convenience sampling method was used. It is simply defined as the process where a researcher
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uses any member of the population that is available during the research process without considering their criteria
(Welman, Kruger & Mitchell, 2005). It involved selecting haphazardly those departmental members that were easiest to
get for the sample. The sample selection process continued until the required sample size was obtained.
7.4.1 Sample size
The sample size used in the present study was calculated using Raosoft Sample Size Calculator. Raosoft sample size
calculator is web based software used to calculate the sample size when the population is given. It computes the critical
value for the normal distribution (Raosoft Inc, 2004). The sample size n and margin of error E are given by the following
formula:
ൌ
ଵ଴଴ቁ ʹሺͳͲͲ െ ሻ ൌ Ȁ൫െͳ
ʹ ൅ ൯ ൌ ሾ୒ି୬
୒ିଵ
Where N is the population size, r is the fraction of responses that one is interested in, and Z(c/100) is the critical
value for the confidence level c. Using a population size of 676, 5% margin of error, 95% confidence level and an
expected response distribution of 50%, the recommended minimum sample size is (n= 246). The margin of error is the
amount of error that can be tolerated. However, the researcher distributed 286 questionnaires to the respondents and
246 questionnaires were fully completed. This therefore, means that the rate of those who responded was 66.7%
7.4.2 Characteristics of the sample
A total of 246 administrative departments’ employees participated in the present study. Among them, 59.1 percent were
females and 40.5 percent were males. With regards to age, 33.3 percent were between the age groups (20–29); 26.8
percent were between the age groups (30–39); 22.0 were between the age groups (40 – 49); 15.9 percent were between
the age groups (50–59) and 2.0 percent were between the age groups 60 and above. Also, with regards to education
levels, 6.6 percent had a matric qualification (high school); 13.0 percent had a certificate; 15.4 percent had a diploma; 36.
2 percent had a degree; and 28.5 had a post graduate degree. Lastly but not least, in terms of tenure, 66.7 percent had
between (1-5) years of tenure; 14.6 percent had between (6–10) years of tenure; 6.5 percent had between (11–15) years
of tenure; 6.5 percent again, had between (16– 20) years of tenure; and 5.7 percent, had between (21–25) years of
tenure.
7.5 Instruments
Participative leadership. To assess the extent at which a leader displayed participative leadership behaviour, a scale
adapted from Arnold et al. (2000) was employed. Participative leadership questionnaire included six items that measures
the extent of involvement in various decisions. The sample items are, “my supervisor encourages team members to
express their ideas or suggestions,” and “my supervisor uses our team member's suggestions to make decisions that
affect us”. The reliability level of alpha was .877. The respondents used a 5-point Likert-type scale ranging from strongly
disagree (1) to strongly agree (5).
Directive leadership. To assess the extent at which a leader displayed directive leadership behaviour, a scale
adapted from Litwin and Stringer (1968) was employed. Directive leadership questionnaire included seven items that
measures the extent at which a leader provides the subordinates with a framework for decision making and action that is
in favour with a leader’s vision. The sample items are,my supervisor expects team members to follow his/her
instructions precisely,” “my supervisor makes most decisions for team members”, and “my supervisor supervises team
members very closely”. The reliability level of alpha was .809. The respondents used a bi-polar (six-point) scales, with
two opposing responses on both ends ranging from extremely disagree (1) to extremely agree (6).
Organisational culture. To measure the extent to which organisational culture helps organizations identify their
strengths and weaknesses, the researcher employed The Denison Organizational Culture Survey (Denison & Neale,
1996). The survey measure subordinates perceptions on 60 items that produces scores on 12 cultural attributes. This
instrument also provides scores on four characteristics (involvement, consistency, adaptability and mission) of
organizational culture called “culture traits” (Denison, 1984). These cultural traits were used in this present study. Sample
items are, “managers define the values and systems that are the basis of a strong culture” and “manages define a
meaningful long-term direction for the organization”. The reliability level of alpha was .902. The respondents used a 5-
point Likert-type scale ranging from strongly disagree (1) to strongly agree (5).
