In search of performance-oriented leadership behaviours in the Ghanaian financial service sector: the role of knowledge sharing

Michael Kyei-Frimpong (Department of Organisation and Human Resource Management, University of Ghana, Accra, Ghana)
Isaac Nyarko Adu (Department of Management Sciences, University of Education Winneba, Winneba, Ghana)
Abdul-Razak Suleman (Department of Organisation and Human Resource Management, University of Ghana, Accra, Ghana)
Kwame Owusu Boakye (Department of Management Sciences, University of Education Winneba, Winneba, Ghana)

Journal of Work-Applied Management

ISSN: 2205-2062

Article publication date: 8 March 2022

Issue publication date: 5 October 2022

2365

Abstract

Purpose

This study seeks to examine the mediating role of knowledge sharing (KNS) in the nexus between leadership behaviours and organizational performance (OP).

Design/methodology/approach

Using the survey research design, data were obtained from 335 employees in the Ghanaian financial service sector. Responses were analysed using IBM SPSS (v.23.0), Smart PLS 3.0 and Haye’s (2017) PROCESS macro.

Findings

KNS mediated the relationship between leadership behaviours and OP. In addition, transformational leadership behaviour and transactional leadership behaviour positively relate to OP rather than transfor-sactional leadership behaviour.

Practical implications

The findings of this study give credence to the disputed notion that KNS plays a significant role in effective leadership behaviours that enhances OP.

Originality/value

This paper provides a distinctive approach in examining the interrelationship among leadership behaviours, OP and KNS in the Ghanaian financial service sector.

Keywords

Citation

Kyei-Frimpong, M., Nyarko Adu, I., Suleman, A.-R. and Owusu Boakye, K. (2022), "In search of performance-oriented leadership behaviours in the Ghanaian financial service sector: the role of knowledge sharing", Journal of Work-Applied Management, Vol. 14 No. 2, pp. 272-287. https://doi.org/10.1108/JWAM-01-2022-0001

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Michael Kyei-Frimpong, Isaac Nyarko Adu, Abdul-Razak Suleman and Kwame Owusu Boakye

License

Published in Journal of Work-Applied Management. Published by Emerald Publishing Limited. This article is published under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) licence. Anyone may reproduce, distribute, translate and create derivative works of this article (for both commercial and non-commercial purposes), subject to full attribution to the original publication and authors. The full terms of this licence may be seen at http://creativecommons.org/licences/by/4.0/legalcode


1. Introduction

The financial service sector through one of its primary activities of accepting deposits to make funds available to individuals, companies and countries contributes significantly to gross domestic products of both developed and developing countries. For instance, evidence by Haralayya and Aithal (2021) demonstrate that the banking sector in India contributes about 7.7% of GDP, and a simultaneous banking sector intermediation contribution as measured by a total loan is 30% of GDP. Similarly, the Financial Service Commission Statistics of Mauritius in 2021 depicts that the direct and indirect global business contribution of the bank as of June 2021 stood at 6.4% of GDP. In Ghana, the financial service sector constitutes about 70% of the country's economic growth and contributes about 56.2% of Ghana's GDP (Kojo, 2020). This makes the financial service sector an essential element for the development of the economy since the failure of this sector adversely affects the entire economy.

Among all financial institutions, the banking sector is the largest component of any economy (Haralayya and Aithal, 2021). As such, the industry plays a critical part in the distribution of financial resources from those who have idle funds to those in need of the funds (Cheng et al., 2021). Despite the contributions made by the banking sector to the economic developments of nations, the sector's working environment is saddled with challenges such as poor leadership, work-life imbalance due to long working hours, governance challenges (Shukur and Kanona, 2021), high turnover in the sector (Suifan et al., 2020) and deregulated market (Kentikelenis et al., 2020) that impede performance. Additionally, prior pieces of evidence indicate that factors such as advancement of technology, globalization, interlinking of human relations and the change of knowledge have made the business environment very tempestuous, disordered and challenging (Shukur and Kanona, 2021). In a similar context, the working environment of the financial service sector has been generally described as one in which employees are in a continuous emotional labor state as a result of their busy work schedules (Lavee, 2021). For this reason, effective leadership of institutions in the financial service sector such as capital markets, insurance companies and banks is needed to expand and achieve tremendous growth in the commercial banking sector in Ghana.

