Leadership Style of University Administrators and Effect on Employees

In order to improve the institutional performance, there is a growing need to investigate the correlation between leadership styles of the administrators (Vice Chancellors or Presidents) of higher education institutions such as universities, on the job satisfaction of the faculty.

One of the main aspects of this type of research is its multidimensionality in terms of (1) identifying leadership styles adopted by the academic administrators, (2) investigating job satisfaction of the faculty, and consequently (3) establishing a relationship between leadership styles adopted by various leaders over the years and the job satisfaction of the faculty.

The research published in [1] was conducted in a leading public sector university in South Asia where a statistical analysis of data for over a decade was performed. The leadership style of the four administrators of the university in the past 12 years was identified through the use of Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ) [2]. The faculty job satisfaction during the tenures of each administrator in question was investigated through a Job Satisfaction Survey (JSS) questionnaire completed by the faculty. Finally, a correlation between the leadership styles of the administrator and faculty job satisfaction was drawn.   


One of the main aims of this quantitative correlational study was to examine the relationship between the leadership style of the academic administrator leadership styles and institutional performance. This study was designed to be co-relational and non-experimental. Independent variables were the leadership styles of academic administrators (i.e. transformational, transactional, and passive/avoidant styles) as evaluated by faculty members whereas the dependent variable was faculty job satisfaction. The sample consisted of 110 faculty members (i.e. 40% of the entire population of 272) of the University of which 65% (i.e. 71) completed the survey forms. The survey was conducted in a public sector university in KPK province of Pakistan in South Asia. 
Unlike other studies of this nature, this research is based on the survey through tenures of 4 academic administrators of a public sector university between 2003 and 2015. Each faculty member was made to complete 4 MLQ-5x survey forms i.e. one for each academic administer. Following MLQ-5x standards, the academic administrators were assigned leadership styles as per their dominant trait identified by the faculty members participating in the survey. MLQ was also used to evaluate the job satisfaction levels of faculty participating in the survey. Each faculty member was then requested to complete 4 Job Satisfaction Survey forms i.e. one for each academic administrator’s tenure. This was followed by analysis of results to correlate the leadership style of the academic administrators against the faculty job satisfaction.    

Results and Discussion

Based on the methodology described in the previous section, Table 1 provides the leadership styles of each of the 4 academic administrators identified during this study. As per the MLQ guidelines, an average of scores across each group of subscales representing a leadership style was calculated and the leadership style with the highest average is selected as the dominant leadership style. Based on the MLQ-5x based survey, the dominant leadership style of the academic administrator A-1 was perceived to be transformational whereas academic administrators A-2 and A-3 were perceived to be having a transactional leadership style. A-4 was perceived by to be leading with passive/avoidant leadership style.   

Table 1: Leadership Style of Academic Administrators Identified through MLQ-5x Survey


Academic Administrator    A-1 (2003-2006)

Academic Administrator   A-2 (2006-2010)

Academic Administrator   A-3 (2010-2014)

Academic Administrator   A-4 (2014-2015)

Average scores for each leadership  style on constituent MLQ scales

Transformational (3.9)

Transactional (3.3)

Passive/Avoidant (2.1)

Transactional (3.7)

Transformational (3.2)

Passive/Avoidant (1.8)

Transactional (3.9)

Transformational (3.4)

Passive/Avoidant (2.1)

Passive/Avoidant (3.8)

Transactional (3.4)

Transformational (2.2)

Perceived dominant leadership style of the academic administrator based on MLQ survey






Besides measuring the leadership style, MLQ-5x also allows measuring employee satisfaction. The average faculty job satisfaction score for A-1 with transformational leadership style was calculated to be 3.7 out of 5.0. Faculty job satisfaction score for A-2 and A-3 with transactional leadership style was measured to be 3.3 and 3.1 respectively whereas the faculty job satisfaction score for A-3 was recorded to be 3.6. It is interesting to notice that the faculty was by far more satisfied with passive/avoidant leadership style as compared to the transactional leadership style. Transformational leadership style in the perspective of the organisation in question resulted in more satisfied faculty compared to any other leadership style.           

Job Satisfaction Survey was utilized to assess faculty job satisfaction under each of the four academic administrators with varying leadership styles. Out of the total population n=110, 71% (n=78) of the faculty was recorded to be satisfied (average 3.5 or above on a scale of 6) under the academic administrator A-1 with transformational leadership style. Under A-2 with transactional leadership style, 59% (n=65) of the faculty was recorded to be satisfied whereas, under academic administrator A-3 with the transactional leadership style, 55% (n=61) of the faculty was recorded satisfied. In the tenure of A-4 with the passive/avoided leadership style, 64% (n=70) of the faculty was satisfied. 
Analysis of results acquired through the survey involving MLQ and JSS, it was observed that the academic administrator with the transactional leadership style managed to acquire the highest percentage of satisfied faculty compared to academic administrators with different leadership styles. It was further observed that the academic administrators with passive/avoidant leadership style managed to acquire a higher percentage in terms of faculty satisfaction compared to the academic administrators with transactional leadership style.  

The Article “Leadership Styles and their Impact on Faculty Job Satisfaction: Case Study of a Public Sector University in South Asia”, was published in the Proceedings of the IOARP International Conference on Management, Leadership, and Entrepreneurship (ICMLE),  held on 18-19 December 2015, in London, UK. The paper can be retrieved from http://ioarp.org/ioarp-digital-library/subject/article.php?id=20


[1] Yousaf Raheel et al., Leadership Styles and their Impact on Faculty Job Satisfaction: Case Study of a Public Sector University in South Asia”,  in the Proceedings of the IOARP International Conference on Management, Leadership, and Entrepreneurship (ICMLE), 18-19 December 2015, London, UK. Online Available From:  http://ioarp.org/ioarp-digital-library/subject/article.php?id=20

[2] Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire. Online Available From: http://www.mindgarden.com/16-multifactor-leadership-questionnaire, retrieved 15 November 2015

About the Blogger

Yousaf Raheel holds an MBA degree in Finance and an MSc in Marketing from University of Wales. He has over 8 years experience in HE Teaching at some of the leading international universities. Raheel has several research publications to his credit, published in reputed proceedings and journals. Raheel’s research interests include management leadership in academia, classroom behaviour management, economics of Education, and management sciences domains such as marketing, financial planning, and business strategy.


  • Date 2018-07-11
  • Author Yousaf Raheel
  • Subject Business & Management
  • Views 159

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