South African mining is a labour intensive industry. Consequently, the productivity of mining companies still depends primarily on the productivity of labour. Management needs to understand the style of leadership they need to adopt in order to effectively improve employee engagement and performance. This study was conducted in the platinum mining sector in South Africa with specific focus on general miners.
The study sought to identify the leadership style that leaders could adopt in order to improve employee engagement, with a clear understanding of the importance that supervisor/employee relationships have on employees performance. To accomplish this objective, three relevant leadership styles were analysed, namely transformational, transactional and laissez-faire. In addition, the study explored the role played by the quality of leader-member exchange (LMX) in improving engagement. Employee engagement was studied by taking into account both leadership styles and LMX.
The research method was based on three questionnaires, which explored the above mentioned leadership styles. The questionnaires were distributed to 200 miners from three different mining organisations. A descriptive study with a quantitative research was used to facilitate testing of the hypothesis and establish cause and effects on the research question following a realism philosophy. The response ratio was 50%.
The overwhelming majority of the responses confirmed dominance of the transformational leadership style, with considerably fewer instances of transactional leadership style in second place. Quality of leader member exchange was perceived high by most respondents. Employee engagement was found to be directly and significantly influenced by transformational leadership style in collaboration with the quality of leader member exchange. Laissez-fair leadership style was not only the least frequent leadership style, but also the one with the greatest negative effect on engagement. Employees were found to be totally disengaged when the laissez-faire type of leadership was prominent, irrespective of the level of leader member exchange.
Mini Dissertation (MBA)--University of Pretoria, 2015.