ThesisPDF Available

Understanding leadership effectiveness in organizational settings: An integrative approach

Authors:

Abstract

Leaders are involved in the process of influencing people to achieve corporate goals that sustain high-performance over time. Previous research addressing this phenomenon has traditionally adopted a single approach (i.e., traits, skills, or behaviors). This thesis fills this gap in the literature by adopting an integrative perspective of the leadership theory. To address the question of “how are some leaders more effective than others,” an exploratory mixed method approach was used, comprised of a qualitative study to provide the researcher with meaningful insights on the topic, and a quantitative study to confirm the main findings of the exploratory stage. Qualitative findings reveal that leadership effectiveness is a multidimensional construct comprised of four dimensions: (1) traits, (2) skills, (3) behaviors, and (4) processes. Additionally, the model tested during the quantitative phase identifies key predictors, and explains a significant variance of organizational effectiveness. These findings suggest that leaders that are learning goal-oriented, good interpersonal communicators, self-confident, and exhibit certain behaviors are more likely to be highly effective and to have a greater impact on organizational effectiveness. Overall, the results give a substantive support for an integrative model of leadership effectiveness, contribute to the theoretical debate on how leadership effectiveness can sustain organizational performance, and help managers understand the effective leadership process inside organizations.
UNIVERSIDADE DE LISBOA
ISEG SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS AND MANAGEMENT
PhD in Management
UNDERSTANDING LEADERSHIP EFFECTIVENESS
IN ORGANIZATIONAL SETTINGS:
AN INTEGRATIVE APPROACH
Teresa Maria Raposo Dias de Oliveira Correia de Lacerda
Orientação: Doutor José Manuel Cristóvão Veríssimo
Júri:
Presidente: Reitor da Universidade de Lisboa
Vogais:
Doutor Avelino Miguel da Mata de Pina e Cunha, professor catedrático da
Faculdade de Economia da Universidade Nova de Lisboa
Doutor José Arménio Belo da Silva Rego, professor associado com
agregação do Departamento de Economia, Gestão e Engenharia Industrial
da Universidade de Aveiro
Doutor Jorge Filipe da Silva Gomes, professor associado com agregação do
Instituto Superior de Economia e Gestão da Universidade de Lisboa
Doutora Sara Cristina Moura da Silva Ramos, professora auxiliar do
ISCTE Instituto Universitário de Lisboa
Doutor José Manuel Cristóvão Veríssimo, professor auxiliar do Instituto
Superior de Economia e Gestão da Universidade de Lisboa
January 2015
UNDERSTANDING LEADERSHIP EFFECTIVENESS IN ORGANIZATIONAL SETTINGS
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UNDERSTANDING LEADERSHIP EFFECTIVENESS IN ORGANIZATIONAL
SETTINGS: AN INTEGRATIVE APPROACH
Teresa Maria Raposo Dias de Oliveira Correia de Lacerda
ISEG, UNIVERSIDADE DE LISBOA
Orientador: Prof. Doutor José Manuel Cristóvão Veríssimo
JANEIRO 2015
RESUMO
Os líderes estão envolvidos no processo de influenciar pessoas para atingir metas
que sustentam o elevado desempenho corporativo ao longo do tempo. Tradicionalmente,
os investigadores têm estudado este fenómeno usando modelos teóricos não integrados
(ou seja, considerando isoladamente traços de personalidade, competências ou
comportamentos de liderança). Esta tese preenche esta lacuna na literatura, ao adotar uma
perspetiva integradora da teoria da liderança. Para responder à questão de "como alguns
líderes são mais eficazes do que outros?", este estudo utilizou uma metodologia mista
com carácter exploratório, composta de um estudo qualitativo para o investigador obter
informação relevante sobre o tema, e de um estudo quantitativo para confirmar as
principais conclusões da fase exploratória.
Os resultados do estudo qualitativo revelam que a eficácia da liderança é um
constructo multidimensional composto por quatro dimensões: (1) traços, (2)
competências, (3) comportamentos, e (4) processos. Além disso, o modelo testado na fase
quantitativa identifica fatores que explicam uma variância significativa da eficácia
organizacional. Estes resultados sugerem que os líderes que são orientados para objetivos,
bons comunicadores interpessoais, autoconfiantes, e que exibem certos comportamentos
são mais propensos a serem altamente eficazes e têm um impacto maior sobre a eficácia
organizacional. Em geral, os resultados suportam um modelo integrativo da eficácia da
liderança, contribuem para o debate teórico sobre a forma como a eficácia da liderança
pode contribuir para o desempenho organizacional, e ajuda os gestores a entenderem
melhor o processo de liderança eficaz dentro das organizações.
Palavras-chave: liderança, a eficácia da liderança, o desempenho organizacional, a
eficácia organizacional, modelo integrativo da eficácia da liderança, traços de
personalidade, comportamentos de liderança, competências de liderança
UNDERSTANDING LEADERSHIP EFFECTIVENESS IN ORGANIZATIONAL SETTINGS
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UNDERSTANDING LEADERSHIP EFFECTIVENESS IN ORGANIZATIONAL
SETTINGS: AN INTEGRATIVE APPROACH
Teresa Maria Raposo Dias de Oliveira Correia de Lacerda
ISEG, UNIVERSIDADE DE LISBOA
Orientador: Prof. Doutor José Manuel Cristóvão Veríssimo
JANUARY 2015
ABSTRACT
Leaders are involved in the process of influencing people to achieve corporate
goals that sustain high-performance over time. Previous research addressing this
phenomenon has traditionally adopted a single approach (i.e., traits, skills, or behaviors).
This thesis fills this gap in the literature by adopting an integrative perspective of the
leadership theory. To address the question of how are some leaders more effective than
others, an exploratory mixed method approach was used, comprised of a qualitative
study to provide the researcher with meaningful insights on the topic, and a quantitative
study to confirm the main findings of the exploratory stage.
Qualitative findings reveal that leadership effectiveness is a multidimensional
construct comprised of four dimensions: (1) traits, (2) skills, (3) behaviors, and (4)
processes. Additionally, the model tested during the quantitative phase identifies key
predictors, and explains a significant variance of organizational effectiveness. These
findings suggest that leaders that are learning goal-oriented, good interpersonal
communicators, self-confident, and exhibit certain behaviors are more likely to be highly
effective and to have a greater impact on organizational effectiveness. Overall, the results
give a substantive support for an integrative model of leadership effectiveness, contribute
to the theoretical debate on how leadership effectiveness can sustain organizational
performance, and help managers understand the effective leadership process inside
organizations.
Keywords: leadership, leadership effectiveness, organizational performance,
organizational effectiveness, integrative model of leadership effectiveness, personality
traits, leadership behaviors, leadership skills
UNDERSTANDING LEADERSHIP EFFECTIVENESS IN ORGANIZATIONAL SETTINGS
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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
Despite being an individual work, this dissertation would not have been completed
without the participation of several key people who generously supported me throughout
my doctoral studies journey, and to whom I am deeply indebted and eternally grateful.
First, I would like to thank the directors of the PhD Program in Management, Prof. Mário
Caldeira, Prof. João Mesquita Mota and Prof. Margarida Duarte for accepting my
application to the program. Your valuable advice in the first seminar to discuss the initial
research project have guided me throughout the whole research.
Second, I am truly grateful to the program faculty, most especially to Prof. Luiz
Moutinho. Your passion for epistemology and research methodology was inspirational,
and your insights were an important learning for me, and above all, were decisive to
completing this work. I am also grateful to my supervisor, Prof. José Veríssimo, for his
patience, ongoing encouragement, and unconditional support. Your guidance has helped
me to persevere in even the harshest circumstances, and for that, I am grateful. I would
like to thank the other members of my dissertation committee: Prof. Jorge Gomes, Prof.
Manuel Laranja, and Prof. Luís Mota de Castro whose insights and provoking comments
guided my thinking in completing this dissertation.
Most especially, I am grateful to my fellow Ph.D. students in ISEG, in particular,
Patrícia Tavares, Sandra Miranda Oliveira, Renato Leite, and Alfredo Silva. Your help
and feedback were significant in several critical stages of the dissertation, most
importantly when the questionnaires were tested. I am also very grateful to Winnie Ng
Picoto. Your generous advice helped me finding the most appropriate data analysis
strategy for this research. I would also like to thank Sofia Carvalho for organizing our
regular encounters, where we had the opportunity to share the highs and lows of our
UNDERSTANDING LEADERSHIP EFFECTIVENESS IN ORGANIZATIONAL SETTINGS
v
doctoral experience.
Beyond my faculty, my deepest appreciation goes to the participants in the
interviews and surveys. Without their valuable input, it would not have been possible to
obtain the necessary empirical data for this study. Hopefully, the insights from this
research will be useful to those participants by clarifying the impact of leadership
effectiveness on organizational performance, especially in adverse contexts. In relation
to the qualitative phase of this study, I wish to thank Eduarda Luna Pais for the
opportunity to connect me with many of the participants in the interviews. Your
unconditional support and remarkable suggestions worked as a real enhancer for my
research.
The completion of this work, in such a short period, would not have been possible
without the financial support from FCT (Portuguese Foundation for Science and
Technology). This doctoral grant from FCT allowed me to become a full-time Ph.D.
Student and to complete my dissertation sooner than expected. I am deeply grateful for
this financial support, and strongly encourage FCT to continue their support to other
Ph.D. students, which will contribute to the advancement of science in Portugal.
Further support for this dissertation came from my network of incredible friends.
You have kept me sane through this difficult journey both professionally and personally.
Your friendship, caring and encouragement have inspired me to accomplish this
additional challenge. I would like to express my personal thanks to Alexandra Lopes
Filomena Ferreira, Jaqueline Silva, Maria João Arantes e Oliveira, Maria José Godinho,
Nancy Brito, Rui Carvalho, and many others who are an integral part of my life.
Lastly, and above all, I wish to thank my family for your unconditional love and
endless support in face of the most difficult situations. My beloved husband Carlos for
UNDERSTANDING LEADERSHIP EFFECTIVENESS IN ORGANIZATIONAL SETTINGS
vi
showing me what true love is, and for always standing on my side. You are my source of
hope, and you have taught me to believe in myself. Thanks for helping me navigate the
rocky terrain of life, through their ups and downs, with a smile and strong confidence.
Foremost, my greatest appreciation goes to my three daughters Joana, Filipa and Inês for
inspiring me every day. I have learned so much from you specially in terms of strong
commitment and effort beyond any expectations, strong will in the face of adversity, and
finally to express optimism and joy of living in order to persevere and pursue my purpose
in life. Since the day you were born, I have been so fortunate to experience such an intense
motherhood. Each one of you had a significant role in helping me to “grow” as a human
being. I would also like to thank my parents for always believing in me, and for all your
support and love.
UNDERSTANDING LEADERSHIP EFFECTIVENESS IN ORGANIZATIONAL SETTINGS
vii
To my beloved daughters Joana, Filipa, Inês, and beloved husband Carlos,
May this thesis inspire you to live your dreams and a meaningful life.
Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.
