The Effect and Impact of Motivation on Leadership

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Organizations that operate in present-day competitive business environments cannot overlook the concept of motivation and its role in a workplace setting. The research topic selected for this paper revolves around motivation, which is an aspect that has recently attracted huge scholarly attention. This topic developed following the remarkable performance of many globally recognized companies such as Google, General Motors (GM), Facebook, and General Electric (GE), which is assumed to solely depend on their exceptional employee management strategies. Leadership is vital in the implementation of mechanisms for achieving outstanding organizational performance and, consequently, profitability. The selected topic regarding motivation is important because leaders are human resources who play a huge role in preserving the image of their companies. Hence, this paper finds it crucial to examine whether any relationship exists between motivation and leadership. The critical literature review presented seeks to respond to the following research question: How does motivation affect leadership?

Critical Literature Review

The Relationship Between Leaders’ Support to Their Employees and Job Fulfillment

The article “Employees’ adaptability and perceptions of change-related uncertainty: Implications for perceived organizational support, job satisfaction, and performance” forms part of the work of Cullen, Edwards, Casper, and Gue (2014). This study explores aspects that determine the way organizational stakeholders respond to change. According to Cullen et al. (2014), one of the elements that influence workers’ reaction towards reforms entails the level of organizational support accorded to them. The scholarly work examines the relationship between leaders’ support to their employees and the underlying levels of job fulfillment and, consequently, performance. Although the authors do not directly link motivation to leadership, the impact of these crucial elements is implied through enhanced profitability levels. For instance, as Cullen et al. (2014) reveal, workers who perceive their organizational leadership as being supportive of their work-life demands are likely to be contented and committed to delivering outstanding results. Since the study recognizes the role of leadership in instilling organizational support strategies, one can conclude that only motivated leaders are committed to executing the required initiatives. Such efforts translate into job satisfaction and improved performance levels.

The study by Cullen et al. (2014) utilized two separate samples because participants were drawn from different sectors. The first sample contained 152 individuals obtained from three subsidiaries of a pharmaceutical company. The other sample included 379 participants drawn from a globally recognized hair salon company. The authors do not specify the period within which the study was conducted. They also fail to indicate the location of their research as implied. Specifying the names of the salon or the pharmaceutical companies may have helped to determine their research setting. Data from the two samples was collected through interviews that involved company administrators and workers (Cullen et al., 2014). The analysis of quantitative data entailed the use of SPSS while other tools, including a Likert scale, were utilized to capture qualitative information.

Findings from this study indicate that workers’ perceptions of change-related ambiguities influence their level of job satisfaction and, consequently, organizational performance. Although Cullen et al. (2014) do not explicitly explore the link between motivation and leadership, readers are able to realize that enthusiastic leaders are associated with outstanding change management strategies.

The Relationship Between Managers’ Leadership Styles and Motivation

Buble, Juras, and Matić (2014) published the article titled “The relationship between managers’ leadership styles and motivation.” This study examines the key role played by leaders in ensuring that workers perform exemplarily. According to Buble et al. (2014), “leadership is the key factor in directing all organizational components towards the effective accomplishment of organizational goals” (p. 161). Leaders are also presented as the initiators of employee commitment initiatives, which once properly executed result in the attainment of companies’ goals and objectives. This article depicts leadership and motivation as two mutually existing elements. Particularly, motivated organizational managers and supervisors are expected to lead a corresponding team of enthusiastic workers. The study by Buble et al. (2014) is in line with this paper’s goal of investigating the connection between motivation and leadership. However, these authors’ introduce an extra element of investigating whether leaders’ motivation has a role to play in influencing their management styles. The study further examines particular elements that motivate a leader.

Buble et al. (2014) relied on a sample of 396 managers who were arbitrarily chosen to represent all administration levels. The sample, which was gathered in 2013, was evenly distributed across approximately 400 companies based in Croatia. However, only 40 respondents took part in the study. The authors fail to mention whether or not they focused on a particular industry in this country. They may have left this crucial information due to the assumption that motivation and leadership style are not dependent on the sector in which an organization operates.

Data was collected using questionnaires that were sent via email to the selected administrators. The article does not mention any ethical considerations regarding the safety of clients’ data, which was to be recorded and transmitted digitally. Data analysis was done using SPSS, which produced both descriptive and quantitative information.

According to the findings, elements such as incentives and leaders’ involvement in decision-making activities were found to act as motivators that “made them feel responsible” (Buble et al., 2014, p. 173). Consequently, such motivation had a positive impact on the overall productivity of their organizations. The study established the existence of a positive link between motivation and leadership techniques.

