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Antecedents of Team Potency and Team Effectiveness: An Examination of Goal and Process Clarity and Servant Leadership

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Integrating theories of self-regulation with team and leadership literatures, this study investigated goal and process clarity and servant leadership as 3 antecedents of team potency and subsequent team effectiveness, operationalized as team performance and organizational citizenship behavior. Our sample of 304 employees represented 71 teams in 5 banks. Results showed that team-level goal and process clarity as well as team servant leadership served as 3 antecedents of team potency and subsequent team performance and team organizational citizenship behavior. Furthermore, we found that servant leadership moderated the relationships between both goal and process clarity and team potency, such that the positive relationships between both goal and process clarity and team potency were stronger in the presence of servant leadership.
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RESEARCH REPORT
Antecedents of Team Potency and Team Effectiveness: An Examination
of Goal and Process Clarity and Servant Leadership
Jia Hu and Robert C. Liden
University of Illinois at Chicago
Integrating theories of self-regulation with team and leadership literatures, this study investigated goal and
process clarity and servant leadership as 3 antecedents of team potency and subsequent team effectiveness,
operationalized as team performance and organizational citizenship behavior. Our sample of 304 employees
represented 71 teams in 5 banks. Results showed that team-level goal and process clarity as well as team
servant leadership served as 3 antecedents of team potency and subsequent team performance and team
organizational citizenship behavior. Furthermore, we found that servant leadership moderated the relationships
between both goal and process clarity and team potency, such that the positive relationships between both goal
and process clarity and team potency were stronger in the presence of servant leadership.
Keywords: team potency, goal and process clarity, servant leadership, team performance, team OCBs
Although a substantial literature on individual motivation has
amassed over decades, insufficient work has been done to advance
our understanding of team motivation processes (Chen & Kanfer,
2006; Kozlowski & Bell, 2003). Teams are characterized by members
working interdependently toward collective goals and by a period of
stable membership (Hackman, 2002). Team potency, defined as
shared confidence in a team’s general capabilities (Campion, Med-
sker, & Higgs, 1993; Guzzo, Yost, Cambell, & Shea, 1993), is seen as
one of the most important ingredients of team motivation (Bandura,
1997) and team effectiveness (Shea & Guzzo, 1987). Although the
origins and consequences of individual self-efficacy are well under-
stood, less is known about the antecedents of team potency percep-
tions (Tasa, Taggar, & Seijts, 2007). Despite the prevalence of de-
signing teams to structure work (Cohen & Bailey, 1997), how the
design and the clarification of team roles influence the formation of
team potency remains an empirical question of particular relevance to
the self-regulation and teams literatures. One suggestion is that per-
ceived clarity of team goals and processes creates the psychological
condition for the formation of potency beliefs (Chen & Bliese, 2002;
Locke & Latham, 1990; Zaccaro, Ely, & Nelson, 2008).
A defining characteristic of teams is the interdependence among
members (Wageman, 2001), and as interdependence increases, so
does the need for team interaction and coordination. Team-level
leadership may facilitate social integration, efficient processes, and
smooth communication within the team, thereby enhancing team
motivation (Chen & Kanfer, 2006; Morgeson, DeRue, & Karam,
2010; Zaccaro et al., 2008). Servant leadership, a construct pro-
posed by Greenleaf (1970, 1977) and defined as leadership behav-
iors in which leaders persevere to be “servant first” rather than
“leader first” and put their subordinates’ “highest priority needs”
before their own (Greenleaf, 1977, p. 14), appears to be a poten-
tially important input for team potency. This strong focus on
supporting followers suggests that servant leadership may
strengthen the link between goal and process clarity and team
potency by elevating team members’ commitment to the goal.
Goal commitment is essential for goal setting to motivate follow-
ers (Klein, Wesson, Hollenbeck, Wright, & DeShon, 2001; Locke,
Latham, & Erez, 1988), such that in the absence of goal commit-
ment, goal and process clarity become irrelevant.
Our purpose in this research was to make three contributions to the
literature: (a) integrate team and leadership literatures with motivation
theories by examining goal and process clarity and servant leadership
as determinants of team potency beliefs; (b) extend the classic input–
process– output model (Hackman, 1987) for team effectiveness by
integrating goal and process clarity and servant leadership as contex-
tual inputs that may increase team effectiveness through enhancement
of team potency; and (c) incorporate servant leadership as a moderator
of the relationship between goal and process clarity and team potency.
Figure 1 depicts our model.
Theoretical Background and Hypotheses
Goal and Process Clarity and Team Effectiveness
In order to fully complete one’s task roles, one needs to have
clear expectations about (a) one’s own subgoals, (b) the paths to
This article was published Online First February 14, 2011.
Jia Hu and Robert C. Liden, Department of Managerial Studies, Uni-
versity of Illinois at Chicago.
An earlier version of these findings was presented at the annual meeting
of the Society of Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Atlanta, Geor-
gia, April 2010. We thank Kaifeng Jiang for his assistance with data
collection and help in data input. We also thank Sandy J. Wayne for her
helpful comments on the earlier version of this paper.
Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Jia Hu,
Department of Managerial Studies, University of Illinois at Chicago, 2332
University Hall, MC 243, 601 South Morgan Street, Chicago, IL 60607-
7123. E-mail: jhu9@uic.edu
Journal of Applied Psychology © 2011 American Psychological Association
2011, Vol. 96, No. 4, 851–862 0021-9010/11/$12.00 DOI: 10.1037/a0022465
851
accomplish these subgoals, and (c) the link between one’s work
and the work of others (Kahn, Wolfe, Quinn, Snoek, & Rosenthal,
1964). Because individuals’ roles are embedded in the larger
context of teams (Rizzo, House, & Lirtzman, 1970), the clarity of
team goals and individual members’ roles in working toward
meeting the goals has a powerful impact on team effectiveness
(Gladstein, 1984). Sawyer (1992) built on role theory by further
demonstrating that goal clarity and process clarity are two distinct
constructs of work roles and team structure that not only heighten
individuals’ understanding of task goals and paths but also high-
light individuals’ connections to coworkers, teams, and the orga-
nization. When all team members are provided such clarity, they
communicate more effectively with each other, which in turn
serves to integrate each team member’s tasks with those performed
by others on the team. This mutual understanding facilitates the
emergence of a shared vision of their subgoals, team goals, and the
processes needed for accomplishing tasks within the team.
Thus, it is possible for both goal and process clarity to serve as
properties that operate at the team level (Gladstein, 1984; Stewart,
2006), such that a high level of goal clarity indicates that team
members as a whole clearly understand their subgoals and the
connection between their work and the team’s objectives. Like-
wise, at the team level, a high level of process clarity implies that
team members clearly comprehend the procedures that must be
followed in order to achieve goals. We contend that team-level
goal and process clarity are positively related to team effective-
ness, as indicated by team performance and team-level organiza-
tional citizenship behavior (OCB).
Goal-setting theory suggests that clear goals lead to improved
team performance due to their role in directing team members’
attention and encouraging members to be persistent (Locke &
Latham, 1990). At the team level, common objectives can be
divided into multiple subgoals for individual members, and when
all team members are certain about the successful completion of
their own work goals, the team’s objective is likely to be accom-
plished (Larson, 2010). Clear procedures toward the goal are also
critical for team performance, because they offer an explicit plan
and visible tactics for accomplishing goals (Knight, Durham, &
Locke, 2001; Weingart, 1992). Furthermore, when the members of
the team decipher the connection between their subtasks and the
collective task, they are less likely to engage in social loafing,
which can be caused by low identification with collective goals
(Karau & Williams, 1993; Liden, Wayne, Jaworski, & Bennett,
2004). Team members’ motivation to contribute toward the real-
ization of collective outcomes is enhanced when members have
developed a clear vision of the individual contributions needed to
attain high levels of collective performance (e.g., Griffith, Fich-
man, & Moreland, 1989).
Team OCB is also commonly seen as beneficial and valuable for
team effectiveness (Ehrhart & Naumann, 2004; Pearce & Herbik,
2004). Team-level OCB refers to the normative level of OCB
performed within the team (Ehrhart, 2004). When team members
have a good understanding of their own objectives and procedures
and the connection between their own job and the collective tasks,
they endeavor to translate their own efforts for the purpose of
helping the collective effectiveness of the team. They accomplish
this by engaging in OCBs, such as helping new coworkers and
making suggestions to improve performance. These individual
citizenship behaviors, in turn, become a standard mode of team
behavior (Ehrhart & Naumann, 2004).
Team Potency as a Mediator in the Relationship
Between Goal and Process Clarity and
Team Effectiveness
Team potency, defined as team members’ shared beliefs about
their collective capabilities (Campion et al., 1993), is a critical
motivational state in teams (Chen & Kanfer, 2006). Although team
potency is related to collective efficacy (Bandura, 1997), potency
refers to beliefs in generalized team capability for achieving gen-
eral effectiveness (Guzzo et al., 1993), whereas collective efficacy
is task specific (Gibson & Earley, 2007). Also, team potency is not
a simple sum of the self-efficacy of individual team members, and
it develops independently from individual self-efficacy (Zaccaro,
Blair, Peterson, & Zazanis, 1995). We contend that team potency
serves as a bridge linking goal and process clarity to team effec-
tiveness, such that goal and process clarity are positively related to
team potency, which in turn leads to team effectiveness.
We integrate motivation theories with team literature by arguing
that goal and process clarity are important determinants of team
potency. Three prominent theories of motivation, goal-setting the-
ory (Locke & Latham, 1990), social cognitive theory (Bandura,
1986), and self-determination theory (Deci & Ryan, 2000), explain
how goals and processes employed to achieve the goal guide
self-regulatory activity (Kanfer & Ackerman, 1989). These theo-
retical perspectives are also salient in explaining team-level moti-
vation, because team- and individual-level motivational processes
are functionally similar (Chen & Kanfer, 2006). Based on goal-
setting theory (Locke & Latham, 1990), clear and achievable goals
enhance performance by directing individual action and motivat-
ing individuals to exert effort toward the performance goal. Re-
search at the team level has shown that clear team goals are also
critical for forming a common team identity (Sivunen, 2006) and
developing a sense of confidence in the team’s capabilities. Social
cognitive theory suggests that work clarity creates an important
condition needed for the formation of competence beliefs by
providing enactive and vicarious experience to team members
(Bandura, 1986, 1997; Chen & Bliese, 2002; Zaccaro et al., 2008).
Goal and process clarity often contribute toward the sharing of
information and experience. This in turn serves to increase mem-
bers’ confidence in the team’s capabilities and ultimate success.