George Bernard Shaw
UNDERSTANDING LEADERSHIP EFFECTIVENESS IN ORGANIZATIONAL SETTINGS
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
LIST OF TABLES ........................................................................................................... v
LIST OF FIGURES .......................................................................................................... x
LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS ......................................................................................... xi
LIST OF APPENDICES ............................................................................................... xiii
CHAPTER 1 - INTRODUCTION ................................................................................... 1
1.1. INTRODUCTION ................................................................................................. 1
1.2. STATE OF THE ART ........................................................................................... 2
1.3. PURPOSE OF THE STUDY ................................................................................ 5
1.4. JUSTIFICATION FOR THE RESEARCH ........................................................... 6
1.5. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODOLOGY ............................................... 10
1.6. STRUCTURE OF THE THESIS ........................................................................ 13
CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW ...................................................................... 15
2.1. INTRODUCTION ............................................................................................... 15
2.2. THEORETICAL APPROACHES TO LEADERSHIP EFFECTIVENESS ....... 15
2.3. ANTECEDENTS OF LEADERSHIP ................................................................. 24
2.3.1. PERSONAL ABILITIES ............................................................................. 24
2.3.2. LEARNING EXPERIENCES ...................................................................... 34
2.4. LEADER SELF-REGULATION PROCESS ...................................................... 43
2.5. LEADERSHIP BEHAVIORS ............................................................................. 45
2.5.1. CHANGE-ORIENTED BEHAVIORS ........................................................ 46
2.5.2. RELATIONAL-ORIENTED BEHAVIORS ................................................ 48
2.5.3. TASK-ORIENTED BEHAVIORS .............................................................. 51
2.6. LEADERSHIP PROCESSES .............................................................................. 53
2.6.1. AFFECTION AND THE MANAGEMENT OF EMOTIONS .................... 53
2.6.2. SOCIAL IDENTIFICATION ....................................................................... 57
2.6.3. LEADERSHIP AND COLLECTIVE EFFICACY ...................................... 60
2.7. ORGANIZATIONAL CONTEXT ...................................................................... 63
2.7.1. INTERNAL CONTEXT ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE ................. 67
2.7.2. EXTERNAL CONTEXT NATIONAL CULTURE AND ECONOMIC
CRISIS .................................................................................................................... 71
2.8. CONCLUSION ................................................................................................... 74
CHAPTER 3 RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODOLOGY ................................. 77
3.1. INTRODUCTION ............................................................................................... 77
3.2. RESEARCH PARADIGMS IN SOCIAL SCIENCES ....................................... 77
3.3. MIXED METHODS RESEARCH AND DESIGN............................................. 80
UNDERSTANDING LEADERSHIP EFFECTIVENESS IN ORGANIZATIONAL SETTINGS
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3.4. RESEARCH DESIGN APPROACHES .............................................................. 84
3.4.1. QUALITATIVE RESEARCH APPROACH ............................................... 84
3.4.2. QUANTITATIVE RESEARCH APPROACH ............................................ 87
3.5. RESEARCH STRATEGY AND DESIGN FOR THIS STUDY ........................ 89
3.6. CONCLUSION ................................................................................................... 98
CHAPTER 4 PHASE ONE: QUALITATIVE STUDY .............................................. 99
4.1. INTRODUCTION ............................................................................................... 99
4.2. PURPOSE, RESEARCH QUESTIONS, AND OBJECTIVES .......................... 99
4.3. THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK ..................................................................... 101
4.4. PARTICIPANTS AND PROCEDURES .......................................................... 105
4.5. DATA ANALYSIS ........................................................................................... 110
4.6. IN-DEPTH INTERVIEWS ............................................................................... 112
4.6.1. EFFECTIVE LEADERSHIP ...................................................................... 112
4.6.2. CONTEXT MATTERS: THE INTERPLAY BETWEEN CONTEXT AND
LEADERSHIP ...................................................................................................... 166
4.6.3. MEASURES FOR LEADERSHIP EFFECTIVENESS ............................. 168
4.7. SUMMARY OF FINDINGS ............................................................................. 170
4.8. CONCLUSION ................................................................................................. 179
CHAPTER 5 CONNECTING QUALITATIVE AND QUANTITATIVE PHASES 181
5.1. INTRODUCTION ............................................................................................. 181
5.2. PURPOSE, RESEARCH QUESTIONS, AND OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
181
5.3. THEORETICAL POSITION ............................................................................ 182
5.4. PROPOSED HYPOTHESIZED MODEL......................................................... 186
5.4.1. CONTROL VARIABLE: BIG FIVE PERSONALITY TRAITS .............. 189
5.4.2. INTERPERSONAL COMMUNICATION SKILLS ................................. 191
5.4.3. LEARNING GOAL ORIENTATION ....................................................... 197
5.4.4. LEADERSHIP SELF-EFFICACY ............................................................. 200
5.4.5. DIMENSIONS OF EFFECTIVE LEADERSHIP BEHAVIORS .............. 206
5.4.6. OVERALL IMPACT ON ORGANIZATIONAL EFFECTIVENESS ...... 216
5.4.7. CONTEXTUAL FACTORS AS MODERATING VARIABLES ............. 219
5.5. SUMMARY OF PROPOSED HYPOTHESES ................................................ 221
5.6. CONCLUSION ................................................................................................. 222
CHAPTER 6 PHASE TWO: QUANTITATIVE STUDY ........................................ 225
6.1. INTRODUCTION ............................................................................................. 225
6.2. OPERATIONALIZATION OF THE CONTRUCTS ....................................... 225
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6.3. PARTICIPANTS, MEASURES AND DATA COLLECTION PROCEDURES
231
6.3.1. PARTICIPANTS IN THE STUDY ............................................................ 231
6.3.2. MEASURES AND INDICATORS ............................................................ 233
6.3.3. DATA COLLECTION PROCEDURES .................................................... 241
6.4. STATISTICAL TESTS ..................................................................................... 243
6.4.1. COMPARING SAMPLES ......................................................................... 243
6.4.2. TESTS OF NORMALITY ......................................................................... 246
6.5. ANALYTICAL DATA STRATEGY ............................................................... 246
6.6. EVALUATION OF THE MEASUREMENT MODELS ................................. 251
6.6.1. EVALUATION OF THE MEASUREMENT MODELS FOR THE
COMBINED SAMPLE ........................................................................................ 251
6.6.2. EVALUATION OF THE MEASUREMENT MODELS FOR THE
CORPORATE TEAM MEMBERS SAMPLE ..................................................... 263
6.7. DESCRIPTIVE STATISTICS .......................................................................... 271
6.8. COMMON METHOD AND OTHER SOURCES OF POTENTIAL BIAS .... 275
6.9. EVALUATING THE STRUCTURAL MODEL .............................................. 281
6.9.1. FIVE-STEP ASSESSMENT OF THE STRUCTURAL MODEL ............. 282
6.9.2. MEDIATING ROLE OF LEADERSHIP SELF-EFFICACY ................... 290
6.9.3. SECOND-ORDER FORMATIVE CONSTRUCT: EFFECTIVE
LEADERSHIP BEHAVIORS .............................................................................. 291
6.9.3. CONTROL VARIABLE: BIG FIVE PERSONALITY FACTORS .......... 292
6.9.4. MODERATING EFFECTS OF CONTEXTUAL VARIABLES .............. 301
6.9.5. OTHER CATEGORICAL VARIABLES: MODERATING EFFECT OF
GENDER .............................................................................................................. 314
6.10. SUMMARY OF HYPOTHESES TESTING .................................................. 318
6.11. CONCLUSION ............................................................................................... 321
CHAPTER 7 DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION ................................................. 323
7.1. INTRODUCTION ............................................................................................. 323
7.2. PURPOSE, RESEARCH QUESTIONS AND OBJECTIVES ......................... 323
7.3. SUMMARY OF FINDINGS AND DISCUSSION........................................... 326
7.3.1. QUALITATIVE FINDINGS ...................................................................... 326
7.3.2. QUANTITATIVE FINDINGS ................................................................... 336
7.4. THEORETICAL CONTRIBUTIONS .............................................................. 349
7.5. MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS ................................................................... 352
7.6. STRENGTHS AND LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY .................................. 355
7.7. FUTURE RESEARCH ...................................................................................... 357
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7.8. CONCLUSION ................................................................................................. 359
REFERENCES ............................................................................................................. 361
APPENDICES .............................................................................................................. 443
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LIST OF TABLES
Table 1-1 Problem Statement and Research Questions .................................................. 11
Table 2-1 Empirical Studies on the most Prominent Theoretical Approaches to
Leadership Effectiveness. ............................................................................................... 18
Table 3-1 Research Paradigms in Social Sciences ......................................................... 79
Table 3-2 Types of Mixed Methods Design ................................................................... 83
Table 3-3 Research Design Strategy .............................................................................. 97
Table 4-1 List of Invited Organizations ....................................................................... 106
Table 4-2 Profile of Interviewees and Size of Transcripts ........................................... 107
Table 4-3 Characteristics of the Participating Organizations ....................................... 109
Table 4-4 Reliability Assessment: Inter-Coder Agreement ......................................... 111
Table 4-5 Definitions of an Effective Leader ............................................................... 113
Table 4-6 Frequencies of all Manifest-Content Categories .......................................... 114
Table 4-7 Manifest-Content Categories ....................................................................... 116
Table 4-8 Frequency: Trust others and are Trustworthy .............................................. 119
Table 4-9 Frequency: Emotional Control ..................................................................... 121
Table 4-10 Frequency: Are Intelligent ......................................................................... 122
Table 4-11 Frequency: Are Self-confident ................................................................... 123
Table 4-12 Frequency: Are Goal-oriented.................................................................... 125
Table 4-13 Frequency: Have Integrity and Ethical Behavior ....................................... 126
Table 4-14 Frequency: Emotional Intelligence ............................................................ 130
Table 4-15 Frequency: Open and Transparent ............................................................. 131
Table 4-16 Frequency: Are Altruistic or Self-centered but Care for Others ................ 128
Table 4-17 Frequency: Communicate Well ................................................................. 133
UNDERSTANDING LEADERSHIP EFFECTIVENESS IN ORGANIZATIONAL SETTINGS
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Table 4-18 Frequency: Active Listeners ...................................................................... 135
Table 4-19 Frequency: Relate Well with Others .......................................................... 136
Table 4-20 Frequency: Have Strategic Skills ............................................................... 138
Table 4-21 Frequency: Have Strategic Vision ............................................................. 141
Table 4-22 Frequency: Are Agile and Strong Decision-makers .................................. 143
Table 4-23 Frequency: Challenge and Intellectually Stimulate the Team ................... 144
Table 4-24 Frequency: Communicate the Vision ......................................................... 146
Table 4-25 Frequency: Are Results-oriented................................................................ 147
Table 4-26 Frequency: Are concerned with strategic implementation......................... 148
Table 4-27 Frequency: Are Efficiency-oriented ........................................................... 150
Table 4-28 Frequency: Reinforce the Strategic Alignment .......................................... 151
Table 4-29 Frequency: Have a High-proximity Relationship ...................................... 153
Table 4-30 Frequency: Develop, Coach and Mentor People........................................ 154
Table 4-31 Frequency: Have a Collaborative and Participative Approach .................. 156
Table 4-32 Frequency: Contribute to Empower Others ............................................... 157
Table 4-33 Frequency: Give Guidance and Support Others......................................... 159
Table 4-34 Frequency: Motivate their Team ................................................................ 160
Table 4-35 Frequency: Are Adaptive and Flexible ...................................................... 161
Table 4-36 Frequency: Show their Emotions to Create Emotional Contagion and
Positive Arousal ............................................................................................................ 164
Table 4-37 Frequency: Make People Believe it is Possible ......................................... 166
Table 4-38 Frequency: Interplay between Context and Leadership ............................. 168
Table 4-39 Frequency: Measures for Leadership Effectiveness .................................. 169
Table 4-40 Main Findings of the Qualitative Study ..................................................... 170
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Table 5-1 Concepts to Explore in the Quantitative Study ............................................ 183
Table 5-2 Constructs associated with the Qualitative Findings ................................... 185
Table 5-3 Dimensions of Effective Leadership Behaviors ........................................... 207
Table 5-4 Summary of Proposed Hypotheses .............................................................. 222
Table 6-1 Summary of the Guidelines to choose the Construct Measurement Model
adapted from Hair et al. (2014) .................................................................................... 228
Table 6-2 Constructs’ Classification into Reflective or Formative Constructs ............ 231
Table 6-3 Measures used in Leader and Team Member Forms ................................... 234
Table 6-4 Kolmogorov-Smirnov Z and Mann-Whitney U Test Results ...................... 244
Table 6-5 Key Characteristics of PLS-SEM adapted from Hair et al. (2014) .............. 247
Table 6-6 Reliability and Convergent Validity of Reflective Measurement Model .... 254
