The leadership impact and challenges on accelerating performance toward excellence.

ssignment details:

Write a detailed critical review of the literature in this topics:
Topic: The leadership impact and challenges on accelerating performance toward excellence.

Paper design:
1. Introduction
2. Literature Review (will be 80% of the total work)
3. Reflection
4. Conclusion

Things to be well focused and to be well illustrated in the Literature Review:

1. What has already done?
2. What are ingoing discussion?
3. What are potential gaps?
4. How my paper may address those gaps?

1. Make sure to cover all main points included in the attachments name (What makes a top-quality literature review)
2. Make sure the references included in the PowerPoint called (chapter.1) to be included in the paper (page 42 – 43). also when choosing references regarding the topics should be 3 or 4 stars according to CABS.

1. This is to be directly related to your PhD/DBA research and cover between 20-50 articles, book chapters and/or books.
2. 10 books or articles about Literature Review fundamentals and 40 books or articles about the subject.
3. The review is to be 7, 000 words and can include literature that you have already examined as part of your doctoral studies






Table of Contents


Published works on Leadership Impact and Challenges on Accelerating Performance towards Excellence



Characteristics of Effective Leadership

Organisational Performance

Challenges on Performance

Current State of Leadership

Scientific Gap in the Leadership Studies





The Leadership Impact and Challenges on Accelerating Performance toward Excellence


Study about leadership started a long time ago from the trait theory through the human relations model to contingency and situational theory. Nevertheless, as Wren (1994, p. 76) suggests, leadership has not been studied adequately, and still little is known about leadership. About a decade ago, there were several definitions of leadership and its effects on the performance of an organisation. In the last two decades, leadership research has gained momentum, and the field has started taking a rather holistic view of leadership, which has resulted in a more positive type of leadership being integrated into the literature. Leadership impact organisations in different dimensions and therefore determines their success (Wren 1994, p. 76). It is the leaders who influence employees’ motivation, organisational culture, values and change tolerance. They play a crucial role in shaping organisational strategies such as their formulation, implementation, and effectiveness. Leaders can occupy a leadership position at any level in an organisation and are not only supposed to occupy management positions. All organisations ranging from governmental and non-governmental institutions, businesses to libraries require effective leadership if they anticipate achieving meaningful success (Hao and Yazdanifard 2015, n.p). Leaders have a substantial influence on moving employees towards the institutional goals and have a direct impact on how workers in a particular organisation behave, interact with one another, and how resources are utilised among other things. The entire process of management of teams and ensuring their effectiveness requires leaders with the ability to motivate and provide a clear vision for their juniors (Hao and Yazdanifard 2015, n.p). Leaders play an important role in setting smart objectives for their underlings and empower them to accomplish various organisational goals. Thus, leaders play a key role in designing collective norms and helping team members to face and resolve different challenges arising in the team environment.

In the current highly competitive business environment, organisations are relying on their leaders to facilitate crucial changes and innovations needed to compete favourably. Leaders are viewed as individuals with the ability to steer an organisation through massive environmental turbulence, thrive in situations where lesser mortals will fade away quickly, bring order out of chaos, and bring mightiness out of mediocrity, which improves the organisational performance (Winston and Patterson 2006, p. 15). An effective leader guides, inspires, and motivates her followers towards the achievement of the set goals and objectives. Based on how leaders delegate responsibilities, make decisions, interact with their subordinates, and resolve conflicts influence employees’ morale, absenteeism, retention, and overall performance of an organisation. In the current business environment, leaders should make specific, attainable, realistic, time-constraint, and measurable goals if they anticipate accelerating the organisational performance (Pradeep and Prabhu 2011, p. 199). Well-defined goals result in lower absenteeism and improved morale, which leads to decreased waste, few errors, and improved customer satisfaction. Subsequently, leaders should be ready to orient their business operations to respond to market demands (Pradeep and Prabhu 2011, p. 199). This is only possible if they apply participative leadership, which will help them gather important information from employees about process improvement. A comprehensive review of the currently available literature regarding leadership will be carried out. Determining the relationship between leadership and organisation performance is important because it will help to define the role leaders have in accelerating performance in the current business environment that is highly competitive and dynamic.