Furthermore, drawing on self-determination theory (Deci & Ryan,
2000), people are likely to be intrinsically motivated to work when
Servant Leadership
Team potency
Goal Clarity
Process Clarity
Team Performance
Team OCB
Team Effectiveness
Figure 1. Proposed model of goal and process clarity, servant leadership,
team potency, and team effectiveness. OCB !organizational citizenship
behavior.
852 HU AND LIDEN
their innate psychological needs for relatedness, competence, and
autonomy are satisfied. An important component of goal clarity is
that individual members understand how their subtasks relate to
the overall objectives of the team (Sawyer, 1992). This under-
standing creates a sense of relatedness with other members in the
team (Diefendorff & Lord, 2008), which fosters close interactions
between members and helps to integrate team members’ tasks.
Additionally, when most team members are aware of what to do
(i.e., goal clarity) and how to do it (i.e., process clarity), they feel
more control over and autonomy in their work (Spreitzer, 1995)
and develop high levels of certainty in the competence of the team
(Gist & Mitchell, 1992). This sense of relatedness, autonomy, and
competence motivates team members to meet the team’s goals and
enhances confidence in the team’s capability to be successful.
Team-level motivation is distinct from individual-level motiva-
tion because it involves coordination among multiple members
(Chen & Gogus, 2008). Through many interactions between mem-
bers, a team develops shared beliefs regarding its general capabil-
ities (Ford, 1996). Goal and process clarity influence team potency
by enhancing collective interactions (Hackman, 1987). Team
members with a clear understanding of their own tasks and the
connections between their tasks and collective goals are likely to
experience smooth coordination with teammates, which reduces
process loss (Steiner, 1972). Smooth coordination also serves to
increase social integration within the team and enhances members’
expectations concerning collective capabilities to be successful
across tasks and contexts. Similarly, with a high level of process
clarity, team members are likely to engage in high-quality com-
munications and avoid dysfunctional conflicts due to ambiguity
regarding their responsibilities in the process (Gladstein, 1984).
This harmonious relationship among team members may lead team
members to possess high levels of confidence about their team-
work, which translates into perceptions of high team potency.
Potency beliefs then energize members to work together toward
their common goals with tenacity, even in the face of obstacles and
difficulties (Bandura, 1997), which in turn leads to high levels of
team performance (Gully, Incalcaterra, Joshi, & Beaubien, 2002).
Shared potency beliefs raise consciousness of team effectiveness
among team members by generating a strong sense of membership
in the team, which in turn motivates them to engage in discretion-
ary behaviors, such as OCBs (Ehrhart & Naumann, 2004; Pearce
& Herbik, 2004).
Hypothesis 1: Goal clarity positively relates to (a) team
performance and (b) team OCB through the partial mediating
effect of team potency.
Hypothesis 2: Process clarity positively relates to (a) team
performance and (b) team OCB through the partial mediating
effect of team potency.
Servant Leadership and Team Effectiveness
Servant leadership, a type of leadership with a strong ethics
component (Avolio & Gardner, 2005), promotes organizational
functioning through high levels of employee trust in management
(Ehrhart, 2004; Graham, 1991; Greenleaf, 1977). Liden, Wayne,
Zhao, and Henderson (2008) described servant leadership as com-
posed of seven leader behaviors: behaving ethically, emotional
healing, putting subordinates first, helping subordinates grow and
succeed, empowering, creating value for the community, and con-
ceptual skills. Although it preceded the most popular contempo-
rary leadership theories, servant leadership (Greenleaf, 1970) has
received relatively less attention in the academic literature, making
it necessary to distinguish servant leadership from other major
leadership theories. A defining characteristic of servant leaders is
the emphasis on personal integrity in all realms of life, work,
family, and community (Ehrhart, 2004) that extends beyond other
leadership approaches, such as transformational leadership. Inter-
nalized moral standards guide servant leaders to serve as role
models for their followers (Graham, 1991) and to show deep
concern for followers’ growth and development. Whereas trans-
formational leaders are seen as putting their organization’s values
first and encouraging employees to sacrifice their own interests to
satisfy the collective (Piccolo & Colquitt, 2006), servant leaders
put the best interest of followers as their top priority. Empirical
research has confirmed the unique impact of servant leadership on
employee outcomes after controlling for other leadership behav-
iors, such as transformational leadership and leader–member ex-
change (Ehrhart, 2004; Liden et al., 2008).
Servant leadership can function at both individual and team
levels. At the team level, servant leadership can serve as a type of
“ambient stimulus” (Hackman, 1992) in which an overall pattern
of leadership behaviors is presented to all members of the team
(Ehrhart, 2004; Liao & Chuang, 2007; Morgeson et al., 2010;
Walumbwa, Hartnell, & Oke, 2010). The exchange process be-
tween leaders and their work teams is central to servant leadership
theory (Liden et al., 2008). Although social exchange theory (Blau,
1964) and the norm of reciprocity (Gouldner, 1960) are often
employed to explain dyadic relationships between supervisors and
individual subordinates, team-level servant leadership also in-
volves an exchange process in which leaders help the team by
affirming the strengths and potential of the team, as well as
providing developmental support for the team as a whole. Team
members reciprocate the benefits they have received by exerting
effort, including OCBs that are directed toward team performance.
In a finding suggestive of this proposed social exchange process,
servant leadership significantly influenced team-level OCB via the
mediating role of procedural justice climate (Ehrhart, 2004).
Walumbwa et al. (2010) further demonstrated that team-level
servant leadership is positively related both to team-level proce-
dural justice climate and to service climate and individual-level
self-efficacy and commitment to supervisor, which in turn influ-
ences individual OCB in the team.
