Original Research

Transformational leadership and employee organisational commitment in a rural-based higher education institution in South Africa

Wiseman Ndlovu, Hlanganipai Ngirande, Sam T. Setati, Simbarashe Zhuwao
SA Journal of Human Resource Management | Vol 16 | a984 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhrm.v16i0.984 | © 2018 Hlanganipai Ngirande, Wiseman Ndlovu, Sam T. Setati, Simbarashe Zhuwao | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 31 July 2017 | Published: 27 June 2018

About the author(s)

Wiseman Ndlovu, Department of Human Resource Management and Labour Relations, University of Venda, South Africa
Hlanganipai Ngirande, Department of Human Resource Management and Labour Relations, University of Venda, South Africa
Sam T. Setati, Department of Human Resource Management and Labour Relations, University of Venda, South Africa
Simbarashe Zhuwao, Department of Human Resource Management and Labour Relations, University of Venda, South Africa


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Abstract

Orientation: Transformation is a topical issue in South African higher education institutions. The slow and sluggish progress in attempts to transform the sector can be attributed to leadership and commitment of staff in these institutions.

Research purpose: The study investigated perceptions of employees and managers on the connection between transformational leadership style and employee organisational commitment in a selected rural-based higher education institution in South Africa.

Motivation for the study: This study was conducted to determine whether a perceived lack or the presence of transformational leadership style influences the level of organisational commitment of academic and non-academic staff members of a rural-based university. It is believed that in this way, the study may assist in determining and identifying the strategies to be used to improve the commitment of the staff members to attain the much needed transformation in higher education institutions.

Research design, approach and method: A self-administered questionnaire was used to gather data following a quantitative research design. The target population was divided into academic and non-academic strata. Pearson product moment correlation and multiple regression analysis were performed.

Main findings: The study found that transformational leadership style has a positive and significant relationship with affective commitment and moderate relationship with continuance commitment. On the contrary, it had no relationship with normative commitment. The study further revealed that perceived transformational leadership style explained the variance on employee organisational commitment. Therefore, the study concludes that effects of perceived transformational leadership style on employee commitment cannot be the same in different institutions and settings.

Practical and managerial implications: The study recommends that each institution should diagnose its situation for a better pictorial view of how transformational leadership affects employee organisational commitment in their organisation.

Contribution: The results of the study may assist leaders and employees in higher education institutions to enhance commitment for both academic and non-academic staff members through transformative leadership style to attain transformational goals of the South African higher education institutions as projected by the national government. Furthermore, this study will ensure the promotion and creation of transformative leaders who are adaptive and proactive in dealing with challenges of transformation in the former ‘black’ higher education institutions in South Africa and who also have staff members committed to this higher education transformation agenda.

Keywords

employee organisational commitment; transformational leadership; rural based higher education institutions

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