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effects of leadership styles on the productivity of secretaries in public institutions in Cameroon: CASE STUDY THE MAMFE Council

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Managers are in charge of leading their employees to higher levels of performance that meet or surpass the organization’s objectives. Managers can use democratic, autocratic, or laissez-faire leadership styles to achieve corporate goals and objectives, depending on the scenario. Thus, the main objective of this study is to investigate the effect of leadership style on secretarial and administrative work productivity in Mamfe Council.

The specific objectives of the study were to identify the type of leadership practice at Mamfe Council, to determine the effect of leadership style practice on secretarial and administrative assistants at Mamfe Council and to determine the issues, face by secretarial and administrative assistants with the present form of leadership practice at Mamfe Council.

The study made used of a Descriptive survey design and employed quantitative data analysis. The study employed a simple random and convenient sampling techniques, to sample 10 respondents using a structure-questionnaire. Collected data were analyses using SPSS (25.0). The findings of the study revealed that, the council practiced all four types of leadership (autocratic, democratic, transactional and laissez-faire leaderships). Regression analysis show that a significant positive relationship between leadership styles practiced at the Mamfe Council and secretarial and administrative assistants’ work productivity.

The results show that autocratic leadership style has a negative and insignificant effect on secretarial and administrative assistants’ productivity, while democratic, transactional and laissez-faire leadership styles have a positive and a significant effect on secretarial and administrative assistants work productivity.

From these results, it could be concluded that leaders or supervisor who is driven by the desire to achieve better work productivity from their secretarial and administrative assistants should engage in more of democratic leadership style and transactional leadership styles. It was recommended that the management of the Mamfe Council should encourage managers and supervisory leaders to adopt democratic form of leadership styles in the course of discharging their managerial responsibilities.



1.1 Background of the Study

The importance of leadership in an organization cannot be overemphasized. Leadership is a major element that set successful and unsuccessful organizations and governments apart. It plays a central role in offering direction and purpose toward achieving the goals of the organization. It is also an important element in the social relationship of groups at work. Leadership is the main factor that determines and shapes group productivity, performance and behavior.

When it is correctly applied, each employee enjoys a feeling of strong commitment toward achieving organizational goals.  Regardless of the equality of its members, every group will tend to a system in which it will have a leader.

However, organizational goals can never be achieved without proper leadership style in place .it is important to note that the effective performance of an individual is a function of both his characteristics and the individual environment. Careful consideration of knowledge, skills, experience, attitude and motivation of an employee enhances maximum productivity and efficiency in the job. Since leadership deals with the human resource element, it provides the basis for effective utilization of material resources in an organization through individual skills, knowledge and ability.

In today’s competitive environment, organizations expand globally and face a lot of challenges to meet their objectives and to be more successful than others. Leaders play a vital role in the accomplishment of these goals and boost employees’ productivity by satisfying them with their jobs, therefore it grasps the attention of researchers for many years, yet were unable to focus on a single definition. Many researchers focus on a different aspects of leadership.

According to Mintzberg (2010) leadership is the key if the trust that comes with the respect of others. According to Raelin (2011) leadership is directly connected to the practice to which most people are dedicated.

Initial leadership research took place in the era influenced by the scientific management precept that there is “one best way” to accomplish a given objective. Also, the idea that leadership is an ephemera quality of great men whose personal attributes made them natural leaders were dominated. The research was not directly concerned with understanding leadership style; it was a quest to identify the characteristics that differentiate leaders from followers and ineffective leaders from effective leaders. This line of enquiry as research suggested that personal traits and intelligence play only a small role in leadership effectiveness (Bass, 2008).

Leadership can simply be defined as a process of influencing the activities of an individual or a group towards the attainment of set goals.  Leadership is the life wire of an organization.  Douglas McGregor’s Theory X and Theory Y is to the view that a leader’s attitude toward human nature has a large influence on how that person behaves as a leader and how it affects the employee under the leader. It is however important to note that no single leadership style is likely to be effective in all circumstances, leadership styles vary based on surroundings and circumstances.

