This research assessed the impact of organisational leadership styles on employee job
satisfaction in different UAE sectors. Undoubtedly, every organisation in the United Arab
Emirates (UAE) rely on the workforce for optimal productivity. This is for both the private and
public sectors. The research was approached through a case study with secondary data. Data was
collected through a literature review, which was focused on the aim of the research. Sectors for
consideration included education, construction, and petroleum industry. It was found that
transactional and transformational leadership is essential in knowledge management and project
management n education sector. It was also found that transactional leadership styles are useful
in the construction industry, which is expansive and requires effective leadership strategies to
maintain. Additionally, transactional and transformation leadership styles are also essential in the
petroleum industry in the UAE. Therefore, it is recommended that managers in UAE
organisations should embrace transactional and transformational leadership to enhance employee
Keywords: UAE, leadership styles, transformational leadership, transactional leadership,
employee job satisfaction, education sector, petroleum sector.
LEADERSHIP STYLES AND EMPLOYEE JOB SATISFACTION IN UAE 3
Leadership Styles and Employee Job Satisfaction in UAE
Every organisation in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) rely on the workforce for optimal
productivity. This is for both the private and public sectors. Organisational performance is
determined by leadership styles, which is supported by job satisfaction of employees (Burg,
Brown, 2016) . Certainly, employee satisfaction becomes essential to ensure that there is efficient
production. However, most companies in the UAE experience challenges with enhancing
employee job experience. This is because it is difficult to find an exact way to motivate the
employees. It has been shown that various factors influence employee job satisfaction, some of
which are environmental. Environmental factors influencing employee performance include the
significance of the task, varied skills required for the task, interaction with co-workers, and
autonomy. Amidst the challenges, it has been shown that job satisfaction is a popular measure
that improves employee performance because it enhances career mobility, job security,
productivity, and high performance (Burg, Brown, 2016) . Based on the available literature,
employee performance is largely influenced by their job satisfaction. Nonetheless, it is still
challenging to achieve employee job satisfaction. Therefore, the purpose of this research is to
assess the relationship between leadership styles and employee job satisfaction in various UAE
Although employee job satisfaction determines their performance in the job,
organisational managers in UAE companies are also significant in the same. According to
Prabhakar and Yaseen (2016) , managers are responsible for employee satisfaction, work
improvements, and general organisational performance. This implies that the leadership styles
used by managers are what will determine whether or not employees experience job satisfaction
LEADERSHIP STYLES AND EMPLOYEE JOB SATISFACTION IN UAE 4
and hence the general performance of an organisation in relation to job satisfaction (Al Rahbi,
D., Khalid, K., Khan, 2017) . Organisational leadership style is now more essential in the UAE
than never before. This is because the government in UAE emphasizes building leaderships and
capabilities for making decisions to ensure that there is improved productivity (Burg, Brown,
2016) . Thus, employee job satisfaction is influenced by the various leadership styles used by
managers and hence the productivity.
Organisational leadership styles determine organisational performance by controlling
employee turnover. Employee turnover is determined at the organisational, group and individual
levels. That is, the selected leadership style motivates the employees, thereby increasing their
productivity and hence improving the overall organisational performance (Chukwura, 2017) .
Schools in the UAE need leadership styles that promote autonomy, teacher participation,
allowing room for professional development and provide opportunities for intellectual challenge.
Employee participation is enhanced by involving them in decision-making processes. Indeed,
consensus and consultative leadership styles are commonly used in the UAE construction sector.
Both private and public businesses of today is characterized by leaders who experience
challenges of solving complex problems in those they manage (Cojocar, 2008) . It is the extent to
which leaders solve these problems that the employees also feel motivated and satisfied with
their jobs. When decisions are made by the employees, it is evident that they will be satisfied
with the tasks they perform and hence, the improved general performance of an organisation.
How Transactional and Transformational Leadership Styles Influence Employee Job
The available literature has richly demonstrated that transactional and transformational
leadership styles are strongly associated with employee job satisfaction in the UAE.
LEADERSHIP STYLES AND EMPLOYEE JOB SATISFACTION IN UAE 5
Transformational leadership strongly influences employee job satisfaction (Darden, 2011) .