Published works on Leadership Impact and Challenges on Accelerating Performance towards Excellence


Literature review refers to a formal appraisal of a particular subject in the academic field and plays a crucial role in helping scholars to plan for their research and placing study findings into the correct context (Ward, House and Hamer 2009, p. 157; Tranfield, Denyer and Smart 2003, p. 209). It is crucial for scholars to understand the landscape in which they are working to enable them to make a valuable contribution to their field of study. Writing a literature review entails gathering, sorting, evaluating, and summarising peer-reviewed published articles into a relevant and informative narrative that is not biased. An individual can obtain books, articles, academic texts, review articles, and other relevant academic sources from digital sources such as databases (Moher et al. 2009, p. 266). The literature review should provide a balanced perspective that may include inconsistencies and conflicting findings as well as current and established thinking (Winchester and Salji 2016, p. 310; Denney and Tewksbury 2013, p. 220; Lingard 2018, p. 135). Further, a literature review may entail the gathering of information; a scholar may need to get a personal perspective on the background of a particular topic, which means that it requires more than just a quick scan of existing sources and a few summarised bullet points (Wong et al. 2013 p. 20).

The current paper will use a literature review methodology referred to as integrative review, which aims at assessing and synthesising the existing literature using the topic provided above (Torraco 2005, p. 358; Palmatier et al. 2018, p. 3). Some of the examples of this type of literature review in the field of business include Covington (2000, p. 185), Gross (1998, p. 280), and Muzumdar, Raj, and Sinha (2005, p. 95). Nearly all integrative literature reviews address mature or new topics. For mature topics, the aim of employing integrative review is to offer the overview knowledge, to critically review and probably re-conceptualise and expand on the theoretical foundation of a particular topic. For the newly emerging topics, the aim of the literature review is to develop preliminary or initial theoretical models and conceptualisations instead of reviewing the old models. Since the impact of leadership and on accelerating organisational performance is a new topic, the paper will apply a method that addresses newly emerging topics. The purpose is not to review all articles that have been established on a given topic but rather to combine insights and perspectives from various research traditions or fields. The data analysis in an integrative review does not follow a particular standard (Whittemore and Knafl, 2005, p. 549). The main purpose of analysing data in this type of literature is to critically evaluate and examine the literature to determine the main ideas and relationships of a given issue.


Different scholars have defined leadership differently. Winston and Patterson (2006, p. 21) state that leadership is a process by which an individual referred to as a leader influences others to work towards achieving organisational objectives with confidence willingly. He indicates that “leadership is generally defined simply as the process of influencing people to direct their efforts towards achievement of some particular goal or goals”(Winston and Patterson 2006, p. 12). On the other hand, Almaki et al. (2016, p. 225) view leadership as an art of influencing individuals to work towards accomplishing the group’s goals willingly.  Keegan and Den Hartog (2004, p. 613) emphasise that leadership is simply an act that entails one person influencing others towards achieving an objective. Sofi and Devanadhen (2015, p. 37) view leadership as an act causing or motivating individuals to perform a particular task intended to attain specified goals. Madanchian et al. (2017, p. 1045) view leadership as a process by which objectives and directions are set by one individual and that every member of their team should follow. An effective leader sets goals for their teams and communicates their plan to the subordinates and informs them about the importance of such goals to the team. In such an arrangement, collective trust develops, which helps the team to achieve its aims.

Despite some variations in definitions, at least three crucial implications are clear. First, leadership is a process steered by an individual who is the leader, and it is an on-going activity. Second, leadership involves other people who are referred to as subordinates or juniors and who are willing to be influenced by the leader. Hence, it is the subordinates who formalise the leader’s power by making the process of leadership possible. Third, in all provided definitions, the objective of the leadership process is the attainment of specified objectives and goals, an indication that the leader’s attempt to influence their subordinates is directional and aim at a particular level of achievement. Various researchers such as Kahn, Barton, and Fellows (2013, p. 382) have revealed that leadership should not be only considered as a set of orders and directives issued by the leader and followed by subordinates, but also as a collective wisdom and ability of team to safeguard the organisation’s interests and integrate all available resources to accomplish a common goal. According to definitions provided above, leaders are individuals who influence other individuals in an organisation and are capable of overcoming various challenges in the modern business environment and implementing different effective strategies that accelerate organisational performance.

