Original Research

The relationship between leadership styles, innovation and organisational performance: A systematic review

Tebogo Gilbert Sethibe, Renier Steyn
South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences | Vol 18, No 3 | a1193 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajems.v18i3.1193 | © 2015 Tebogo Gilbert Sethibe, Renier Steyn | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 15 August 2014 | Published: 25 August 2015

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Tebogo Gilbert Sethibe, University of South Africa, South Africa
Renier Steyn, University of South Africa, South Africa

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Abstract

This paper is an attempt to consolidate the published scientific knowledge about the impact of leadership styles on the relationship between innovation and organisational performance. Concepts, statements and conceptual frameworks were used as structure to analyse the body of scientific knowledge. After consulting 31 major research databases using the systematic literature review methodology, only seven journals articles that examined the link between leadership, innovation and organisational performance were identified. The synthesis of the journal articles revealed (a) that consensus exists among researchers as far as the relevant concepts are concerned; (b) that most agree on the definition of leadership and innovation but that a uniform understanding of what constitutes organisational performance is lacking; and (c) that conceptual models are too simplistic and do not consider mediator variables or multiple financial criteria measures. The findings further reveal that innovation is significantly and positively related to superior organisational performance, and that, although transformational leadership style is significantly and positively related to innovation, transactional leadership style is more appropriate when the aim is to instil a culture of innovation. Transformational leadership style, by contrast, is mostly associated with organisational performance. In addition, the findings further reveal that none of the studies investigate the mediating effect of the nature of innovation (incremental and radical) on the relationship between leadership and organisational performance, and that none of the studies use the objective measures of financial performance such as ROA, ROE, price/earnings (P/E) and Tobin’s Q calculated from annual financial reports. 

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