Leadership has been identified in the literature as the best place to start, improving a company's competitiveness and enhancing its performance constantly (Paais et al., 2020). This is supported by the fact that changes in the global business setting in which businesses operate have led them to discover new means to operate and effectively cope with challenges relating to leadership (Biron et al., 2021). Organizations have understood that the entire performance of an organization rests on the effectiveness of the human resource at their disposal (Lavee, 2021). When it comes to human resources, the success of an organization is mostly determined by its leaders and the quality of its employees' work (Abeyrathna et al., 2020). According to Iqbal and Ahmad (2021), companies can surpass their competition by focusing on the effectiveness of their leadership. This is because leaders play a critical role in companies, as they assess their external environments and offer direction to subordinates on how to deal with obstacles to ensure growth (Xian et al., 2020). Consequently, proactive organizations resort to management who exhibits performance-oriented leadership behaviours. Performance-oriented leadership behaviours consist of the traits, characteristics and skills of leaders that provide their subordinates (employees) with the required competencies and motivation to enhance the overall organizational performance.

It is important to note that good leadership behaviours enable businesses to integrate, exchange and apply knowledge in innovative ways (Son et al., 2020). As such, the researchers focused on three famous styles of leadership that have been espoused extensively in the extant literature: transformational, transactional and transfor-sactional leadership. Transformational leadership instils confidence in followers, allowing them to shape a better future for their businesses (Khan et al., 2020); transactional leadership behaviour uses rewards and punishment based on performance to influence employees to work towards the achievement of organizational goals (Young et al., 2021). In addition, Dartey-Baah (2015) in his study brought to bear another leadership paradigm known as “Transfor-sactional leadership”. This extension of leadership behaviour focuses on exactly how an effective leader blends transformational leadership behaviour (TFLB) and transactional leadership behaviour (TSLB) to create the best outcomes. As a result, combining TFLB and TSLB effectively creates an idyllic leadership style for addressing business challenges.

Over the years, the concept of leadership has been the subject of great attention to researchers and management practitioners in academic literature (Fries et al., 2021). Therefore, previous leadership research indicates that TFLB and TSLB help organizations thrive by persuading others and motivating followers to attain desired results (Afsar et al., 2017; Masa'deh et al., 2016). Admittedly, the link flanked by leadership behaviours and organizational performance (OP) has been extensively examined in numerous sectors (Farooq, 2018; Mickson and Anlesinya, 2019; Son et al., 2020). However, the findings of these studies in different contexts indicate that the influence of leadership behaviours on OP lacks consistency. Thus, they are mixed, fragmented and inconclusive. While a plethora of literature on leadership exist, the majority of the studies focused mainly on transaction leadership behaviour and transformational leadership behaviour without paying attention to the possible existence of a combination of the two leadership behaviours (Transfor-sactional leadership). The discovery of the transfor-sactional leadership behaviour (TSFLB) has created a limitation in previous leadership studies and a need for a novel leadership and OP model (Son et al., 2020). The current volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous business environment requires management to adopt a leadership behaviour that innovates, adapts and can sustain competitive advantage over time. This is evident in its capability to do two things simultaneously: deliver excellent performance against current goals, and effectively innovate and adapt to rapid turbulent changes in the workplace. Thus, an effective blend of transactional and transformational leadership approaches embodies elements of an ideal leadership approach that enables managers to solve the challenges of the present, focusing on the challenges of the future (Dartey-Baah, 2015). As such, the study aims to complement the leadership-performance literature with the introduction of the transfor-sactional leadership behaviour. Another novelty from this study will be the assessment of the role of knowledge sharing (KNS) in explaining how these three leadership behaviours influence OP. Thus, earlier research has tended to focus on the role of work engagement and innovation (Bhatti and Ali, 2020; Juliani et al., 2021; Son et al., 2020). Therefore, future researchers would be required to operationalize their studies to examine other conduits through which leadership behaviours can result in organizational success. Hence, the thesis of this study is to propose knowledge sharing (KNS) as an intervening variable that can influence the association between leadership behaviours and OP.

Overall, the study contributes to the extant literature by empirically linking the three streams of leadership behaviours (TFLB, TSLB and TSFLB), KNS and OP in the Ghanaian financial service sector. The results of the study also provide a more comprehensive understanding of leadership behaviours and their relevance to applied management. Thus, it brings into the limelight the significance of ensuring that management implements leadership and KNS policies and practices that will shape the performance of institutions in the Ghanaian financial service sector.