Table 6-7 Cross Loadings between Indicators and respective Latent Variables .......... 255
Table 6-8 Discriminant validity of the instrument. ...................................................... 256
Table 6-9 Convergent Validity of Formative Constructs ............................................ 258
Table 6-10 Multicollinearity Analysis of Formative Constructs .................................. 259
Table 6-11 Significance and Relevance of Formative Indicators................................. 262
Table 6-12 Reflective Measurement Model Internal Reliability .................................. 266
Table 6-13 Cross Loadings between Indicators and respective Latent Variables ........ 267
Table 6-14 Discriminant validity of the instrument. .................................................... 267
Table 6-15 Convergent Validity of Formative Constructs ........................................... 268
Table 6-16 Multicollinearity analysis of Formative Constructs ................................... 269
Table 6-17 Significance and Relevance of the Formative Indicators ........................... 270
Table 6-18 Respondents’ Characteristics ..................................................................... 271
Table 6-19 Respondents’ Characteristics ..................................................................... 273
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Table 6-20 Total Variance Explained ........................................................................... 276
Table 6-21 Kolmogorov-Smirnov Z and Mann-Whitney U Test Results .................... 277
Table 6-22 Kolmogorov-Smirnov Z and Mann-Whitney U Test Results .................... 279
Table 6-23 Results of the Structural Model Path Coefficients (Combined Sample
n=381) ........................................................................................................................... 284
Table 6-24 Results of the Structural Model Path Coefficients (Corporate Team
Members Sample n=491) ............................................................................................. 286
Table 6-25 Results of the Sobel Test Statistic .............................................................. 291
Table 6-26 Internal Reliability and Convergent Validity of the Reflective Measurement
Model ............................................................................................................................ 294
Table 6-27 Cross Loadings between Indicators and respective Latent Variables ........ 295
Table 6-28 Discriminant validity of the instrument. .................................................... 296
Table 6-29 Results of the Structural Model Path Coefficients with Control Variable Big
Five Personality (Combined Sample N=381) ............................................................... 299
Table 6-30 Results of the Structural Model Path Coefficients with Moderating Effect of
Hierarchical Level ........................................................................................................ 308
Table 6-31 Results of the Test for Equality of Standard Errors Grouped by
Hierarchical Level ........................................................................................................ 309
Table 6-32 Results of the Structural Model Path Coefficients with Moderating Effect of
Job Tenure .................................................................................................................... 310
Table 6-33 Results of the Test for Equality of Standard Errors Grouped by Job Tenure
(Combined Sample N=381) .......................................................................................... 311
Table 6-34 Results of the Structural Model Path Coefficients with Moderating Effect of
Company Tenure .......................................................................................................... 312
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(Combined Sample N=381) .......................................................................................... 312
Table 6-35 Results of the Test for Equality of Standard Errors Grouped by Company
Tenure ........................................................................................................................... 313
Table 6-36 Results of the Structural Model Path Coefficients with Moderating Effect of
Gender .......................................................................................................................... 316
(Combined Sample N=381) .......................................................................................... 316
Table 6-37 Results of the Test for Equality of Standard Errors Grouped by Gender 317
(Combined Sample N=381) .......................................................................................... 317
Table 6-38 Summary of Hypotheses Testing ............................................................... 318
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LIST OF FIGURES
Figure 1-1 Research Design ........................................................................................... 12
Figure 3-1 Steps in Mixed Methods Research Process adapted from Onwuegbuzie and
Leech (2006) ................................................................................................................... 92
Figure 3-2 Mixed Method Research Approach for Leadership Effectiveness ............... 93
Figure 4-1 Conceptual Framework for Leadership Effectiveness ................................ 103
Figure 4-2 Traits of Effective Leaders ......................................................................... 118
Figure 4-3 Skills from Effective Leaders ..................................................................... 132
Figure 4-4 Behavioral Orientation exhibited by Effective Leaders ............................. 139
Figure 4-5 Leadership Processes used by Effective Leaders ....................................... 162
Figure 4-6 Hierarchical Taxonomy for Leadership Effectiveness ............................... 174
Figure 4-7 Model for Leadership Effectiveness ........................................................... 175
Figure 5-1 Model of Hypothesized Relationships for Leadership Effectiveness based on
the Integration of Trait, Skills and Behavioral Approaches ......................................... 188
Figure 6-1 Key Differences between Reflective and Formative Measurement Models
adapted from Hair et al. (2014) .................................................................................... 227
Figure 6-2 Example of a PLS Path Model (Figure 1. of Henseler et al., 2009) ........... 229
Figure 6-3 Structural Full Model Path Coefficients (Combined Sample n=381) ........ 285
Figure 6-4 Structural Model Path Coefficients (Corporate Team Members Sample
n=491) ........................................................................................................................... 287
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LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS
AB
Adaptive Behavior
AG
Agreeableness
ALAS
Active Listening Attitude Scale
AMS
Ability to Modify Self-presentation
AVE
Average Variance Extracted
CB-SEM
Covariance-based Structural Equation Model
CEO
Chief Executive Officer
CO
Conscientiousness
CTE
Company Tenure
ELB
Effective Leadership Behaviors
EM
Empowerment
EX
Extraversion
GP
Group Performance
HR
Human Resources
ICS
Interpersonal Communication Skills
IOE
Impact on Organizational Effectiveness
IPIP
International Personality Item Pool
JTE
Job Tenure
LE
Leader Effectiveness
LHL
Leadership Hierarchical Level
LGO
Learning Goal Orientation
LSE
Leadership Self-Efficacy
MO
Motivation
UNDERSTANDING LEADERSHIP EFFECTIVENESS IN ORGANIZATIONAL SETTINGS
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NE
Neuroticism
NGO
Non-Governmental Organization
OA
Organizational Alignment
OE
Openness to Experience
OEF
Organizational Effectiveness
PB
Proactive Behavior
PhD
Doctor of Philosophy
PLS
Partial Least Squares
PLS-MGA
Partial Least Squares - Multigroup Analysis
PLS-SEM
Partial Least Squares - Structural Equation Model
PWR
Proximal Working Relationship
SD
Standard Deviation
SM
Self-monitoring
SEB
Sensitivity to Expressive Behavior of Others
SEM
Structural Equation Model
TMA
Team Member Adaptivity
TMP
Team Member Proactivity
VA
Vision Articulation
VAR
Vision Articulation & Realization
VC
Vision Communication
VIF
Variance Inflation Factor
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LIST OF APPENDICES
APPENDIX A Empirical Studies on the most Prominent Theoretical Approaches to
Leadership Effectiveness. ............................................................................................. 443
APPENDIX B - Sample Leadership Effectiveness Interview Protocol ....................... 448
APPENDIX C - Sample Leadership Effectiveness Interview Guide ........................... 451
APPENDIX D Definitions of the categories used in NVivo Codification Process .. 454
APPENDIX E Provisory Coding List based on the Literature Review .................... 467
APPENDIX F “In-vivo” Coding List ........................................................................ 470
APPENDIX G - Frequencies of all Manifest-Content Categories ............................... 472
APPENDIX H - Sample Effective Leadership Questionnaire Leader Form............. 475
APPENDIX I - Sample Effective Leadership Questionnaire Team Member Form.. 485
APPENDIX J Web Survey Print Outs Leader Form .............................................. 491
APPENDIX K Web Survey Print Outs Team Member Form ................................ 501
APPENDIX L - Measures and Indicators used in the Quantitative Study ................... 509
APPENDIX M Tests of Normality Applied to the Scales ........................................ 518
APPENDIX N SMART-PLS Results ........................................................................ 524
APPENDIX O SMART-PLS Results ........................................................................ 525
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CHAPTER 1 - INTRODUCTION
1.1. INTRODUCTION
Current uncertainty and volatility in the markets have raised the challenges for
any corporate leader to achieve goals that sustain high-performance over time. Whilst this
adverse context is clearly a constraint to every leader, an in-depth understanding of how
the leadership process unfolds in the organizations brings additional insights that might
help improve the overall effectiveness process. As such, the identification of key factors
like the individual characteristics of effective leaders, the mechanisms these leaders use
to create alignment and enthusiasm, and the contextual factors are helpful to create an
integrative framework for leadership effectiveness. Recent efforts to address this
phenomenon have traditionally adopted a single approach (i.e., traits, skills or behaviors)
without synthesizing all these different approaches into a unified field.
This thesis seeks to address these issues by adopting a new approach based on
previous theoretical works (i.e., trait, skills, and behavioral leadership theories) to the
investigation of leadership effectiveness in corporate settings. In this Chapter, we present
an overview of the recent theoretical contributions in the field, followed by a clarification
of the purpose statement for this study. Both rationales in terms of theoretical and
practical justifications are discussed in order to bring the main motivation to conduct this
research. Finally, this Chapter refers to the research questions that drive the
methodological framework, which consists of mixed methods approach based on a
sequential exploratory strategy, and lastly describes the structure of the thesis.
UNDERSTANDING LEADERSHIP EFFECTIVENESS IN ORGANIZATIONAL SETTINGS
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1.2. STATE OF THE ART
Over the last seventy years, the organizational leadership theory produced several
approaches to explain leadership effectiveness: (1) up to 1940s the trait approach
“leadership ability is innate”; (2) between 1940s and 1960s the style or behavioral
approach—“leadership effectiveness is to do with how the leader behaves," (3) between
1960s and 1980s the contingency or situational approach—“effective leadership is
affected by the situation”, and finally (4) after 1980s the new leadership approachwhere
leadership is regarded as a process of social influence (Bryman, 1992, p. 1).
From this new wave of perspectives emerging since the 1980s, the following are
the most prominent ones based on the Boolean search conducted on October 2010, and
referring to the number of articles published in scholarly journals (peer reviewed):
(1) Transformational leadership this concept was presented as the leadership
style most effective for higher performance. The transformational leader is the one who
motivates the subordinates to do more than it is originally expected, by raising the level
of awareness, by getting them to transcend their own self-interest for the sake of the team,
organization, or larger entity, and finally by altering the need level on expanding their
portfolio of needs and wants it was introduced by Burns in 1978, and further developed
by Bass and associates (Bass, 1985, 1999; Bass et al., 1987, 2003; Hater and Bass, 1988;
Bass and Avolio, 1992, 2008; Avolio et al., 1999; Bass and Steidlmeier, 1999).
(2) Shared, collective, distributed or team leadership this concept was
presented as opposed to focused leadership, which resides in a single individual, while
distributed leadership occurs when two or more individuals share roles, responsibilities,
and functions of leadership. Formally used by Gibb (1954), the concept has re-emerged
UNDERSTANDING LEADERSHIP EFFECTIVENESS IN ORGANIZATIONAL SETTINGS
3
much more recently with several theoretical studies (Gronn, 2002; Bennett et al., 2003;
Pearce and Conger, 2003; Day et al., 2004; Pearce et al., 2007) and just a few empirical
studies (Sivasubramaniam et al., 2002; Ensley et al., 2006; Mehra et al., 2006; Carson et
al., 2007).
(3) Leader-Member Exchange (LMX) LMX has as principle that leaders
develop different types of exchange relationships with their followers, while the quality
of these relationships have an important effect on leader and members attitudes and
behaviors (Graen et al., 1973; Graen, 1976). LMX benefited from the early works of
Greene on the vertical dyad linkage (VDL) theory, evolving to a dyadic approach to
understand leader-follower working relationships (Graen et al., 1973; Dansereau et al.,
1975; Graen, 1976; Graen and Uhl-Bien, 1991, 1995; Bauer and Green, 1996; Sparrowe
and Liden, 1997; Ilies et al., 2007).
(4) Charismatic leadership the term charisma is mentioned in the scholarly
literature, according to Weber (1947, p. 358) as ascribing a “certain quality of an
individual personality by virtue of which he is set apart from ordinary men and treated as
endowed with supernatural, superhuman, or at least specifically exceptional power or
qualities.” This concept has been assigned mainly to political, religious and social leaders.
More recently, charismatic attributes also invaded the business and organizational
environment when referring to outstanding leaders. Several studies have considered
charismatic effects, characteristics and behaviors of charismatic leaders, and situational
factors associated with the emergence and effectiveness of charismatic leaders in
organizational settings (House, 1977, 1999; Conger and Kanungo, 1987; Fiol et al., 1999;
Jacobsen and House, 2001; Galvin et al., 2010).
UNDERSTANDING LEADERSHIP EFFECTIVENESS IN ORGANIZATIONAL SETTINGS
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(5) Servant leadership this revolutionary concept in leadership rested in the
personal belief of Greenleaf that “…among the legions of deprived and unsophisticated
people are many true servants who will lead…” (Greenleaf, 2008, p. 16) this approach
benefited from the contribution of several scholars, who have defined several components
for the concept of servant leadership, such as value and develop people, build community,
practice authenticity, work for the common good, have a vision, capacity to influence,
credibility, trust, assume the position of servant in relationships with fellow workers,
personal transformation, values of empathy, integrity, and competence (Greenleaf, 1977;
Farling et al., 1999; Laub, 1999; Page and Wong, 2000; Wong and Page, 2003;
Washington et al., 2006).
(6) Authentic leadership authentic leaders can be defined as persons who have
achieved high levels of self-awareness, are true to their set of core values and beliefs, and
act according to those values and beliefs, in a transparent way when interacting with
others (Avolio et al., 2004b) this concept which was introduced by Luthans and Avolio
in 2003, was mainly based on the theoretical frameworks of transformational/charismatic
leadership (House, 1977; Burns, 1978; Bass, 1985; Conger and Kanungo, 1987; Shamir
et al., 1993; House and Aditya, 1997), and positive organizational behaviorPOB
(Luthans, 2002; Luthans and Avolio, 2003). Recent studies have associated authentic
leadership with organizational outcomes such as team potency and employees’ creativity
(e.g., Rego et al., 2012, 2013).