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7.6 Data analysis procedure
In analysing data, accumulated data was reduced to a manageable size, developing summaries, looking for patterns and
applying statistical techniques, by initially using descriptive statistical analysis. Descriptive analysis provided a very useful
initial examination of data and a means of presenting data in a simple and easily understood manner with tables, using
the most fundamental techniques and the construction of frequency distributions. The data were coded in a spreadsheet
(Microsoft Excel) to make it possible to collate and analyse the data using computer programmes. The process involved
checking of questionnaires for omissions, legibility and consistency in classification as well as discarding of
questionnaires with missing data. The Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) was employed to test alpha
reliability coefficients of the research scales and to compile descriptive statistics in the form of Pearson’s correlations and
multiple regression when hypotheses were tested.
8. Results
The research findings were analysed paying particular attention to the research objectives, hypothesis and the research
questionnaire. Tables were used in this analysis. Descriptive statistics such as the mean and standard deviations were
used to aid the analysis of data because they are an effective way of depicting relations and trends. This section shows
the analysis and interpretation of data obtained from the respondents through the questionnaire and the explanation of
their relation to the research hypotheses. Statistical correlation and multiple regression were used in testing the research
hypotheses of which the impacts of participative and directive leadership on organisational culture among the Fort Hare
University’s administration department’s employees were put under test. Organisational culture was measured using four
cultural facets of involvement, consistency, adaptability and mission.
8.1 H1: Participative leadership has a positive impact on organisational culture
8.2 H2: Directive leadership has a positive impact on organisational culture
The statistical method which was used to test these hypotheses is the Pearson correlation method. It is a method which
tests the level of correlation between an independent variable and dependent variable in order to come out with a more
objective conclusion from the results. This method was employed to see if participative and directive leadership have an
impact on organisational culture among the Fort Hare University’s administration department’s employees. The reason
was to test if participative and directive leadership leads to a strong or weak organisational culture for performance. The
results which were obtained are shown below in table 1 below.
Table 1: Descriptive statistics and correlation matrix of study variables (individual level) (N = 246)
Table 1 above shows the descriptive statistics and correlations of the study’s variables. With descriptive statistics for the
variables, participative leadership had a mean value of (23.1138) and a standard deviation value of (4.79916); directive
leadership had a mean value of (30.2927) and a standard deviation of (5.39498); involvement had a mean value of
(4.053) and a standard deviation of (.9863); consistency had a mean value of (3.6382) and standard deviation of (.96214)
and adaptability had a mean value of (3.9715) and a standard deviation of (.93634). Furthermore, mission had a mean
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value of (4.0163) and a standard deviation of (1.03003). With the correlations of the variables, the present study found
that participative leadership is positively and significantly related to all the organisational culture facets; involvement (r=
.862; p .000), consistency (r= .843; p .000), adaptability (r= .772; p .000) and mission (r= .905; p .000). This
therefore, means hypothesis one was accepted at 0.05 level. Furthermore, the present study found that directive
leadership is positively and significantly related to most of the organisational culture facets except for adaptability. As
such, involvement had (r= .230; p .000); consistency had (r= .163; p .009); mission had (r= .169; p .003); and
adaptability had (r= .002; p .979). This therefore, also means that hypothesis two was confirmed at 0.05 level with the
exception of adaptability. There are positive and significant interrelationships among all the organisational culture
variables. However, this was not the focus of the present study.
8.3 H3: Participative and directive leadership have additive effect on organisational culture
Multiple regression analysis method was employed to test hypothesis three; specifically, to test the relationship between
two variables on one side and one variable on the other side. This test was used to see if participative and directive
leadership have additive or complimentary effect on organisational culture facets. Moreover, the reason was to test if the
two leadership styles combined influence the organisation’ culture more than if these variables were used individually
(Sagie, 1997). The results that were found are shown in table 2 below.
