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Title: The application of ethical leadership styles on employee engagement at Durban University of Technology (DUT) : a case study approach
Authors: Bhana, Anrusha 
Keywords: Ethics;Ethical leadership;Leadership;Executive management leadership;Line management leadership;Unethical leadership;Employees;Employee engagement;Employee disengagement;South African Higher Education Institutions
Issue Date: Nov-2018
With the epochal changes at different levels of higher education institutions, it has become essential to take employees into account as an imperative part of higher education institutions transformation strategy. The study has investigated the application of ethical leadership style and its impact on employee engagement at Durban University of Technology (DUT) - a case study approach. The existing body of research knowledge on ethical leadership style revealed a great focus on the business sector in comparison to higher educational sector. The research objectives addressed the two gaps in higher education leadership research by exploring evidence of ethical leadership style of executive management leadership and line management leadership and its impact on employee engagement at the institution.

The research design adopted mixed methodology approach employing random sampling technique for data collection of employees and purposive sampling technique for semi- structured interviews of line management leadership and executive management leadership. The piloting of the research instrument was statistically tested to ensure validity and reliability prior to commencement of the main study. Moreover, the study involved a cross sectional design and a sample size of 312 respondents for probability sampling and 12 participants for non-probability sampling. The case study approach was based on academic and administrative staff of Durban and PMB campuses at the institution. Method triangulation of data findings ensured a pragmatic and deeper understanding of the phenomena being investigated. The descriptive statistics revealed that more than ninety percent of the respondents agreed that ethical leadership style would have a positive impact on employee engagement at the institution. Clearly, showing support for the need of ethical leadership at the institution. In addition, more than eighty percent of respondents agreed that leadership styles impact employee well-being. Hence, different leadership styles have a direct or indirect influence on employee engagement. Thus, it is essential to find ways to improve employee work and personal engagement at the institution.

Moreover, the linear regression analysis findings revealed a predictive relationship between line management leadership and employee engagement at the institution. Notably, the study discussion focused on the employee engagement conceptual model and aligning it to theory that presented a relationship between executive management leadership and line

management leadership to employee engagement at the institution. The conceptual model was developed to expedite relevance to the research. Therefore, the study has revealed greater support for the practical implications of ethical leadership practices at the institution.

In order for the organization to achieve greater levels of innovation, intrapreneurship, design thinking and financial management, it is imperative to have a fully engaged workforce. The application of ethical leadership style will advocate a value system that will inherently support departmental goals and objectives of the overall institution. Recommendations were made to support the need for proactive measures to promote ethical leadership, interventions to develop ethical leadership policies and techniques to improve employee engagement. In addition, the last recommendation included a proposed model that was taken from the conceptual model that can be further developed and utilized at the institution. Moreover, the study will contribute to the existing body of knowledge on employee disengagement concept of occupational stress, burnout and turnover, fulfilling duties beyond job description, multitasking between duties and job contentment. It will contribute to the importance of ethical leadership in relation to employee engagement at the institution.
Lastly, the research information and findings will also contribute towards the ongoing development of ethical leadership research and development of academia leadership in Higher education institutions in South Africa.
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirement for A PhD in Management Sciences: Business Administration, Durban University of Technology, Durban, South Africa, 2018.
Appears in Collections:Theses and dissertations (Management Sciences)

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