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Leadership in Management: Research Project Report


The current study examined the differences between leadership and management. Understanding the skills and behaviors of individuals working with the two concepts helps employees to achieve the right balance in their work. To bring out the differences, the study focused on the divergence between empowering and direct leadership. The author created a correlation between leadership style and employees’ attitudes and perceptions of the organization’s reputation. The study was conducted at Whitireia Polytechnic in Auckland, New Zealand. Data were collected from 20 respondents using self-report questionnaires.

The information was analyzed and computed using such techniques as Expected Maximization (EM), MCAR, and Structural Equation Modeling (SEM). The key findings from the study revealed that there is a significant difference between direct and empowering modes of leadership. The results showed that empowering leaders have a more positive impact on employees compared to those who adopt the direct approach. Empowering leaders are more likely to engage workers in decision making and delegate powers to them. As a result, employees feel more empowered in terms of competence and control. In addition, leaders who empower workers positively influence the employees’ perception of the organization.


Not so long ago, the definitions of leadership and management were considered to be of relatively equal value. Today, the study inclines to find dissimilarities between the two. Continuous research is conducted by numerous academics that strive to give these two definitions a unique characterization that would make it stand out. This difference is not an exception for small-scale project management either, as leadership style and management style, while being relatively comparable, hypothetically bring major differences into the management and leadership processes. The following research is conducted with the intention of finding out whether there is an actual or a rather insignificant variance between the two.

The author presents a literature review of the previous studies on this issue, conducts an experiment in order to reach a verdict concerning the correctness of separation of the notions of management and leadership, and dwells on the differences between empowering and direct leadership.

Literature review

In their 2011 research, Krogh, Nonaka, and Rechsteiner stated that structural knowledge formation assimilates background, data resources, and knowledge conception methods throughout the organization. They conducted a literature review that displayed that preceding work had emphasized on the role of fundamental leadership in knowledge formation procedures, without dedicating much consideration to background and data resources (Krogh et al., 2011). They elaborated on a new outline for situational leadership in administrative knowledge formation to get rid of these weaknesses. The outline is based on a continuum that extends from unified to dispersed leadership at three layers of activity.

The study of Lorinkova, Pearsall, and Sims mix concepts from the leadership and crew development works to resolve uncertainty concerning the comparative benefits of empowering and directive guidance by concentrating on the workers’ impact on team development progression. Experimental results founded on the performance statistics from 60 crews state that teams commanded by a directive leader primarily outclass those run by an empowering leader (Lorinkova et al., 2012).

Nevertheless, regardless of lower initial efficiency, crews commanded by an empowering leader improve over time because of higher signposts of crew learning, organization, enablement, and rational model development. The authors also debate on the existing and upcoming team leadership investigation.

Tung and Chang conducted research that helps to explain and to envisage team productivity when it is connected to empowering leadership. The authors inspect the superseding roles of knowledge distribution and team unity in the connection between empowering leadership and efficiency in crews (Tung & Chang, 2011). The data were collected from 261 squad members from 79 organization lineups in a chain of major intercontinental fast‐food restaurants.

Positive factor examination and multiple regressions were used for the statistics scrutiny. The authors of the study learned that two secondary effects complemented the primary effect of empowering leadership on crew effectiveness, the mechanisms of data distribution, and team solidity. It was found that data distribution and team consistency, correspondingly, intermediated the connection between empowering leadership and productivity in management crews. This study extended current research to the relations between team features, team unity, and knowledge distribution.

The 2011 study by Carmeli, Schaubroeck, and Tishler observes how CEO empowering leadership outlines the top management team (TMT) interactive incorporation and effectiveness, thus improving the productivity of an organization. By means of a sample of 82 top management teams, organizational modeling supports an arbitrary prototype in which the chief executive’s empowering leadership is certainly linked to TMT interactive integration, and, sequentially, it improves the effectiveness of top management teams and productivity of the organization (Carmeli et al., 2011). The strength of the top management team’s influence on organizational performance is bigger when the TMTs distinguish a high conservational ambiguity. The authors of the study dwell on both hypothetical and practical inferences of the study.

Hallinger, in his 2013 research, suggests that a thorough assessment of research embodies a hypothetically influential means of closing the gap between the theory and training. Thus far, the eminence of research analyses performed in didactic leadership and management are still extremely capricious in procedural consistency. This paper delivers an abstract basis and vocabulary that students might use to lead the appraisal of the forthcoming research analyses in didactic leadership and management (Hallinger, 2013).