Ideally, leaders have a duty to encourage subordinates using all possible means to work with confidence and zeal. This information also suggests that leadership is based on social relationship, which implies that for leadership to exist, there must be interrelation between the leader and their followers, who together form a group called an organisation. An organisation refers to a group of two or more individuals who interact on a continuous basis with the aim of achieving the set objectives. An organisation comprises of three main elements that must interrelate efficiently to attain the set objectives. These elements include management, people, and tasks, all of which should be aligned to accomplish a particular goal in an organisation. On the one hand, management acts as a body that determines procedures, rules, and policies that guide relationships and various operations in an organisation, which to some degree influence the achievement of organisational objectives and goals. In an environment where two or more individuals interact, a group is created, and when individuals in a group continuously co-exist and interact for a sufficient period, an organisation is born. Subsequently, there must be an individual to provide this group with direction, coordinate all activities of individual members making up the group, and ensure the stability. Leadership quality and image of a leader are reflected through the behaviour of employees and the performance of an organisation. Hence, leaders use their authority to influence the work ethics, behaviour, and task operations of their subordinates. Since leadership is crucial to workers’ corporate excellence, organisations invest heavily in search of effective leadership. Effective leadership is vital for an improved organisational performance according to Zeb, Ahmad, and Saeed (2018, p.  98) since it promotes the development of progressive culture, workers’ motivation, and verifies organisational vision and objectives. Zeb, Ahmad, and Saeed (2018, p.  98) state that leaders have an instrumental role in safeguarding the organisation’s interests through fulfilling employees’ needs and integrating all important resources to achieve organisational objectives. Thus, because leaders can promote the development of progressive culture in their organisation, they have a significant role to play in accelerating organisation performance.

Characteristics of Effective Leadership

Organisational leadership is an area of research that has attracted a lot of interest from scholars for a long time and continues to attract both practitioners and academicians around the world. Leadership has been proven to play a vital role in organisations, as indicated by Drucker (2012, p. 11) and Khan (2002, p. 7). These researchers contend that the role of leadership cannot be underrated in any organisation irrespective of the industry because it significantly influences the organisational performance. Moreover, some researchers such as Bennis and Nanus (1985, p. 22) and Hersey and Blanchard (1988, p.183) view leadership as a crucial driver of organisational performance. They contend that an effective leader is an individual who can develop the goodwill and build an excellent reputation of an organisation.

Valcea et al. (2011, p. 611) indicate that since the 1900s, leadership effectiveness has been viewed to be the interactive nature of social systems. Effective leadership is considered to be an interactive process of strategic competence, trustworthiness, and environmental knowledge among followers. An effective leader provides support for career growth and rewards their juniors tangibly, fairly, and psychologically for their hard work. In addition, as Lamb (2013, p. 2018) specifies, effective leaders use physical and psychological resources at their disposal to improve the performance of their subordinates. Effectiveness in leadership is a fundamental determinant of success because an effective leader steers their subjects in the right direction and formulates effective strategies and vision with the purpose of realising long-term organisational goals and objectives.

According to Judge, Bone, and Gerhardt (2002, p. 765), leadership acts as a link between people, procedures, and processes, which result in improved organisational performance. Additionally, Jabbar and Hussein (2017, p. 103) posit that effective leaders have a huge role in blending managerial, strategic, and motivational skills. Likewise, McGrath and MacMillan (2000, p. 22) and Teece, Pisano, and Shuen (1997, p. 360) point out that effective leadership is a fundamental requirement for improving and facilitating organisational performances and that it helps an organisation to withstand various challenges. Covey (2004, p. 7) highlights the core role of leadership as constructing the required organisational and human resources to improve the employees’ skills. This typically results in the required change that is characterised by knowledge management, internalisation of quality, establishing partnerships, getting the right ethics and values and the management of accountability. Covey (2004, p. 7) emphasise that to achieve all this, the fundamental role of a leader in an organisation is to offer guidance to employees, motivate them through inspiration, create teamwork through mutual trust, and focus on the results.

Jing and Avery (2008, p. 6) insist that while there are other fundamental factors such as procedures, policies, processes, human force, and materials, leadership effectiveness determine whether or not an organisation will succeed because the duty of a leader is to motivate employees to willingly spend their energy and effort to catalyse the organisation’s success. Another scholar, Nasseh (1996, p. 2002), suggests that for an individual to lead an organisation effectively, they require to possess motivational skills because motivation is an important force in changing the mind of an individual. Lindner (1998, p. 5) supports this idea by stressing that motivated employees dedicate more effort to accomplishing organisation objectives and leaders should, therefore, motivate their followers through the recognition and public praise, allocating them challenging tasks, ensuring excellent working relation, empowering them, and offering attractive salaries and incentives.