Table 2: Multiple regression between Participative and Directive leadership, on the one hand and Involvement,
Consistency, Adaptability, Mission and Total Organisational Culture on the other (N = 246)
Variables Multiple R R2AR
2Standard Erro
r
FSignFBetat Sig t
Involvement (dep-) 0.869 .755 .753 .4901 374.615 .000b
Participative (indep-) .846 26.400 .000
Directive (indep-) .111 3.447 .001
Consistency (dep-) 0.844 .712 .710 .51831 300.611 .000b
Participative (indep-) .836 24.046 .000
Directive (indep-) .049 1.398 .163
A
daptability (dep-) 0.779 .607 .604 .58921 187.864 .000b
Participative (indep-) .787 19.384 .000
Directive (indep-) -.108 -2.663 .008
Mission (dep-) 0.908 .824 .822 .43434 567.442 .000b
Participative (indep-) .897 32.958 .000
Directive (indep-) .063 2.310 .022
T.Org. Culture (dep-) 0.964 .928 .928 .92538 1575.046 .000b
Participative (indep-) .958 55.260 .000
Directive (indep-) .035 2.013 .045
The results of table 2 above showed that the multiple correlation values are 0.869, 0.844, 0.779, 0.908 and 0.964 with the
R-squared values being 0.755, 0.712, 0.607, 0.824 and 0.928 respectively. These therefore, show that 75.5, 71.2, 60.7,
82.4 and 92.8 percent of the variances on involvement, consistency, adaptability, mission, and total organisational culture
respectively can be attributed to the independent variables (participative and directive leadership) entered into the
regression equation. The F-statistics of 374.615, 300.611, 187.864, 567.442 and 1575.046 respectively are significant at
the 0.000b level showing that these are highly significant relationships. They also show Beta weights of (ȕ = 0.846; p <
0.000, ȕ = 0.836; p < 0.000, ȕ = 0.787; p < 0.000, ȕ = 0.897; p < 0.000, and ȕ = 0.958; p < 0.000) for the relationships
between participative leadership and all the variables respectively. This means that participative leadership accounts for
84.6, 83.6, 78.7, 89.7, and 95.8 percent of the variances on all the variables respectively. And these are highly significant
proportions of variances. The same results also show a Beta weight of (ȕ = 0.111; p < 0.001, ȕ = 0.049; p < 0.163, ȕ = 0.-
108; p < 0.008, ȕ = 0.063; p < 0.022, and ȕ = 0.035; p < 0.045) for the relationship between directive leadership and all
the variables respectively. These mean that directive leadership accounts for 11.1, 04.9, -10.8, 06.3, and 03.5 percent of
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the variances on all the variables respectively. And these are not significant proportions of variances. While participative
leadership accounts for higher amounts of variances on all the variables respectively than directive leadership, both
variables account for highly significant proportions of variances. The results, moreover, show that R-squares are (R2 =
0.755, R2 = 0.755, R2 = 0.712, R2 = 0.607, R2 = 0.824, and R2 = 0.928). These mean that the two independent variable of
participative and directive leadership together account for 75.5, 71.2, 60.7, 82.4 and 92.8 percent of the variances on all
the variables respectively. These findings are not in support of hypothesis three, that 0.755, 0.712, 0.607, 0.824 and
0.928 are not higher than the Beta weights for participative leadership (ȕ = 0.846, ȕ = 0.836, ȕ = 0.787, ȕ = 0.897, and ȕ
= 0.958) but are higher than those for directive leadership (ȕ = 0.111, ȕ = 0.049, ȕ = 0.-108, ȕ = 0.063, and ȕ = 0.035).
The two independent variables therefore, have no complimentary effects that result in them accounting for a lesser
amount of variances on all the variables respectively than participative leadership working individually. The results
therefore, denote the rejection of the hypothesis three, i.e. there are no complimentary effects between participative and
directive leadership whereby the two variables when combined account for lesser proportions of variances on all the
variables respectively than participative leadership alone.
9. Discussion
The purpose of the present study was to assess the impact of participative and directive leadership on organisational
culture among administrative departments’ employees. The most important consideration is that the study took an
organisational development perspective because organisational culture is a critical factor in organisational development
(Armstrong, 2009). As such, it shapes the manner in which groups and individuals are integrated to achieve
organisational goals (Eldridge & Crombie, 1974); and it helps organisations to adapt to the problems from the external
environment and to achieve an internal integration (Schein, 1985). For these reasons, organizational culture is viewed
globally as a source of sustained competitive advantage in organisations (Miron, Erez, & Naheh, 2004). Furthermore,
participative and directive leadership styles are the sources of high levels of outcomes in organisations (Kahai et al.,
1997).
