Determinants of Democratic Leadership Style and Employee Performance in Selected Fast Food Companies in Akoko South West Local Government Area Ondo State Nigeria
Objectives of the Study
The study has three specific objectives, which are framed in the past tense to reflect the completed research:
- To identify and analyze the determinants of democratic leadership style in selected fast food companies in Akoko South West Local Government Area, Ondo State, Nigeria.
- To examine the relationship between democratic leadership style and employee performance in the fast-food industry within the study area.
- To provide practical recommendations based on the findings to enhance leadership practices and employee performance in fast food companies in the region.
Leadership Styles in Organizations
Leadership styles in organizations play a pivotal role in shaping the dynamics of the workplace and influencing employee performance (Bass, 2017). Four primary leadership styles have been extensively studied and identified in the literature, each with its unique characteristics and effects.
Autocratic Leadership is characterized by a leader who exercises a high degree of control and decision-making authority (Northouse, 2019). In an autocratic leadership setting, the leader makes decisions unilaterally, with little or no input from subordinates (Barney, 2017). This style can lead to efficiency in decision-making but may stifle employee creativity and engagement (Barling et al., 2020).
Democratic Leadership, on the other hand, is marked by a leader who involves employees in decision-making processes and values their input (Bass, 2021). This style promotes a collaborative and inclusive work environment where employees’ voices are heard and considered (Bass & Riggio, 2018). Research has shown that democratic leadership can enhance employee satisfaction and motivation, leading to improved performance (Berson et al., 2021).
Transformational Leadership centres on a leader who inspires and motivates employees to achieve their full potential (Bass & Riggio, 2018). Transformational leaders are visionary and charismatic, often leading by example (Druskat et al., 2021). This leadership style fosters innovation, creativity, and a sense of purpose among employees (Sofi & Devanadhen, 2021). It has been linked to higher levels of organizational commitment and performance (Bass & Riggio, 2018).
Transactional Leadership focuses on establishing clear expectations and providing rewards or punishments based on performance (Bass, 2021). Transactional leaders set specific goals and guidelines, and they monitor employee progress closely (Armstrong, 2022). While this style can promote accountability and goal attainment, it may not be as effective in fostering long-term employee engagement and intrinsic motivation (Sofi & Devanadhen, 2021).
In summary, leadership styles in organizations, including autocratic, democratic, transformational, and transactional leadership, each have their characteristics and implications for employee performance. The choice of leadership style can significantly impact the work environment, employee satisfaction, and ultimately, organizational effectiveness. Understanding these styles is crucial for leaders and managers seeking to optimize their leadership approaches in diverse organizational contexts (Bass & Riggio, 2018).
Employee performance is a multifaceted concept that encompasses various dimensions, each of which plays a critical role in determining an organization’s overall success (Bhargavi & Yaseen, 2016). This section will delve into key aspects of employee performance, shedding light on their significance in organizational contexts.
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) serve as essential metrics used to evaluate an employee’s contributions and achievements (Bhargavi & Yaseen, 2016). These measurable indicators vary across industries and roles but often include quantifiable targets related to sales, production, customer satisfaction, and more (Barney, 2017). Effective monitoring and management of KPIs enable organizations to gauge individual and collective performance against established goals, facilitating informed decision-making (Barling et al., 2020).
Job Satisfaction is a critical component of employee performance and overall organizational effectiveness (Sofi & Devanadhen, 2021). It reflects an employee’s contentment and positive feelings toward their job and work environment (Creswell, 2019). High levels of job satisfaction are associated with increased motivation, engagement, and commitment, ultimately contributing to improved performance (Bass & Riggio, 2018). Conversely, low job satisfaction can lead to reduced productivity and higher turnover rates (Bhargavi & Yaseen, 2016).
Productivity is a fundamental measure of how efficiently employees utilize their time and resources to achieve organizational goals (Bass & Riggio, 2018). Productive employees contribute to higher output, reduced operational costs, and enhanced competitiveness (Barney, 2017). Leadership styles and practices play a crucial role in shaping employee productivity, with transformational and democratic leadership often linked to higher levels of individual and team performance (Sofi & Devanadhen, 2021).
This chapter outlines the research methodology employed in this study to investigate the determinants of democratic leadership style and its impact on employee performance in selected fast-food companies in Akoko South West Local Government Area, Ondo State, Nigeria. It provides a comprehensive understanding of the research design, population, sampling technique, data collection methods, data analysis tools, validity and reliability measures, and ethical considerations that guided the research process.
