Effectiveness of Leadership Styles Among Enterprises at the Athi-river EPZ, Kenya

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School of Business and Economics, Daystar University


In the year 1990, the Kenya government enacted the Export Processing Zones (EPZ) Act (Cap 517, Laws of Kenya) which gave birth to Kenya’s EPZ programme and the EPZ Authority (EPZA) as the body mandated to implement and manage the EPZ programme. EPZs play a vital role in stimulation of economic development in host countries. However, Kenya’s EPZ performance statistics for the years 2005 – 2009 showed an underperformance by many of the enterprises. In fact, during that period, the EPZ enterprises cumulatively purchased less than 24% of their raw materials from local suppliers, thirty enterprises closed down and up to eight thousand jobs were lost. Leadership styles have a great deal of influence on the performance of organizations and the under performance of the EPZ enterprises in Kenya brought into question the effectiveness of the styles of leadership among them. It is with this in mind that, the research was undertaken. The research was carried out as an explanatory case study and used techniques such as desk research, questionnaires and personal interviews. The target population comprised one hundred and thirty one top-level managers of thirty four enterprises operating at the Athi River EPZ in Kenya. Samples were collected from eleven EPZ enterprises achieving a response rate of 57.1%. The respondents included different nationalities and genders. Eight of the corporate leaders were found to exhibit democratic leadership style, two exhibited autocratic leadership style and one exhibited laissez-faire leadership style. Expert views were also collected from staff of the EPZA and Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) stationed at the zone. Notably, the majority of respondents indicated that their corporate leaders exhibited attributes of effectiveness. The study also identified environmental factors that were influencing the performance of the enterprises and the effectiveness of their leaders. It is envisaged that the results and recommendations made would contribute not only to new knowledge on leadership styles in Kenya’s EPZs, but would help address pertinent issues that continue to hinder good performance and leadership effectiveness among the EPZ enterprises.




Effectiveness of, Leadership Styles, Enterprises, Athi-river EPZ, Kenya, Export Processing Zones


Kidenda, Fanuel O. (2011). Effectiveness of Leadership Styles Among Enterprises at the Athi-river EPZ, Kenya. School of Business and Economics, Daystar University: Thesis