Validation and application of the Toxic Leadership scale in the South African manufacturing industry
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The occurrence of toxic leadership has been increasing in organisations and has a detrimental impact on both the organisations and the employees who work there. Thus, there is a need to understand the impact of toxic leadership on job outcomes. The present study set out to explore the phenomenon of toxic leadership within the South African context, from the assumption that such a leadership style will also be present in the South African organisations. However, due to scant existing knowledge of the topic it is necessary to create an awareness about this leadership style and the potential practical impact for employees and organisations alike. Due to the lack of current research on the topic it is important to assess this leadership style and the related relationships. The general objective of this study was first to evaluate the psychometric properties of the Toxic Leadership Scale for use in the South African context and secondly to assess the relationship between toxic leadership, job satisfaction, organisational commitment, turnover intention and organisational culture. A cross-sectional design was used for the research. Sampling was done using a combination of non-probability purposive and convenient sampling (N = 600) amongst employees from various organisations in the manufacturing industry in South Africa. Data were analysed through descriptive statistics (i.e. means, standard deviations, skewness, and kurtosis). Exploratory factor analysis and confirmatory factor analysis were both used to determine and evaluate the validity and construct equivalence of the Toxic Leadership Scale (TLS). Reliability of the constructs was established by calculating Cronbach’s alpha coefficients. Relationships were determined through Pearson’s product-moment correlations. Item bias was determined using Winstep. Differences between groups were determined by applying ANOVAs and t-tests. Multiple regression analysis determined whether toxic leadership dimensions predict certain outcomes. Structural equation modelling was used to test organisational culture as mediator between toxic leadership and job outcomes. The results provided evidence that the Toxic Leadership Scale was a five-factor construct and valid for use in the manufacturing industry. In addition, the results revealed statistically significant relationships. The findings showed clearly that toxic leadership predicts job satisfaction, affective commitment and turnover intention. Furthermore, a mediation analysis returned both direct and indirect effects for the relationships tested, which indicated only partial mediation in all of the relationships. Finally, recommendations were made for organisations and future research on toxic leadership within an organisation.