The present study found that participative leadership has a positive and significant impact on all the facets of
organisational culture as they are identified by Denison and Neale (1996). Thus, regarding involvement, the present study
found a positive and significant relationship. Managers at Fort Hare University provide subordinates with the experience
of intrinsic motivation, feelings of self-worth, and a sense of self-determination (Deci, Connell & Ryan, 1989). They also
provide a feeling of ‘‘psychological ownership’’ in subordinates (Sashkin, 1976); increases their feelings of self-efficacy,
and reduces their sense of powerlessness (Arnold et al., 2000). As such, a culture of involvement increases if there is a
feeling of ownership among subordinates in the sense of believing that they are truly accepted by the leaders as
important stakeholders in the organisation. Fort Hare managers also promote knowledge sharing, and thus, the
development of subordinates’ capacity (Cannon-Bowers et al., 1995). They also provide subordinates with knowledge
and ability to get knowledge. Thus, people feel empowered to get knowledge and engage in open communication
patterns. These knowledge sharing meetings are unlimited to subordinates levels, making information available at every
level and that increases subordinate’s motivation and promote decision making. This also helps subordinates to identify
with organisational goals (Brown, 2011). With regards to consistency, the present study also found a positive and
significant relationship with participative leadership. Fort Hare managers motivate subordinates to develop more effective
organisational systems (Kahai et al., 1997; Sagie et al., 2002). Strongly embraced values are attained only if the culture
of the organisation is external environment oriented. This is created by a leader who is supportive of subordinates and
includes them in decision-making processes (Ogbonna & Harris, 2000).
The present study also found a positive and significant relationship between participative leadership and
adaptability. Fort Hare managers produce an adaptive culture which is also a predictor of organizational performance
(Ogbonna & Harris, 2000). As such, an adaptive culture is a competitive form of organisational culture. These managers
develop an organizational culture which is externally oriented (Ogbonna & Harris, 2000). Only participative managers can
truly develop and sustain a culture that is adaptive to change. They encourage organisational members to find new
opportunities and challenges, to learn from acquiring, sharing, and combining ideas (Edmondson, 1999). Furthermore,
these managers are important when organisations are struggling to reinvent themselves to respond to a growing demand
for flexibility by organisational members (Scott-Ladd, Travaglione & Marshall, 2006). With regards to mission, the present
study also found a positive and significant relationship with participative leadership. Participative managers at Fort Hare
University increase a feeling of ownership of goals among subordinates in the sense of believing that they are truly
accepted by managers (Armstrong, 2009). They also give autonomy to organisational members and develop their abilities
to achieve long-term goals (James et al., 2007). They also communicate a vision and empower them (Yammarino, 1994).
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Consideration and motivation derived from such a leader’s vision and values contribute to a culture that supports
organizational innovation (Elenkov & Manev, 2005).
The present study also found that directive leadership has a positive and significant impact on most of the facets of
organisational culture with the exception of adaptability. Thus, regarding involvement, the present study found a positive
and significant relationship. Fort Hare managers stimulate subordinates thinking processes (Sagie & Koslowsky, 2000).
