Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to provide an empirical insight into the association between the leadership style of top management (using Stogdill and Coons’(1957) consideration and initiating leadership styles), the approach to using controls (using Simons’ (1995) interactive and diagnostic use of controls) and two organisational outcomes (business unit performance and employee organisational commitment (EOC)).
Design/methodology/approach: Data were collected through a survey of 120 middle-level managers of Australian service organisations.
Findings: The findings reveal that both the consideration and initiating leadership styles were associated with the diagnostic approach to using controls, while the initiating style was also associated with the interactive approach to using controls. In addition, the diagnostic approach to using controls was found to be associated with both organisational performance and EOC. The authors conclude that the diagnostic approach to using controls mediates the association between both the consideration and initiating styles of leadership with organisational performance and EOC.
Practical implications: The findings provide practitioners with an important initial insight into the role of leaders in enhancing the achievement of organisational outcomes. From a practical perspective, organisations should consider these findings when recruiting. Specifically, organisations should work towards ensuring that their top-level managers possess such personal leadership traits. This could be achieved either through installing appropriate recruitment procedures and/or through the implementation of management training programmes.
Originality/value: The study contributes to the literature by considering the interrelationship between two perspectives of the role of leaders, the leadership style and the use of controls.
- leadership style
- employee organizational commitment
- organizational performance
- approaches to using controls