Transformational leadership emerged from a charismatic leadership style where the employees
find themselves having faith in the leadership of their manager. Personal characteristics of the
leader attracting employees include the tendency to influence others, strong convictions of
morals, and a high degree of self-confidence. It is these factors that make employees attracted to
the transformational leader, hence a high degree of job satisfaction.
On the other hand, Snowden (2011) indicated that there is a negative but significant
correlation between transactional leadership and employee job satisfaction. These findings were
reported for UAE universities and other institutions of higher learning. Nonetheless, Jenner
(2019) still showed that a mutual effect of both styles of leadership on employee job satisfaction.
This implies that there is a notable link between the leadership style used and satisfaction of
employees at the workplace.
Managers in the UAE are less transformational as those in the United States (US) and
Europe (Jenner, 2019) . Furthermore, managers in UAE organisations tend to be avoidant
passively than managers from European and US organizations. Despite the fact that UAE
managers are less transformational, evidence still stands that transactional and transformational
leadership styles are universally applicable since they can be adapted in different cultural settings
(Jenner, 2019) . Therefore, it is clear that transactional and transformational styles of leadership
can be used in the UAE to increase job satisfaction and performance of employees.
The two styles of leadership are universally applicable because they are flexible in terms
of culture. According to Jenner (2019) , transformational model of leadership style can be easily
modified and suited for different cultural accommodations. The UAE workforce is characterized
by employees who are linguistically and culturally diverse. This demands that every
LEADERSHIP STYLES AND EMPLOYEE JOB SATISFACTION IN UAE 6
organisational manager should ensure that they use both the styles of leadership since they are
easily applicable in different cultures.
Transformational and transactional leadership styles achieve employee job satisfaction by
empowering them. Indeed, Lee (2008) stated that the psychological empowerment of employees
is largely determined by the transformational leadership style. This is because it is through such a
leadership style that employees become satisfied with their job outcomes, thereby feeling
psychologically empowered. Furthermore, combining transformational and transactional styles
of organisational leadership significantly encourages employee organisational citizenship
behaviour (Jenner, 2019) . Employees who have such behaviour tend to be committed in their
work, especially when they have the ultimate job satisfaction. This clearly indicates that job
satisfaction of the employees is supported by the two styles of leadership.
Based on the literature review, it can be clearly stated that styles of organisational
leadership significantly influence employee job satisfaction and general performance. It can also
be hypothesized that both transformational and transactional leadership styles are highly related
to job satisfaction by the employees. It is for this reason that this research is aimed at
determining the effects of leadership styles on employee job satisfaction in different sectors in
The methodology used in this research was a case study based on secondary data. The
case study approach was found necessary because it offers an in-depth analysis of an issue with
sub-issues inside it. The focus of this study is on job satisfaction of employee being caused by
various leadership styles. However, within that employee job satisfaction, there are different
LEADERSHIP STYLES AND EMPLOYEE JOB SATISFACTION IN UAE 7
sectors with different perceptions of leadership styles. It is for this reason that the case study was
found necessary and the most suitable for the research.
Secondary data was selected for its suitability. The research is expected to be wide since
various sectors in UAE need to be recognised and how different styles of organisational
leadership affect job satisfaction of employees in those areas. The importance of secondary data
is that there is the permanence of data, and there are few resources required. Furthermore,
secondary data helps in making unforeseen discoveries.
Secondary data was collected through a literature review and directed by the research
objective. The review was also based on the direct influence of transformational and
transactional styles of organisational leadership on job satisfaction of employees in various
sectors in the UAE. The two leadership styles have been chosen since they have been found in
the critical literature review to be associated with high employee satisfaction.
The sectors included in the study included educational sectors, construction, and oil
industries. This is because it is these industries that control much of the UAE economy.
Therefore, properly managing the sectors could boost the country’s general economy.
Literature was selected based on their conformity with ethical principles related to
research. The first ethical principle considered was the integrity and objectivity of the
researchers. This principle states that the quality of research is dependent on the integrity of the
researcher and objectivity in presenting research findings. That is, the researcher should avoid
LEADERSHIP STYLES AND EMPLOYEE JOB SATISFACTION IN UAE 8
Another ethical principle was the respect of researchers for others. Under this principle,
the secondary data was collected from researchers who have their position based on the
development of respect and trust. That is, the researcher's concern should be based on social
responsibility and obligation to the participants.
