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City and State


Leadership Styles and Organizational Success

The business environment changes constantly and firms and their leaders must be creative to achieve impressive outcomes. Thus, organizational leaders should be in a good position to devise structures that they know are effective enough to foster organizational performance and competitiveness (Comlek 2012, p. 371). A suitable way for leaders to handle and manage their firms is to deploy suitable leadership styles and theories that provide relevant guidance on how to provide appropriate leadership. Leaders who do not choose and implement the right leadership techniques are likely to fail and their firms may not perform as they and all other stakeholders may expect. The study describes how different leadership techniques promote organizational prosperity, especially when leaders align strategic, cultural, and structural realities to react to the demands of an ever-changing organizational climate. It compares and contrasts leadership styles such as bureaucratic leadership, democratic leadership, and transformational leadership. The latter approaches (democratic and transformational leadership) emerge as the most effective in terms of promoting organizational success through the integration of various critical aspects. Leadership styles that are inclusive of all workers and provide them with an opportunity to advance present an opportunity for success compared to leadership approaches that are commanding in nature and seem to focus on leaders.

Leaders can choose the leadership approach they think is suitable for their practices. However, their selection would depend on their perception about the leadership approach and the desires of other members. Whereas some leadership approaches facilitates organizational success, others may derail performance and possible result in failure. An example of a leadership style that could affect organizational outcome and employees’ desire to work is bureaucratic leadership that Callahan (2017) and Matte (2016, p. 2) identify as a leadership technique pegged on fixed leadership approaches under an authoritative system. When deploying bureaucratic leadership, all management and administrative functions are disintegrated into particular offices that enable clear lines of accountability, responsibility, and authority. For instance, under bureaucratic leadership, key functions are solely assigned to various departments such as administration, marketing, production, and research and development (Hendryadi et al. 2019). In terms of hierarchy of authority, positions in the firm are structured in a hierarchy where the people in low positions are answerable to and receive directions from their supervisors (Arshad et al., 2021, p. 217). Employees in organizations that deploy bureaucratic leadership are in many instances answerable to their departmental heads who take directives from the vice president who then receives commands from the CEO. The CEO in many organizations take commands from the board of directors. The bureaucratic leadership can be helpful in highly regulated forms of business. The approach can also be an effective management model in firms that do not need much innovation or creativity from its workers.

However, bureaucratic leadership could have adverse effects on organizational performance, which requires leaders who use such leadership techniques to consider possible alternatives. One possible limitation of the leadership style is that it compels employees to adhere to specific guidelines even if they do not like them. Team members must conduct their activities in the way directed by the firm’s leadership and its regulations (Tohidi, H, & Jabbari 2012, p. 410). Constant calls to adhere to rules and guidelines affects creativity significantly because workers do not have an opportunity to think outside the box. The strict rules and regulations that workers must follow also affect productivity levels (Lumby 2019, p. 8). The problem emanates from the fact that under such leadership it is possible to add new working guidelines at any time, complicating the structures and workloads that workers must complete. Bureaucratic leadership could also deter an organization from becoming successful and aligning strategic, cultural, and structural realities of work to react to the wants of an ever-changing business context because there is inadequate freedom to act under this leadership technique. Because employees must abide by strict rules and laws, workers are not free to make independent decisions that could improve their individual and organizational performance (Damianus et al., 2021, p. 482). Another reason why bureaucratic leadership could affect performance is that it is hard to uphold high morale within an organization that ascribe to bureaucracy. However, it is hard to achieve targeted goals when employees are not motivated and when leaders do not take adequate measures to inspire members (Idrus 2015, p. 11). So far, some companies that have deployed bureaucratic leadership have witnessed unsatisfying outcomes.

Examining the case of Nokia reveals that bureaucratic leadership can affect performance and deter success. Nokia recorded significant growth in market share after its launch in 1992. The company remained creative and responsive to consumer needs and demands and initiated features that complied with market trends and requirements. However, the emergence of new operators such as Apple with its innovative iPhone derailed Nokia’s progress with more buyers shifting their attention to newly developed handsets. Besides industry rivalry and entrance of new operators, Nokia problems were compounded with the adoption of bureaucratic leadership. Newly elected CEO, Stephen Elope did not only fail in promoting organizational culture that was based on Finnish culture and ideologies but also failed to transform the bureaucratic leadership approaches that were dominant at the organization. Elopes Canadian background made it hard for him to create regulations and structures that fit into the Finnish culture. Instead, the leader forced workers to adhere to particular guidelines that did not seem to go down well with employees and key stakeholders. Thus, Nokia’s failure due to bureaucratic leadership adequately shows how the leadership approach a leader uses to lead significantly impact on success.

