Manager’s Leadership Style Regarding Project Type


It is common knowledge that the leadership style and behavior of the leader should have a specific and vast influence on the performance of the organization, its employees, and project execution. The article Matching the project manager’s leadership style to project type by Muller & Turner (2007) presented an investigation of whether different project kinds demand specific leadership styles to give a synergetic effect and positively impact the project’s success. Researchers used the integrated model of intellectual, emotional, and managerial competence to apply it against engineering, organizational, and information projects and a combination of all projects collected. Through the study, analysts have found that the project manager’s specific leadership behavior has a positive impact on the project outcomes when it fits with the project type and activities. Furthermore, scholars have concluded that the project leader’s emotional and managerial competencies have a higher weight in the project development and results across all project types.

While there were many studies focused on the application of specific tools and methodologies for the project’s success, there is still a lack of information on what kind of leadership style would fit the project type perfectly to give successful results. This paper will analyze the article written by Muller & Turner (2007), its benefits and drawbacks, and its application in the accounting sphere.

The article’s objectives, key ideas, and findings

Muller & Turner (2007), in the article Matching the project manager’s leadership style to project type, tried to explore various leader’s management behavior and project kinds that would suit the leader’s best and lead to the most efficient performance of the project and contribution to its success. There were two main aims of the research: the first is to identify whether the project manager’s leadership style impacts positive project outcomes; the second is to question whether different types of projects demand different leadership styles (Muller & Turner, 2007). Scholars hypothesized that specific leadership styles that fit with the goals of particular projects give better results in executing the tasks.

In the study, six modern and historical leadership schools were summarized, and fifteen leadership competencies were extracted. After that, researchers gathered data regarding significant project categories, success criteria, and time allocated for the project (Muller & Turner, 2007). Combining the integrated model of intellectual, emotional, and managerial competence and results of the web-based questionnaire on project managers’ leadership style, scholars received validated answers to the established two questions.

After conducting the qualitative and quantitative studies, Muller & Turner (2007) proved that the project manager’s leadership style influences the project development and success; and different leadership behaviors should be matched with different kinds of projects. Simultaneously, it became evident for scholars that the strategic perspective and vision that a leader might have can hinder the execution of a successful project. Overall, it was found that the emotional intelligence of the project’s leader significantly contributes to the success of most projects. At the same time, managerial competence was often influential, and in rare cases, intellectual competence was negatively related to success.

Application of the article’s findings to the current and future work

The job of an accounting manager that I have requires tracking the financial information of an organization. It involves various daily tasks, such as ensuring costs and revenues are correctly reported at the end of the financial period, helping the business with accounts management and creation for different projects, fulfilling accounting-related queries, and participating in various analytical and financial documentation processes (The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, n.d.). Usually, accountants have several projects that they are involved in that have objectives, key performance indicators, and tasks. To execute such projects effectively, managers should choose the best leader for project development that can be assigned based on evaluation and the conclusion that leadership style should be different for specific kinds of projects, as Muller & Turner state (2007).

When choosing a leader for accounting projects, several projects’ peculiarities should be included, such as deadlines, the essence of financial information, project type, and importance. For those accounting projects that require sensitive and crucial information, such as preparing yearly results for the company or integrating the new accounts after the acquisition, project leaders should have specific competencies, such as knowledge, accuracy, and managerial expertise. Some researchers state that a strong leadership style in the project has a positive influence on the successful implementation of accounting information systems projects that should be considered when finding the right project accounting leader (Fitriati & Mulyani, 2015).

Overall, any project leader in accounting should have specific competencies, namely corporate and business reporting skills, financial management, governance, risk, and control knowledge (The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, n.d.). Nevertheless, when specific projects require flexibility and understanding of information technologies, such projects’ leaders should have particular skills, such as self-awareness, communication, and strategic perspective, as suggested by Muller & Turner (2007). Thus, I would use the described approach for future work when I will be an accounting manager.

