The relationship between leadership style and locus of control
Grobler, Johannes Hendrik
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Due to the fact that the environment in which companies in 'South Africa are operating is constantly changing, these companies are undergoing a process of transformation. Organisations that intend competing successfully within this changing environment will have to have the right kind of leaders in order to stay afloat and even flourish. It is expected from companies' leaders at all levels to successfully navigate these troubled waters. Much of leadership has to do with the way in which leaders motivate their subordinates. Research has shown that there are succinctly different styles of leadership, and that each type of style has a different influence on the motivation of workers. Another factor, equally important, is the concept of locus of control. Research has also shown that people perceive differently, that which controls their destiny. Does the leader feel that he/she is controlled by this constantly changing environment in which he/she has to lead, or is he/she as the leader of an organisation in control of him-herself and his/her actions, and therefore also in control of the company itself? The question that inevitably arises is the following: is there any relationship between the style of leadership and the locus of control of the leader, and if so, what is the nature of this relationship? A quantitative design (two test survey design on a large population) was used to take the measurements on the style of leadership and the locus of control of the leaders. The Locus of Control Inventory (LCI) of Schepers (1998) and the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ), form 5R of Bass and Avolio (1995), were administered. A statistical analysis was then carried out in order to determine the relationship that exists between the two measurements, as well as the nature of the relationship. There were 221 respondents from organisations in South Africa, most of whom were in a middle level of leadership. The results showed that an internal locus of control and a disposition towards autonomy were associated with a laissez-faire leadership style as well as a transformational leadership style. It also showed that an external locus of control was associated with a laissez-faire leadership style. Recommendations for organisations and for future research were made.
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