These approaches reflect the highly creative and dynamic atmosphere experienced
by the leadership theorists in producing new leadership concepts in organizational
environments to be used as frameworks for developing leaders to achieve high levels of
effectiveness. For practitioners, business consultants, leadership development
UNDERSTANDING LEADERSHIP EFFECTIVENESS IN ORGANIZATIONAL SETTINGS
5
consultants, and coaches a full range of leadership models is provided, although very few
will offer a robust conceptual framework, and strong empirical analysis.
Despite this profusion of models, little effort was made to create an integrative
perspective of the leadership theory, remaining some important gaps to fill, as for instance
the identification of the causal and underlying mechanisms that link leadership to
outcomes (George, 2000; Avolio et al., 2009). For example, establishing the link between
personality traits, leadership skills and behaviors to performance measures is important
to understand the entire process. Other important areas that require additional research
are contextual factors and alternative dispositional predictors of leadership (Antonakis et
al., 2004). Moreover, an extra effort to integrate diverse findings and associations
between emotional and mental abilities is required to improve the understanding of the
leadership process (Davies et al., 1998; Antonakis et al., 2004, 2009). Individual
mechanisms like self-regulation have received little attention from the leadership
scholars; however, these constructs may be relevant to explain why leaders are oriented
to specific goals (Anderson et al., 2008; Hannah et al., 2008; Stewart et al., 2011). Finally,
there is a lack of integrated measures of leadership effectiveness subjective evaluations
and objective organizational goalsin the leadership literature (Lowe et al., 1996; Reave,
2005; DeRue et al., 2011).
1.3. PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
Leaders are involved in the process of influencing people to achieve corporate
goals that sustain high-performance over time. Some leaders are more effective than
others are in this process. This reflects a combination of several factors as their own
UNDERSTANDING LEADERSHIP EFFECTIVENESS IN ORGANIZATIONAL SETTINGS
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individual characteristics, the mechanisms they use to create alignment and enthusiasm
and the contextual environment of the organization. As such, the identification of these
key factors is helpful to create a leadership frame that can improve the overall
effectiveness of the leadership process. In light of the preceding considerations, the
purpose of this study is to answer the compelling question:
Management Question: How are some leaders more effective than others?
To answer this question, this study investigates the leader’s individual
characteristics, skills, and behaviors, which form the basis of leadership effectiveness and
provide the foundation for organizational performance (e.g., Bennis and Nanus, 1997;
Alchian, 1986; Day and Lord, 1988; Hogan et al., 1994; Yukl, 1998). In particular, it
contributes to the debate on how leadership effectiveness can attain group, and
organizational performance.
1.4. JUSTIFICATION FOR THE RESEARCH
Scholars have already started to consider whether top-level leadership
significantly induces organizational performance. For Day and Lord (1988), it is clear
that executive leadership might explain as much as 45% of an organization’s performance
and proposed the development of a theory of executive leadership. Other researchers
agree with the perspective that leadership influences group and organizational
performance (Bennis and Nanus, 1997; Alchian, 1986; Hogan et al., 1994; Yukl, 1998).
Apart from this perspective, there are several other researchers arguing that empirical
UNDERSTANDING LEADERSHIP EFFECTIVENESS IN ORGANIZATIONAL SETTINGS
7
support to confirm the relationship between leadership and organizational performance is
doubtful, and not supportive of those theories (Thomas, 1993; Jaffe, 2001; Andersen,
2002).
Hence, further research, addressing the link between leadership and outcomes, and
the underlying mechanisms, is still a priority in this field. Especially, taking into
consideration that the recent theoretical and empirical findings are evolving to a more
holistic view of leadership, including new angles such as the follower, the context, the
organizational levels, and the in-between dynamics (Avolio et al., 2009). For leadership
researchers the “how and why leaders have (or fail to have) positive influences on their
followers and organizations is still a compelling question (George, 2000, p. 1028). In
order to fully understand the process of leadership and obtain better insights into
leadership effectiveness, additional research is needed to create a more comprehensive
framework, which includes antecedents of leadership, self-regulatory mechanisms,
leadership behaviors and processes, and contextual factors.
Recent studies have introduced new areas that require additional research, such as
emotional intelligence and emotional elements of leadership (Ashforth and Humphrey,
1995; Fitness, 2000; Humphrey, 2002; Lewis, 2000; Van Rooy and Viswesvaran, 2004;
Antonakis et al., 2009), as well as the need to focus on examining each of the abilities
(mental vs. emotional) separately to determine their unique contribution to leadership
effectiveness. Furthermore, other areas, exploring the linkages between personality traits
and leadership are also required (Davies et al., 1998; Antonakis, 2003, 2004; Antonakis
et al., 2004, 2009). Other authors have mentioned the emerging importance of contextual
factors in the workplace as one of the most prominent gaps in our understanding of
UNDERSTANDING LEADERSHIP EFFECTIVENESS IN ORGANIZATIONAL SETTINGS
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organizational behavior and leadership (Fineman, 1993; Muchinsky, 2000; Ashkanasy et
al., 2002; Caruso et al., 2002; Pirola-Merlo et al., 2002).
The field of leadership research is also very important for practitioners to
understand the reasons for effective leadership. The overall process of leadership is
similar to a black box that requires detailed investigation in order to reveal why leadership
is important and how leaders can influence followers to achieve organizational goals. This
phenomenon permeates the whole organization, top-down and bottom-up, as we have
different levels of leadership. As such, leadership is a key factor at every level and has
considerably distinct impacts on the organization global performance. Studying these
leadership processes requires a comprehensive study of situational variables.
Uncertainty and rapidly changing environments make the leadership challenges
more demanding, and are likely to affect the overall effective process. In the words of
Indra Nooyi, Chairperson and CEO of PepsiCo Inc., the world is living a crisis of
leadership and expectations: “This complex world feels out of control... Consumer
demand changes in a heartbeat, trust in established brands and institutions has diminished,
and this is the era of negative uncertainty." At Davos 2012, several leaders raised the
question: “What kind of leadership is demanded in these challenging times?” The current
feeling among participants is that our political leaders do not seem fit to lead and that
global corporations are often filling the vacuum of political leadership(Keller, 2012).
As our paradigms of leadership have been challenged, a new definition of leadership has
emerged during the summit as the ability to mobilize and facilitate various resources
toward progress”, which requires skills to synthesize, to listen and to be inclusive, all
characteristics identified as essential for the current contexts (Keller, 2012). Josette
Sheeran, UN World Food Program Executive Director and new Board Member of the
UNDERSTANDING LEADERSHIP EFFECTIVENESS IN ORGANIZATIONAL SETTINGS
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World Economic Forum, explicitly referred that we need leaders who can offer
flexibility of thought, facilitate creative new solutions in a fast-changing world, rally
resources and think in new ways. As posited by Valerie Germain, Heidrick and Struggles
Managing Partner, Head of Strategy and Business Development, the kind of diversity that
is most critically needed is “diversity of thought.
Effectively, this leadership crisis is quite common in the corporate world where
corporations strive for long-term above average performance and sustainability in a
highly competitive environment. Managers focus on the short term and fail to see beyond
the financial constraints of the crisis. Some even loose great business opportunities, as
they are not able to articulate a common vision for the future and involve the whole
organization and stakeholders in it. People in the organization feel demotivated and
unhappy, as their work is not valued and recognized. They are simply financial figures,
part of the budget that goes up and down influenced by the upward and downward
economic trend.
Those comments state well the current dissatisfaction with those leadership
practices. On the other hand, corporations at the top of lists like “Best Places to Work”
tend to be very successful businesses, often outperforming their competitors with higher
growth rates, and lower employee turnover. Those corporations nurture and reward their
staff with thriving workplace culture, as well as pay and benefits commensurate with their
achievements. Leaders in those organizations are regarded as role models, leading by
example and communicating a clear idea of the organization’s values, mission,
expectations, as well as the direction where they are headed. They also create a healthy
exchange where employees are considered by their opinions, and feedback is acted upon
and appreciated. As such, those leaders motivate their workforce, inspire confidence and
UNDERSTANDING LEADERSHIP EFFECTIVENESS IN ORGANIZATIONAL SETTINGS
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trust in the organization.
In sum, this study will help managers understand the effective leadership process
inside organizations. Through the identification of the main causal variables in this
process, managers will learn to focus on the most important skills, attitudes and behaviors
to produce higher outcomes.
1.5. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODOLOGY
This research assumes a pragmatism philosophy combining the perspectives of
both positivism and constructivism paradigms in terms of methods of inquiry. Explicitly,
this investigation aims to understand complex phenomena, such as the leadership process
inside organizations to generate and test new ideas. Table 1-1 exhibits the main problem
addressed by the research, the five research questions that drive the inquiry, and the
respective objectives for each one of the studies.
UNDERSTANDING LEADERSHIP EFFECTIVENESS IN ORGANIZATIONAL SETTINGS
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Table 1-1 Problem Statement and Research Questions
How
are
some
leaders
more
effective
than
others?
Research Questions
Qualitative
Quantitative
What are the main
components of
leadership
effectiveness?
What is the impact of
the organizational
context on leadership
effectiveness?
What are the measures
used to assess
leadership
effectiveness?
What is the model of
leadership
effectiveness that can
be used to explain
organizational
effectiveness?
What is the
relationship between
contextual factors and
organizational
effectiveness?
1. To identify the main
characteristics of
effective leaders.
2. To explore the factors
that drive leadership
effectiveness (i.e., to
identify the mechanisms
that leaders use to
achieve corporate goals).
3. To explore the effect
that organizational
context has on
leadership effectiveness.
4. To collect information
on the most relevant
measures to assess
leadership effectiveness.
5. To offer a definition
and a hierarchical
taxonomy for leadership
effectiveness.
1. To develop a model
of leadership
effectiveness.
2. To test the
relationship between the
main characteristics of
effective leaders
identified in the
exploratory stage and
organizational
effectiveness.
3. To test the
relationship between the
main factors that drive
leadership effectiveness
identified in the
exploratory stage and
organizational
effectiveness.
4. To test the moderating
role of contextual factors
on organizational
effectiveness.
Leadership scholars claim an increasing importance of mixed methods research
approach to improve the knowledge of this process inside organizations (Gordon and
Yukl, 2004; Avolio et al., 2009; Gardner et al., 2010). Hence, this study will use mixed
methods approach with a sequential exploratory strategy in two steps (Figure 1.1). First,
a qualitative study will be conducted to provide the researcher with meaningful insights
UNDERSTANDING LEADERSHIP EFFECTIVENESS IN ORGANIZATIONAL SETTINGS
12
on the topic, and enhance the understanding of the leadership process. Then, a quantitative
study will be held to confirm the main findings of the exploratory stage.
Figure 1-1 Research Design
The use of mixed methodologies in this study allows for triangulation, which is a
methodological form commonly used to avoid the problem in leadership research that
come from single-source and single-method (Strauss and Corbin, 1998; Tashakkori and
Teddlie, 2003). Furthermore, the findings of the qualitative research are important in
refining the scope of the research, as well as the development of the questionnaire. Thus,
the quantitative study builds on the findings from the previous stage and examines a
number of hypotheses.
In-Depth Interviews
Self-Administered
Survey
Phase One
Qualitative Stage
Phase Two
Quantitative Stage
UNDERSTANDING LEADERSHIP EFFECTIVENESS IN ORGANIZATIONAL SETTINGS
13
1.6. STRUCTURE OF THE THESIS
As previously mentioned, this thesis aims to develop the necessary conceptual and
empirical groundwork that might advance knowledge on leadership effectiveness in a
highly dynamic context. Specifically, the following steps will be undertaken:
(1) Review related literature.
(2) Propose the integration of leadership theories, such as trait, behavioral, skills,
and new theories of leadership.
(3) Offer a formal definition and taxonomy for leadership effectiveness.
(4) Develop a nomological network that specifies and explains its associations to
other variables.
(5) Integrate subjective and objective measures for the construct of leadership
effectiveness.
(6) Demonstrate the ability of several causal variables to predict organizational
effectiveness.