2. Literature review and hypothesis development

2.1 Theoretical foundations

Numerous theories of leadership have been developed to explain the concept of leadership behaviour and the interaction between the leader and the follower (Dartey-Baah and Addo, 2019). As a result, this study draws on the leader-member exchange (LMX) theory (Graen et al., 1982; Graen and Scandura, 1987) as the theoretical basis to explain the relationship between leadership behaviours, KNS and OP. This theory seeks to explain the extent to which subordinates are treated unequally by their supervisors and its resultant effect on the development of comparatively unwavering dyads that range from less- to greater-quality exchanges (Graen et al., 1982). The theory operates on the assumption that when the relationship between a leader and their members is of high quality, the leader is seen as a resource that tends to lend support to employees. This intend enhances the performance of employees at the workplace (Veliu et al., 2017).

Veliu et al. (2017) in their work emphasize the extent to which leaders may work with each of their members on a one-on-one basis to establish a partnership with them rather than favouring a member over the other. According to Ezenwa (2020), when employees find themselves in a situation where the interaction between them and that of their leader is of high quality, they tend to experience uncluttered communication with their supervisor. This exposes them to the information required to be efficient and effective when executing their task at the workplace. A study by Young et al. (2021) postulates that the association between transactional leadership and LMX differs depending on the extent to which leaders reward or punish employees. First, they argue that transactional leaders who participate in punishment-based leadership can distort the improvement of the quality of interaction with subordinates. For example, punishment-based leadership encompasses reflexively monitoring subordinates for errors, so that disciplinary measures can be put in place to discourage its recurrence. This conduct is characterized by a refusal to participate in social exchange (for example, punishing by removing the opportunity), which then leads to poor-quality exchanges. Reward-based leadership on the other hand was empirically found to create high interaction between a leader and a subordinate. This in essence is a result of conditional reward being essential for supervisors to accomplish their social exchange expectation by giving valuable resources to their subordinates.

LMX is conceptually described as an exchange process, making it appear to be a transactional leadership model, but it is not usually measured this way. Members of the in-group are not told what is expected in return for the rewards they are given as part of a high-quality exchange (Graen et al., 1982; House and Aditya, 1997). Since leaders do not make explicit demands on followers in the form of harder work for these rewards, the relationship might be characterized as transformational. To the extent that LMX measures create mutual respect, trust and the overall quality of the working relationship, LMX is also oriented towards transformational leadership. There is emerging support for the claim that LMX may be transformational, at least at certain times and under certain conditions (Hickman and Akdere, 2018; Scandura and Meuser, 2021). It is important to also note that the more the leaders interact with their subordinates, the more knowledge and expertise are shared with them. This shared knowledge equips the subordinate to accomplish assigned tasks and achieve organizational goals (Scandura and Meuser, 2021). Hence, this study situates itself within the assertion of the LMX theory that KNS by leaders is key to getting the best from employees and ensuring the success of an organization.

2.2 Leadership Behaviours and organizational performance (OP)

The question of what constitutes the precise definition of leadership behaviour has always remained questionable (Knights et al., 2020; Young et al., 2021) for decades now. This is to say that a myriad of definitions has been given by different scholars from different backgrounds with different orientations. For example, scholars describe leadership as a social issue (Alvesson and Einola, 2019), a culture change (Meng and Berger, 2019) and a global issue (Uhl-Bien and Arena, 2018). Scholars agree and disagree on what constitutes leadership, rendering the search for a single definition of leadership a pointless effort (Alvesson and Einola, 2019; Uhl-Bien and Arena, 2018) and quite challenging to define due to its dynamic nature (Dartey-Baah and Addo, 2019). Furthermore, some scholars have examined the concept of leadership through the assessment of inborn potentials, as found in the Great Man and Traits Theory (Carlyle, 1888); others have examined the behaviour of leaders, as well as the situation within which they find themselves as a means of elucidating the concept – Behavioural and Situational Theory (Lewin, 1946; Fiedler, 1967). Transformational, transactional and transfor-sactional leadership behaviours have all considered this idea based on an assessment of the association and exchanges that exist between leaders and their followers in pursuit of organizational goals (Dartey-Baah, 2015).

