The impact of transformational leadership on performance management : a South African local government case study

Isaacs, Johnny Dario (2016-03)

Thesis (MPA)--Stellenbosch University, 2016.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of transformational leadership on performance management in South African local government through a case study of the Chris Hani District Municipality (CHDM) in the Eastern Cape. As route map, the case study design allows for the exploration and understanding into the variety of experiences, perceptions, and attitudes of the participants towards the socio-economic and socio-political issues under investigation. Transformational leadership is an emerging leadership theory, has been researched extensively, and is gaining popularity in many scholarly works. First developed by James MacGregor Burns (1978), this theory has the potential to raise the morale, motivation, and performance of both the follower and the personnel in striving for self-attainment and the achievement of organisational goals. The current study applied a combination of data collection methods in answering the research question and meeting the research objectives. These included using the shortened Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ 5X, rater format), developed by Bass and Avolio (1995) to measure transformational leadership qualities. Furthermore, individual, semi-structured interviews were conducted with five (5) leading officials or supervisors in Cradock, Queenstown and Lady Frere who are part of middle management or higher. This was done to probe direct experiences of the implementation and effectiveness of performance management in the CHDM as planned and legislated. Lastly, the case study was complemented by a literature review of scholarly articles and a content analysis on secondary sources, such as journals, relevant legislation, and government documents. The study concluded that transformational leadership exhibits the most preferred choice of leadership style for performance management. Transformational leadership values vision, inspiration, and growth, which are essentials for solving the socio-economic, socio-political, and institutional challenges in the CHDM. The adoption of a performance management framework is considered to be a good first step towards changing or improving actual performance, but the implementation is seen as a compliance burden and lacks required planning and consistency across departments in the CHDM. This may potentially affect the achievement of service delivery targets, especially in the rural areas of the CHDM where vast backlogs still exist. The impact of transformational leadership may be shown through measures such as enhanced capabilities fit for the portfolio and increased accountability towards resource allocation. This can potentially lead to less corrupt behaviour, but also importantly the self-actualisation of individuals. Based on the results of the study, the thesis provides recommendations for the CHDM in the area of transformational leadership development as well as the effective implementation of performance management.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie studie het ten doel gehad om te bepaal tot watter mate transformerende leierskap ’n impak het op prestasiebestuur in plaaslike regerings van Suid-Afrika. Die gevallestudie van Chris Hani Distrik Munisipaliteit (CHDM) as ’n instelling op die plaaslike vlak van regering is gebruik om die navorsingsvraag te beantwoord en sodoende aan die navorsingsdoelwitte van die studie te voldoen. Die gevallestudie, wat dien as padkaart vir die studie, is ’n gepaste metode om die verskeidenheid van ondervindinge, persepsies en houdings oor sosio-ekonomiese en sosio-politieke faktore te bestudeer. Transformerende leierskap, wat deur James MacGregor Burns (1978) ontwikkel is, is ’n opkomende leierskapsteorie wat toenemend die grondslag vorm van verskeie literȇre werke oor leierskap. Dit kan potensieël die moraal, werksetiek en self-verwesenliking van beide die individu en die organisasie verhoog om sodoende die prestasies soos ooreengekom te bereik. Hierdie leierskapsteorie is relevant en bruikbaar te midde van die verskeie sosio-ekonomiese en sosio-politieke uitdagings van die 21ste eeu wat die politieke leierskap van die CHDM in die gesig staar. Die huidige studie het veelvoudige navorsingstegnieke ingespan om primȇre en sekondȇre data in te samel. Dit sluit in ’n vraelys wat gebaseer is op die verkorte weergawe van die Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (Bass en Avolio, 1995). Tweedens is half-gestruktureerde onderhoude met vyf sleutelrespondente van die plaaslike distrikskantoor van die CHDM gehou vanweë hul direkte betrokkenheid en strategiese rol in die implementering van prestasiebestuur en die lewering van basiese dienste aan die plaaslike gemeenskappe. Hierdie steekproef van respondente is werksaam in Cradock, Queenstown en Lady Frere en doelgerig gekies as verteenwoordigend van die middel en hoër vlak van bestuur in die CHDM. Laastens, het die navorsingstegnieke ook ’n literatuurstudie en dokumentanalise ingesluit van beide geskrewe en digitale bronne soos joernale, regeringsverslae en wettige dokumentasie relevant tot prestasiebestuur op plaaslike regeringsvlak in Suid-Afrika. Die bevindings van die studie dui daarop dat die transformerende leierskapsteorie die mees aanvaarbare en kenmerkende styl van leierskap is in die CHDM, alhoewel dit ’n nuwe konsep en tendens is. Vanweë die waarde wat hierdie leierskapstyl heg aan visie, inspirasie en groei, kan dit potensieël lei tot gepaste, organisatoriese veranderinge en daarom die verwesenliking van prestasie-doelwitte binne die CHDM. Hierdie studie het ook bevind dat die daarstelling van die prestasie-raamwerk ’n belangrike stap is in die regte rigting, maar dat die implementering daarvan ondoeltreffend is vanweë die gebrek aan beplanning en konsekwentheid binne die plaaslike munisipaliteiete van die CHDM. Die gevolg hiervan is dat die lewering van basiese dienste negatief beïnvloed word, veral in die plattelandse gebiede. Vervolgens word ’n stel voorstelle gemaak aan die CHDM vir die verbetering in die implementering van die prestasie-bestuurraamwerk en aanbevelings vir verdere navorsing aangebied.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/98789
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