The directiveness of these leaders helps in the acquisition and diffusion of knowledge, which also builds the capacity of
subordinates. They cultivate organizational culture as a means of controlling behaviour and building the competences of
subordinates (Dull, 2010). The present study also found a positive and significant relationship between directive
leadership and consistency. As such, directive managers promote integration, internal cohesiveness, and the
development of uniformity. They create the values of control, clear delineations of responsibility and authority, and high
degrees of systematisation. Such leaders change the components of the organisation’s history, tradition and direction to
help develop the culture. They do so by focusing on values, ideas and norms that makes up the organisation and which
are used to socialize and enforce compliance from organisational members (Loki et al., 2005). Furthermore, they solidify
the behaviours of adherence to rules and procedure, which promotes job performance (Somech, 2005). With regards to
the mission, the present study also found a significant relationship with directive leadership. Directive managers provide a
strong sense of inner purpose and direction. They motivate organisational members to take actions that support the
leader’s vision. They also encourage organisational members to transcend to challenging goals and achieve high levels
of performance (Cropanzano, James & Citera, 1993; Sagie et al., 2002). They also monitor explicit goals, which turn
organisational objectives into interim goals, and are used as a standard guide for organisational members (Sagie, 1996;
Sagie et al., 2002). As such, they promote goal achievement by serving as a source of feedback for subordinates
(McDonough & Barczak, 1991). Their control allows them to adapt organisational resources and goals when required
(Rosenau & Moran, 1993). With regards to adaptability, the present study however, found a negative and insignificant
relationship with directive leadership. Directive managers produce an internally oriented organizational culture that is
ineffective. The managerial focus on internal maintenance is ineffective and even damaging. They produce bureaucratic
cultures. Thus, the negative association between bureaucratic cultures and performance suggest that bureaucratization
hinders long-term growth and they even affect negatively the survival of the organization (Ogbonna & Harris, 2000).
Furthermore, the present study found that participative and directive leadership have no additive or complimentary
impact on all the facets of organisational culture. As such, with regards to involvement, consistency, adaptability, mission
and total organisational culture, the present study found that participative and directive leadership have no additive or
complimentary impact. Only participative leadership has a strong impact on all the organisational culture facets.
Managers however, could use either participative or directive leadership style according to the prevailing organisational
circumstances (Fiedler, 1967; House, 1971; Likert, 1961). The effectiveness of managers’ style and intervention
strategies is a factor of the circumstances (Tosti & Slocum, 1984) As such, the environment at Fort Hare University
favours more participative leadership because operational decisions are important (Sagie, Elizur & Koslowsky, 1995).
The integration of participative and directive leadership practice does not necessarily produce a coherent leader’s style.
However, it produces a dynamic style in which either participative or directive leadership becomes more potent
depending on the prevailing organisational circumstances (Sagie, 1997). The loose-tight model also suggests that
participative leadership promotes adaptability and directive leadership promotes a control of outcomes. This approach
suggests that the adaptation orientation competes with efficiency. As such, outcome orientation supporting control
competes with innovation. The approach therefore, suggests that adaptation- and outcome-oriented cultures are at the
expense of each other (Sutcliffe, Sitkin & Browning, 1999). However, scholars argue that participative and directive
leadership together provides a synergistic system strategy, in which both cultural orientations are mutually reinforcing
each other. It is appropriate for organizations to provide rules, routines, and standards, and at the same time, supports
the development of innovative knowledge (Wanga, Begley, Hui & Lee, 2012). When the organizational strategy is
articulated, leaders are more directive and when operational decisions are important they employ a more participative
leadership practice (Sagie et al., 1995). This therefore, suggests that these two leadership styles complement each other.
10. Managerial Implications
In general, the present study demonstrates the value of participative and directive leadership in enhancing organisational
culture and hence, in organisational development (Armstrong, 2009). It helps organisations to shape the manner in which
their groups and individuals are integrated to achieve organisational goals (Eldridge & Crombie, 1974). As such, it helps
organisations to adapt to the problems from the external environment and to achieve an internal integration (Schein,
1985). Organizational culture is a source of sustained competitive advantage for organisations (Miron, Erez & Naheh,
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2004). The present study found that participative leadership has a positive and significant impact on involvement,
consistency, adaptability, and mission. This means that participative leadership has a positive and significant impact on
organisational culture. Leaders by endangering collaborative, harmonious and trusting environments, they lead to positive
subordinates attitudes. Thus, participative leaders produce an organisational culture which leads to organizational
performance (Ogbonna & Harris, 2000). The present study therefore, recommends that managers should use a
participative leadership style to be adaptive, yet highly consistent and to promote high involvement, but all that should be
within the context of a shared sense of mission. A manager can maintain a balance between the needs of various
members of the organisation as well as total system goals and objectives. This is a trend toward flatter and more adaptive
organisation. The present study also found that directive leadership has a positive and significant impact on involvement,
consistency and mission. Thus, it has a positive impact on organisational culture. The present study therefore, also
recommends for the use of a directive leadership style to achieve consistency, and to promote involvement, and to do so
within the context of a shared sense of mission. However, directive leadership provides less of these facets of
organisational culture as compared to participative leadership. This therefore, implies that participative leadership is the
best leadership style for cultural change and development to manage the way in which groups and individuals are
integrated to achieve organisational goals (Eldridge & Crombie, 1974). It helps organisations to adapt to the problems
from the external environment and to achieve an internal integration (Schein, 1985). Furthermore, the present study also
found that participative and directive leadership together have no additive or complimentary impact on all the facets of
organisational culture. Only participative leadership has stronger impact on all the facets than when it is combined with
directive leadership. The integration of these leadership practices does not necessarily produce a coherent leader’s style.