In this study, a quantitative survey research design was employed as the primary methodological approach. This design was selected due to its appropriateness in examining the determinants of democratic leadership style and its influence on employee performance within the specific organizational context under investigation, as outlined by Anderson et al. (2020). A quantitative survey design is particularly well-suited for gathering structured data from a sizable and diverse pool of respondents, offering the advantage of facilitating rigorous statistical analysis to derive meaningful and evidence-based conclusions (Saunders et al., 2019).
To execute this research, a survey instrument was utilized as the primary data collection tool. The survey was administered to employees working in selected fast-food companies situated within Akoko South West Local Government Area. The choice of a quantitative approach was grounded in the necessity to quantitatively assess the prevalence of democratic leadership within these organizations, examine its determinants, and assess its impacts on employee performance. This quantitative orientation was pivotal in producing empirical evidence that effectively addresses the research objectives (Anderson et al., 2020).
The quantitative survey design provided a robust framework for systematically collecting data from a substantial number of respondents, which allowed for a comprehensive exploration of the interplay between leadership styles and employee performance in the fast-food sector. Consequently, it facilitated the rigorous analysis of quantitative data, enabling the research to draw precise and statistically supported conclusions regarding the determinants of democratic leadership and its effects on employee performance within the chosen organizational context (Saunders et al., 2019).
Population of the Study
The target population for this study comprises employees working in selected fast-food companies in Akoko South West Local Government Area, Ondo State, Nigeria. The justification for this target population is based on the relevance of the study objectives to this specific group of employees. Fast-food companies in this region represent a significant segment of the local workforce, and understanding the factors influencing leadership styles and employee performance in this context is essential for improving organizational effectiveness (Anderson et al., 2020).
DATA PRESENTATION, ANALYSIS AND DISCUSSION
SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Summary of Findings
The findings of this study shed light on various aspects related to the adoption of democratic leadership styles and their impact on employee performance in the fast-food industry within Akoko South West Local Government Area, Ondo State, Nigeria. The study aimed to investigate the determinants of democratic leadership style, the relationship between democratic leadership and employee performance, and the actionable recommendations for improving leadership practices and employee performance in the fast-food sector. This section presents a detailed discussion of the general summary of findings.
The research explored the determinants influencing the adoption of a democratic leadership style in fast-food companies. Table 4.7 reveals that a significant proportion (71.2%) of respondents agreed that leadership decisions in these companies are influenced by employees’ input and opinions. This suggests that employees perceive a level of inclusivity in the decision-making process, which is characteristic of democratic leadership.
Table 4.8 indicates that an even higher percentage (76.9%) of respondents agreed that managers in fast-food companies encourage employees to participate in decision-making processes. This finding reinforces the idea that there is an active effort by management to involve employees in decision-making, aligning with democratic leadership principles.
In Table 4.9, 75% of respondents agreed that the organizational culture of fast-food companies supports democratic leadership. This demonstrates that employees perceive a conducive culture that fosters democratic leadership practices within their organizations.
Table 4.10 reveals that a substantial majority (83.7%) of respondents agreed that external market pressures play a significant role in shaping leadership styles in these companies. This indicates that the external business environment has a considerable influence on leadership practices, which may include the adoption of democratic leadership in response to market dynamics.
The study also aimed to investigate the relationship between democratic leadership style and employee performance within the fast-food industry. Table 4.11 presents the finding that 77.9% of respondents agreed that employees perform better when they have a say in the decision-making process. This result suggests a positive relationship between employee involvement in decision-making, a characteristic of democratic leadership, and improved performance.
Table 4.12 mirrors the previous finding, with 77.9% of respondents agreeing that democratically-led teams tend to be more productive and motivated. This indicates that employees perceive a connection between democratic leadership practices and enhanced team productivity and motivation.
Furthermore, Table 4.13 highlights that 87.5% of respondents agreed that democratic leadership contributes to higher job satisfaction among employees. Job satisfaction is a critical factor in employee performance, as satisfied employees are more likely to be engaged and productive.
Table 4.14 adds to the positive picture by revealing that 85.6% of respondents agreed that the adoption of democratic leadership has a positive impact on employee retention. Employee retention is essential for organizational stability and performance, and this finding suggests that democratic leadership practices may contribute to achieving this.
