A comparative study of leadership style fostering commitment to product quality in the manufacturing industry
This study was commissioned to examine the applied leadership styles that foster organisational commitment and product quality commitment levels of two groups of employees working at two different business units of same private sector steel manufacturing company in Gauteng. The samples included 226 production employees from business unit ‘A’ and 190 production employees from population ‘B’. The combined sample of 416 included 83 managers and 333 low level employees. Leadership style data was collected through the Multi-Factor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ) from the managers and Organisational and Product Quality data was gathered through the Employee Questionnaire (EQ). The MLQ measured nine constructs of the Full Range Leadership Theory while the EQ measured four constructs of identification, affiliation, exchange and product quality commitment levels among lower level employees. A total of 416 questionnaires were distributed and 274 were received. The data was analysed statistically to define the leadership styles, the levels of organisational and product quality commitment and come up with correlations. It was found that transformational and transactional leadership styles were predominant at both business units. Laissez-faire style was also being used at business unit ‘A’. The leadership styles were found to be below the ideal levels for effective leadership. Leaders were perceived to be active managers and not leaders. The organisational and product quality commitment levels among employees were found to be marginal at both units. The top leadership styles and commitment levels trended the same and scored closely for both business units with small variations. The results were comparable. Positive correlations were found between identification commitment (0.305 for ‘A’ and 0.481 for ‘B’) and product quality commitment among employees. It was concluded from the correlations that the higher the levels of organisational commitment, the higher the levels of product quality commitment among employees. By statistical averages, it was concluded that higher levels of transformational leadership fosters higher levels of identification commitment and product quality commitment among employees. Demographics affected the way the respondents answered the questions. A leadership model complete with recommendations was proposed with the intention of increasing leadership effectiveness in order to positively impact and foster product quality commitment among employees.