Main criticisms of the article and how it can be improved

It can be emphasized that the investigation by Muller & Turner (2007) covers a comprehensive part of types of project managers, required competencies of projects leaders as well as complexity, importance, contract, phase, and culture of the project. One of the paper’s significant merits is the usage of both quantitative and qualitative studies to validate the results that highlighted the leader’s emotional and managerial competencies to be crucial for project success. Nevertheless, some further studies claimed that different project managers have other project and organizational strategic perspectives that impact the project’s outcome (Andersen, 2015). Therefore, researchers could integrate different models when analyzing strategic perspectives and vision included in the leadership style.

Examples of the project management perspectives of project managers can be added to evaluate whether they are significant or not
Table 1. Examples of the project management perspectives of project managers can be added to evaluate whether they are significant or not (Andersen, 2015).

In the article, researchers presented a general assessment of the emotional, managerial, and intellectual skills of project leaders against all projects and granular engineering, information, and organizational projects, which is advantageous for the initial decision-making on how to assign relevant project leaders (Muller & Turner, 2007). The study’s outcomes highlighted that specific skills should be in the leadership style of any project manager, such as consciousness and communication. However, different projects demand different competencies that could be evaluated in the analysis with specific industries and included. For instance, in the communications industry, analysts stated that innovative behavior and drive for changes are essential for the project leader, which are unique competencies that should be uncovered in future investigations (Lategan & Fore, 2015).

Leadership style Competency Goal Involving Engaging
Intellectual Critical analysis and judgment High Medium Medium
Vision and Imagination High High Medium
Strategic Perspective High Medium Medium
Managerial Engaging Communication Medium Medium Medium High
Managing Resources High Medium Low
Empowering Low Medium High
Developing Medium Medium High
Achieving High Medium Medium
Emotional Self-awareness Medium High High
Emotional Resilience High High High
Motivation High High High
Sensitivity Medium Medium High
Influence Medium High High
Intuitiveness Medium Medium High
Conscientiousness High High High

Table 2. Example of fifteen leadership competencies assessed in 3 leadership styles that could be used against different project types (Lategan & Fore, 2015).

The article lacked specific peculiarities regarding the project characteristics and goals of the project. Therefore, different project types could be expanded in terms of project characteristics, adding to existing complexity, culture, importance, and other factors, such as project usability success and project delivery success with referral to leaders’ competencies (Novo et al., 2017). Additionally, scholars could expand leadership competencies to include contingency (directive, supportive, participative, achievement-oriented) and visionary (transactional, transformational, laissez-faire) features of leadership behavior (Novo et al., 2017).


To make a conclusion, one can state that each project in an organization demands a tailor-made approach when it comes to assigning a leader and employees in charge of execution. Based on discussed studies, it can be claimed that different leadership styles should fit with different project types. Any manager who is responsible for choosing people that will be involved in the project should consider evaluating the features of the project first and, based on that, assign a person, which leadership style would match with project goals. Researchers prove such an approach to be impactful for the project’s success. Therefore, it is crucial to initially assess the specific industry, leader behavior, objectives, and importance of the project to make valuable and efficient decisions of whom to choose as a leader to ensure that the project outcomes will be beneficial.


Andersen, E. (2015). Do project managers have different perspectives on project management? International Journal of Project Management, 34, 58-65.

Fitriati, A. & Mulyani, S. (2015). The influence of leadership style on accounting information system success and its impact on accounting information quality. Research Journal of Finance and Accounting, 6(11), 167-173.

Lategan, T. & Fore, S. (2015). The impact of leadership styles on project success: Case of a telecommunications company. Journal of Governance and Regulation, 4.

Müller, R. J. & Turner, R. (2007). Matching the project manager’s leadership style to project type. International Journal of Project Management, 25(1), 21-32.

Novo, B., Landis, E., Haley, M. (2017). Leadership and its role in the success of project management. Journal of Leadership, Accountability and Ethics, 14(1).

The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. (n.d.). Project accountant. 

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