As Alfes et al. (2013, p. 340) highlight, leaders are more likely to motivate subordinates if they provide good working conditions, the opportunity for career growth, good chemistry, and a clear direction of what they want the organisation to achieve. Further, Rees, Alfes, and Gatenby (2013, p. 2785) add that individuals find it interesting to work in an organisation where one receives feedback constantly. Irrespective of whether feedback comes from supervisors or peers, it is essential for motivating, and all leaders should strive to achieve this in their organisations. Continuous feedback is also important as it autonomously activates workers to take bold steps towards improvement of their works and looking for solutions to various challenges that they encounter in the workplace. In another research by Leigh and Maynard (2010, p. 15), one of the fundamental roles of leadership has been underlined as the ability of a leader to inspire their subordinates.

Barnett, McCormick, and Conners (2001, p. 35) view effective leaders as individuals with the ability to inspire their followers. They stress that inspiring followers plays a crucial role in motivating them because inspiration can develop enthusiasm in a manner that stimulates exertion of more energy while performing tasks. Consequently, followers usually develop commitment and confidence, which further optimise their efforts as well as contribute towards realising organisation’s goals. Hence, organisations require leaders with the capability to build an environment of trust among their counterparts. This, according to Walumbwa and Schaubroeck (2009, p. 1275), requires a proficient leader and an individual who can behave as a role model. By serving as an example, leaders can motivate their followers, and as Walumbwa and Schaubroeck (2009, p. 1275) suggest, leaders should set examples of good working relations, attitude, manners, behaviour, and performance. For Kunich and Lester (1999, p. 23), organisational leaders are key figures, and they, therefore, need to develop professionalism, integrity, and dignity. Positive and consistency behaviour and values make a leader the role model of their team.

Another leadership quality that influences organisational performance is the ability of a leader to build an effective team, as Bacal (2004, p. 17) and Covey (2004, p. 16) explain. They argue that effective leaders usually develop functioning teams in an organisation and acknowledge the efforts of their subordinates. Subsequently, all team members feel encouraged because they are in a place where their efforts and achievements are appreciated. This results in the overall improvement of organisational performance. In teams where leaders do not encourage and appreciate the efforts of team members, the team is bound to lose its spirit. While a team constitutes members with different capacities, leaders play a crucial role in creating a suitable environment for developing each member.

Siu and Glover (2001, p. 69) investigated the role of leaders in driving organisational change and found that they have a huge role to play. Leaders have a mandate to build a conducive environment that offers their subordinates an opportunity to innovate. A leader plays an essential role in bringing the required changes that improve the performance of an institution. Leaders are required to constantly adapt and update necessary changes to provide a suitable environment for employees to showcase their skills, which will improve organisational performance. An effective leader is therefore considered an agent of change and must always encourage learning of new skills and abilities among their team members. Nevertheless, as Ristino (2005, p. 19) states, change in any organisation is influenced by the vision of the leader. Visionary leaders are understandable and clear and guide the entire effort towards a single direction. Senge (2006, p. 22) carried out a study and found that a visionary leader is an individual with the ability to predict the impact of the creative efforts of their subordinates. Other studies, including Zhu, Chew, and Spangler (2005, p. 45) and Gill (2006, p. 7) have found that organisations with visionary leaders are more likely to succeed and realise improved performance. It is evident that effective communication between leaders and followers is a crucial factor for the success of an organisation as it develops sense connectivity and direction among subordinates. Ristino (2005, p. 17 ) asserts that setting and properly communicating goals to the subordinates eliminates ambiguity, which reduces the chances of conflicts as observed in an organisation where goals are not set or are not communicated properly. Setting goals and communicating them is important as it helps to minimise the duration of decision-making and problem-solving. Thus, most researchers as indicated above view effective leaders as mission and vision builders, motivators, team builders, participative decision-makers, effective communicators, and have the ability to build trust and will to recognise subordinate achievements and are role models. This indicates that the leader must combine most of these characteristics to be successful in steering an organisation towards achieving its goals. Hence, it is evident that leaders have different roles such as positively interacting with employees, acting as a link between people, procedures, and processes, motivating subordinates, building an effective team, and building a conducive environment in an organisation. All these roles are vital in accelerating organisational performance because employees who are motivated, working in the right environment, and whose leader often provides feedback about their performance are more likely to perform at high levels.

Organisational Performance

Organisational performance refers to the results obtained by an organisation after investing in various aspects such as human resource, production, and promotion costs. It can also refer to the actual output of an organisation, which is measured against anticipated outputs, objectives, and goals. Gavrea et al. (2011, p. 43) state that organisational performance entails three sectors related to the organisation, which include financial performance that consists profits and returns on investment, shareholder return, which constitutes total shareholder, and economic value-added, and product or service performance, which consists sales and market share.

