industrial distribution, human relations, leadership, supply chain management, research


An important component in the industrial products supply chain is the distribution segment of the channel. The health and success of industrial distributors can often influence the success cess of manufacturers whom they represent. Although research has demonstrated how leadership is a key ingredient in the success of large corporations across industries, very little leadership research has been conducted in the industrial distribution market segment—especially at the local level. This research fills the gap between what is know about leadership in larger organizations, and the need for greater understanding of leadership at the local level of an industrial distributor. The authors of this study ask: how does leadership style affect the branch-level sales and margin performance of industrial sales organizations? Too answer this question, this study collected transformational and transactional leadership data form 100 branch-office locations a national wholesale distributor using the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ). Both leader and follower data were collected at each location. In all, nearly 300 people participated in the study. The authors calculates the predictive relationship between leadership style and average change in year-over-year sales and profit margin using a multiple regression analysis. The results show that a leader's self-reported transformational leadership was positively associated with sales and profit margin performance art the local level of an industrial distributor, while followers' ratings of a leader's transactional leadership style was negatively associated with sales performance.

Original Publication Citation

Flanigan, R. L.*, Stewardson, G., Dew, J. P., Fleig-Palmer, M., & Reeve, E. (2013). Effects of leadership on financial performance at the local level of an industrial distributor. Journal of Technology, Management, and Applied Engineering, 29, 4, 1 –10.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



Journal of Technology, Management, and Applied Engineering




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Associate Professor