Team Potency as a Mediator Between Servant
Leadership and Team Effectiveness
There are at least two reasons why servant leadership increases
team potency and subsequent team effectiveness. First, servant
leaders act in the best interest of their subordinates (Walumbwa et
al., 2010) and care about each individual member’s needs and
personal growth (Mayer, Bardes, & Piccolo, 2008). Servant lead-
ers gain team member trust and build long-term relationships by
showing genuine concern for all team members (Liden et al.,
2008). And because it is the leader’s team, follower trust in
leadership acts to elevate team members’ trust in the capabilities of
the team to be effective. Second, given the complexity of modern
853
ANTECEDENTS OF TEAM POTENCY AND TEAM EFFECTIVENESS
work environments, many potential changes and unexpected prob-
lems arise that require team members’ collaboration to solve.
Servant leaders possess high conceptual skills and provide direc-
tion (Van Dierendonck, in press) that guides team members to
cultivate an accurate understanding of the changing environment
and facilitates the development of team shared mental models
(Zaccaro, Rittman, & Marks, 2001). We contend that this guidance
from servant leaders is crucial for effective collaboration among
team members (Cannon-Bowers, Salas, & Converse, 1993) and
results in enhanced team member confidence in their collective
capabilities, even in the face of uncertainty and obstacles. Further-
more, servant leaders convey the importance of personal integrity,
honesty, and fairness to the team (Russell & Stone, 2002), which
promotes authentic and problem-driven communication (Harter,
2002; Spears & Lawrence, 2004) and creates a spiritual climate
within the team (Liden et al., 2008). A spiritual climate leads team
members to cooperate with and care about each other (Fry,
Vitucci, & Cedillo, 2005; Pawar, 2008) and to be optimistic about
their team’s capabilities to be effective (Wong & Davey, 2007).
As illustrated in Figure 1, we anticipated that servant leadership
would directly influence team outcomes, such as performance
(Liden et al., 2008) and OCBs (Ehrhart, 2004), and would indi-
rectly affect these outcomes through its positive relationship with
team potency. We derive our expectation of partial mediation from
the functional leadership perspective (Hackman, 2002), arguing
that a high level of team potency is needed for team servant
leadership to promote team effectiveness, because it directs mem-
bers’ attention to the common goal, increases their efforts, and
enables them to be persistent in the face of adversity (Bandura &
Locke, 2003).
Hypothesis 3: Servant leadership relates positively to (a) team
performance and (b) team OCB through the partial mediating
effect of team potency.
Servant Leadership as a Moderator in the
Relationship Between Goal and Process Clarity and
Team Potency
Goal and process clarity positively affect work performance
only when team members are committed to the goal (Locke &
Latham, 1990; Maier & Brunstein, 2001). This increases the im-
portance of leaders who can energize team motivation by enhanc-
ing team members’ identification and commitment to the work and
goals of the team (Zaccaro et al., 2008). We contend that servant
leadership is well suited for elevating team commitment to the goal
and amplifying the positive influence of goal and process clarity
on team potency. This is because servant leaders, rather than
engaging in opportunistic behaviors, prioritize individual mem-
bers’ personal growth and career development (Greenleaf, 1977;
Matteson & Irving, 2006) and align the work objectives with
individual members’ needs. The employee-centered focus of ser-
vant leaders is manifested in greater team member acceptance of
and commitment to work goals and helps to translate goal and
process clarity into perceptions of team potency.
This subordinate-first emphasis also helps servant leaders gain
employee commitment to the organization (Liden et al., 2008) and
to the supervisor (Walumbwa et al., 2010). We contend that
commitment to the supervisor and organization is manifested in
team members’ commitment to team goals, because the leader is
considered the prototypic member of the team (Hogg, 2001) and
the representative of the organization (Erdogan & Liden, 2002).
Thus, when team members feel attached to the leader and the
organization, they tend to embrace the goals and processes guided
by the leader. Furthermore, empowering behaviors, a key dimen-
sion of servant leadership (Liden et al., 2008), are especially
salient with respect to getting team members involved in the
goal-setting process, enabling them to be more committed to goals,
and strengthening the role of goal and process on team potency
beliefs (Arnold, Arad, Rhoades, & Drasgow, 2000; Deci, Connell,
& Ryan, 1989; Morgeson et al., 2010). Indeed, empirical evidence
has clearly demonstrated the salience of team leaders in empha-
sizing the importance of goal and process clarity for developing
team potency (Cohen, Chang, & Ledford, 1997; Sivunen, 2006).
Hence, goal and process clarity are accelerated to form team
potency beliefs in the presence of a servant leader who enables
members to embrace team values and encourages commitment to
team goals.
In contrast, the absence of servant leadership in the team may
neutralize the positive relationship between goal and process clar-
ity and team potency. Without a servant leader, teams lack a
powerful stimulus for boosting their commitment to team goals,
which makes team members indifferent toward the goal and pro-
cesses. This in turn decreases their confidence in the team’s
capabilities and weakens or even eliminates the motivational effect
of goal and process clarity on team potency beliefs (Locke et al.,
1988).
Hypothesis 4: Servant leadership moderates the relationships
between (a) goal clarity, and (b) process clarity and team
potency, such that the relationship is stronger the more the
leader engages in servant leadership.