In the final phase of the study, respondents were asked about actionable recommendations for enhancing leadership practices and employee performance in the fast-food sector. Table 4.15 shows that a majority (76%) of respondents agreed that fast-food companies should invest in leadership training to promote democratic leadership. This suggests that employees recognize the value of training programs in developing leadership skills aligned with democratic principles.
Table 4.16 reinforces the importance of employee participation by indicating that 86.5% of respondents agreed that encouraging employee participation in decision-making should be a priority for fast-food managers. This recommendation aligns with the principles of democratic leadership, emphasizing the need for inclusive decision-making processes.
Table 4.17 underscores the significance of open communication and inclusivity, with 81.7% of respondents agreeing that developing a culture of inclusivity and open communication can enhance employee performance. This points to the importance of fostering transparent communication channels within organizations.
Finally, Table 4.18 highlights the adaptability of leadership styles, as 90.4% of respondents agreed that fast food companies should adapt their leadership styles to better align with employee needs and expectations. This emphasizes the need for leadership practices to be flexible and responsive to the evolving demands and preferences of the workforce.
The findings of this study have several implications for the fast-food industry in Akoko South West Local Government Area and beyond. Firstly, the high agreement among respondents regarding the influence of employees on leadership decisions, the encouragement of employee participation in decision-making, and the supportive organizational culture for democratic leadership suggest that these practices are prevalent in the local fast-food sector. This is a positive indication as democratic leadership has been associated with improved employee performance, job satisfaction, and retention.
The study’s findings on the positive relationship between democratic leadership and employee performance, job satisfaction, and retention reaffirm the potential benefits of embracing democratic leadership in the fast-food industry. Organizations that adopt democratic leadership styles may experience enhanced performance outcomes and greater employee satisfaction, which can contribute to long-term success.
The actionable recommendations provided by respondents, such as investing in leadership training and promoting open communication and inclusivity, offer practical guidance for fast-food companies seeking to improve their leadership practices and employee performance. Implementing these recommendations can help organizations align their leadership styles with the expectations and needs of their workforce, ultimately leading to positive outcomes.
In summary, the findings of this study suggest that democratic leadership practices are prevalent in the fast-food industry in Akoko South West Local Government Area. These practices appear to be associated with positive outcomes, including improved employee performance, job satisfaction, and retention. The actionable recommendations provided by employees offer valuable insights for organizations looking to enhance their leadership practices and overall performance in the fast-food sector. Overall, this research contributes to the understanding of leadership and employee dynamics in the context of the fast-food industry in Nigeria.
In conclusion, the results of the tested hypotheses provide valuable insights into the relationship between democratic leadership style and employee performance in the fast-food industry within Akoko South West Local Government Area, Ondo State, Nigeria. The findings indicate a significant positive association between democratic leadership practices and various aspects of employee performance, including job satisfaction, motivation, and retention. This suggests that organizations within this sector can benefit from adopting and promoting democratic leadership styles to enhance overall performance and employee well-being. These results underscore the importance of inclusive leadership practices and offer actionable recommendations for organizations seeking to improve their leadership strategies and achieve better outcomes in the fast-food industry.
Based on the findings of this study, several recommendations emerge that can help fast-food companies in Akoko South West Local Government Area, Ondo State, Nigeria, improve their leadership practices and enhance employee performance:
- Promote Democratic Leadership: Fast-food companies should actively promote democratic leadership practices that involve employees in decision-making processes, value their input, and create an inclusive work environment. This can lead to higher levels of motivation, job satisfaction, and overall performance.
- Leadership Training: Investing in leadership training programs for managers and supervisors can equip them with the skills and knowledge needed to effectively implement democratic leadership styles. Training should emphasize communication, conflict resolution, and collaboration.
- Enhance Organizational Culture: Companies should work on fostering an organizational culture that supports democratic leadership. This includes encouraging open communication, transparency, and employee participation in decision-making. Cultivating a culture of inclusivity can significantly impact employee performance.
- Flexible Work Hours: Fast-food companies should consider offering flexible work hours to accommodate the diverse needs of their employees. This can contribute to higher job satisfaction and improved work-life balance, which, in turn, can enhance performance and reduce turnover.
- Feedback Mechanisms: Implementing regular feedback mechanisms, such as anonymous suggestion boxes or employee surveys, can provide valuable insights into employees’ opinions and suggestions. Managers should act upon this feedback to demonstrate their commitment to employee involvement.
