A survey of the leadership style in the public sector : a case study of eThekwini Municipality.
The fluctuating rate of change in the external environment drives public sector organisations to constantly search for new ways to adapt to the changes and improve public service delivery. Public sector organisations need leaders who can simultaneously respond to the turbulent environment while meeting the requests of different stakeholders. They must adopt effective contemporary leadership styles and techniques that will enable them to be proactive to the prevailing pressures in the business environment, whilst attaining the organisational objectives. The demand for public sector services increases as the economy attempts to recover from the global recession. This demand also arises from the communities which have been promised a better life by the new democratic government of South Africa. The significance of public sector leadership becomes apparent in the light of the important role of the public sector in providing services to the society at large. It is the leadership of an organisation that is vital in planning and implementing the processes and operations of the organisation. The full range leadership theory, in particular transactional and transformational leadership styles, were used to survey the management in the municipality. The study adopted a combination of both qualitative and quantitative methodologies, in which both the management and employees of the municipality participated in the study. A purposive sampling technique was used in sampling the leaders, which yielded a sample size of three Unit Heads. To select the sample from the employees, stratified random sampling was used which yielded a sample size of 201 respondents. A descriptive research design was adopted for the qualitative aspect of the study and an exploratory design was adopted for the quantitative aspect of the study. The quantitative data was analysed using inferential and descriptive statistics and the qualitative data was analysed using the interpretative analysis method. The key findings revealed that the surveyed leaders at eThekwini Municipality are transformational to a greater extent and transactional to a lesser extent. The transformational leadership style is more dominant and also influential in the units under study. It was concluded that the leaders share the organisational vision with the employees, motivate the employees to realise the vision, encourage innovative ways of thinking and show a personal interest in employees and their development.