Method
Sample and Procedure
The study was conducted in five banks in China. Employees
worked in different functional teams, such as accounting and trust.
Each of the teams had a common team task in which every
member had a clear role and worked interdependently with team-
mates toward common goals. To ensure full team membership, we
limited participation in the study to employees with a minimum of
6 months tenure in their current teams.
The 570 employees representing 95 teams and the 80 upper
level managers whom we invited to participate were allowed to
complete the surveys at home and mail them to us in self-
addressed stamped envelopes. Seven teams’ surveys were dis-
carded due to the lack of upper level managers’ ratings. A total of
71 teams was included in the analyses, with 304 employees (re-
sponse rate !53.3%) and 60 upper level managers (response
rate !75%) forming the final sample. The average team response
rate was 74.92%, greater than the 60% recommended by Timmer-
man (2005). Every team’s performance and OCB was rated by two
upper level managers. We did not choose team leaders as the
raters, given that team performance indirectly reflects on their
management capability. The 60 upper level managers, working
independently of one another, rated team performance and OCB.
854 HU AND LIDEN
Every pair of upper level managers rated an average of 2.37 teams.
The average team size was 4.28. Most respondents were men
(59%). Their average tenure was 2.99 years in their teams and 4.78
years within the organization.
Measures
Goal and process clarity. Team members rated goal clarity
("!.87) and process clarity ("!.84) with five items developed
by Sawyer (1992). A sample item for goal clarity asked partici-
pants to think of “the degree of clarity felt about my duties and
responsibilities,” and a sample item for process clarity evaluated
the degree of clarity felt about “the procedures I use to do my job
are correct and proper” (1 !very uncertain to7!very certain).
Team potency. Team potency was rated by team members
with Riggs and Knight’s (1994) seven-item scale. An example
item is “The team I work with has above average ability” (1 !
strongly disagree to7!strongly agree;"!.78).
Servant leadership. Team members assessed their leaders
with Liden et al.’s (2008) 28-item Servant Leadership Scale. An
example item is “My manager seems to care more about my
success than his/her own” (1 !strongly disagree to7!strongly
agree). Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) results, with factor
loadings shown in Figure 2, revealed support for a higher order
model, #
2
(342) !465, normed fit index (NFI) !.95, comparative
fit index (CFI) !.99, root-mean-square error of approximation
(RMSEA) !.07, standardized root-mean-square residual
(SRMR) !.03, which paralleled fit of the first-order factor model,
$#
2
(14) !22.52, ns. As shown in Figure 2, the first-order factors
(i.e., seven dimensions) are distinct, but all fell under a higher
order factor (i.e., the construct of servant leadership). Therefore,
we used overall servant leadership as a latent factor and averaged
all items ("!.96) to represent team-level servant leadership.
Team performance. Using a four-item scale by Liden,
Wayne, and Stilwell (1993), two upper level managers rated each
team’s performance. An example item is “rate the overall level of
performance that you observe for this team” (1 !unacceptable to
7!outstanding). The two managers’ evaluations were averaged
to form every team’s performance score (interrater reliability !
.95; based on individual ratings, "!.96).
Team-level OCB. Two upper level managers assessed team-
level OCB with seven items adopted from Smith, Organ, and Near
(1983). An example item is “In general, the team members help
others who have been absent” (1 !never to 7 !always). The
interrater reliability was .98, and alpha was .89, based on all
managers’ individual ratings.
Task interdependence. Task interdependence was assessed
with five items developed by Pearce and Gregersen (1991). A
sample item is “team members work closely with others in doing
their work” (1 !strongly disagree to 7 !strongly agree;"!
.79). Task interdependence was used to assess whether the study
teams satisfied the criteria for a team (Wageman, 2001).
Control variables. We controlled for mean team tenure, team
age, and organizational tenure, given their importance in previous
research (Schaubroeck, Lam, & Cha, 2007). Results of analysis of
variance showed that there were significant differences with re-
spect to the hypothesized variables across the five banks. Thus, we
dummy coded the five banks and controlled for the effects of
organizational membership on the dependent variables.
Data Aggregation and Level of Analysis
Given that all of our analyses were at the team level, we
assessed the team-level properties of our measures in several ways.
First, we examined task interdependence, a prominent and defining
feature of work teams, and found that all teams in our sample had
a high mean level of task interdependence (M!4.94, SD !0.50).
The within-group agreement test (James, Demaree, & Wolf, 1984)
further showed that all team members had a common perception of
their task interdependence, indicated by a high r
wg(j)
value of .92.
γ = .99
γ = .88 γ = .93
γ = .92
γ = .99
γ = .98 γ = .99
Behaving
ethically
Putting
subordinates
first
Helping
subordinates
grow
and succeed
Emotional
healing
Empowering Conceptual
skills
Creating
value
for the
community
.74 .72
.77 .64
y1y2y3y4
.67 .78 .80
.69
y5y6y7y8
.72 .83
.79
.81
y9y10 y11 y12
.78 .69
.82 .78
y13 y14 y15 y16
.83 .75 .85 .79
y17 y18 y19 y20
.69 .60 .78
.70
y21 y22 y23 y24
.77 .62 ..58
.72
y25 y26 y27 y28
Servant leadership
Figure 2. Results of second-order confirmatory factor analysis results for servant leadership. #
2
(343) !465,
normed fit index !.95, comparative fit index !.99, root-mean-square error of approximation !.07,
standardized root-mean-square residual !.03. ys represent items reflecting first-order factors; the numbers
below the first-order factors represent factor loadings for the items.
