How leadership styles and follower characteristics predict follower work outcomes in Libyan organisations

Amgheib, Ali Idris Ali (2016) How leadership styles and follower characteristics predict follower work outcomes in Libyan organisations. (DBA thesis), Kingston University, .


There is a deficit in the literature of research evaluating the impact of contemporary theories of leadership and followership on follower work outcomes in developing countries in the Middle East (Metcalfe & Murfin, 2011). This research examines the relationships between the three variables pertaining to follower work outcomes (job satisfaction, organisational commitment, and work engagement) and the full range of leadership styles (transformational, transactional, and laissez-faire) (Avolio & Bass, 1995), and associated followership performance and relationship characteristics (Potter III & Rosenbach, 2006) in Libya. It explores to what extent the full range of leadership styles predicts follower work outcomes; to what degree follower characteristics predict follower work outcomes; and to what extent follower relationship and performance characteristics moderate the relationship between each of the transformational and transactional leadership styles and follower work outcomes. A deductive approach is employed, using a questionnaire to collect data from 667 participants, from 141 work groups, from across 24 Libyan public sector organisations (LPSOs). The data was analysed using multi-level modelling analysis to investigate the relationships between dependent and independent variables; moderation analysis was then used to examine the impact of followership on leadership performance. The findings inform the literature in various ways. Primarily, these suggest that transformational leadership induces positive levels of job satisfaction, organisational commitment and work engagement among LPSOs employees. This is consistent with existing literature (Griffith, 2004; Judge & Piccolo, 2004; Emery & Barker, 2007; Akeel & Subramaniam; 2013). The findings support ongoing, cross-cultural leadership research (House et al., 2014) that advocates a universal positive performance of transformational leadership across nations. The findings suggest that transactional leadership is linked with positive job satisfaction and work engagement, which supports current research (Breevaart et al., 2014). Laissez-faire leaders do not seem to influence their followers’ work outcomes, which concurs with Bass (1997). The study also suggests that followers with high levels of performance characteristics demonstrate positive attitudes of job satisfaction and work engagement, while those who have strong relationship characteristics are associated with positive levels of work engagement. This is in line with the emerging literature on followership (Potter III & Rosenbach, 2006; Judge et al., 1998; Kelley, 1988) that suggests positive links between followers’ characteristics and work outcomes. It also suggests that followers’ relationship characteristics alongside transformational leadership predict follower organisational commitment, expanding the research in this field (Zhu et al., 2009). These results might serve as a basis for future cross-cultural studies to compare LPSOs’ leaders’ and followers’ effectiveness with those in similar regional or international organisations. The study also has several practical recommendations. Firstly, it suggests that organisations should invest in leadership development to improve employee work outcomes and that organisations such as LPSOs, should capitalise on the existing strength of their transactional managers in order to build a wider base of transformational leaders, enhancing organisational effectiveness. Secondly, organisations should recruit managers with the suitable leadership style for projects with certain desired follower work outcomes. Managers should adopt an appropriate leadership style to achieve the desired follower work outcomes and organisations would benefit from investing in followership development to enhance these work outcomes. Specifically, followers should be educated on how their characteristics might affect not only their own performance, but also that of their leader. Finally, organisations should recruit employees who exhibit positive characteristics that enable them to be more engaged in their work when this behaviour is desired for achieving the job task.

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