A study conducted by Masa'deh et al. (2016) revealed that transformational and transactional leadership behaviour had a significant impact on both job and firm performance. Biron et al. (2021) in their study postulate that transformative management style directly affects OP. According to Young et al. (2021), the exchanges between leaders and followers focus on improving the efficiency of their organization. Also, Purwanto et al. (2020) stated that a transactional leadership style can have a positive or negative impact on employee performance. According to them, a positive effect can occur when employees positively evaluate transactional leadership, and a negative effect can occur if the employee feels that the transactional leadership style cannot be trusted because leaders are dishonest or not transparent and do not keep their promises. Dartey-Baah (2015) argue that the expansion of the leadership concept should be centred on how an effective mix of TFLB and TSLB would yield the best results. As such, an effective mix of the TFLB and TSLB embodies elements of an ideal leadership behaviour approach needed to solve the challenges of the present while focusing on addressing future business challenges as well. Antonopoulou et al. (2021) investigate how TFLB augmented TSLB on 200 martial art students from 20 different studios in Germany, employing Multi-Factor Leadership Questionnaire as the data collection instrument. The data analysis revealed that there is a link between transformational and transactional leadership skills when respondents' demographic variables and skills were controlled for in the study. However, the findings of these studies provide pieces of pieces of evidence that are mixed, fragmented and inconclusive; hence, this study hypothesize that:

H1a.

TFLB positively and significantly predicts OP

H1b.

TSLB positively and significantly predicts OP

H1c.

TSFLB positively and significantly predicts OP

2.3 Mediating role of knowledge sharing (KNS)

KNS, according to Kim and Park (2017), is the process by which individuals and groups exchange knowledge (i.e. work-related information, skills or expertise) among or between themselves to solve difficult problems within a company. The process of individuals exchanging their knowledge (being tacit or explicit) to jointly form a new or unique knowledge within an organization is also known as KNS (Leonardi and Treem, 2012). KNS may be an interesting construct relative to the kind of leadership behaviour within an organization because the exchange process assumes a communication procedure that is more leadership-dependent. Prior studies have recognized that KNS is a mediator in the association between leadership behaviour and organizational outcomes (Son et al., 2020). Furthermore, recent studies have revealed that KNS plays a mediating role in the association between leadership behaviours and organizational outcomes (Obeidat and Tarhini, 2016; Hussain et al., 2017). However, in some studies, KNS does not affect the correlations between leadership behaviours and OP (Al-Kurdi et al., 2018; Singh et al., 2021). Obeidat and Tarhini (2016) in their study also pointed out that managers who exhibit good leadership behaviours tend to contribute to the performance of their organization through sharing knowledge acquired through experience over the years at their place of work. Moreover, prior studies focused on the relationship between leadership behaviours and KNS (Leonardi and Treem, 2012), and a significant number concluded that KNS or knowledge management contributes immensely to the enhancement of OP (Bazrkar and Hajimohammadi, 2021). The knowledge held by an organization's human resources, as well as the knowledge acquired and embedded into its systems, determines its competitive advantage (Leonardi and Treem, 2012). In furtherance, KNS has been described to influence various individual, team and organizational-level decisions that either facilitate or impede the performance of employees. According to Son et al. (2020), KNS is an attitude of managers that drives the performance of organizations.

Interestingly, a large number of studies on leadership styles, KNS and OP inform research on developed countries, as most previous studies appear to have a Western bias (Bazrkar and Hajimohammadi, 2021). Therefore, recent studies have believed that future researchers should operationalize their research work in a different national context, especially in non-Western contexts (Zbuchea et al., 2019). This study, conducted in an African country like Ghana and the financial service sector, will reinforce previous findings. Again, the researchers observed that few studies or perhaps none have been carried out particularly in the Ghanaian financial service sector. Thus, the effects of leadership behaviour on financial institutions' performance are mediated by KNS. Unfortunately, previous studies, on the other hand, have demonstrated lukewarm interest in studying the mediating function of KNS in the Ghanaian financial service sector. In addition, this type of study in the Ghanaian financial service sector is still rare. Hence, managers provide rewards and nurture the intrinsic needs of their employees to share knowledge. It is also expected that the management of financial institutions enhances their leadership behaviours through the idea of KNS. As such, there has been a dearth of research on the role of KNS in mediating the relationship between leadership behaviours and OP, particularly in the Ghanaian financial service sector. To overcome this vacuum in literature, our hypothesis investigates the mediating role of KNS in the relationship between leadership behaviours and OP (Figure 1).

H2a.

KNS mediates the association between TFLB and OP

H2b.

KNS mediates the association between TSLB and OP

H2c.

KNS mediates the relationship between TSFLB and OP

Figure 1 depicts how leadership behaviours (transformational leadership behaviour, transformational leadership behaviour and transfor-sactional leadership behaviour) affect OP through KNS, drawing on the LMX theory and relevant literature such as Al-Kurdi et al. (2018) and Dartey-Baah (2015).