This thesis is organized as follows. In the first section, it begins with a review of
the relevant literature, providing a discussion that weaves together leadership
effectiveness, antecedents of leadership, self-regulatory mechanisms, behaviors and
processes of leadership, and contextual variables. Then, the methodological approach is
presented describing the two-step procedure for a sequential exploratory strategy. After,
it describes the empirical study that forms the basis of the qualitative analysis. Here, data
are examined, and the main findings are reviewed in light of the theoretical framework
considered. Next, qualitative findings are depicted in a model of hypothesized
UNDERSTANDING LEADERSHIP EFFECTIVENESS IN ORGANIZATIONAL SETTINGS
14
relationships for leadership effectiveness based on the integration of trait, skills and
behavioral approaches. Here, empirical data are analyzed and the main findings are
disclosed. The final section presents a summary of findings and elicits the discussion that
leads to the preliminary conclusions, reemphasizes the theoretical contributions, draws
practical implications, brings strengths and limitations of the study, and proposes future
research areas.
UNDERSTANDING LEADERSHIP EFFECTIVENESS IN ORGANIZATIONAL SETTINGS
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CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1. INTRODUCTION
This literature review is organized into six sections. First, an overview of the most
prominent theoretical approaches for leadership effectiveness is presented, and then based
on a comprehensive literature review the main components are identified to create a
conceptual framework. Second, antecedent conditions that foster the emergence of
leadership and impact leadership outcomes are discussed. Third, self-regulatory
mechanisms are described and associated with leadership effectiveness. The following
two sections discuss leadership behaviors and processes, and the respective impact on
leadership effectiveness. Finally, the last section describes the organizational context that
most likely affects leadership behaviors, processes, and effectiveness.
2.2. THEORETICAL APPROACHES TO LEADERSHIP EFFECTIVENESS
According to the new leadership approach, leadership is regarded as a process of
social influence toward a common goal (Bass, 1990b; Locke 1991; Bryman, 1992;
Northouse, 2010). According to this definition, leadership emerges as a three-dimensional
concept: (1) relational leadership exists in relation to a group of followers; (2) influential
leadership requires influencing others to take action to achieve a common goal, and (3)
directional leadership is directed to a group goal that has to be accomplished. In order
to explore and fully understand the effective leadership process and its implications, it is
necessary to deepen the fundamental nature of effective leadership expressed in those
three dimensions.
Several theoretical approaches have proposed frameworks to explain leadership
UNDERSTANDING LEADERSHIP EFFECTIVENESS IN ORGANIZATIONAL SETTINGS
16
effectiveness (Table 2-1). Based on a literature review on this topic, the most relevant
approaches were identified as follows (Bass, 1990b; Bryman, 1992; Northouse, 2010):
(1) Trait Approach this theoretical perspective was called “great man” theories
focusing on identifying innate qualities and characteristics possessed by great leaders
from religious, political, and social fields. Researchers believed that people were born
with those traits and only great people possessed them. Therefore, research concentrated
on determining the specific traits that clearly distinguished leaders from followers (e.g.,
Stogdill, 1948, 1974; Mann, 1959; Lord et al., 1986; Kirkpatrick and Locke, 1991;
Zaccaro et al., 2004). Studies examined traits related to demography (e.g., gender, age,
height, education), and to personal abilities (e.g., intelligence, personality).
(2) Skills Approach researchers shifted the attention from personality
characteristics to the skills and abilities that leaders can learn and developed through their
life span. Although personality traits certainly play an important role in leadership, the
skills approach suggests that knowledge and abilities are required for effective leadership
(Mumford et al., 2000c). Multiple studies have been published claiming that a leader’s
effectiveness depends on the leader’s ability to solve complex organizational problems
(e.g., Katz, 1955; Mumford et al., 2000c; Zaccaro et al., 2000).
(3) Behavioral Approach this approach emphasized the behavior of the leader,
focusing on the leader’s actions. This view expanded the study of leadership to include
the actions of leaders towards their followers in various contexts. Research has
determined that leadership is composed of four categories: task-oriented behaviors,
relational-oriented behaviors, change-oriented behaviors and passive leadership (non-
leadership). The purpose of this approach is to explain how leaders combine these
different types of behaviors to influence followers in their efforts to reach a goal (e.g.,
UNDERSTANDING LEADERSHIP EFFECTIVENESS IN ORGANIZATIONAL SETTINGS
17
House, 1977; Bass, 1985; Blake and Mouton, 1985; Conger and Kanungo, 1994; Conger,
1999).
(4) Situational Approach this approach focusing on leadership in situations,
and is based on the assumption that effective leaders have to adapt their styles according
to the demands of different situations (Hersey and Blanchard, 1969). Situational
leadership claims that leadership is composed of both directive and supportive
dimensions and that each has to be applied according to a given situation (Blanchard et
al., 1985). For this purpose, a leader must evaluate first his followers and assess their level
of competence and commitment when they perform a specific task. As the followers’
skills and motivation vary over time, leaders should change the degree of directiveness
or support to meet those changing needs (Blanchard et al., 1985). In sum, the essence of
situational leadership demands that leaders match their style to the competence and
commitment of the followers in a dynamic fashion (e.g., Hersey and Blanchard, 1969;
Blanchard et al., 1985, 1993).
(5) Contingency Approach this approach tries to match leaders to appropriate
situations (Fiedler, 1964). It suggests that a leader’s effectiveness depends on how well
the leader’s style fits the context (Fiedler, 1964). In order to understand the performance
of leaders, it is essential to understand the situations in which they lead (Fiedler, 1971).
In short, effective leadership is contingent on matching a leader’s style to the right setting
(e.g., Fiedler, 1964, 1971; Fiedler and Garcia, 1987).
Table 2-1 summarizes the existing body of empirical studies on the different
approaches referred in relation to leadership effectiveness. It has provided a description
of the aspects examined in the empirical research, the methods utilized, and the major
findings relevant to the leadership effectiveness domain.
UNDERSTANDING LEADERSHIP EFFECTIVENESS IN ORGANIZATIONAL SETTINGS
18
Table 2-1 Empirical Studies on the most Prominent Theoretical Approaches to Leadership Effectiveness.
Target
Methods
Results
Trait approach
Judge et al.
(2002a)
Five-factor model as an organizing
framework to analyze correlates of
leadership effectiveness.
Qualitative review and meta-analysis of 222
correlations from 73 samples. Perceived
measures of leadership effectiveness
(superiors and subordinates ratings of leader’s
effectiveness).
Correlations to leadership effectiveness were Extraversion (rc =
.24), Openness to Experience (rc = .24), Emotional Stability (rc
= .22), Agreeableness (rc = .21), and Conscientiousness (rc =
.16). Regression results show two traits: Openness to
Experience (β = .19) and Extraversion (β = .18) were
significantly predictors of leadership effectiveness. Strong and
significant multiple correlations of the Five-factor model (R2 =
.39).
Judge et al.
(2004)
Studies examining the relationship
between intelligence and leadership
effectiveness.
Meta-analysis of 151 independent samples in
96 sources. Perceived and objective measures
were used for leadership effectiveness.
Results indicate that the correlation between intelligence and
leadership effectiveness is .21. Paper-and-pencil intelligence
was positively related to perceived leadership effectiveness (rc =
.15) and to objective leadership effectiveness (rc = .25).
Skills approach
Connelly et al.
(2000)
Problem-solving skills, social
judgment skills, and leader
knowledge were examined with
respect to leadership effectiveness.
Two samples of Army officers were analyzed.
Measures of leadership effectiveness were a
self-reported career achievement and ratings
of solutions to leadership problems.
Results indicate problem solving (r = .35 and r = .51), social
judgment (r = .45 and r = .51) and knowledge measures (r = .27
and r = .30) account for variance in leader effectiveness (for
both measures) beyond that accounted for by cognitive abilities,
motivations, and personality. Hierarchical regression show that
leader skills predict both leadership effectiveness measures
(respectively, R2 = .27 and R2 = .35).
Zaccaro et al.
(2000)
Describe the development of a set
of five constructed response
measures designed to assess
complex problem-solving skills and
knowledge expected to influence
leadership.
A sample of 1.807 Army officers was
analyzed. Measures to assess leadership
effectiveness used self-description items.
Correlations between leader skills and leadership effectiveness
measures of officer career achievement and senior officer career
achievement were for problem solving (r = .41 and r = .41), for
social judgment (r = .41 and r = .40), and for solution
construction (r = .41 and r = .40).
UNDERSTANDING LEADERSHIP EFFECTIVENESS IN ORGANIZATIONAL SETTINGS
19
Hirst et al.
(2004)
Drawing upon an action learning
perspective, the authors analyzed
the relationship of a leader’s
learning of project leadership skills
and facilitative leadership, team
reflexivity, and team performance.
A 1-year longitudinal study of 50 R&D teams,
with 313 team members and 22 project
customers, collecting both quantitative and
qualitative data. Two subjective measures of
effective performance were used: customer
ratings of team performance and of project
quality.
Found evidence of a significant impact of the leader learning on
subsequent facilitative leadership and team performance 8 and
12 months later. Leadership learning was significantly
correlated with customer ratings of team performance (r = .36).
Learning was significantly correlated with customer ratings of
project quality (r = .42).
Behavioral approach
Lowe et al.
(1996)
This study tested the effects of five
behaviors identified in the
transformational/transactional
literature: charisma, intellectual
stimulation, individualized
consideration, contingent-reward
and management-by-exception.
A meta-analysis of 39 published and
unpublished studies was conducted to assess
the leadership style-effectiveness relationship.
Mixed measures were used: subordinate
perceptions and organizational measures of
effectiveness.
Findings presented the following correlations: a) to subjective
measures charisma (rc = .81), individualized consideration (rc
= .69), intellectual stimulation (rc = .68), contingent-reward (rc =
.56), and management-by-exception (rc = .10); b) to objective
measures charisma (rc = .35), individualized consideration (rc
= .28), intellectual stimulation (rc = .26), contingent-reward (rc =
.08), and management-by-exception (rc = -.04).
Dumdum et al.
(2002)
Analyzed transformational and
transactional leadership correlates
of effectiveness.
Meta-analysis of transformational and
transactional leadership.
Leadership behaviors correlate to effectiveness:
transformational (r = .43), contingent-reward (r = .45),
management-by-exception (r = -.23), and laissez-faire (r = -.29).
Judge and Piccolo
(2004)
This study provided an examination
of the full range of
transformational, transactional, and
laissez-faire leadership.
Meta-analytic method of 87 studies to
estimate the correlations. Subjective and
organizational measures were used.
Results show that transformational leadership correlates with (a)
follower satisfaction with the leader (r = .71), (b) follower
motivation (r = .53), (c) leader job performance (r = .27) and
group or organization performance (r = .26), and (d) leader
effectiveness (r = .64); contingent reward (a) follower
satisfaction with the leader (r = .55), (b) follower motivation (r
= .59), (c) leader job performance (r = .45) and group or
organization performance (r = .16), and (d) leader effectiveness
(r = .55). Regression results show that the full range model
predict all leadership effectiveness measures (respectively, (a)
R2 = .44, (b) R2 = .28, (c) R2 =.18, and (d) R2 = .35).
UNDERSTANDING LEADERSHIP EFFECTIVENESS IN ORGANIZATIONAL SETTINGS
20
Situational approach
Fernandez and
Vecchio
(1997)
The primary goals of the analyses
were a replication of prior tests of a
within-jobs view of the situational
leadership theory, and an across-
jobs test of the theory wherein the
job level was used as a predictor of
optimal leadership style.
Data from 332 university employees and 32
supervisors were collected on the dimensions
of leader behavior and follower maturity in
order to test predictions for the outcomes of
employee performance, satisfaction, and
quality of leader-member exchange.
Evidence demonstrated that the theory, as originally formulated,
has little descriptive utility. However, further analyses
suggested that supervisory monitoring and consideration may
interact with job level such that monitoring has a positive
impact for lower level employees, while consideration has a
more positive impact for higher level employees. The
interaction suggests that some of the intuitively appealing
aspects of the theory may be correct, but that couching these
processes in terms of readiness/maturity and the dimensions of
initiation structure and consideration is incorrect.
Vecchio et al.
(2006)
The study replicated prior
comprehensive tests of situational
leadership theory.
Survey conducted for members of 86 squads
of U.S. Military Academy cadets (860
participants). Measures used for leader
consideration, leader structuring, follower
readiness/maturity, follower satisfaction,
follower performance, and leader-member
exchange.
Results of regression analyses and tests for mean differences
within follower readiness/maturity level did not yield clear
evidence of a predicted interaction among leader style and
follower attributes. These results are in alignment with prior
findings and suggest the theory may have little practical utility.
