Autocratic and Participative Leadership and Its Effect on Employee Productivity

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According to Chandrasekar (2011), leadership is one of the most common terms that are easy to describe yet so challenging to implement. Chandrasekhar further argues that, strategically, the primary role of a manager is not only to look for bad and good news, but also eliminate negative energy while initiating positive energy. Employee productivity also referred to as workforce productivity is an assessment of the effectiveness and efficiency of a worker (Dalluay & Jalagat 2016). Usually, productivity is evaluated relative to a given task output over a given period and organizations usually ensure that they not only recruit the best employees but also train and reward them well for improving retention (Chandrasekar, 2011). However, concentrating on training and remuneration alone cannot result in desired productivity (Iqbal, Anwar & Haider 2015). Therefore, scholars have spent time understanding how the leadership styles in an organization can influence overall organizational productivity and established a substantial and significant effect (Fiaz et al., 2017). Fiaz et al argues that one of the most studied leadership styles includes autocratic and democratic leadership.  Therefore, the main focus for this article was on the two management styles; autocratic and democratic. The researcher concluded that, while autocratic leadership can be effective in short-term, participative leadership was found to contribute more in the promotion employee productivity due to its applicability in both short and long-term situations. Moreover, democratic leadership as compared to autocratic was found to empower employees more thus igniting their potential and making them feel recognized and appreciated thus motivating them to perform maximally.

Overview of the Autocratic and Democratic Leadership Styles

In autocratic leadership, also referred to as authoritarian management, the researcher found out that a leader has control over every decision and input from group members (Dalluay & Jalagat, 2016). Usually, the autocratic leader makes decisions based on their judgment and ideas and rarely considers advice from followers (Iqbal, Anwar & Haider 2015). There are no group consultations on policies and plans making and no explanation on orders given (Iqbal, Anwar & Haider 2015). On the other hand, democratic leaders seek group opinions (Dalluay & Jalagat, 2016). The group makes suggestions and decisions which are then backed by the leader (Iqbal, Anwar & Haider 2015).

Management Style That Best Promotes Employee Productivity

One of the advantages of democratic leadership over autocratic leadership is that it has a potential of contributing  to the promotion of job satisfaction that has a direct and indirect effect on productivity (Dalluay & Jalagat, 2016). According to Fiaz et al., job satisfaction is a crucial component in attracting and retaining well-qualified employees and is a multifaceted construct that entails both intrinsic and extrinsic factors (Fiaz et al., 2017). Rad and Yarmohammadian (2006) contents that employee job satisfaction relies mainly on the leadership style of the manager. The researchers further argue that employees found higher satisfaction in supervisory factors and democratic leadership. The article by Dalluay and Jalagat (2016), reveals that those employees who were more satisfied with their leaders came early to work and were more committed to their jobs thus improving their productivity. They also found out that autocratic leaders tend to promote dissatisfaction among employees since they feel that they are not recognized.

Also, democratic leadership is a critical factor in fostering a creative environment since it encourages innovation and input from employees while Autocratic leadership, on the other hand, advances the one-sided conversation (Rad & Yarmohammadian, 2006). The leaders are seen as in competition with the employees, always suppressing them hence, the leadership and creativity skills of the employee are restrictive in forcing them to involve in repetitive work (Fiaz et al., 2017).  According to Dalluay and Jalagat (2016), workplaces where creativity is allowed, employees are encouraged to work without boundaries thus enhancing collective responsibility. However, the researchers further argue that working without limits can result to role conflict. Therefore it is up to the manager to ensure that there is a precise balance in the distribution of roles and responsibilities. Encouraging creativity makes employees envision the organization and leverage productive focus on issues that generate more profound business impact (Rahbi et al., 2017). Creative problem-solving devises new ways that help to improve productivity in the long run. Since the autocratic leader makes choices with less or no consultations, they promote less creativity which may hurt productivity in the long ran (Iqbal, Anwar & Haider 2015).

