How Leadership Styles Influence Firm Performance

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Editor’s note: We are pleased to welcome Suzanne M. Carter of Texas Christian University, whose paper Strategic Leadership: Values, Styles, and Organizational Performance,” co-authored by Charles R. Greer of Texas Christian University, is forthcoming in the Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies and now available in the journal’s OnlineFirst section.

My colleague, Bob Greer and I, were surprised to find so many leadership styles being posited in our review of the literature. Moreover, when viewed from the standpoint of the leader’s ability to be successful, it seems that the number of things that leaders are becoming responsible for is growing rapidly. Unfortunately, we still know little, from an empirical standpoint, about whether certain leadership styles tend to lend themselves to better organizational outcomes.

UntitledThe biggest surprise for us, I suppose, was discovering how little we know to date about the influence of leadership styles on firm performance from a top management perspective. In particular, evidence of leadership styles at the top management level on outcomes beyond the financial realm is extremely limited. Although some work is being done on the impact of leadership style on group processes, little empirical work has examined the impact of these styles on triple bottom line organizational outcomes such as environmental responsibility and social issues such as diversity practices.  Most of the work remains theoretical at this stage.

JLOS_72ppiRGB_150pixWI hope that our article spurs an increase in empirical research on this topic. It is essential that we understand the link between leadership style and organizational performance outcomes if we are to understand the benefits of encouraging certain leader behavior.

Read the paper, Strategic Leadership: Values, Styles, and Organizational Performance,” online in the Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies.

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