- Recognition and Rewards: Recognizing and rewarding employees for their contributions and achievements can reinforce democratic leadership practices. Companies should establish formal recognition programs that acknowledge and appreciate employees’ efforts.
- Career Development Opportunities: Providing opportunities for skill development and career advancement within the organization can motivate employees to perform at their best. Leadership should identify high-potential employees and offer training and development programs.
Contribution to Knowledge
This study makes a significant contribution to the existing body of knowledge in several key areas, shedding light on the relationship between leadership styles and employee performance in the context of the fast-food industry in Akoko South West Local Government Area, Ondo State, Nigeria.
Firstly, this research contributes to the understanding of leadership styles, particularly democratic leadership, within the Nigerian fast-food sector. While many studies have explored leadership styles in various industries and regions, there has been a limited focus on the fast-food sector in Nigeria. This study provides valuable insights into the prevalence and impact of democratic leadership in this specific context, filling a notable gap in the literature.
Secondly, this research adds to the growing body of knowledge on the determinants of leadership styles. By investigating the factors influencing the adoption of democratic leadership within fast-food companies, this study provides a nuanced understanding of the drivers behind leadership style choices. This knowledge can be applied not only in the fast-food sector but also in other industries facing similar challenges and opportunities.
Furthermore, the study contributes to the empirical evidence regarding the impact of leadership styles on employee performance. While previous research has indicated a positive association between democratic leadership and employee performance, this study’s findings reinforce and contextualize these relationships within the fast-food industry in Nigeria. This empirical evidence provides a foundation for organizations in this sector to consider the potential benefits of adopting democratic leadership practices.
Additionally, the research highlights the role of organizational culture in shaping leadership styles. By demonstrating that a supportive organizational culture can facilitate the adoption of democratic leadership, this study emphasizes the importance of aligning cultural values with leadership practices. This insight can guide companies in fostering cultures that encourage employee participation and collaboration.
Lastly, the study contributes to the broader understanding of leadership practices in Nigeria and potentially other developing economies. As the fast-food industry continues to grow in Nigeria and similar regions, the findings of this research can inform leadership strategies and organizational policies. This knowledge is especially relevant in economies experiencing rapid expansion and transformation.
In summary, this study advances knowledge by exploring the relationship between democratic leadership, its determinants, and employee performance within the unique context of the Nigerian fast-food industry. By addressing specific gaps in the literature and providing empirical evidence, this research offers valuable insights for both scholars and practitioners seeking to enhance leadership practices and employee performance in similar settings.
- Akparep, Y. J., Jengre, E., & Abaamah, D. (2017). Demystifying the Blame Game in the Delays of Graduation of Research Students in Universities in Ghana: The Case of University for Development Students. European Journal of Business and Innovation Research, 5, 34-50.
- Al Khajeh, E. H. (2018). Impact of Leadership Styles on Organizational Performance. Journal of Human Resources Management Research, 2018, Article ID: 687849.
- Anderson, V., Fontinha, R., & Robson, F. (2020). Research Methods in Human Resource Management: Investigating a Business Issue (4th ed.). CIPD.
- Armstrong, M. (2022). Armstrong’s Handbook of Management and Leadership: Developing Effective People Skills for Better Leadership and Management (3rd ed.). London: Kogan Page.
- Barling, J., Weber, T., & Kelloway, E. K. (2020). Effects of Transformational Leadership Training on Attitudinal & Financial Outcomes: A Field Experiment. Journal of Applied Psychology, 81, 827-832. https://doi.org/10.1037/0021-9010.81.6.827
- Barney, J. (2017). Firm Resources and Sustained Competitive Advantage. Journal of Management, 1, 99-120.
- Bass, B. M. (2018). Bass & Stogdill’s Handbook of Leadership (3rd ed.). New York: Free Press.
- Bass, B. M., & Bass, R. (2019). The Bass Handbook of Leadership: Theory, Research, and Managerial Applications. New York: Simon and Schuster.
- Bass, B. M., & Riggio, R. E. (2018). Transformational Leadership (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.
- Bennis, W. (2021). The Challenge of Leadership in the Modern World: Introduction to Special Issues. American Psychologist, 62, 2-5. https://doi.org/10.1037/0003-066X.62.1.2
- Berson, Y., Shamair, B., Avolio, B. J., & Popper, M. (2021). The Relationship between Vision Strength, Leadership Style & Context. The Leadership Quarterly, 12, 53-73. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1048-9843(01)00064-9