Similarities and Differences between Public and Private Sector Leadership Strategies in the Caribbean: Empirical Findings on the Link between Leadership, Culture, and Performance

Paul L. Flemming


Conventional theory, which holds that there is a significant difference between leadership in the public and private sectors as leaders manage organizational culture to achieve strategic performance, has begun to be disputed by recent scholars in organizational behavior. The purpose of this study was to validate the views of organizational practitioners that private sector leaders are best suited to facilitate organizational efficiency by examining the link between leaders, culture, and employee performance. The Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ) was distributed to middle managers (N=200) who worked in public and private sector organizations across the United States Virgin Islands to examine how the leaders used organizational culture to improve their organizations’ performances. The study found that leadership practices in both sectors have significant effects on performance. While the hierarchy culture was dominant in government agencies dictating effectiveness is the adherence to strict rules and regulations, the criteria of effectiveness most prominent in the private sector was market culture evident in the achieving of goals, outpacing the competition, increasing market share, and acquiring premium levels of financial returns. These findings suggest that, contrary to conventional theory, those leaders with the greatest organizational success are not restricted only to the private sector; but they are also evident in the public sector. This study concluded that leadership in both the public and the private sectors can induce a significant level of performance when strategies are aligned with organization’s culture and objectives as these organizations developed, grow, and mature.

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Business and Management Studies     ISSN 2374-5916 (Print)     ISSN 2374-5924 (Online)

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