Transformational leadership, employee outcomes, and performance of universities in Kenya

Adelaide M. Mbithi ; Peter O. K’Obonyo, Zachary B. Awino


University education in Kenya has undergone major reforms in the last ten years that pause challenges to both employees and universities. To address these challenges, universities need proactive leadership and a motivated workforce which transformational leadership can provide as it has the ability to motivate and empower employees to better organizational performance. This study sought to determine the factors that influence the relationship between transformational leadership and performance and if this relationship is direct or it is mediated by other factors. The study employed a positivist approach to research and used a descriptive survey research design. Data was collected from the top leadership of the 52 fully-fledged universities in Kenya using a questionnaire. A response rate of 73% was realized. Descriptive statistics were used to obtain a general understanding of the universities while different statistical techniques such as regression analysis and correlation analysis were used to analyse data and test the hypotheses. The results supported all the hypotheses and showed positive and statistically significant relationships between transformational leadership and performance and between transformational leadership and employee outcomes. Employee outcomes fully mediate the relationship between transformational leadership and performance. It emerged that transformational leadership behaviour of the top leadership of universities in Kenya led to high employee performance and organizational effectiveness. Specifically the findings suggest that universities need visionary leadership and sound policies that will strengthen their position as a fundamental sector in generating human capital for the county’s developmental and economic needs.

Key Words: Transformational leadership, organizational performance, fully-fledged universities, employee outcomes

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