Leadership Style, Organizational Culture and Performance: A Critical Literature Review


  • Judith E. Bwonya Management University of Africa
  • Prof. Martin Ogutu University of Nairobi
  • Dr. Washington O. Okeyo Management University of Africa


In recent times, organizations are going through dramatic changes, including flatter and looser structures, downsizing, and horizontal approaches to information flow. On the one hand, these changes are due to rapid technological developments, global competition and the changing nature of the workforce. These organizational transformations and innovations are triggered by interventions such as total quality leadership and leadership. In modern society, the prosperity and progress of an organization depends largely on the quality of leadership. Leadership is very essential in organizations since achievements and results occur consequence to the traits being projected by the leader. Leadership has always been a crucial issue since organizations and companies are permanently in a constant struggle to be increasingly competitive. Leadership, as an important function of management, helps to maximize efficiency and so achieve organizational goals. The paper avers that past studies conceptualized how leadership style actions significantly influenced organizational performance. Despite its importance, studies have demonstrated that the influence of leadership style on organizational performance is contingent upon situational constraints or random effects. To date, very little empirical research has analyzed the direct and indirect relationships between leadership style, organizational culture and organizational performance. This paper sought to unearth this research gap by critically reviewing relevant conceptual and empirical literature to bring out the possibility that organizational culture can influence the relationship between leadership style and organizational performance. The paper advances the emerging postulations which anchor a conclusion that the direct effect of leadership style on performance is contested, and hence inconclusive due to the possible mediating influence of organizational culture. It is hoped that the paper's postulations will guide empirical research in various contexts to hasten addressing the extant knowledge gaps.

Keywords: Leadership Style, Organizational Culture, Organizational performance

Author Biographies

Judith E. Bwonya, Management University of Africa

PhD, Management and Leadership, School of Management and Leadership, The Management University of Africa, Kenya.

Prof. Martin Ogutu, University of Nairobi

Professor, Management, Department of Business Administration, School of Business, University of Nairobi, Kenya.

Dr. Washington O. Okeyo, Management University of Africa

Vice-Chancellor and Senior Lecturer, Management and Leadership, School of Management and Leadership, The Management University of Africa, Kenya.


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How to Cite

Bwonya, J. E., Ogutu, P. M., & Okeyo, D. W. O. (2020). Leadership Style, Organizational Culture and Performance: A Critical Literature Review. Journal of Human Resource & Leadership, 4(2), 48–69. Retrieved from https://stratfordjournals.org/journals/index.php/journal-of-human-resource/article/view/507




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