It is expected that this theoretical outline can offer advantageous procedural control that will improve the long-lasting hard work in the field to develop knowledge in a more organized and intelligible manner. The uniqueness of this paper is in its revision and implementation of current procedural development in leading the analyses of research. The study proposes a rich framework that will let future researchers learn more and become more experienced in educational leadership.

In their study, Martin, Liao, and Campbell used a test in the UAE to associate the effects of the directive and to empower leadership on client-evaluated central task efficacy and positive behaviors. The outcomes of the assessments of key effects confirmed that both directive and empowering leadership improved the core task efficacy, but only empowering leadership improved proactive behaviors (Martin et al., 2012). The scrutiny of the limit conditions exposed that directive leadership improved positive behaviors for the teams that were decidedly gratified with their leaders, although empowering leadership had a sturdier impact on both central task efficacy and positive behaviors for the crews that were less pleased with their leaders. The authors of the study discuss the suggestions concerning both hypothetical and practical aspects.

In 2011, Gao, Janssen, and Shi conducted research on how workers’ confidence in their leader interrelated with empowering leader behaviors in encouraging employees. The authors of the study found that the connection between the faith in leader and worker support became more encouraging when empowering leadership was higher (Gao et al., 2011). They found this regulating effect of empowering leaders to be a relationship between the trust in the leader and employee’s satisfaction. The authors also singled out three diverse types of empowering leader styles, specifically, contributive supervisory, apprising, and training.

Hu, Dinev, Hart, and Cooke elaborated a discrete behavioral prototype that assimilates the significance of top management and structural principles into the concept of planned behavior in an attempt to better understand how top management can influence security compliance behavior of employees. Using the study data and structural principles modeling, they tested the theories on the relationships among top management contribution, structural principles, and key factors of employee submission to the leadership style. The researchers found that top management involvement has noteworthy direct and indirect effects on employees’ attitudes (Hu et al., 2012).

Their findings also enhance the theories about the significance of structural values in determining employee submissive behavior. Substantial hypothetical and practical allegations of these results are discussed.


To determine the differences between empowering individuals and direct leadership, a qualitative survey method was used for the current study. The reason is that the technique is a cost-effective and efficient mode of collecting data from large samples. In addition, a questionnaire was also used as a data collection tool.


The research was carried out at the individual level of analysis. To this end, 25 employees from Whitireia Polytechnic in Auckland, New Zealand, were selected from different work units and job grades. A total of 20 workers completed the questionnaire survey. There was a response rate of 80%. The average age of the respondents was 30 years. Out of the 20 employees who took part in the survey, 25% were women, and 75% were men. In terms of education level, 80% of the respondents were college graduates. Since the subjects were from diverse work units, 23.3% were non-management, 46.7% were lower-level management, and 30% were middle-level management and above. All the participants selected for the study were chosen based on ease of access and availability. The reason is that there were limited time and resources for carrying out the research.

Data Collection

Data for the study was collected by the use of a self-report questionnaire. The tool was built by an engine referred to as Qualtrics. In addition, a cross-sectional study was also conducted. All the information was gathered during a two weeks period without factoring in pre and post-test.

Appendix 1 is a copy of the questionnaire used for the study. The first section of the tool consists of five questions related to demographics. The second and third questions are on the preferred mode of leadership and rationale for choosing the method.

The questionnaire, which was the main tool for collecting data, was distributed by direct distribution to participants. However, the subjects were assured of confidentiality before they were given the tools. The questions included workers views on management and leadership, as well as their feelings towards empowerment. Other inquiries were corporate reputation and demographic information. All the variables were measured using a 5-point Likert scale. To this end, 1= Strongly Disagree and 5= Strongly Agree.


Leadership style

The measure of leadership approach in the current research was adopted from the technique used by Armstrong (2012). Armstrong (2012) conducted an analysis on contingency reward in relation to empowerment leadership. Strong evidence from prior empirical studies by such scholars as Schroeder (2013) supports the consistency and validity of these scales.

The 20 items in the questionnaires, for example the one on “my manager makes it easy for me to do my work by keeping the rules simple and clear”, were used to measure six factors of empowering leadership. The facets include intellectual motivation, providing a suitable model, high performance expectations, promoting acceptance of group goals, and individual support (α = 89). In addition, 7 items were used to measure contingency-reward of direct leadership. One of them is “my manager praises me when my job is great” (α = 85).