855
ANTECEDENTS OF TEAM POTENCY AND TEAM EFFECTIVENESS
This high interdependence among the individual members of
teams supported the nature of work teams and provided initial
support for the aggregation for all the variables to the team level.
Estimated r
wg(j)
values for all study variables were acceptable:
.96 for goal clarity, .95 for process clarity, .91 for team potency,
.95 for team performance, .98 for team OCB, and .99 for servant
leadership. Intraclass correlations, ICC1 (reliability of the team
means) and ICC2 (to determine whether it was appropriate to
create an average rating for a team), were generally acceptable:
respectively, goal [.39, .76] and process [.58, .74] clarity; team
potency [.16, .69]; servant leadership [.16, .69]; team performance
[.64, .78]; team OCB [.63, .77]. Thus, aggregation of all variables
was appropriate (Bliese, 2000).
Analysis Strategy
We tested our hypotheses with hierarchical linear modeling
(Raudenbush & Bryk, 2002), because pairs of upper level manag-
ers rated multiple teams’ performance and OCB (M!2.37, SD !
2.31). This makes the relationships with these variables noninde-
pendent, potentially biasing the results (Bliese, 2002). The ICC1
values for team performance (.46, p%.01) and team OCB (.23,
p%.05) suggested a lack of independence among multiple teams
rated by the same upper level managers. Thus, we estimated a
multilevel model where teams (Level 1) are nested within the
upper level managers (Level 2). We followed Bauer, Preacher, and
Gil’s (2006) lower level mediation approach to test whether team
potency mediates the relationships among goal and process clarity,
servant leadership, and team effectiveness.
Results
Table 1 shows descriptive statistics, reliabilities, and correla-
tions of all variables. We conducted two sets of CFAs, one for
team member data and one for variables based on upper level
manager data, to assess the discriminant validities of all variables.
For the variables rated by team members (i.e., goal clarity, process
clarity, team potency, and servant leadership), the CFA results
presented in Table 2 suggested that the hypothesized four-factor
model (i.e., the four variables as four separate factors) yielded a
better fit (CFI !.99, NFI !.98, RMSEA !.03, SRMR !.02)
than a three-factor model (i.e., goal clarity and process clarity as a
combined factor) and a one-factor model (all four variables as a
combined factor). Team performance and OCB, both rated by
upper level managers, were found via a CFA to be distinct, as a
two-factor model (CFI !.99, NFI !.96, RMSEA !.05,
SRMR !.02) provided a better fit than a one-factor model.
Hypothesis Testing
As shown in Table 3, results of the X3Y models (Models 1a
and 1b) showed that all three hypothesized variables significantly
and positively related both to team performance (goal clarity, c!
.29, p%.01; process clarity, c!.14, p%.05; servant leadership,
c!.77, p%.001) and to team OCB (goal clarity, c!.41, p%
.01; process clarity, c!.19, p%.01; servant leadership, c!.59,
p%.001). Although the X3M and M3Y models were tested
simultaneously, we reported the results separately for clarity (e.g.,
Bacharach, Bamberger, & Doveh, 2008). Results of the X3M
Table 1
Team Construct Means, Standard Deviations, Reliabilities, and Correlations
Variable M SD 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
1. Organization 1 0.25 0.44
2. Organization 2 0.24 0.43 .31
!!
3. Organization 3 0.21 0.41 &.30
!
&.28
!
4. Organization 4 0.20 0.40 &.29
!
&.27
!
&.26
!
5. Organization 5 0.10 0.30 &.18 &.16 &.16 &.15 —
6. Team mean age (years) 28.1 2.91 .33
!!
&.33
!!
&.23 .32
!!
&.12 —
7. Organizational tenure (years) 4.78 2.96 .40
!!
&.30
!!
&.37
!!
.35
!!
&.17 .92
!!
8. Mean team tenure (years) 2.99 1.67 .28
!
&.36
!!
&.21 .31
!!
&.04 .73
!!
.76
!!
9. Goal clarity 5.74 0.80 .10 .01 .17 &.03 &.21 &.10 &.21 &.28
!
(.87)
10. Process clarity 5.68 0.67 .13 &.14 .16 .07 &.29
!
.13 .04 &.04 .72
!!
(.84)
11. Team potency 5.23 0.61 .46
!!
.01 .06 &.27
!
&.30
!
.09 .09 &.13 .32
!!
.30
!!
(.78)
12. Servant leadership 4.93 0.51 .41
!!
&.01 &.02 &.17 &.21 .27
!
.25
!
.07 .20 .12 .59
!!
(.96)
13. Team performance 5.31 0.76 .54
!!
&.20 .10 &.31
!!
&.21 .14 .09 .06 .42
!!
.32
!!
.59
!!
.60
!!
(.96)
14. Team-level OCB 4.96 0.68 .51
!!
&.04 &.07 .24
!
&.24
!
.18 .18 .03 .33
!!
.33
!!
.48
!!
.58
!!
.72
!!
(.89)
15. Task interdependence 4.94 0.50 .44
!!
.01 &.15 &.19 &.20 .04 .08 &.01 .37
!!
.37
!!
.50
!!
.46
!!
.58
!!
.78
!!
(.79)
Note. N !71. Cronbach’s alpha reliabilities are reported along the diagonal. SD !standard deviation; OCB !organizational citizenship behavior.
!
p%.05.
!!
p%.01.