However, instead of concentrating on a single leadership style, leaders can vary their approaches depending on three factors: force in the leader, force in the subordinates and forces in the situation. An effective leader is measured by his ability to manage and withstand forces around him and how to effectively utilize human and material resources to attain organizational objectives. Douglas McGregor put it clear that there is a close relationship between leaders’ expectations and the resulting performance of subordinates.  He further explains that if a leader’s expectations are high, productivity is likely to be high. Leadership shapes the organization’s strategies including their effectiveness.

An important factor in the leadership process is the relationship that a leader has with individual followers. Previous researchers have shown that successful interaction between leaders and their followers is central to the overall functioning of a company (Noormala and Syed, 2009). Productivity is the ratio of output to inputs in production; it is a measure of the efficiency of production.

Secretaries are among the categories of workers that come under both direct and indirect influence of leaders (Yukl, 2012). A secretary, according to Mayer (1977) is an executive assistant who possesses a mastery of office skills, demonstrates the ability to assume responsibility with or without supervision, exercises initiatives and judgment, and makes decisions within the scope of assigned authority.

To Pringle (1989) a secretary is supposed to facilitate communication between a section or department and the rest of the organization, clients, customers, and suppliers through the use of both written and verbal forms of communication. Cohn (1985), is also of the view that in addition to typing dictated letters, experienced secretaries provide information, compose routine statements, and make practical arrangements for the solutions to problems.

France (2009) sums it all up by saying that today’s secretaries are expected to be multi-task and multi-skilled, have important problem-solving skills and are the first to know what is going on in the organization. Kanter, (1977) and Cohn (1985) posit that the scope of a secretary’s roles or responsibilities is company-specific and person-specific and could be dependent on the nature of the relationship between the secretary and the line manager. Cohn (1985) argues that secretaries have to provide different responses to suit the different routines of their bosses. This supports the assertion made above that secretaries are influenced by their line managers and that the leadership styles adopted by the line managers may have an impact on their productivity.

Secretary’s productivity is the ability of a secretary to meet up with the required output that is expected. High-quality leader-follower relationships have been found to have an impact on the secretary’s productive effort, organizational commitment, delegation empowerment and job satisfaction (Noormala and Syed, 2009). One rationale for this study is that good leader-follower relationship are vital to ensure the effective functioning of any organization.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Everybody aims to be an achiever in whatever he or she does in life.  People in some professions look forward to succeeding but unfortunately, they must encounter one problem or the other and for this reason when it arises workers are not pleased with the job.

Although the qualities of leaders are important, especially in teamwork, in particular, leaders need the skills to engage followers in productive and satisfying mutual pursuits. However, this is a departure from the usual way of seeing leadership qualities as possessions, rather than interpersonal links to others involved in shared activities.

Importantly, we observed that the employees (secretaries) of Mamfe Council demonstrate a poor attitude to work thereby affecting the quality of services provided by the council to the detriment of the general public. Employees’ poor attitude to work could be attributed to poor leadership style. A good leadership style is expected to direct workers’ behaviours toward achieving organizational predetermined goals.

Also, is the lack of absence of an effective line of communication between manager and their employees. The communication gap between leaders and their subordinates possesses a big problem for several organizations as effective leadership is predicated on the communication patterns of both the manager and their subjects.

Therefore, this study investigates how different leadership styles (e.g., autocratic, democratic, transactional and liaises faire) affect employees’ work productivity at Mamfe Council. Because not all leaders wish to be participative, understanding and overcoming such reluctance to involve followers becomes important. It is on this background that; this research work aims at assessing the effect of leadership style on a Secretary’s productivity.

1.3 Research Questions

1.3.1 Main Research Question

What is the effect of leadership style on secretarial work productivity at the Mamfe Council?

1.3.2 Specific Research Questions

What is the type of leadership practiced at Mamfe Council?

What is the effect of the practiced leadership style on practice on secretarial work productivity at the Mamfe Council?

What challenges are faced by secretaries in the Mamfe Council as a result of the type of leadership practiced?

Read: Assessing The Performance Of Professional Secretary And Computer Operator In An Organization

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