Democratic leadership promotes productivity because it is one of the solutions to complex problems (Fiaz et al., 2017). According to Fiaz, generally, democratic leaders, as opposed to autocratic leaders, are excellent problem solvers.  The researcher further argues that organizations are systems made up of many units that symbiotically and mutually relate to one another thus usually, failure of one unit may lead to failure of the other. In the article by Fiaz et al.,(2017), the reseachers also discuss that just like systems, employees depend on each other in the daily running of an organization. Involving ideas from a wide range of employees may be time-consuming in the short term thus leading to the undesired result (Dalluay and Jalagat, 2016). Therefore, applying autocratic leadership in situations where the organization is time constraint can be beneficial, albeit in the short run, due to easy of control and ability to ensure critical short-term outcomes (Dalluay and Jalagat, 2016). However, in situations where effective channels of communication are available, greater involvement of employees in the decision-making process could lead to the best possible solutions, especially for strategic and complex problems, thus improving productivity (Rad & Yarmohammadian, 2006).

A wide range of things motivate employees, one of them being empowerment. It is incumbent upon managers to empower their members so that they are adequately equipped to complete their tasks (Iqbal, Anwar & Haider 2015). One of the components of empowerment is training and education (Rad & Yarmohammadian, 2006). Through the process of empowerment and delegation, a leader allows the team member to partake in a vital decision making role, although the final resolution remains with the leaders (Rahbi et al., 2017). Therefore, through democratic leadership, the manager guides and tells the employee what to do and the employee offers suggestions for improvement (Rahbi et al., 2017).  According to (Rad & Yarmohammadian, (2006), the information exchange process enhances the skills and confidence of the employee who directly translate to productivity and develops new leaders. The researchers further asserts that in situations when the leader is not around, or some of the employees are absent, the empowered employee can quickly take up their duties thus ensuring continuity. Productivity rises due to the feeling of more commitment and empowerment to work and organizational goals (Rad & Yarmohammadian, 2006). However, Igbal et al., states that the challenge arises when a leader over-delegate, in which such situations have a potential of creating lazy managers and overworked employees which might lead to demoralization. Therefore, a democratic leader should learn to delegate responsibly and effectively (Igbal et al., 2015). In the autocratic leadership, one or more persons have the tyranny of skills and responsibilities, in case they do not come to work, processes have high chances of stalling thus reducing productivity (Igbal et al., 2015).

Democratic style supports the sharing of responsibilities, delegation exercise as well as consultations hence the creation of a positive work environment (Fiaz et al., 2017).  According to Fiaz et al., the style encourages a culture where team members including the junior workers get a non-discriminatory amount of responsibilities as well as challenges. The researchers further argue that the presence of the right atmospheres among workers makes works more pleasurable and ultimate productivity. In this style, the managers encourage sharing of suggestions and recommendations on various aspects and issues, decisions and effectually delegate responsibilities to subordinates (Fiaz et al., 2017).  The team has full control and is responsible for the tasks assigned to them which results in more employee commitment to their departmental goals and put high performance to meet their deadlines (Fiaz et al., 2017).  On the other hand, Fiaz et al., (2017), argues that the teams in autocratic leadership are the accomplishers of responsibilities imposed on them by top management whether they agree or not. Thus, the researchers indicate that this limits the potentials of some employees hence discouraging participation, contributing to lower levels of job satisfaction as well as trust in the organization. Too much power placed on certain individuals may result in adverse implications to employee productivity and the overall organization’s performance (Igbal et al., 2015). Therefore, the sharing of responsibilities as encouraged by democratic leadership ensures non-discriminatory treatment, nurtures the employees potential, encourages participation which keeps the employees motivated (Igbal et al., 2015).