But, it produces a dynamic one in which participative leadership becomes more potent depending on the prevailing
organisational circumstances (Sagie, 1997). The present study therefore, recommends that participative and directive
leadership should not be used together by managers to change and adapt the cultures of their organisations. This also
reinforces the above mentioned recommendation, that participative leadership is the best style when implementing
organisational development strategies. This recommendation is further supported by scholars who found that participative
leadership has overwhelming benefits in organizational development (Bryk, Easton, Kerbow, Rollow & Sebring, 1993). As
a consequence, managers should be trained to use a participative leadership style in their organisations. However, in
other contingencies, they may also use a directive leadership style because it was also found to have certain advantages.
11. Limitations and Future Research Direction
The variable organisational culture has different meanings to different scholars (Schein, 1985; Williams, Dobson &
Walters, 1989; Denison & Neale, 1996). It is therefore, difficult to define. A number of organizational culture theorists
have given a number of instruments for measuring organizational culture (Xenikou & Furnham, 1996). A critical analysis
of these instruments indicates how the developer understands the concept of organizational culture. Other scholars
viewed it in terms of innovation, competiveness, bureaucracy and community and performance, commitment, quality,
customer service, teamwork and organisational learning. As such, organisational culture is multi-dimensional, with many
different components. It takes time to establish and therefore, time to change culture. It is also dangerous to
conceptualise culture as something that everyone in the globe would be able observes in the same way. It is also not
possible to argue that one organisational culture is better than another, only that a culture is appropriate in the sense of
being relevant to the needs and circumstances of a specific organisation and is helping rather than impeding
performance. The functionalist perspective of organisational culture was only used, which claim that leaders create a
culture change. The anthropological perspective questions the ability of leaders to create an organisational culture
because they are part of this culture. Organizational culture and leadership are intertwined (Schein, 1992). Thus, the
relationship between the two variables shows a continuous interrelationship in which the leader shapes the culture, and is
in turn, shaped by the resulting organisational culture. The present study therefore, only employed a functionalist
perspective. This study did not link the relationship of these variables directly with performance. It was only giving a
general association with performance. Future studies therefore, should integrate both perspectives. It also only used
participative and directive leadership and future studies should compare the impact of other leadership styles on
organisational culture.
12. Conclusion
The development of organizational culture is possible. The findings of the present study leads to the suggestion that a
potential intervention to the challenges associated with changing organizational culture may involve focusing on a
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leadership style. Embedded cultures exert a considerable influence on organisational behaviour and therefore, on
organisational performance. There is an appropriate and effective culture, and it is desirable to take steps to develop and
reinforce it. The present study found that the organisational culture of involvement, consistency, adaptability and mission
is very critical for a sustained competitive organisation. It therefore, suggests that participative and directive leadership
styles are effective in adapting organisations environments to achieve and sustain these desired cultural values.
However, participative leadership was found to be the best style to effect these cultural changes (Bryk et al., 1993).
13. Acknowledgement
This research was funded by the Govan Mbeki Research and Development Centre (University of Fort Hare, South
Africa).
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