3. Methodology

3.1 Design, sample and data collection

This present study adopts a quantitative research methodology as a result of the general purpose and objectives of the study. Consequently, this study falls within the survey design and collected data using a questionnaire. This design was employed because it provides the basis for establishing the interrelationships and effects between exogenous and endogenous variables (Sajons, 2020). The study was conducted in five top-notch financial institutions that were sampled conveniently in Ghana. The financial institutions were First National Bank Ghana (been in existence in Ghana since October 2015), Zenith Bank Ghana (been in existence in Ghana since April 2005), Access Bank Ghana Plc (been in existence in 2009), Blue Financial Service Limited (been in existence since 2001) and IFS Financial Service (been in existence since 1991). With a total population of 6,000, a sample size of 370 was obtained using Krejcie and Morgan’s (1970) mathematical formula for selecting sample size from a population. The study's respondents were conveniently sampled as a result of their busy and rotational work schedules. Out of the 370 questionnaires distributed to the employees of the selected financial institutions, 335 completed questionnaires were received and accounted for. This amount to a response rate of 90.1% after the elimination of uncompleted questionnaires. In compliance with research ethics, the authors first sought permission from the head of the human resource department of the various institutions. The authors personally administered the questionnaires to solicit data from their employees. The demographic characteristics of the sample are presented in Table 1.

3.2 Measures

A 5-point Likert scale alternating from 1 “Strongly Disagree” to 5 “Strongly Agree” was used in this present study. The 5-point Likert scale method was used because of its accuracy and reliability (Joshi et al., 2015; Adu et al., 2020).

Leadership as a construct was assessed as a three-dimensional variable using twelve-item scale by Dai et al.'s (2013) and a five-item scale conceptualized by Dartey-Baah (2015). The scale by Dai et al. (2013) measures two dimensions of leadership behaviour, namely, transformational (eight items) and transactional (four items), whereas Dartey-Baah (2015) conceptualizes transfor-sactional leadership styles (five items). Sample items include “My supervisor can understand my situation” (transformational leadership),When I am unable to complete my work, my supervisor reprimands me” (transactional leadership) and “My supervisor is strategic in his thinking and conceptualizations” (transfor-sactional leadership).

Knowledge sharing. A 9-item scale developed by Vuori and Okkonen (2012) was adopted to measure the mediating construct in this study. Sample item includes “Knowledge sharing with others in the organization is valuable”.

Organizational performance. A measurement scale developed by Wang and Wang (2012) was adopted to measure OP as the dependent construct in this study. Sample item includes “Customer satisfaction of our organization is better”.

3.3 Data analysis

IBM SPSS version 23.0, Ringle et al.'s (2020) Smart PLS 3.0 and Haye’s (2017) PROCESS macro into SPSS 23.0 were employed to test the reflective model. The Smart PLS 3.0 was used to evaluate the confirmatory factor analysis of the reflective model. Model 4 used leadership behaviour (TFLB, TSLB, and TSFLB) as the predictive variable, KNS as the intervening variable and OP as the criterion variable. The significance level of the indirect and direct effects of leadership behaviour on OP was tested using bootstrapping as the bias-correction percentile method with a sample of 5,000. Hypotheses of the study were said to be supported when the 95% confidence interval (CI) did not include zero.

To check for the reliability of the scales, a pilot test was first conducted. Forty-five employees from the University of Education Business School were sampled for the pilot study. The Cronbach’s α values for the reliability of various scales was transformational leadership behaviour, transactional leadership behaviour and transfor-sactional leadership behaviour were 0.80, 0.75 and 0.85, respectively. Cronbach α values of 0.82 and 0.78 were observed for KNS and OP, respectively. To overcome the issue of bias, the authors ensured that all the items on the questionnaire were pretested as well as neutrally structured before the actual collection of the data.

4. Results

Even though the scales employed in this study have been validated previously, one may question whether they were empirically discrete in our study. As such, the authors conducted a CFA to verify the fitness of the hypothesized model. The authors chose to conduct CFA at the expense of exploratory factor analysis (EFA) since the constructs have been validated in previous studies. The validity of the measurement instrument was tested by observing the factor structure of the construct using the confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) and predictive relevance (Q2) in Smart PLS 3.0. The values of the standardized root mean square residual (SRMR) and normed fit index (NFI) were within the acceptable threshold recommended by Hair et al. (2017), indicating goodness-of-fit for our research model. Thus, NFI = 0.99 and SRMR = 0.03. Also, the values 0.133, 0.196, 0.130 and 0.212 for TFLB, TSLB, TSFLB and KNS, respectively, indicate the structural model has predictive relevance since all their values exceeded 0.