Thompson and
Vecchio
(2009)
Three versions of the situational
leadership theory were analyzed in
this study to assess for predicted
interactions with performance
measures: (1) the original in 1972,
(2) the revised in 2007, and (3) an
alternative statement of the theory’s
essential principle of differential
follower response to “autonomy
afforded be the leader” in
conjunction with “follower
developmental level.
Survey data was collected from 357 banking
employees and 80 supervisors from 10
Norwegian financial institutions sample.
Findings did not provide clear support for the situational
leadership theory, in any of its versions. Results indicate that the
2007 version was a poorer predictor of subordinate performance
and attitudes than the original one. The third version offered
promise for further exploration of the theory’s essential
principle that employee outcomes are associated with prescribed
leader behaviors in combination with a follower developmental
level, although this version also did not add substantially to
accounting for criterion variance.
UNDERSTANDING LEADERSHIP EFFECTIVENESS IN ORGANIZATIONAL SETTINGS
21
Contingency approach
Peters et al.
(1985)
Drawing on Fiedler’s Contingency
Theory, this study quantified the
variance in correlations between
leader style and performance that
can be explained by sampling error,
and thus other moderator variables,
including the situational
favorability, would be unnecessary
theoretical constructions.
A total of 11 developmental studies and 24
validation studies (field and laboratory
studies) were identified. More than one
performance measure was used; consequently,
the correlations were averaged.
Results suggest that sampling error cannot account for the
observed variance around the mean correlation of -.07, and
therefore, meaningful moderators might exist. However, only
partial support for situational favorableness as the relevant
moderator is suggested by the data. Such results suggest that
one or more additional moderator variables might be needed to
account fully for the variance.
Schriesheim et al.
(1994)
The study used across-octant
comparisons drawn from Fiedler’s
contingency model of leadership.
Data from 1.282 groups used in previous
research was analyzed using meta-analytic
procedures.
Higher performance predictions made by the contingency model
were largely supported for both high and low-LPC leaders
(respectively, relationship-motivated and task-motivated).
However, the equal-performance predictions of the contingency
model were largely not supported. In sum, the findings are
encouraging, but should be viewed as providing cautious
support for the contingency model overall.
UNDERSTANDING LEADERSHIP EFFECTIVENESS IN ORGANIZATIONAL SETTINGS
22
Trait & Behavioral approach
Derue et al.
(2011)
Developed an integrated trait-
behavioral model of leadership
effectiveness. Leader traits
considered gender, intelligence,
personality. Behaviors:
transformational-transactional,
initiating structure-consideration.
Meta-analysis of 59 published studies. Mixed
measures of leadership effectiveness were
considered: leader effectiveness, group
performance, follower job satisfaction,
satisfaction with the leader.
Traits correlate to (a) leader effectiveness: Extraversion (rc =
.31), Conscientiousness (rc = .28), Emotional Stability (rc = .24),
and Openness to Experience (rc = .24); (b) group performance:
Conscientiousness (rc = .31), and Agreeableness (rc = .20); (c)
satisfaction with the leader: Agreeableness (rc = .24).
Behaviors correlate to (a) leader effectiveness: transformational
(rc = .64), consideration (rc = . 52), contingent-reward (rc = .51),
and initiation structure (rc = .39); (b) group performance:
transformational (rc = .38), initiation structure (rc = .35),
consideration (rc = .28), and contingent-reward (rc = .24); (c)
follower job satisfaction: contingent-reward (rc = .64),
transformational (rc =.58), consideration (rc =.46), and initiation
structure (rc = .22); (d) satisfaction with leader: consideration (rc
= .78), transformational (rc = .71), contingent-reward (rc = .55),
and initiation structure (rc = .33).
For overall (a) leader effectiveness: leader traits and behaviors
explain 58% of variance (traits account for 22% and behaviors
for 47%); (b) group performance: leader traits and behaviors
explain 31% of variance (traits account for 14% and behaviors
for 20%); (c) follower job satisfaction: leader traits and
behaviors explain 56% of variance (traits account for 2% and
behaviors for 51%), and finally (d) satisfaction with leader:
leader traits and behaviors explain 92% of variance (traits
account for 6% and behaviors for 70%).
UNDERSTANDING LEADERSHIP EFFECTIVENESS IN ORGANIZATIONAL SETTINGS
23
As shown in Table 2-1, trait, skills, and behavioral approaches have shown
empirical evidence supporting an association with leadership effectiveness measures.
Such support is not obvious concerning situational and contingency approaches. In
addition, the situational approach lacks empirical studies and meta-analysis, which
present serious limitations to support the theory. Nevertheless, situational factors may
have an important moderating effect to consider between the leadership style and
performance, as uncovered by Peters et al. (1985) analysis.
Although empirical research has supported the claim that leadership effectiveness
is influenced by traits, skills, and behaviors, it is not clear how those elements
complement or supplement each other and how can be incorporated into an integrative
model of leadership effectiveness. Recently, leadership researchers acknowledging that
models and theories of leadership still suffer from a lack of integration and convergence,
made a call to the academic community to develop an integrative understanding of
leadership in organizations (Gordon and Yukl, 2004; Avolio, 2007; DeRue et al., 2011).
To understand the main components examined in the leadership theories, the
author has conducted a revision of the most prominent works comprising leadership
determinants of organizational outcomes. For this purpose, the main concepts were
organized according with their relative causal distance to the endogenous variable. Thus,
the distal predictors are concepts such as personality traits, general and emotional
intelligence, and learning experiences. On the other hand, the more proximal predictors
reviewed were leadership behaviors and processes. Finally, this study revisits the key role
of organizational context in influencing and being influenced by the leadership process.
UNDERSTANDING LEADERSHIP EFFECTIVENESS IN ORGANIZATIONAL SETTINGS
24
2.3. ANTECEDENTS OF LEADERSHIP
Previous researchers have suggested several antecedents of leadership. These
antecedents have been related to measures of leadership emergence (i.e., when someone
is perceived as leader like Hogan et al., 1994), leadership effectiveness, and are
important predictors of those outcomes as well. Hereafter, those antecedents will be
presented according to the following structure: (1) personal abilities (e.g., personality,
cognitive abilities, and emotional intelligence), and (2) learning experiences (e.g.,
personal history, value, and leadership skills).
2.3.1. PERSONAL ABILITIES
2.3.1.1. PERSONALITY AND LEADERSHIP TRAITS
The association between personality and leadership has a long and controversial
history. Since trait leadership theory (e.g., Terman, 1904; Kohs and Irle, 1920; Bowden,
1926; Cowley, 1931), researchers assumed that leadership depended on the personal
qualities of a leader. However, the later critics from Stogdill (1948) and Bass (1990b)
showed that leadership is not a matter of the mere possession of certain traits, but rather
situation-related, as a trait’s effect on leadership behavior depends on the specific context.
Indeed, most skepticisms came from inconsistent and often disappointing results, lacking
a universal structure to describe personality, and lead to a variety of leadership traits being
studied under different labels such as drive, motivation, honesty and integrity, self-
confidence, cognitive ability, knowledge of the business, creativity and flexibility,
(Kirkpatrick and Locke, 1991; Locke, 1991; Hughes et al., 1996; House and Aditya,
1997).
UNDERSTANDING LEADERSHIP EFFECTIVENESS IN ORGANIZATIONAL SETTINGS
25
Nevertheless, this deep controversy between leadership theorists, all the research
conducted revealed some traits that seemed to be related to leadership outcomes (e.g.,
Lord et al., 1986; Costa and McCrae, 1988; Goldberg, 1990; Hogan et al., 1994). These
studies benefited from a taxonomic structure widely accepted by modern personality
psychologists termed the five-factor model or, simply, the Big Five (Costa and McCrae,
1988; Digman, 1990; Goldberg, 1990; Hogan et al., 1994). Several researchers based on
the early work of Cattell (1945) reported the five factors. In these studies, at least dozen
oblique factors were repeatedly identified; however, in later works only five factors were
replicated using orthogonal rotational methods (e.g., Norman, 1963; Tupes and Christal,
1992). Other researchers such as Borgatta (1964), McCrae and Costa (1985, 1987) that
refer to the most salient aspects of personality reported similar five-factor structures. The
five-factor structure has been subject of research in several countries pointing to a cross-
cultural generalizability (McCrae and Costa, 1997), and also evidence shows that these
traits are heritable and stable over time, after the age of 30 (Costa and McCrae, 1988;
Digman, 1990).
These Big Five traits are described and labeled as follows: (1) Surgency or
Extraversion represents a tendency to be sociable, assertive, active, and to experience
excitement and positive emotions; (2) Agreeableness is the tendency to be warm, gentle,
caring, trusting and trustworthy; (3) Conscientiousness is comprised by two related facets
of achievement and dependability; (4) Neuroticism (vs. Emotional Stability) represents
the tendency to exhibit poor emotional adjustment and experience negative emotions, like
anxiety, fear, and depression; and finally (5) Openness to Experience (Intellect or Culture)
is a disposition to be creative, imaginative, thoughtful, nonconforming and autonomous
(Judge and Bono, 2000).
UNDERSTANDING LEADERSHIP EFFECTIVENESS IN ORGANIZATIONAL SETTINGS
26
Research using the five-factor structure or equivalent constructs has found an
association between those personality traits and leadership outcomes. For example, meta-
analysis from Stogdill (1948) and Mann (1959) found a relation between leadership
emergence in small groups with the personality traits of Conscientiousness, Emotional
Stability and Agreeableness. Recent studies on leadership emergence reached similar
results showing that it is significantly correlated with Surgency, Emotional Stability, and
Agreeableness (Gough, 1990; Snyder, 1974); and with Surgency, Emotional Stability,
and Conscientiousness (Lord et al., 1986). As reported, between 49% and 82% of the
variance in leadership emergence can be explained by personality (Kenny and Zaccaro,
1983). As such, the Big Five model can be used to predict the likelihood of a stranger to
emerge as a leader in unstructured groups (Hogan et al., 1994). Other studies found that
some personality traits were associated with perceived leadership effectiveness. For
instance, Stogdill (1974) found Surgency, Emotional Stability, Conscientiousness, and
Agreeableness to be positively related to leadership effectiveness, while Bentz (1990)
reported similar traits such as Surgency, Emotional Stability, and Conscientiousness as
the salient qualities of executives promoted at Sears. Bray and Howard (1983) indicated
the same personality traits as the best predictors of managerial advancement. A meta-
analysis found that all the traits from the five-factor were correlated with leadership
criteria (leader emergence and leadership effectiveness), with the exception of
Agreeableness. An overall measure of the five-factor model had a correlation of 0.48 with
leadership (Judge et al., 2002b). Another meta-analysis on the relationship between the
Big Five personality traits and job satisfaction found that Emotional Stability and
Surgency were significantly correlated, while the full set had a correlation of 0.41 with
job satisfaction (Judge et al., 2002a).
UNDERSTANDING LEADERSHIP EFFECTIVENESS IN ORGANIZATIONAL SETTINGS
27
In sum, studies focusing on the five-factor personality structure showed evidence
that in the case of leadership emergence and perceived effectiveness, leaders exhibit
distinguishable key qualities, although these are not enough to guarantee leadership
success (Kirkpatrick and Locke, 1991; Locke, 1991). Researchers agree that individual
characteristics are important even beyond specific domains of personality asking
to enlarge the spectrum to include other dimensions like self-efficacy, self-management,
self-motivation, and personal values and beliefs (Hogan and Kaiser, 2005; Roberts et al.,
2006; Hoffman et al., 2011).
2.3.1.2. COGNITIVE ABILITIES
The psychological construct of general mental ability, general cognitive ability,
or general intelligence, introduced by Spearman (1904), refers to a general descriptive
term, including a hierarchy of mental abilities. These mental abilities comprise basic
abilities, such as verbal recognition and spatial understanding, to a broader group of
abilities like verbal-comprehension intelligence and perceptual-organizational
intelligence. At the highest level of the hierarchy, general intelligence involves abstract
reasoning across all such domains (Mayer et al., 2008).
Several studies have associated general mental ability with leadership, showing
high correlation coefficients of 0.50 (Stogdill, 1948, 1974; Mann, 1959; Cornwell, 1983;
Lord et al., 1986; House and Aditya, 1997). Indeed, empirical studies showed that leaders
exhibit “above average intelligence”, though rather than being genius they are
conceptually skilled, because they must gather, integrate, and interpret enormous amounts
of information, are responsible for developing strategies, solving problems, motivating
employees and scanning the environment (Kirkpatrick and Locke, 1991; Locke, 1991).