856 HU AND LIDEN
model (Model 2) showed that goal clarity (a !.31, p%.01),
process clarity (a !.25, p%.05), and servant leadership (a !.29,
p%.01) were all significantly related to team potency. When all
of the independent variables were entered into the model, there
was a positive relationship between team potency and both team
performance (b!.49, p%.01; Model 3a) and team OCB (b!.38,
p%.01; Model 3b). Also as indicated at Models 3a and 3b, after
we included team potency in the model, goal clarity (c'!.14, ns;
c'!.29, ns) and process clarity (c'!.01, ns;c'!.09, ns) were
no longer significantly related to team performance and team
OCB, respectively. However, servant leadership remained signif-
icantly related to team performance (c'!.63, p%.001) and team
OCB (c'!.48, p%.01). Furthermore, with regard to Hypotheses
1a and 1b, when goal clarity was the independent variable, the
indirect effect was significantly positive for the team performance
as outcome model, E(a
j
b
j
)!.16, p%.05, SE !.04, 95% CI [.07,
.24], and the team OCB model, E(a
j
b
j
)!.12, p%.05, SE !.07,
95% CI [.03, .38]. For Hypotheses 2a and 2b, with process clarity
as the independent variable, the indirect effect was consistent with
hypotheses for the team performance as the outcome model,
E(a
j
b
j
)!.10, p%.05, SE !.06, 95% CI [.01, .21], and for team
OCB as outcome model, E(a
j
b
j
)!.10, p%.05, SE !.05, 95% CI
[.01, .21].When servant leadership was the independent variable,
the indirect effect was significant in the hypothesized direction for
team performance as the outcome, E(a
j
b
j
)!.15, p%.05, SE !
.07, 95% CI [.01, .29], and for team OCB as the outcome,
E(a
j
b
j
)!.12, p%.05, SE !.07, 95% CI [.01, .25].
Before reaching conclusions concerning support for hypotheses,
we compared the hypothesized partial mediation models with
alternative models using multilevel structural equation modeling
techniques (Raykov & Mels, 2007) and LISREL 8.7 software
(Jo¨reskog & So¨rbom, 1993). Due to the strong impact of goal and
process clarity and servant leadership on team potency as well as
the close connection between team potency and team effective-
ness, it is possible for the influences of goal and process clarity and
servant leadership on team effectiveness to be fully reliant on team
potency. Hence, the hypothesized model was compared to three
full mediation models in which the effects of all three independent
variables (i.e., goal clarity in Model 1, process clarity in Model 2,
and servant leadership in Model 3) on team effectiveness are fully
mediated via team potency (with the paths from goal clarity,
process clarity, and servant leadership to team effectiveness re-
moved). Results showed that the full mediation models (Models 1
and 2) yielded fit superior to the models proposed in Hypotheses
1a, 1b, 2a, and 2b: Model 1, $#
2
(4) !9.82, p%.05; Model 2,
$#
2
(4) !11.96, p%.05. This indicates that removing the paths
from goal clarity and process clarity to team performance and
OCB significantly improves the hypothesized models, supporting
the full mediation models for goal and process clarity as indepen-
dent variables. The results also supported the partial mediation
model proposed in Hypotheses 3a and 3b, as the model containing
the paths from servant leadership to team performance and team
OCB was better than the model not containing these direct paths
(Model 3), $#
2
(4) !1.83, ns.
Regarding Hypotheses 4a and 4b (see Table 4), we found a
positive interaction between goal clarity and servant leadership in
predicting team potency ((
110
!.52, p%.01; Model 3) and a
positive interaction between process clarity and servant leadership
in predicting team potency ((
120
!.27, p%.05; Model 3).
Furthermore, we obtained the pseudo $R
2
value for expressing the
effect size of the interaction (Raudenbush & Bryk, 2002). The
pseudo $R
within-group
2
value of .04 and pseudo $R
total
2
value of .07
indicated that the two interaction terms explained additional 4%
within-group variance and additional 7% total variance in the
outcome variable (i.e., team potency), respectively. To determine
the nature of the interaction, we tested the simple slopes for teams
with high servant leadership (1 SD higher) and low servant lead-
ership (1 SD lower) in Figure 3 and Figure 4. In support of
Hypothesis 4a, we found that the positive relationship between
goal clarity and team potency was stronger in the presence ()!
.31, p%.01) than in the absence ()!&.22, p%.05) of high
servant leadership. The relationship between process clarity and
team potency was more positive for high ()!.22, p%.01) than
for low ()!&.05, ns) servant leadership, supporting Hypothesis
4b.
In sum, partial support was found for Hypotheses 1a, 1b, 2a, and
2b, as tests of alternative models found the strongest support for
full mediation as opposed to the hypothesized partial mediation.
Hypotheses 3a, 3b, 4a, and 4b were fully supported, even after
testing alternative models.
Table 2
Confirmatory Factor Analysis Results for Hypothesized Variables
Model #
2
df $#
2
$df NFI CFI SRMR RMSEA
Independent variables
a
Model 1: Four-factor 123.45 183 .98 .99 .02 .03
Model 2: Three-factor
c
146.02 186 22.57
!!!
3 .94 .98 .03 .06
Model 3: One-factor
b
567.96
!!!
189 444.51
!!!
6 .81 .89 .12 .17
Dependent variables
c
Model 4: Two-factor 43.51 43 .96 .99 .02 .05
Model 5: One-factor
d
179.36
!!!