The results as shown in Table 2 of this present study capture the factor loadings, composite reliability as well as internal consistency of the construct under study using Cronbach's alpha test. The values of the individual items that measure the constructs in question were above an acceptable threshold of 0.6, as suggested by Hair et al. (2017). The composite reliability of the construct was above an acceptable threshold of 0.7, as recommended by Henseler (2017). The Cronbach's alpha coefficient results, as presented in Table 2, also indicate that all the scales for measuring the variables in the study exceeded the conventional acceptable threshold of 0.7 (Jocom et al., 2017). This is an indication that the items used in measuring the variables in question were reliable for further analysis.

The results in Table 3 show the discriminant validity of the construct under study in this present study. The discriminant validity was assessed to determine the uniqueness of each construct been studied in this present study. The Fornell-Larcker and heterotrait-monotrait (HTMT) ratio criteria were used. According to Fornell and Larcker (1981), the square root of the average variance extract (AVE) should be greater than the inter-correlations of the latent variables. As such, the results revealed in Table 3 support Fornell and Larcker’s (1981) claim. The HTMT rtaio was also evaluated based on the recommendations by Henseler (2017) that values less than 0.85 are acceptable.

From the results in Table 4, it can be seen that TFLB has a significant positive relationship with KNS (r = 0.362, p < 0.01) and OP (r = 0.348, p < 0.01). In other words, TFLB affects KNS and OP positively. Thus, the more an employee feels that he or she has been motivated and inspired to work, the more he or she perceives that knowledge has been shared, and also the organization uses resources judiciously. Similarly, the results of the study reveal that TSLB has a significant positive association with KNS (r = 0.293, p < 0.01) and OP (r = 0.375, p < 0.01). In other words, TSLB affects KNS and OP positively. The case is the same for the relationship between TSFLB, KNS and OP. The results show that TSFLB is significant and positively correlates with KNS (r = 0.450, p < 0.01) and OP (r = 0.310, p < 0.01). This presupposes that the more a leader can blend transformational and transactional leadership, the more employees perceive that knowledge is being exchanged and that his or her organization is using resources judiciously. Finally, the result of the correlational matrix shows that KNS has a significant positive association with OP (r = 0.297, p < 0.01). This means that OP is positively affected by KNS.

The results as presented in Table 5 showed that leadership behaviours (thus, TFLB [β = 0.542, p < 0.001] and TSLB [β = 0.416, p < 0.001]) had a significant positive influence on OP. This findings provide support for H1a and H1b of this study. However, the result showed an insignificant positive effect of TSFLB (β = 0.133, p > 0.05) on OP, indicating non-support for H1c of this study. In addition, the results also showed that leadership behaviour is also positively and significantly related with KNS (TFLB [β = 0.199, p < 0.05], TSLB [β = 0.422, p < 0.001], and TSFLB [β = 0.213, p < 0.01]). Also, the results revealed that KNS is positively and significantly associated with OP (β = 0.427, p < 0.001).

4.1 Mediation analysis

The results in Table 6 show the mediating effect of KNS in the association between leadership behaviours and OP. The results showed that the indirect effect of TFLB on OP through KNS was −0.196. The bias-corrected CI of 95% did not overlap with 0 [−0.369; −0.244]. Hence, H2a of this study was supported. The results also showed that the indirect consequence of TSLB on OP through KNS was −0.164 and the bias-corrected CI of 95% did not overlap with 0 [−0.298; −0.156], thus indicating support for H2b of this present study. Also, the outcome of this present study revealed that the indirect effect of TSFLB on OP through KNS was −0.064, with a bias-corrected CI of 95% which did not overlap with 0 [−0.124; −0.114]; hence, H1c of this present study was supported.

5. Discussion and conclusion

5.1 Discussion

Leadership behaviours are precarious for organizational success (Do and Luu, 2020). This present study demonstrates how leadership behaviours facilitate organizational success. The study improves our understanding of how leadership behaviours can foster OP through the KNS process among institutions in the Ghana financial service sector. From the LMX theoretical perspective, the study demonstrates the crucial role of KNS in promoting organizational success.