UNDERSTANDING LEADERSHIP EFFECTIVENESS IN ORGANIZATIONAL SETTINGS
28
Thus, intelligent leaders are better problem solvers, are likely to be more creative and to
foster the creativity of their followers (Guilford, 1950; Rushton, 1990; Jung, 2000). Other
reviewers of this literature found this relationship between intelligence and leadership to
be considerably lower. For example, Judge et al. (2004) conducted a meta-analysis
indicating that the correlation was 0.27, if corrected for range restriction in intelligence
(i.e., the ratio of the sample standard deviation of the intelligence scores to the population
standard deviation), and 0.21 if not. These authors found evidence that perceptual
measures of intelligence showed stronger correlations than paper-and-pencil measures.
Previous research has highlighted the cognitive ability as a stronger predictor of
leadership emergence, even more than personality attributes (Atwater et al., 1999; Taggar
et al., 1999). Individuals seem to share a common understanding about the traits that
leaders possesses, and these traits are used as benchmarks for deciding emergent
leadership (Rubin et al., 2002). Indeed, Lord et al. (1986) meta-analysis found that the
individual’s intelligence and the perception of his intelligence are highly related factors
and that intelligence is a key characteristic in predicting leadership perceptions. Social
cognitive theory reveals that cognitive processes underlie the behavioral strategies an
emergent leader chooses and the skill with which they are executed as such behavior is
dependent upon a cognitive interpretation of a specific situation (Bandura, 1982; Lazarus,
1991).
In addition, other studies indicate that cognitive ability predicts leadership
effectiveness (e.g., Avolio et al., 1996; Atwater et al., 1999). Effective leaders have been
shown to display greater ability to reason both inductively and deductively than
ineffective leaders (Kirkpatrick and Locke, 1991). Cognitive resource theory has
proposed that intelligence is more strongly related to leadership effectiveness when
UNDERSTANDING LEADERSHIP EFFECTIVENESS IN ORGANIZATIONAL SETTINGS
29
leaders experience low levels of stress. Higher levels of stress affect the leaders’ ability
to focus on his task, as he or she faces worries over possible failure, crises of self-efficacy,
and evaluation anxiety (Fiedler, 1986; Fiedler and Garcia, 1987). According to this stream
of research, leaders who communicate using directive behavior are more likely to be
effective, as they are more likely to possess the knowledge necessary to help their
followers (Fiedler and House, 1994). Prior research also found intelligence to predict job
performance, and this ability is stronger for complex tasks (Ree and Earles, 1992; Schmidt
and Hunter, 1998).
Beyond the overall interest in this topic, recent research points new directions
concerning multiple intelligences, interaction between cognitive and emotional abilities,
and situational factors. According to Mumford et al. (2000a), leaders also need
crystallized cognitive abilities (i.e., intellectual ability that is learned over time), fluid
abilities (i.e., the capacity to think logically and solve problems in novel situations,
independent of acquired knowledge), and divergent thinking ability (i.e., thought process
or method used to generate creative ideas to solve problems and increase performance).
However, this concept of multiple intelligences (Sternberg, 1985; Gardner, 1993) is still
very controversial among researchers for further insight see Antonakis versus
Ashkanasy and Dasborough debate regarding this topic without reaching any substantial
conclusion (Antonakis et al., 2009) as researchers claim for the lack of empirical
support for this concept (Waterhouse, 2006). Côté and Miners (2006) found that
emotional intelligence and cognitive intelligence are compensatory with respected to job
performance. The association between emotional intelligence and job performance
become stronger when cognitive intelligence decreases. In addition, according to Fiedler
(2002) the relevance of situational factors those that affect the leader’s deployment of
UNDERSTANDING LEADERSHIP EFFECTIVENESS IN ORGANIZATIONAL SETTINGS
30
intellectual resources, and might influence the acquisition of specific skills, and explain
subsequent leader performance has been discounted. Even if a leader possesses
intelligence, it may not be utilized effectively due to situational factors. According to this
author, effective leadership is a complex interaction of the leader's characteristics, the
leader's experience, and elements of the situation.
Cognitive ability has been considered as a unitary construct related to academic
ability, which may not consider other important abilities or new conceptions of
intelligence, such as creativity and the ability to solve problems (Sternberg, 1985, 2005;
Marshall-Mies et al., 2000; Mumford et al., 2000a). Researchers agree that using a
broader lens concerning these alternative conceptualizations of intelligence is crucial to
understand how they are linked to leadership emergence or effectiveness (Hedlund et al.,
2003; Antonakis et al., 2004).
2.3.1.3. EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE
Salovey and Mayer (1990) introduced the concept of emotional intelligence,
influenced by earlier theories of social intelligence (Thorndike, 1920) and multiple
intelligences (Gardner, 1983). For Mayer et al. (2008) emotional intelligence involves the
ability to carry out accurate reasoning about emotions and the ability to use emotions and
emotional knowledge to enhance thought. For Mayer and Salovey (1997), there are four
main components of emotional intelligence: (1) perception of emotion (in self and others);
(2) assimilation of emotion to facilitate thought; (3) understanding of emotion; and (4)
managing and regulating emotion in self and others. These authors have operationalized
their model as an “abilities measure” of emotional intelligence, following the tradition of
measures of intellectual intelligence, which is regarded as the best operationalization of
UNDERSTANDING LEADERSHIP EFFECTIVENESS IN ORGANIZATIONAL SETTINGS
31
emotional intelligence (Daus, 2006). For the sake of conceptual clarity, a definition is
required in terms like emotion, mood, and affect. An emotion is a discrete affective state
that is perceived by the individual, and has an external identifiable cause (Forgas, 1995).
While mood is a diffuse affective state that lacks a clear reference or cause, and affect is
used as a generic label comprising both emotion and mood (Forgas, 1995).
Until recently, research had neglected the impact of emotions in organizational
life (Ashforth and Humphrey, 1995), despite the concurrence of these normal human
reactions (positive or negative) to events or persons. Emotionally intelligent individuals
are aware of their emotions, understand the causes and effects of such emotions on
cognitive processes and decision making (Salovey and Mayer, 1990; George, 2000;
Salovey et al., 2002). Empathy defined as “the ability to comprehend another’s feelings
and to re-experience them oneself” (Salovey and Mayer, 1990, p. 194) may be a central
characteristic of emotional intelligent behavior. For example, Yukl (1998) indicates
empathy as an important leader behavior for managing relations.
Despite all these emergent studies on emotional intelligence, a great antagonism
persists between cognitive and emotional abilities, following a long-term debate about
the relative importance and primacy of each. For the cognitive paradigm of psychology,
affect was considered as noise, or error variance (Forgas, 1992). De Souza (1987) has
argued that reason and emotion were not natural antagonists, on the contrary. As such,
recent research has already recognized that affect and cognition are part of a universal,
integrated system (e.g., Bower, 1981; Bower and Cohen, 1982; Salovey and Rodin, 1985;
Mayer, 1986; Forgas, 1992).
Therefore, the scholarly attention is shifting toward an integration system between
cognition and emotional abilities. This trend might be explained by newly published
UNDERSTANDING LEADERSHIP EFFECTIVENESS IN ORGANIZATIONAL SETTINGS
32
studies on this subject whereby general intelligence is regarded as important, but not
sufficient to account for many facets of leadership, such as social relationships and
stressful situations (e.g., Mayer, 2000; Mayer et al., 2000; Matthews et al., 2002; Oatley,
2004). For example, Michie and Gooty (2005) have included affective, as well as
cognitive, psychological capacities in the study of leadership. Kellett et al. (2002) found
that the perception of someone as a leader is affected by his emotional abilities such as
empathy and by his mental abilities such as complex task performance. Additional
research showed the relevance of emotion to problem solving, as emotion precedes or at
least accompanies cognition and thus emotion, and affective information provides a
unique source of information that can improve cognition (Salovey et al., 2000; Dickman
and Stanford-Blair, 2002).
Other studies have considered the influence of emotions in cognitive processes.
For instance, Forgas (1995) Affect Infusion Model (AIM) provides a useful conceptual
framework to understand the conditions under which, affect is most likely to influence
cognition, judgment, and decision-making (George, 2000). Also from mood research,
Daus (2006) argues that emotion serves cognition and cognition serves emotion. In the
literature, it has been mentioned that emotions can be used to facilitate cognition. While
positive moods foster creativity, integrative thinking, and inductive reasoning, negative
moods raise attention to more detail, and focus on problems (Isen et al., 1985, 1987). In
addition, emotions transitions might lead to more flexible planning, to the generation of
multiple alternatives, and a broadened perspective on problems (Mayer, 1986; Salovey
and Mayer, 1990; Sinclair and Mark, 1992; Salovey et al., 1993). Thus, research exploring
the relationship between overall measures of emotional intelligence and general
intelligence has now established beyond doubt that emotional and mental ability is
UNDERSTANDING LEADERSHIP EFFECTIVENESS IN ORGANIZATIONAL SETTINGS
33
related, but differentiable and independent concepts (Mayer and Salovey, 1997; Bar-On,
2000; Ciarrochi et al., 2000; Mayer et al., 2000).
New theories of leadership emphasized the emotional attachment of followers to
the leader (Bass, 1985; Gardner and Avolio, 1998; Emrich et al., 2001). George (2000)
suggested that transformational leadership behaviors may be associated with higher levels
of emotional intelligence, and Walter and Bruch (2007) found that leader’s emotional
intelligence and positive mood were positively related to the followers’ ratings of
charismatic leadership behaviors. Additional theoretical approaches, on leader emergence
in self-managing teams, argue that empathy precedes and enables cognitive processes and
skills by providing an accurate understanding of team members’ emotions and needs
(Wolff et al., 2002). Empirical support identified empathy, a key component of emotional
intelligence, as a significant predictor of leadership emergence (Kellett et al., 2002, 2006;
Walter and Bruch, 2007). Indeed, leaders must be able to anticipate how followers will
react to different circumstances and effectively manage these reactions, as leadership is
an emotion-laden process (George, 2000). A leader who can manage his own emotions
(emotional self-awareness) and has empathy for others will be more effective (Caruso et
al., 2002; Salovey et al., 2002; Avolio, 2003).
Emotional intelligence influence both the emotions experienced by leaders and
their effectiveness in selecting and executing emotional displays that promote positive
follower impressions (Gardner et al., 2009). Current theorizing regarding emotions and
transformational leadership suggest that the ability to understand others’ emotions
enables a leader to empathize and results in leadership effectiveness (Ashkanasy and Tse,
2000; Bass and Avolio, 1990a). However, leader emotional intelligence may be more
important in some situations than in others. For example, emotional intelligence is
UNDERSTANDING LEADERSHIP EFFECTIVENESS IN ORGANIZATIONAL SETTINGS
34
required in situations where cognitive resources are constrained, such as highly stressful
work situations (Salas et al., 1996; Antonakis et al., 2009).
Recent research raised the importance of considering the study of emotions along
with cognitive abilities in the leadership process. However, a consensus has not been
reached yet as some persistent criticisms remain. Antonakis et al. (2009, p. 255) argue
that emotions are important for decision-making and leadership, as we have one
integrated brain, one mind that decides, and one intelligence; this mind requires both
emotional and non-emotional processes and feedback systems to function. For this
author, the question is still a theoretical one, as there are not enough empirical studies to
support this claim. For example, Van Rooy and Viswesvaran (2004) had very
disappointing meta-analytic correlation between the ability scale of emotional
intelligence and performance outcomes. Other studies have failed to provide support,
using emotional intelligence measures, demonstrating that emotional intelligence matters
much for leadership, after controlling for individual-characteristics (Murphy, 2006;
Antonakis et al. 2009). Even, the relationship between emotional intelligence and other
concepts, including general intelligence, social skills, and personality, is not adequately
understood (Murphy, 2006).
2.3.2. LEARNING EXPERIENCES
2.3.2.1. PERSONAL HISTORY AND TRIGGER EVENTS
The leader’s personal history includes critical elements such as one’s family and
role models, early life challenges, education and work experiences, cultural and
contextual influences, and leadership experiences (Gardner et al., 2005). Trigger events
UNDERSTANDING LEADERSHIP EFFECTIVENESS IN ORGANIZATIONAL SETTINGS
35
constitute dramatic and sometimes subtle changes in the individual’s circumstances that
facilitate self-awareness, personal growth and development (Gardner et al., 2005).
