Leadership deficit has been Pakistan’s most pressing issue for decades, and this problem is even more pervasive in public organizations than private sector. Tackling the leadership crisis is now increasingly a question of what constitutes an appropriate leadership style to augment motivation of employees. Thus the purpose of the study is to explore the intriguing question of the most pragmatic leadership style and its potential impact on employees’ motivation. For this purpose, autocratic, democratic, and laissez-faire styles are considered as independent variables, while employees’ motivation is the dependent variable. Data is collected via survey questionnaire, based on closed-ended Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ), from a sample of 110 senior level and middle level managers working at WAPDA, an autonomous organization of Pakistan working under the administrative control of federal government for the development of energy resources. Descriptive statistics, reliability statistics, multiple regression model and analysis of variance are deployed to test hypotheses of the study and derive practical implications. Autocratic leadership style is found to be more dominant and exhibits significant negative relationship with employees’ motivation, whereas democratic and laissez-faire leadership styles are shown to positively predict motivation of employees. However, the positive relationship between democratic leadership and employees’ motivation comes out to be insignificant, which depicts the bureaucratic and decentralized nature of the organization. The research findings are in line with the theoretical assumptions for autocratic and laissez-faire style, but inconsistent with democratic leadership style. The paper proposes the preference for democratic and laissez-faire leadership style in the face of deleterious bureaucratic environment. Though few researchers investigated the relationship between leadership styles and employees’ performance, there is hardly any study that focuses on bureaucratic environment of an emerging economy. The study offers broader policy implications to strengthen institutions by establishing democratic leadership style. In a context marked by bureaucracy and sluggishness, top management needs to focus on leadership development programs and pursuance of democratic leadership style.


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pp. 143-156
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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