First, this present study provides pragmatic evidence that institutions in the Ghanaian financial service sector can enhance their OP through effective leadership behaviours. Thus, the results of this present study revealed that TFLB and TSLB have a significant and positive relationship with OP, indicating support for H1a and H1b of this current study. This means that a leadership behaviour that includes presenting a clear vision and stimulating subordinates to work towards that vision by connecting with the subordinates, understanding their desires and assisting them in reaching their full potential contributes to good results and leads to the achievement of predetermined performance (Masa'deh et al., 2016). Additionally, asking employees to take ownership of their work, to be role models for themselves and others and understanding their strengths and weakness tends to increase their performance, which in the long run enhances the performances of the organization in question (McCleskey, 2014). Purwanto et al. (2020) in their study revealed that a leadership behaviour that encourages the exchange of economic, political and psychological values between managers and subordinates leads to the attainment of predefined organization performance. The exchanges between management and their employees and followers enable managers to meet their performance targets, as well as focus on improving their organization's efficiency and motivating the employees. Notwithstanding, the findings of the study revealed that TSFLB insignificantly predicted OP positively, indicating non-support for H1c of this study. This could emanate from the uncomplimentary economic conditions in a developing country like Ghana. Thus, most Ghanaian employees will be motivated by monetary reward factors only in other to perform better at the workplace (Dartey-Baah and Addo, 2019).

Finally, the prediction that KNS mediates the association between leadership behaviour (TFLB, TSLB and TSFLB) and OP in the Ghanaian financial service sector was met, indicating support for H2a, H2b and H2c of this current study. This study emphasizes the fact that the leadership behaviours of leaders translate into the performance of organizations (Son et al., 2020). The findings of the study are consistent with Antonopoulou et al.’s (2021) propositions that in a situation where employees feel that they are in a trustworthy exchange in terms of knowledge with their organization, they tend to actively get involved in the work they perform in the organization which, in turn, enhances the performances of the organization. This means that transformational leadership indirectly predicts OP by creating a working environment that succumbs to KNS. Further revealed, subordinates working with leaders that blend leadership behaviour are encouraged to add their quota to the performance of the organization since the team and individual spirit that is created tend to be inspired to lead to commitment through KNS. This, however, supports the claim that KNS provides the mechanism through which transactional leadership affects OP.

5.1.1 Practical implications

The finding of the study has a myriad of practical implications specifically in the areas of applied management and human behaviour. For example operating in a volatile, uncertain, competitive and ambiguous business environment, organizations need managers with exceptional leadership behaviours that enable them to apply diverse means to have their employees share with others what they know, particularly among their colleagues, to help build a productive workforce.

The findings of this study give credence to the long-held notion that KNS plays a significant part in an effective leadership behaviour. Specifically, the results of this present study revealed that TFLB and TSLB play an essential role in enhancing OP even to the extent that it leads to competitive advantage. However, the finding revealed that TSFLB does not have a significant influence on OP. The current work environment requires that management of financial institutions is to put in place flexible organizational edifices that can be easily separated and remodelled to meet the demands of the contemporaneous while developing a strategic plan for the future. Therefore, this flexibility requires management to enact leadership behaviours that can encircle change and be able to function within recognized edifices before the requisite for structural change.

Furthermore, the finding that leadership behaviour is positively related to OP through KNS suggests that training managers to enact leadership qualities may provide useful and significant returns on investments (Antonopoulou et al., 2021) in terms of employee performance. As such, the authors of this current study suggest that institutions in the Ghanaian financial service sector should put in place more effort to train HR managers and practitioners and encourage them to improve their mutual relationship with their subordinates. In addition, the management of financial institutions should pay more attention to the creation of a workplace environment that promotes flexibility, transparency and trust between employees and their subordinates. Such an environment will facilitate KNS between supervisors and their subordinates and allow them to brainstorm together on situations and experiences they encounter.

5.1.2 Precincts and directions for forthcoming studies

This present study has a myriad of limitations as in the case of any study. The foremost limitation of this present study relates to the empirical evidence obtained from respondents in the Ghanaian financial service sector. Hence, the findings may not be generalized to other institutions in other sectors that did not participate in the study. Other studies may be conducted to assess the effect of leadership behaviours on the performance of an organization through KNS in other sectors in Ghana. Also, the study employed the LMX theory in this present study which is unilateral. Therefore, a future study can employ a pluralistic theory to study leadership behaviours in other institutions. On the whole, this present study revealed that KNS mediates the association between leadership behaviours and OP. However, KNS may not be the only instrument through which leadership behaviours can have a significant bearing on OP. Other studies can examine other possible mechanisms such as knowledge creation and knowledge management processes.