Alternatively, leaders should consider deploying democratic leadership that many scholars and researchers identify as being effective in fostering organizational outcome and success. Also known as shared or participative leadership, democratic leadership is an approach in which organizational members play a more participative function in the decision-making process (Donkor & Zhou 2019, p. 144). It is possible to deploy democratic leadership to any firm, from private to public corporations. A democratic leader invites the opinions of every member who are welcome to speak their minds with regard to managing the organization (Al Khajeh 2018, p. 4; Gastil 1994, p. 955). A democratic leader encourages silent members to give their views and opinions as a way of ensuring that the opinion of every member are taken into account. Democratic leadership is more effective and likely to promote organizational success when leaders work with highly experienced or skilled employees (Sharma & Singh 2013, p. 55). It permits leaders to capitalize on their workers’ individual strengths and talents, while also gaining from the adopted decisions. Democratic leadership is suitable because it allows for the creation of a work environment that encourages cooperation and produces a conducive environment in which it is possible to share ideas and arrange work plans in the most effective manner (Kilicoglu 2018, p. 13). A democratic leader makes the final decision, but also invites team members to give their suggestions on what needs to happen to achieve impressive outcomes.

Some organizational leaders who deploy democracy have achieved impressive outcomes in their activities, which confirms that democratic leadership facilitates organizational success. An example of a renowned democratic leader in the corporate world who has managed to steer his organization to greater heights is the Chief Executive Officer of Alphabet and its subsidiary Google, Sunder Pecha. The CEO has maintained the trend in leadership style as enforced by the company’s original founders, Sergey Bring and Larry Page (STU 2018). The group has maintained its democratic leadership over the years, which has contributed to its overall success. Today, the firm remains democratic in its technique to product development under Pecha’s leadership. Another democratic leader is Andy Jessy, Amazon’s CEO who took over from Jeff Bezos in July 2021 (STU 2018). Amazon attributes its success to its democratic leadership style in addition to implementing other strategic approaches. The dominance both firms have in their respective sector is enough testimony that democratic leadership may contribute towards successful operations.

An alternative leadership approach that could foster organizational success is transformational leadership. A transformational leader motivates, encourages, and inspires workers to develop and innovate change (Abazeed 2018, p. 119; Korejan & Shahbazi 2016, p. 455). A transformational leader deploys models such as Kurt Lewin change model that requires focus in three areas; unfreezing, change, and refreezing (Alqatawenah 2018, p. 19). Furthermore, such a leader deploys motivational theories such as goal-setting and Maslow hierarchy of needs that give adequate frameworks for motivating employees (Lee 2014, P. 23). The leadership approaches associated with transformational leadership play fundamental roles in promoting organizational success whether operating as a small and mid-size enterprise or a multinational corporation.

Both democratic and transformational leadership could promote organizational success because leaders who deploy such various techniques to improve their outcome. Such leaders incorporate frameworks from different aspects and see the importance of aligning cultural, structural, and strategic components to achieve a holistic outcome (Comlek, 2012, p. 374). Both democratic and transformational leaders know that achieving success requires the contribution of all aspects rather than dwelling on a specific area. Being able to draw ideas from different areas play fundamental functions in promoting success and excellent performance.


The study identifies and explains leadership styles that could foster and derail organizational success. It identifies bureaucratic leadership as an inappropriate leadership technique that could affect how employees perform their duties. It emerges that bureaucratic leadership affects creativity, hampers productivity, and makes it difficult to inspire workers who are required to abide by strict rules and laws. The study refers to Nokia’s case that failed to dominate the mobile phone market as other phone makers emerged primarily due to bureaucratic leadership. On the contrary, the paper identifies democratic and transformational leadership as suitable techniques for achieving organizational success. Both leadership methods are suitable because they present an opportunity to align strategic, cultural, and structural aspects of work to react to the requirements of the ever-changing business environment.

Reference List

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