Accumulated life experiences and on-going interpretation of trigger events are part of the
self-development process (Avolio, 2003, 2005; Luthans and Avolio, 2003). Crucibles and
defining moments in leaders’ lives are important to understand the meanings that lead to
new definitions and self-concepts. Crucibles are places where people usually ask essential
questions such as: Who am I? Who could I be? Who should I be? How should I relate to
the world? (Bennis and Thomas, 2002; Bennis, 2003). One’s personal history of life-
experiences are stored in memory as self-knowledge (self-schemata) and serve to shape
one’s identity “Who am I?” (Hoyle et al., 1999).
The life stories approach provides insights into the meanings leaders’ attach to life
events, and therefore are an important tool to develop themselves over time through
reflection. As such, leader’s life story reflects: (1) the degree of self-knowledge, (2) self-
concept clarity, (3) person-role merger that he experiences, and (4) provides followers
with cues for assessing leader authenticity (Avolio and Gardner, 2005). The life-story
gives the leader a “meaning system” to analyze and understand the reality, which models
how the leader feels, thinks and acts (Kegan, 1982). In addition, life-stories provide the
leader with knowledge and clarity about their values and beliefs, because leaders
experienced those values to be true (Pearce, 2003). Thus, identity is a result of a life-story,
which was created, shared, and reviewed throughout life (Pallus et al., 1991). Through a
narrative process whereby a leader’s authentic self emerges individuals interpret
actions, events, and motives, to construct a unifying life story for themselves (Avolio and
Gardner, 2005).
Social learning theory suggests that experience can play an important role, as in
UNDERSTANDING LEADERSHIP EFFECTIVENESS IN ORGANIZATIONAL SETTINGS
36
essence the theory is based on the notion that individuals learn from observation (social
learning), and future behaviors are guided by the consequences of past behavior
(experience) and social learning (Bandura, 1977; Ilies et al., 2005). Through life
experiences and their expression in life-stories, leaders can develop a self-concept that
supports and embraces their leadership role, because the life-story not only retells but also
explains, “how have I become a leader?” and “why have I become a leader?” (Simmons,
2002). In this case, the leader’s claim for leadership is based on personally held deep
values and beliefs rather than on formal appointments or personal power pursuit, as such
the leader’s behaviors and actions are consistent with his beliefs and convictions (Shamir
and Eilam, 2005).
Shamir et al. (2005) argue that the leaders life story has an important role in the
study of leadership development, providing the leader with a self-concept from which he
or she can lead. The authors found leadership development themes that surpass particular
contexts. Thus, leadership development is regarded: (1) as a natural process, (2) out of
struggle and hardship, (3) finding a cause and (4) a learning process. This includes
learning from role models: historical or public figures, literary figures, parents, siblings
and other family members, teachers, mentors, superiors and peers (Shamir and Eilam,
2005; Shamir et al., 2005). Leaders do not imitate these models; instead, they construct
their self-concept with reference to these models, and the leader’s story and the collective
story should be similar in some aspects in order to improve his or her effectiveness
(Gardner, 1995; Shamir and Eilam, 2005). The leader’s story should capture not only the
leader’s self-concept, but also the follower’s values, identities and desires. It should be
embedded in a collective story of which followers are a part “what are we here for?”
(Shamir and Eilam, 2005).
UNDERSTANDING LEADERSHIP EFFECTIVENESS IN ORGANIZATIONAL SETTINGS
37
In short, recent research has raised the importance of a leader’s personal history
and trigger events on the development of the self-concept and how this self-concept
impact followers by influencing their own self-concept. These learning experiences shape
the leader’s behavior, which in turn affects his effectiveness in the organization.
2.3.2.2. PERSONAL VALUES
For Rokeach (1973), values and value systems are fundamental in determining an
individual’s character and can be defined as a belief that a specific mode of conduct or
end-state of existence is personally and socially preferable to alternative modes of
conduct or end-states of existence. More recently, Schwartz (1994) defined these human
values as trans-situational varying in importance and serving as guiding principles in the
life of a person or group. This author categorized values as a bipolar dimension of self-
enhancement/self-transcendence. Self-enhancement is associated with the values of
achievement (pursuit of personal success), power (dominance over others), and hedonism
(personal gratification); and self-transcendence with the values of benevolence (concern
for immediate others) and Universalism (concern for the welfare of all people). Values
categorized under benevolence include honesty, responsibility, and loyalty. Values
associated with Universalism include equality, social justice, and broad-mindedness or
tolerance of different ideas and opinions.
Values are learned through socialization processes and internalized, becoming
integral components of the self (Erickson, 1995). They also provide a basis for eliciting
actions that conform to the needs of other individuals and the community at large (Lord
and Brown, 2001). According to cognitive dissonance theory, individuals seek a stable
state in which there is a minimum of dissonance between values, attitudes and behaviors
UNDERSTANDING LEADERSHIP EFFECTIVENESS IN ORGANIZATIONAL SETTINGS
38
(Festinger, 1959). Recent empirical research demonstrates that values result in attitudes
that in turn affect behavior by encouraging individuals to act in accordance with their
values (e.g., McNeely and Meglino, 1994; Malphurs, 1996; Egri and Herman, 2000;
Lönnqvist et al., 2009). Values also serve as foundational blueprints for making decisions
and solving problems (Russell, 2001).
Leadership scholars have analyzed the importance of personal values as desirable
modes of behavior in the study of charismatic and authentic leadership. Specially, their
role in influencing followers’ behavior and attitudes toward performing above and
beyond the call of duty, and toward doing what’s right and fair to all stakeholders (House,
1977; Bass, 1985; Gardner and Avolio, 1998; Bass and Steidlmeier, 1999; Burns, 2003;
Luthans and Avolio, 2003; May et al., 2003). According to England and Lee (1974),
values can affect leaders in several ways: (1) leaders’ perceptions of situations, individual
and organizational successes, and ethical and unethical behavior; (2) solutions leaders
generate to solve problems; (3) leaders’ interpersonal relationships; (4) the extent to
which leaders accept or reject organizational goals and pressures; and (5) leadership
performance.
Hence, leadership values are major determinants of strategic choices, which can be
used to define a motivating vision for the organization, and to communicate ethical norms for
behavior (Andrews, 1980; Senge, 1990; Slater and Narver, 1995). For Clawson (1999), the
moral foundation of effective leadership incorporates integrity resulting from four
essential values: (1) truth-telling; (2) promise-keeping; (3) fairness, and (4) respect for
the individual. As such, leadership values, beliefs, knowledge, and experience shape their
strategic decisions, eventually influencing the firm’s performance (Finkelstein and
Hambrick, 1996; Chattopadhyay et al., 1999).
UNDERSTANDING LEADERSHIP EFFECTIVENESS IN ORGANIZATIONAL SETTINGS
39
Thus, leadership is intrinsically a value-based process where the leader’s strong
convictions serve as guiding principles for his behavior and vision that motivates
followers to perform beyond expectations (Bass, 1985; House, 1977). However, values
and their priority may vary from leader to leader based on their personality, the
organizational context, and the followers (Michie and Gooty, 2005).
2.3.2.3. LEADERSHIP SKILLS
Several skills have been appointed in the literature as important requirements for
leadership development. These requirements vary by organizational level according to
the Stratified Systems Theory (SST), which means that jobs at higher levels of the
organization require higher levels of all leadership skills (Jaques, 1996). An important
theoretical contribute came from Mumford et al. (2007), with the Strataplex Model where
the focus shifted from the person holding the job to the job itself. In this model, the authors
introduce four skills that are more or less important depending on the organizational level:
(1) cognitive skills (the foundation of the leadership skill requirements) comprising
skills related to basic cognitive capacities and learning, including oral communication
skills, active listening, written communication skills, active learning skills, and skills in
the area of critical thinking; (2) interpersonal skills interpersonal and social skills
requirements related to interacting with and influencing others, social capacities, social
judgment, social complexity and differentiation and human relations skills, also includes
skills required for coordination of actions of oneself and other, and negotiation skills to
reconcile differences among employee perspective and establish mutually satisfying
relationships, and persuasion skills to influence others to accomplish organizational
goals; (3) business skills involves skills related to specific functional areas that create
UNDERSTANDING LEADERSHIP EFFECTIVENESS IN ORGANIZATIONAL SETTINGS
40
the context in which most leaders work, they involve management of material resources,
operations analysis and management of personnel and financial resources of the
organizational unit; and (4) strategic skills (certain strategic skills only full emerge at the
highest levels in the organization) highly conceptual skills needed to take a systems
perspective to understand complexity, deal with ambiguity, and to exert influence in the
organization, they include skills of visioning, systems perceptions, scanning skills, the
creation of a causal map that allows leaders to recognize relationships among problems
and opportunities and then choose appropriate strategies to deal with them, also solution
appraisal and objective evaluation skills. His findings corroborate that the nature of
leadership changes both quantitatively (increasing in complexity) and qualitatively
(greater interaction with environment) as one moves up in job level. This view is
supported by empirical research (Boyatzis, 1982; Flanders et al., 1983; Mumford et al.,
2000b).
Other skills have also been mentioned in the literature, such as political skills
the ability to effectively understand others at work, and to use such knowledge to
influence others to act in ways, that enhance one’s personal and/or organizational
objectives (Ferris et al., 2005). Politically skilled individuals combine social astuteness,
with the capacity to adjust their behavior to different and changing situational demands
in a manner that appears sincere, inspires support and trust, and effectively influence and
controls the responses of others (Liu et al., 2007). Politically skilled leaders comprehend
social cues, influence and control people and situations with ease, and build the networks
and social capital necessary to both elevate their reputation status, enhancing their job
performance (Ferris et al., 2005; Liu et al., 2007).
Other authors (Riggio and Lee, 2007; Bass and Bass, 2008; Riggio and Reichard,
UNDERSTANDING LEADERSHIP EFFECTIVENESS IN ORGANIZATIONAL SETTINGS
41
2008) reinforced the role of social skills in leadership processes and outcomes
behaviors like social expressiveness (one’s skill in verbal expression and the ability to
engage others in conversation) and social control (one’s skill in role-playing and social
self-presentation). Guerin et al. (2011) predicted that social skills would mediate the
relationships between extraversion and IQ in adolescence and leadership potential at age
of 29 years. Thus, leadership involves a complex mix of behavioral, cognitive, and social
skills that may develop at different rates and require different learning experiences
(Mumford et al., 2000a; Zaccaro and Klimoski, 2001; Day and Halpin, 2004).
Chan and Drasgow (2001) raised an additional critical requirement for leadership
development. In order to develop leadership skills, proactive attitude may be required
from a potential leader, making his own motivation and interest in leadership a critical
driver for the subsequent development. In order to sustain this interest for the period
required to develop and practice complex leadership skills, it is likely that the leadership
role needs to become part of one’s self-identity (Lord and Hall, 2005). Drawing on
research related to social identity and values and on the comprehensive theory of learning,
Lord and Hall (2005) proposed a model of leadership skills addressing changes at one’s
self-identity. The authors suggested that at all stages of the development, as leaders'
progress from novice to expert, the acquisition and advance of leadership skills will be
influenced by individual differences in personality and temperament, cognitive and
emotional abilities, identities and values.
Several researchers have associated leadership skills to underlying variables of
leadership effectiveness and organizational performance. Mumford et al. (2000a) found
that managers at higher organizational levels possessed higher leadership skills, and
increases in leadership skills were related to criterion measures of leadership
UNDERSTANDING LEADERSHIP EFFECTIVENESS IN ORGANIZATIONAL SETTINGS
42
performance. Connelly et al. (2000) found that complex problem-solving skills, social
judgment skills and leader knowledge account for significant variance in leader
effectiveness beyond that accounted for by cognitive abilities, motivations, and
personality, and mediate the relationship of cognitive abilities, motivation and personality
to leader effectiveness. Some researchers have argued that overall leadership
effectiveness depends upon developing sufficient communication skills, as the effective
leader must articulate the mission of the organization, in a convincing and inspiring way
(Bass, 1990a; Hackman and Johnson, 1996; Melrose, 1997; Neuschel, 1998). Drawing
upon action learning perspective, Hirst et al. (2004) found evidence that the leader’s
learning has a significant impact on subsequent facilitate leadership and team
performance eight and twelve months later, suggesting a lag between learning leadership
skills and translating these skills into leadership behavior.
Indeed, Mumford et al. (2000b) have even argued that leadership can be
understood in terms of knowledge, problem-solving skills, solution construction skills,
and social judgment needed to solve organizational problems, instead in terms of specific
behaviors like the ones referred by the new leadership theories. As such, a skill-based
model developed by these authors may provide a viable <