Democratic style of management promotes teamwork and group decision making hence solving complex problems (Igbal et al., 2015). The collaborations and use of consensus by the team in ensuring effective completion of tasks make it an excellent way of approaching and addressing complex issues (Igbal et al., 2015). More so, Fiaz et al. (2017) argue that the innovative thinking of democratic leaders is essential and inspires the team to be creative to ensure they find appropriate solutions to complex and strategic problems. Furthermore, the study indicates that democratically derived solutions are long-lasting, and the practice provides a continous review of resolutions. Also, the participation of the team supports leaders to uphold effective processes which efficiently fit the business (Igbal et al., 2015). The democratic leaders safeguard good working relations amongst team members, to ensure suitability in functioning in larger corporate settings in which communication and cooperation are vital (Igbal et al., 2015). However, the decision-making process may be slow due to arguments on matters of carrying out certain things (Fiaz et al.,2017). On the other hand, consultations with team members are minimal in autocratic leadership hence the decision making is more of one person process (Fiaz et al., 2017). There is no room for the team members to share their ideas and the management does not consider whether or not the team is in agreement with what they are doing (Igbal et al., 2015). Therefore, the democratic leadership is crucial in promoting teamwork and ethical decision making which affects the overall productivity of employees (Igbal et al., 2015).

                    Democratic style promotes employee development by encouraging the setting of workable goals for all employees and recognizing their achievements (Fiaz et al., 2017). In consultation with the employees, the leaders develop plans and strategies to assist in evaluating their performances and drive their workers to grow on the job while offering their support in advancements and promotions (Rad & Yarmohammadian, 2006). It fosters creativity as employees are free to bring forward their ideas and suggestions, and beneficial in assisting employees to achieve their best (Fiaz et al., 2017).  Through participation, employees form a sense of commitment and crucial for empowering and engaging workers (Fiaz et al., 2017). However, autocratic leadership is majorly one-sided communication hence restricting the employees’ creativity, and leadership skills and one may be involved in the same repetitive job of daily activities thus creating boredom resulting in less productivity (Fiaz et al., 2017). Therefore, employees in a democratic leadership are highly motivated to generate and offer creative solutions as they sharpen their skills which produce an atmosphere of team spirit and cooperation (Rahbi et al., 2017).


From the research, it is evident that leaders play a significant part in leading the teams to fulfill the goals of the organization effectively. Every leader wishes to have a productive team hence their leadership styles may directly or indirectly affect the employees’ productivity.  In democratic leadership, staff are actively involved in the organization’s decision making processes. Consequently, the employees have an opportunity to contribute to the decision making even though the leader maintains control of the process and has the last word regarding the ultimate decisions made. Additionally, the researcher found out that in autocratic leadership, the manager has the most authority and is the sole decision maker. While both leadership styles are effective in different settings, democratic leadership contributes more to promote the productivity of the employees.



Chandrasekar, K. (2011). Workplace environment and its Impact on Organizational Performance in Public Sector Organizations. International Journal of Enterprise Computing and Business Systems, 1(1), 1-19

Dalluay, V. S., & Jalagat, R. C. (2016). Impacts of leadership style effectiveness of managers and department heads to employees' job satisfaction and performance on selected small-scale Businesses in Cavite, Philippines. International Journal of Recent Advances in Organizational Behaviour & Decision Sciences, 2(2), 734-751.

Fiaz, M., Su, Q., Amir, I., & Saqib, A. (2017). Leadership styles and employees’ motivation: Perspective from an emerging economy. The Journal of Developing Areas, 51(4), 143-156. doi:10.1353/jda.2017.0093.

Iqbal, N., Anwar, S., & Haider, N. (2015). Effect of Leadership Style on Employee Performance. Arabian Journal of Business and Management Review 5:146, 01-06. doi:10.4172/2223-5833.1000146.

Rad, A., & Yarmohammadian, M. (2006). A study of the relationship between managers’ leadership style and employees’ job satisfaction. Leadership in Health Services, 19(2), 1366-0756.

Rahbi, D., Khalid, K., & Khan, M. (2017). The effects of leadership styles on team motivation. Academy of Strategic Management Journal., 16(3), 01-14.

October 24, 2023




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