The overall organisational performance is influenced by the job performance of individual employees, which in turn is affected by various factors such as leadership. Campbell (1990, p. 692) states that job performance constitutes behaviours or actions related to organisational objectives and they include both productive and counterproductive workers’ behaviours and actions that may contribute to or prevent the organisation from achieving its goals. Viswesvaran and Ones (2000, p. 220) provided another definition and indicated that job performance refers to the behaviour of employees that influence organisational goals. Thus, this means that job performance is the effectiveness of employee behaviours, which affects the achievement of organisational goals and should consist of both the context and task performance.

Ryan and Berbegal-Mirabent (2016, p. 5301) describe three types of job performance, which include measures of the rate of outputs such as the productivity of a group of workers and the number of sales for a given period, among others. The other measure of performance, according to Ryan and Berbegal-Mirabent (2016, p. 5302) entails appraisals of employees by an external evaluator. The third measure of performance is self-ratings and self-appraisal, which is considered crucial in encouraging workers to participate in setting their goals actively. Therefore, job performance as indicated by Blanchard, Zigarmi, and Nelson (1993, p. 28) can act as a measure of the level of achievement of an organisation as well as social responsibilities and objectives from the viewpoint of the judging party.

There is a general consensus among the scholars that performance is a fundamental aspect of an organisation, and it is one of the most important indicators of organisational performance in various sectors. Motowidlo (2003, p. 19) states that although performance is usually determined by the calculation of financial figures, employee performance can be measured through a combination of anticipated task and behaviour-related aspects. In reality, the performance that is based on the relative judgement or the absolute value may act as a reflection of the overall performance of an organisation. Nevertheless, as indicated by Varshney and Varshney (2017, p. 945), a performance measure based on the appraisal items provides higher reliability in regards to the evaluation of performance.

High performing workers have a higher likelihood of becoming concerned with individual and organisational performance, which involves productivity, quality, innovation, and the performance cycle time, which according to Johnson & Bharadwaj (2005, p. 13) enables them to help the organisation attain its strategic goals and sustain a competitive advantage over its rivals. Hence, as Jing (2008, p. 14) suggests, to attract and sustain top talent, employers must treat their employees as a vital internal asset and work hard to gratify them. Satisfied employees will perform at a higher level, thus contributing to improved organisational performance.

Leadership and organisational performance are closely related, according to Samad et al. (2015, p. 990), who conducted research on 2662 employees working in 311 organisations. The authors found that leadership style applied influences the overall culture of an organisation, which in turn affects organisational performance. Thus, organisational culture and performance are associated with the style of leadership. Hence, to generate improved returns, leaders need to accelerate the performance of their organisations to overcome stiff competition from other organisations.

Challenges on Performance 

Pech and Slade (2006, p. 16) state that disengaging employees is one of the common challenges experienced by organisations in relation to performance. The authors conducted a meta-analysis where they used more than 30 scholarly articles to investigate whether employee engagement impacts organisational performance. The findings of the study indicate that when employees are not engaged in organisational activities, their productivity is more likely to lower because they do feel attached to the organisation. The same study found that companies that scored high in employee engagement had high productivity than those that scored low (Pech and Slade 2006, p. 21). When workers feel strongly connected to an organisation, they are more motivated and thus more naturally inclined towards achieving organisational goals, which contributes to the organisation’s success. The most important outcome of the engagement is creating an organisational culture that creates a sense of belonging among employees. A great sense of purpose usually drives employees’ motivation on an individual basis within their daily tasks (Pech and Slade 2006, p. 23).  Additionally, by informing workers that their work has contributed to business success, they get a sense of belonging and form an emotional and mental connection that becomes mutually beneficial for both parties; employer and employee.

As Singh and Twalo (2015, p. 82) suggest, ineffective management of performance has a negative impact on the performance. The study was conducted on employees of different organisations who were asked whether they knew what was expected of them at the workplace. 91.15% of the individuals who participated in the investigation indicated that there was no daily monitoring of their job (Singh and Twalo 2015, p. 79). More than half of the participants pointed out that they were not aware of what was expected of them at their workplace. When tasks are not clearly defined, employees can set wrong priorities, feel confused, and eventually work on the wrong things, which decrease the overall productivity of an organisation. Nonetheless, if a leader assists their followers in setting goals for each work period, it can result in improved productivity. Thus, it is essential that leaders guide their team members through goal-setting and frequently aligning them with such goals, as well as creating opportunities to check-in. Leaders should update employees on a regular basis about their weaknesses and strengths and what they are working to achieve throughout the year.