5.2 Conclusion

In today's contemporary work environment, leadership styles are beneficial since leadership is linked with a plethora of positive outcomes. The leadership behaviour of management in organizations has a far-reaching implication on their KNS behaviour as well as the performance of the organization through a myriad of underlined mechanisms. Given the idea that every organization seeks to enhance its performance to achieve competitive advantage through effective leadership, the role of KNS in attaining such an edge cannot be underestimated. Hence, it is of great significance that management chooses a leadership style that seeks to enhance OP through KNS to get the best from their employees. The theoretical framework adopted for this study highlights a myriad of options for management by presenting a variety of leadership behaviours that can lead to enhanced OP through KNS in today's modern-day business environment.

Figures

Conceptual framework

Figure 1

Conceptual framework

Distribution of sample demographic characteristics

VariableCharacteristicsFrequencyPercentage
SexMale19157
Female14443
AgeBelow 30 years14042
30–39 years12236
40–49 years4313
50–59 years226
Above 60 years82
Marital statusSingle14844
Married14242
Divorced4514
Academic qualificationDiploma5918
HND7924
Bachelor's degree10231
Master's degree9528
TenureLess than 5 years8726
5–10 years14042
11–15 years5316
16–20 years3711
More than 20 years185
Job positionManagerial14443
Non-managerial19157

Confirmatory factor analysis among study variables

Study variablesFactor loadingsCArho_ACRAVE
Transformational leadership behaviour 0.8830.9000.9190.734
TFLB10.861
TFLB20.804
TFLB30.894
TFLB40.878
Transactional leadership behaviour 0.8780.8820.9170.734
TSLB10.867
TSLB20.918
TSLB30.816
TSLB40.822
Transfor-sactional leadership behaviour 0.8350.8730.8900.673
TSFLB10.881
TSFLB20.893
TSFLB30.853
TSFLB40.625
Knowledge sharing 0.9150.9350.9310.658
KNS10.834
KNS20.841
KNS30.791
KNS40.808
KNS50.804
KNS60.767
KNS70.831
Organizational performance 0.8780.8820.9170.734
OP10.865
OP20.918
OP30.817
OP40.823

Discriminant validity among study construct

12345
Fornell-Larcker Criterion
1KNS0.811
2OP0.1440.857
3TFLB0.2600.3380.860
4TSLB0.1451.0000.3380.857
5TSFLB−0.143−0.211−0.211−0.2120.820
Heterotrait-Monotrait (HTMT) Ratio
1KNS
2OP0.167
3TFLB0.2570.377
4TSLB0.1670.1390.377
5TSFLB0.1620.2390.2520.239

Descriptive statistics and correlational analysis among study variables

MeanSD12345
1TFLB3.640.862
2TSLB3.730.6980.396**
3TSFLB3.720.8230.319**0.384**
4KNS4.090.4730.362**0.293**0.450**
5OP4.350.8210.348**0.375**0.310**0.297**

Note(s): Cronbach's alpha (a) values are shown in italic, **p < 0.01

Direct effect of leadership behaviours on organizational performance

KNS (MV) ΒR2 = 0.035* (SE)OP ΒR2 = 0.435*** (SE)
TFLB0.199*0.0460.542***0.078
TSLB0.422***0.0780.416***0.089
TSFLB0.213**0.0160.1330.115
KNS (MV) 0.427***0.059

Note(s): n = 335. TFLB = transformational leadership behaviour. TSLB = transactional leadership behaviour. TSFLB = transfor-sactional leadership behaviour. KNS = knowledge sharing. OP = organizational performance. *p < 0.05; **p < 0.01; ***p < 0.001

Indirect effect of leadership behaviours on organizational performance

Specific indirect effectPoint estimate(SE)LL 95% CIUL 95% CI
TFLB → KNS → OP−0.1960.084−0.369−0.244
TSLB → KNS → OP−0.1640.062−0.298−0.156
TSFLB → KNS → OP−0.0640.029−0.124−0.114

Note(s): n = 335. TFLB = transformational leadership behaviour. TSLB = transactional leadership behaviour. TSFLB = transfor-sactional leadership behaviour. KNS = knowledge sharing. OP = organizational performance. LL = lower limit, UL = upper limit

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Corresponding author

Michael Kyei-Frimpong can be contacted at: k.michael90@yahoo.com

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