The findings from the literature search indicated that transactional and transformational
leadership is essential in knowledge management and project management in the education
sector (Sidaoui, 2007) . It was also found that transactional leadership styles are useful in the
construction industry, which is expansive and requires effective leadership strategies to maintain
(Wilson, 2013) . Additionally, transactional and transformation leadership styles are also essential
in the petroleum industry in the UAE.
To start with, transformational leaders are characterised by interaction with followers in a
way that stimulates their thinking and inspires them to perform beyond expectations (Sidaoui,
2007) . That is, the leader changes the awareness of the associates on the importance of new
things required for improved organisational performance. On the other hand, transactional
leadership style focuses on the energies on the completion of tasks in carrying out the duties as
required by the leader (Sidaoui, 2007) . Such tasks are rewarded for keeping employees
motivated and satisfied with their job.
The two styles of leadership are essential for the management of knowledge in education
sector of UAE. According to Wilson (2013) , both the transactional and transformational
leadership styles are positively related to practices of knowledge management. The education
sector in the UAE, just as any other organisation is expected to experience organisational change.
LEADERSHIP STYLES AND EMPLOYEE JOB SATISFACTION IN UAE 9
In such a case, transformational and transactional styles of leadership are necessary to manage
people from different cultures (Jenner, 2019) . Also, transformational and transactional leadership
styles are necessary for different aspects of project management, including assets acronym value,
imitability, organisational support, and parity of assets ( Wilson, 2013) . The education sector is
characterized by project and knowledge management. Thus, employee job satisfaction is
effectively achieved in these areas through the use of transactional and transformational
The two styles of leadership are also useful in the construction sector of the UAE. This
industry is highly expansive and requires a leadership style that can adapt to different situations
satisfying the current requirements of an organisation (Darden, 2011) . Working experience in the
construction industry also creates determines whether or not a leader will use transactional or
transformational leadership styles (Darden, 2011) . It has been shown that the two leadership
styles are still the most useful in such a situation since they boost employee job satisfaction even
in different cultural settings.
Lastly, the two styles of leadership are useful in the petroleum sector. Although there was
no direct literature on such applications in the UAE, the two leadership styles have been
successfully used in Libya. That is, the National Oil Corporation of Libya leaders need to follow
a transformational style of leadership in managing their organisation (Darden, 2011) . Employee
satisfaction has been highly achieved in Libya’s petroleum sector. The same can be applied in
UAE since it had been shown that most managers in the UAE are less transformational compared
to the mangers of Europe and the US (Jenner, 2019) . Therefore, employee job satisfaction in the
UAE petroleum sector can be achieved through transformational leadership.
LEADERSHIP STYLES AND EMPLOYEE JOB SATISFACTION IN UAE 10
In conclusion, the research assessed the relationship between leadership styles and job
satisfaction of employee in different sectors in the UAE. Every organisation in the UAE rely on
the workforce for optimal productivity. Organisational leadership styles determine organisational
performance by controlling employee turnover. Therefore, it is necessary to achieve job
satisfaction of employees in every UAE private and public sectors for the economy to thrive. The
available literature has richly demonstrated that transactional and transformational styles of
leadership are strongly associated with job satisfaction in the UAE. The methodology used in
this research was case study based on secondary data. The data was collected through literature
review and directed by the research aim.
Ethical considerations made while collecting data included the integrity and objectivity of
the researchers and the respect of researchers for others. Sectors included in the study included
educational sectors, construction, and the petroleum sector. The findings indicated that
transactional and transformational leadership is essential in knowledge management and project
management n education sector. It was also found that the transactional style of leadership is
useful in the construction industry and the petroleum industry in the UAE. Although UAE
managers tend to be less transactional or transformational in their style of leadership, they need
to use these styles to boost their employee satisfaction and the performance of the organisational
LEADERSHIP STYLES AND EMPLOYEE JOB SATISFACTION IN UAE 11
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