Elnaga and Imran (2013, p. 140) point out that inadequate training and education programs may derail the performance of an organisation. In his study conducted on public organisations, he interviewed 200 employees, whereby 75% indicated that although their leaders set goals and expectations, there were insufficient education and training programs to guide and coach them throughout the year. Consequently, because most employees fear to appear incompetent, they highly struggled and took more time or made mistakes, which have the potential to impede the organisational performance (Elnaga and Imran 2013, p. 140). To overcome this problem, managers and other leaders have a responsibility of creating a culture of continuous learning that will allow employees to ask questions and feel empowered to learn about various tasks they perform.

Excessive meetings, according to Perlow, Hadley, and Eun (2017, p. 5), have an adverse impact on organisational performance. Spending too much time on meetings consumes a lot of time that should be used to complete other tasks. Some meetings take a whole day, whereas others occur several times throughout the week. Some leaders have failed to create strategies to help employees conduct meetings efficiently that do not sap their productivity, making them feel demoralised.

Some factors that are non-work related can result in low performance, as indicated by Muda, Rafiki, and Harahap (2014, p. 15). In some instances, employees may experience personal issues that affect their performance, and if a leader fails to realise this, they may push them hard to finish their tasks, which can further lead to high stress and burnout. Non-work-related issues, including family issues, can influence the employees’ ability to concentrate and get things done. In such circumstances, an effective leader gives an individual time to relax and support them throughout their struggling period. These persons need to recover to restore their productivity and that of the organisation.

Current State of Leadership

Brown et al. (2019, p. 64) suggest that management of performance has long been constantly evolving and for the last decade, there has been a significant change in the cultural set up of organisations. Companies are abandoning traditional leader-follower relationship, where a leader is viewed as a master who should judge subordinate performance. A new type of interaction referred to as adult-to-adult relationship is being adopted by almost every organisation in a bid to boost the performance (Brown et al. 2019, p. 50). In this form of relationship, learning from past mistakes and focusing on bettering the future is the most important theme. Besides this change, most organisations are now functioning in matrix environments as well as cross-functional teams and a linear relationship between the manager and their employees has become imperative. Although managers retain the responsibility of coaching their employees, the relationship is more of a peer than master to subordinate one, which increases chances for greater insights and development for the workers. Adopting a linear type of relationship has given employees a chance to spot potential opportunities for development that sometimes elude managers. Crowdsourcing has boosted the ability of organisations to build communities where peers have the opportunity to help one another in pursuit of the company’s goals and objectives (Brown et al. 2019, p. 50). Consequently, an important question emerges; does the new manager-employee relationship signal the end of performance appraisals? While some companies have taken a courageous step of removing performance ratings, review formality, and the calibration curves, a considerable number have adopted a hybrid system where a peer management approach and a culture of a performance review are part of the day to day practice.

Continuous culture of feedback, especially focusing on growth and development, gives the organisation the ability to have a great performance conversation (Brown et al. 2019, p. 50). This culture allows a great performance conversation to take place because performance gaps and strengths are easier to handle as they emerge. Today, managers do not struggle to determine the performance of a particular individual several months ago; rather, since there is a close relationship between these two parties, the former is able to continuously obtain feedback regarding the performance of the latter (Brown et al. 2019, p. 50). This is important as it helps to accelerate performance because the leader is able to identify areas that the employee must improve on a continuous basis instead of waiting for a full year.

Scientific Gap in the Leadership Studies

Ethnocentric nature of most leadership studies presents a major problem. There is sufficient evidence indicating that most studies concerning performance and organisational leadership have been conducted in various European nations and the United States. Most of these studies have been applied in other several countries without considering differences in socioeconomic, cultural, and political contexts. Consequently, there is a sizeable gap in the existing leadership studies due to failure in taking into account particular context and culture. In addition, there is no sufficient universal theories and formula that can precisely describe the relationship between effective leadership and organisational performance. Stogdill (1948, p. 36) performed a meta-analytic study reviewing a hundred and twenty-four studies. Although most of the scholars in these studies identified particular common characteristics of the effective leadership, including persistence, social dominance, and initiatives, they did not identify general traits or characteristics that can reflect uniformity in research concerning leadership effectiveness. Most of the existing cultural sensitive leadership models such as Multi-factor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ), Leader Behaviour Description Questionnaire (LBDQ), and Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI) developed by Bass, Ohio University, and Kouzes and Posner, respectively, are all based and designed to measure the effectiveness of western leadership. Resultantly, they have ignored most contextual realities in developing nations in continents such as Asia, Latin America and Africa. Thus, it becomes hard to draw a conclusion that leadership effectiveness and organisational performance have a positive relationship.