Empowering leadership behaviors

Empowering leadership behavior was assessed using the 12-item measure applied by Ahearne et al. (2005). The evaluation focused on four facets, which are:

  1. Encouraging participation in decision making (three items, α = 89).
  2. Offering independence from bureaucratic restraints (three items, α = 84).
  3. Boosting the importance of work (three items, α = 80).
  4. Showing confidence in job well done (three items, α = 83).

The measures of empowering leadership behaviors were also used by such scholars as Groschl (2016) and Sabegh et al. (2014) in their research.

Controlled variables

Like in the studies conducted by such researchers as Baker (2013) and Ozaralli (2015), five demographic variables were controlled in the current study. They include gender, level of education, age, job group, and organizational tenure. The reason for selecting the aspects is that they are linked to in-role behaviors. Age and organizational tenure were measured in years. On their part, the other aspects, such as education, job level, and gender were gauged and coded with numbers 1 and 0.

Data Analysis

Data analysis for the information gathered was carried out using SPSS 18.0 for Windows. However, missing data was first evaluated before the analysis commenced using the expectation maximization (EM) technique. Using the MCAR test, it was found that the missing information in the research was completely absent. The missing data was computed and imputed using the EM methodology prior to all multivariate evaluations. The proposed model and hypotheses were analyzed using the structural equation modeling (SEM) AMOS 18.0 software.

The demographic variables were analyzed using multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA). The technique was used to describe the traits of the respondents taking part in the study. All the variables used for the study, apart from the controlled ones, were averaged into a single indicator before further analysis. The calculation revealed that there was a correlation between all variables used in the research.

Hierarchical multiple regression analysis was used to analyze the mediating role of employee empowerment based on the two leadership styles and roles. The evaluation followed the steps documented by Fong and Snape (2013). To conduct a mediation examination, four key facets must be met using regression analysis. The first condition entails linking the independent variable with the mediator. The second involves associating dependent and independent variables. The third condition is characterized by the correlation of the moderator with the dependent variable when the independent erratic and mediator are linked (Humborstad, Nerstad, & Dysvik, 2014). The final facet to be met entails suggesting a full mediation. However, the proposal is made when the independent and dependent variables are no longer connected. If the two items are still associated, a partial mediation is made.

Hierarchical multiple regression analysis was also used to evaluate the moderating role of the ‘need for accomplishment’ in the relationship between direct and empowering leaders. The equation used to analyze the moderation role was:

  • Yi = β0 + β1X1 + β2X2 + β3X1 × X2 + Ɛi
  • X1 refers to the independent variable.
  • X2 refers to the moderator.
  • X1 × X2 refers to the interaction effect.

In this calculation, the leadership style and behavior, need for accomplishment, and demographic variables were mean-centered. The reason was to minimize the problem of co-linearity between direct and empowering leadership effects.


The results of the study are presented on the basis of the developed hypotheses. The mean, correlation, standard deviations, and scale consistencies are presented in appendix 2. The findings from the hierarchical multiple regression analysis for mediation are illustrated in appendices 3 and 4. The moderation results are presented in appendix 5.

The figure below is a normality, which represents the distribution of the 20 respondents who took part in the survey:

Normality distribution
Figure 1. Normality distribution.
  • Category1 = lower level management employees;
  • Category 2 = women;
  • Category 3 = men;
  • Category 4 = college graduate employees.

Appendix 2 illustrates the descriptive statistics, scale consistency, and correlations for the variables used in the research. According to the findings, empowering leadership is more positively and moderately linked to high employee performance and attitudes (r=0.35, p<0.01) and affective obligation (r=0.50, p<0.01).

According to Hypothesis 1 of the study, empowering, unlike direct leadership, is linked to psychological empowerment among employees. Appendix 2 shows the results from the hierarchical multiple regression analysis for the mediation of leaders’ behavior. From the findings, it is apparent that the empowering mode of control has a more positive impact on employees in the workplace compared to direct leadership (β = 0.453, p<0.01). The figures show that hypothesis 1 is correct.

Hypothesis 2 shows a positive relation between empowerment leadership and employee productivity.

Appendix 3 also shows all the conditions of mediation that are satisfied or unsatisfied. Condition 1 (β = 0.453, p<0.0) and condition 2 (β = 0.180) are not satisfied, while condition 3 (β = 0.0465, p<0.01) is met. The failure of the second provision to satisfy the mediation did not affect the findings. The reason is that only conditions 1 and 3 are used in the analysis. The figures support hypothesis 2.

