Leadership Style and Its Impact on Employee Engagement among SMEs in Malaysia: The Mediating Role of Work-Life Balance

Sudhashini Nair, Ilangovan Perumal, Mehrunishah Begum Bathusha Hamid


Employee engagement has been frequently studied since its emergence in the 1990s. To ensure that employees are mentally and emotionally connected to their work and organization, leadership style and work-life balance are key variables that may enhance employee engagement, especially among SMEs that make up almost 90% of the Malaysian economy. A leader who is concerned about their employee’s wellbeing will promote work-life balance and employee engagement. Hence, the goal of this study was to examine the possible relationships between leadership style, work-life balance, and employee engagement and the possible mediating effect of work-life balance in the relationship between leadership style and employee engagement in Malaysian SMEs. Furthermore, the aim of the study was to contribute to existing knowledge on leadership style, work-life balance, and employee engagement among employees in SMEs due to the limited studies available in Malaysia, and to propose policies that should be implemented to enhance both work-life balance and employee engagement. The research methodology employed in this study was a deductive approach. The study was an explanatory mono-method quantitative design using questionnaires distributed online. The research strategy applied was the survey method using a cross-sectional study. 150 respondents answered the online questionnaire. Data analysis was performed using the SPSS software to test the reliability of the data, conducting linearity, correlation, and multiple regression tests to examine the relationships between the independent variables and dependent variables. The mediation test was conducted using the Sobel test. The results of the study revealed that leadership style had a significant positive relationship with work-life balance and employee engagement, whereas work-life balance had a positive relationship with employee engagement. Finally, work-life balance partially mediated the relationship between leadership style and employee engagement. The scientific novelty of the study was the test results, which indicate that employee engagement in Malaysian SMEs is affected by leadership style and work-life balance. This study provides the implications of the research findings.


Keywords: employee engagement, work-life balance, leadership style.


DOI: https://doi.org/10.55463/hkjss.issn.1021-3619.62.20

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