Based on the reviewed studies, a positive relationship between leadership and organisational performance exists. This indicates that leaders have a huge role to play in accelerating organisational performance. In the current business environment, things are changing fast, and something new is coming up every day, ranging from unexpected new products from the competitors, market shifts, and various policy changes that impact how business are conducted. Price and Toye (2017, p. 23) indicate that leaders have struggled to keep up with high-impact proceedings that are emerging, making it difficult to accelerate organisational performance. The survey was conducted on 1,200 leaders, where approximately 60% of the participants stated that their organisations had been constantly blindsided by the fast-changing business environment. Further, a whopping 97% of the participants said that their organisations had insufficient early warning systems (Price and Toye, 2017, p. 23). Thus, unlike in the past when leadership was all about giving orders on how processes, procedures, and policies should be implemented, modern leaders have to work extra hard to align their organisation with the fast-evolving world if they anticipate remaining relevant and competitive in the current market. Leaders have a fundamental role to play in promoting the right behaviour as well as an accelerated strategy. One of the ways a leader can accelerate organisational performance is capitalising on uncertainty (Price and Toye, 2017, p. 25). An accelerated strategy adopts and mobilises uncertainty, helping leaders to accomplish alignment and clarity on the most crucial forces shaping the future and helping to pinpoint areas where a business can generate more income. Unlike in the past where the leaders have been relying solely on the already existing business opportunity to generate profits, leaders in an accelerated system must have the ability to recognise profitable opportunities in the inevitable uncertainty that lies ahead, yet unanticipated. Leaders should exploit the uncertainty by dedicating time to examine assumptions regarding the future of the business to determine how they can be converted into opportunities (Price and Toye 2017, p. 27). Some of the tools that can help them achieve this include real-options analysis, influence diagrams, and system dynamic modelling that will help clear ambiguity. Although uncertainty can be sometimes intimidating, it is an important component of accelerated strategy because it encourages leaders to identify openings and prevent them from being distracted by too much information. An investigation by Wilson (2011, p. 13) found out that over 50% of the respondents who were all business executives indicated that their organisations lacked an effective winning strategy. Moreover, about two-thirds of the participants said their companies did not have the needed capabilities to accomplish their strategies. The study was conducted with executives from various business sectors with the aim of determining whether most businesses have an appropriate performance accelerating strategy. The survey entailed the administration of online questionnaires, which were later examined to obtain the results presented above Wilson (2011, p. 14). To accelerate performance, leaders must clearly understand what capabilities their company needs to accomplish its strategy, which of these capabilities the business has, and which ones it should develop. In the current business environment, having a single strategy cannot accelerate organisational performance. Rather, it is advisable to adopt multiple strategies because market conditions are changing very fast, new threats and opportunities are emerging every day, and competitors are pursuing unexpected venues. It is important for leaders in addition to engaging employees, introducing incentives, fostering communication, among other things, to study competitors and determine their possible reactions and build their approach based around these factors. For instance, role-playing can help executives to devise the competitor’s strategic intentions and build multiple strategies to address them. Although most companies formulate plans as if the market is predictable, it is vital for executives to appreciate the value of adaptability, and respond effectively when abrupt changes occur in the business environment.

For a long time now, organisations have been focusing on pursuing long-term ambitions while sacrificing the company’s performance in the short term. The accelerated strategy entails organisations planting the growth seeds while at the same time maintaining their core business objectives. For instance, it is easy to focus on the short-term initiatives that have an attractive return on investment (Yeung and Ulrich 2019, p. 29). This may result in a company losing its edge as far as long-term innovation is concerned because most of its resources are primarily channelled towards the short-term initiatives. Thus, executives have a duty to develop an accelerated system where a split of resources between long- and short-term initiatives is balanced. Resources can be allocated in three classes, which include core, new, and experimental categories. Core category refers to the short-term initiatives, which are of low risk. New category refers to medium-term initiatives, which are of medium risk and experimental category refers to long-term initiatives, which are of higher risk than the first two (Yeung and Ulrich 2019, p. 69). Since each category has its own risk level and time zone, executives must ensure that short-term initiatives do not crowd out long-term investments. When a leader has short- and long-term initiative at their disposal, they can drop the failing strategy and implement the ones doing well.