Appendix 4 shows that employees perform better under empowering compared to direct leadership. According to the computations, conditions 1(β = 0.453, p<0.01) and 2 (β = 0.280, p<0.01) are satisfied, while 3 (β = 0.089) is not satisfied. The third provision does not satisfy the mediation because it shows that there is no significant correlation between employee motivation and empowerment leadership (Gao et al., 2011).

Appendix 5 also shows that empowerment leadership motivates employees more compared to direct management. According to the table, conditions 1, 2, and 3 are satisfied (Hon & Chan, 2012).


Leadership and management are two modes of actions with distinct characteristics. However, both are critical to the success of an organization. They also help the relevant stakeholders to oversee the day-to-day operations of the employees. The current study found that both direct and empowering means of leadership have a positive impact on employees. However, it was found that most workers prefer empowering compared to direct leaders. The reason for this is that such managers motivate workers in their work. They achieve this by showing the employees the need for achievement.


Appendix 1: Questionnaire

Survey on Leadership in Managemnt

Dear Participant,

I am studying the BUS 8400/8500 Research Methods in Management paper this term at Whitireia Community Polytechnic. As part of my course, I am conducting a survey to determine the differences between leadership and management. I would, therefore, very much appreciate your voluntary contribution to my study by anonymously providing answers to the questions in this survey. Responses will be kept confidential and be used for educational purposes, such as practicing data entry and analysis.

I have kept this questionnaire short knowing how busy you are. This survey should take less than fifteen minutes to complete.

Thank you for your participation.

Name: (Student #: type your ID Number)
Research Student:
Email address:
Dr.: (lecturer’s name and surname)
Course Lecturer (Ph. 379 4666)

Section 1: Demographics

Kindly provide the following information by ticking on the appropriate box:

  • What is your age?
    • 18-25 ____
    • 26-30 ____
    • 31-35 ____
    • 36-40 ____
    • 40 and above _____
  • What is your cultural background?
    • White ___
    • Black ____
    • Latino ____
    • Asian ____
    • Other (please specify) ____
  • Gender
    • Male ___
    • Female ___
  • What is your job level?
    • Non-management ___
    • Low-level management ___
    • Mid-level management ___
    • High-level management ___
  • What is your highest level of education?
    • Below college level ___
    • Bachelors ____
    • Masters ____
    • PhD ____

Section 2: Views

Please provide short answers to the questions below:

  • What are your views on management and leadership?
  • Which is your preferred style of management between direct and empowering leadership?
  • What are your reasons for choosing the management style in (2.2) above?
  • What are your views on corporate reputation?

Thanks for your time and participation.

Appendix 2: Cross-tab depicting Mean, standard deviations, reliability and correlations

Mean SD 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Age 25.54 5.69
Gender (0= female, 1=male) .32 .45 -.10
Education .44 .48 -.04 .07
Job level .58 .45 -.38** -.02 .17
Empowering leadership 2.50 .55 .22* -.06 -.09 -.21** .26** (.84)
Tenure 43.25 55.19 .48** -.9 -.03 -.22**
Affective Commitment 2.25 .63 .18* -.10 .04 -.17* .7 .38** .38**
Need for achievement 2.71 .46 .14 .01 -.28** -.20** .13 .37** .45**
Employee empowerment 3.22 .48 .32** -.14 -.04 -.29** .35 .60** (78)

Internal reliabilities (alpha coefficients) for the overall constructs given in brackets

  • *p<.05
  • **p<.01

Appendix 3: Crosstab depicting Control Variables 1

Mediator: empowerment
M1 M2
Control Variables
Age .076 .068
Gender -.139 -.106
Education -.011 .030
Job Level -.168 -.98
.302** .200*
Empowering leadership .453**

*p<.05, **p<.01

Appendix 4: Crosstab depicting Control Variables 2

Mediator: empowerment
M1 M2
Control Variables
Age .074 .066
Gender -.137 -.104
Education -.09 .028
Job Level -.166 -.95
.295** .186*
Empowering leadership .447**

*p<.05, **p<.01

Appendix 5: Crosstab depicting Control Variables 3

Mediator: empowerment
M1 M2
Control Variables
Age .076 .064
Gender -.140 -.103
Education -.07 .025
Job Level -.163 -.93
.293** .182*
Empowering leadership .435**


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