Date of Conferral







William B. Shriner


AbstractThe Global Innovation Index recently indicated that Nigeria lags several countries in Sub-Saharan Africa in innovation inputs and outputs. It is uncertain whether leadership style in place in Nigerian enterprises is a factor in this situation. Innovation performance is the contribution of product and process innovations to profits and growth in an enterprise. The purpose of this correlational, cross-sectional, survey study was to understand the relationship between leadership style and innovation performance in small-to-medium-scale enterprises (SMEs) in Nigeria. The SME sector was selected because it is the engine of growth of the economy and the highest employer of labor, but also the most severely affected by paucity of innovation and most enterprises in the sector do not survive up to the 5th anniversary of opening for business. The full range leadership theory, and organizational learning theory formed the theoretical framework of the study. The research question investigated whether a statistically significant relationship exists between transformational, transactional, and passive-avoidant leadership styles as measured by the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire, MLQ-Form 5X and innovation performance. An online survey of 158 randomly selected leaders of SMEs provided data for the study. These data were analyzed using Pearson correlation coefficient and multiple linear regression techniques. The results of the study indicated that the 3 leadership styles taken together positively correlated with innovation performance but taken individually, only transformational leadership style correlated with innovation and predicted innovation performance. The results may aid promotion of transformational leadership style to encourage innovation, enterprise survival, growth, and job creation, thereby contributing to positive social change.