The Relationship Between Work Motivation and Emotional Intelligence (EI)

Othman, Abdullah, and Ahmad (2009) authored the article “The influence of work motivation on emotional intelligence and team effectiveness relationship.” The study investigates the impact of work motivation on several aspects of emotional intelligence (EI). It also investigates whether such EI elements influence the effectiveness of a team. EI factors considered in this work include the emotional assessment of oneself and others, including the use and regulation of feelings. Since the current research topic focuses on the effect of motivation on leadership, the article by Othman et al. (2009) may be regarded as narrowly related to the subject under investigation. It concentrates on the impact of motivation on EI and team performance, as opposed to leadership.

The study initially targeted a sample of 400 respondents working as service employees in 40 companies. It was undertaken in 2009 in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor, both of which are in Malaysia. Out of the 400 questionnaires distributed, only 188 were returned, thus indicating a 47% response rate. About 167 interviewees provided suitable data for coding and analysis. Since the scholars managed to obtain data from 41.75% of the targeted sample population, it is possible that conclusions made were unreliable. The low response rate implies that the study yielded ungeneralizable results.

Othman et al. (2009) employed the mixed-methods design to gather data. Specifically, HR administrators were deployed to issue questionnaires to randomly selected workers. The influence of work motivation on team effectiveness and emotional intelligence could be investigated comprehensively through qualitative methods, as opposed to using a mixed-methods approach. Thus, instead of deploying questionnaires, Othman et al. (2009) could have administered face-to-face interviews to collect data to help in investigating team performance and EI, which have social characteristics.

Othman et al. (2009) reveal that work motivation and the assessment of self and other people’s emotional appraisal have a substantial effect on the efficiency of teams consisting of service providers. Nevertheless, the relationship identified is complex and inconclusive because the findings of the study do not demonstrate the extent to which motivation affects leadership in an organizational context.

The Impact of Motivation on Job Fulfillment and Employee Performance

Gîlmeanu (2015) published the article “Theoretical considerations on motivation at the work place, job satisfaction and individual performance.” The author investigates the effect of motivation on job satisfaction and individual performance in the workplace by referring to the appropriate models. The current research topic is concerned about interactions between motivation and leadership. Gîlmeanu (2015) concentrates on theoretical aspects that link motivation to job satisfaction and individual performance. Although leadership is hardly mentioned in the study by Gîlmeanu (2015), the claim that being motivated can result in job contentment can be interpreted to imply satisfaction among all involved stakeholders, including leaders. The article introduces the aspect of administrators’ perceptions of the individuals they lead as another critical indicator of their level of motivation (Gîlmeanu, 2015). This element implies that highly enthusiastic leaders demonstrate a positive attitude towards their jobs and employees.

Gîlmeanu (2015) does not utilize sampling due to the nature of his data collection method. He also fails to specify the location of his study, which was conducted in 2015. Since the study adopts a theoretical approach, it may fail to yield results that demonstrate the extent of influence of motivation on individual performance and job satisfaction.

Data is collected by examining the available literature materials. No selection or rejection criterion is given to explain the strategy deployed to identify sources. Gîlmeanu (2015) analyzes data by investigating patterns and deducing possible connections between motivation, leadership, and job satisfaction.

According to this article, rewards and perceived reasonable salaries are some of the motivating aspects that result in job satisfaction. The status of the working environment is also found to influence job contentment of all workers, including managers and leaders. Another crucial finding by Gîlmeanu (2015) is that satisfaction in the workplace translates into outstanding performance. One of the strategies mentioned for achieving this goal entails the use of incentives. Such rewards may be directed to leaders to encourage them to remain committed to their organizations’ mission and vision. Overall, this article confirms the existence of a connection between motivation and leadership.


A gap is notable in the literature materials examined in this paper. For instance, many of the available studies do not explicitly investigate the relationship between motivation and leadership. They explore the extent to which motivated human resources, particularly employees, improve a company’s productivity levels. Leaders from remarkably performing organizations invest significant resources to ensure that workers are contented with their job. These efforts indicate their awareness of the impact that motivated and, consequently, satisfied leaders and employees have on companies’ profitability levels. Hence, the current research paper fills the above gap because it reveals a positive relationship between motivation and leadership. Future scholars may contribute to filling this gap by publishing additional studies to find out whether motivated leaders have a positive influence on their organizational outcomes.


Buble, M., Juras, A., & Matić, I. (2014). The relationship between managers’ leadership styles and motivation. Management, 19(1), 161-193.

Cullen, K. L., Edwards, B. D., Casper, W. C., & Gue, K. R. (2014). Employees’ adaptability and perceptions of change-related uncertainty: Implications for perceived organizational support, job satisfaction, and performance. Journal of Business and Psychology, 29(2), 269-280. Web.

Gîlmeanu, R. (2015). Theoretical considerations on motivation at the work place, job satisfaction and individual performance. Valahian Journal of Economic Studies, 6(3), 69-80.

Othman, A. K., Abdullah, H. S., & Ahmad, J. (2009). The influence of work motivation on emotional intelligence and team effectiveness relationship. Vision, 13(4), 1-14.

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