Collaboration and teamwork are important in accelerating business performance, and every leader should strive to adopt this strategy (Yeung and Ulrich 2019, p. 213). There is sufficient evidence indicating that teamwork is effective in improving organisational performance. However, to accelerate the performance, leaders need to promote collaboration with the external partners with similar ambitions as theirs, whether in developing innovative products or breaking into new markets. Nevertheless, fostering collaboration is not a simple task, and it requires leaders to work very hard. While collaboration plays a crucial role in accelerating organisational performance, current leaders are yet to acquire vital skills needed to promote collaboration between their companies with outside ones (Yeung and Ulrich 2019, p. 213).

As indicated earlier, the current market is changing very fast, and new trends are emerging every day (Yeung and Ulrich 2019, p. 23). Therefore, managing change is crucial using various principles. If an executive fails to manage change effectively, their companies may fail to achieve its objectives fast enough. To accelerate business performance, executives should view change positively and with a sense of urgency. They should not fear it since it is inevitable, and they cannot prevent it from occurring. They should focus on formulating plans to cope with external pressures as opposed to some organisations that stubbornly adhere to their original strategies and ignoring emerging trends. A leader who perceives any change in the market positively and adjusts their company’s strategy is bound to accelerate the company’s performance towards achieving its goals and objectives (Yeung and Ulrich 2019, p. 223). It is not uncommon for employees to resist change, which can derail the performance of an organisation. Resultantly, a modern leader must possess the ability to convince them and help them understand the changes in the market and the need for the organisation to adapt. Leaders must ensure that they have involved all necessary stakeholders in designing and implementing major initiatives, irrespective of whether it is restricting the workforce or development a new product or process.

Furthermore, to succeed in a world where business market is always changing, with new and unpredictable challenges, and competition thrives, it is important for leaders to assemble a team of agile learners who can apply their knowledge and have a belief that they can rise to the challenge (Yeung and Ulrich 2019, p. 41). Several neuroscience studies have proven that humans can learn new behaviours and change inbuilt ones at any stage. Although it is out of real focus and hard work, all employees can learn new and effective behaviours and help take their organisations to a level of performance.


The current paper has reviewed the literature regarding how leadership impact organisational performance and how practices are being used today to accelerate performance. By studying a vast number of studies, a positive relationship between leadership and organisational performance has been identified. The review reveals that a leader’s behaviour influences how a particular organisation performs in terms of financial and non-financial gains. The leaders with positive behaviours are more likely to succeed in steering their organisation towards achieving its goals and missions and vice versa. However, in the recent past, industries have been disrupted at an unexpected pace, making it difficult for institutions to keep up. Thus, leaders must embrace an accelerated strategy to accelerate performance in the organisation amid the fast-changing business environment. Some of the important components of the accelerated strategy include capitalising on uncertainty, adopting multiple strategies, effective balancing of resources between short- and long-term initiatives and agility. The opportunity to lead is a motivating factor for my employees with leadership capabilities. In today’s environment, it tests one’s ability to constantly learn, retool, and adapt to the changes that are occurring fast and thick. It has been possible for leaders to stick to the same tactic without the performance of a company being affected, but the business environment has changed tremendously, making it difficult for leaders just to motivate and inspire employees towards achieving the organisation’s goals and objectives. Leaders in today’s world require to adjust the company’s strategy based on the changes in the market and competitors to accelerate performance. Nevertheless, building an organisation with the capacity to mobilise, implement, and transform with agility is not as easy as just picking some of the most relevant actions and creating an agenda. Even with important capabilities available, it does not guarantee a continuous level of agility, and an organisation requires extra effort and vigilance. The need for agility is a vital requirement for the current business world full of competition and the need for innovation. Maintaining the present level of agility in an organisation is not enough to guarantee continued success. A huge gap exists in the published studies on leadership-performance relationship because neither organisational performance nor effective leadership is a straightforward and linear phenomenon. This is due to inadequate research on the link between these two aspects in other environments other than the United States, Australia, and most of the European countries. While several leadership effectiveness models have been developed in these countries, they are not suitable for use in the developing countries in continents such as Asia, Africa, and South America. Thus, it will be appropriate to develop indigenous leadership models to be utilised in different contexts with different social, political, and cultural settings.


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