44 135.85
!!!
1 .89 .93 .09 .21
Note. N !71. In Models 1, 2, and 3, to reduce the number of parameters and maintain adequate degrees of freedom, we assigned the items to parcels
within and across subdimensions of servant leadership (Bagozzi & Edwards, 1998). df !degrees of freedom; NFI !normed fit index; CFI !comparative
fit index; SRMR !standardized root-mean-square residual; RMSEA !root-mean-square error of approximation.
a
Independent variables include goal clarity, process clarity, team potency, and servant leadership.
b
Models 2 and 3 were compared with Model
1.
c
Dependent variables include team performance and team OCB.
d
Model 5 was compared with Model 4.
!!!
p%.001.
857
ANTECEDENTS OF TEAM POTENCY AND TEAM EFFECTIVENESS
Discussion
Theoretical Implications
A key contribution of the current study is to demonstrate that
goal clarity and process clarity as well as team servant leadership
serve as three important antecedents of team potency and subse-
quent team effectiveness. Furthermore, the study emphasized the
importance of team servant leadership as a moderator of the
positive relationship between goal and process clarity and team
potency. The findings contribute to the team motivation and lead-
ership literatures in the following ways.
The first major implication of our findings was that we proposed
and found that goal and process clarity enhanced team perfor-
mance and team OCB by cultivating team potency beliefs. This
result is particularly noteworthy because it complements the sub-
stantial body of findings supporting the significance of team po-
tency in building team performance (Gully et al., 2002) and
enhances theory by shedding light on how team potency emerges.
Within true team contexts, characterized by interdependence as
with those studied here, goal and process clarity offer team mem-
bers a clear view of their goals, paths to the goals, and the
connection between their own work and the team’s goal. This
guides the team regulation process and promotes the quality of
interactions within the team, nurturing a sense of confidence in the
team’s potential effectiveness. Second, we found that team servant
leadership also enhanced team effectiveness by elevating team
Table 3
Hierarchical Multilevel Fixed Model Analysis Results of Team Potency as a Mediator
Step
Total effects Fixed effects
X3YX3MM3Y
Model 1a Model 1b Model 2 Model 3a Model 3b
Dependent variables Y: Team performance Y: Team OCB Y: Team performance Y: Team OCB
Step 1: Control variables
Organization 1 .82
!!!
.78
!!!
.67
!!!
.52
!!
.73
!!
Organization 2 .12 .37
!!
.13 .02 .12
Organization 3 .41 .36
!
.22 .32 .35
Organization 4 .06 .16 &.09 &.08 .17
Team mean age .08 .01 .05 .01 .01
Organizational tenure .05 &.01 &.02 &.04 &.01
Team mean tenure &.14
!
&.03 &.13
!
.08 &.03
Step 2: Independent variables
Goal clarity .29
!!
(c).41
!!
(c).31
!!
(a).14 (c') .29 (c')
Process clarity .14
!
(c).19
!!
(c).25
!
(a).01 (c') .09 (c')
Servant leadership .77
!!!
(c).59
!!
(c).29
!!
(a).63
!!!
(c').48
!!
(c')
Step 3: Mediator
Team potency .49
!!
(b).38
!!
(b)
X: goal clarity Estimated var (a
j
b
j
)!
0.03
Estimated var (a
j
b
j
)!
0.02
E(a
j
b
j
)!0.16 E(a
j
b
j
)!0.12
95% CI [0.07, 0.24];
SE !0.04
95% CI [0.03,0.38];
SE !0.07
E(a
j
b
j
*c'
j
)!0.30 E(a
j
b
j
*c'
j
)!0.41
95% CI [0.13, 0.46];
SE !0.09
95% CI [0.14,0.69];
SE !0.14
X: process clarity Estimated var (a
j
b
j
)!
0.02
Estimated var (a
j
b
j
)!
0.01
E(a
j
b
j
)!0.10 E(a
j
b
j
)!0.10
95% CI [0.01, 0.21];
SE !0.06
95% CI [0.01,0.21];
SE !0.05
E(a
j
b
j
*c'
j
)!0.19 E(a
j
b
j
*c'
j
)!0.19
95% CI [0.05, 0.43];
SE !0.12
95% CI [0.04,0.41];
SE !0.05
X: servant leadership Estimated var (a
j
b
j
)!
0.01
Estimated var (a
j
b
j
)!
0.01
E(a
j
b
j
)!0.15 E(a
j
b
j
)!0.12
95% CI [0.01, 0.29];
SE !0.07
95% CI [0.01,0.25];
SE !0.07
E(a
j
b
j
*c'
j
)!0.78 E(a
j
b
j
*c'
j
)!0.60
95% CI [0.48, 0.77];
SE !0.15
95% CI [0.32,0.87];
SE !0.14
Note. N !71. X !goal clarity/process clarity; M !team potency; Y !team performance/team organizational citizenship behavior (OCB); var !
variance; CI !confidence interval; SE !standard error.
!
p%.05.
!!
p%.01.
!!!
p%.001.
858 HU AND LIDEN
potency. This finding integrates team leadership with motivation
literature and responds to the call for more attention to the role of
team leadership in motivating teams (Morgeson et al., 2010; Zac-
caro et al., 2008).
Finally, support for the interaction between servant leadership
and goal and process clarity represents an especially critical ex-
tension of servant leadership and team potency theories. This
finding suggests that the motivational effects of goal and process
clarity may disappear when commitment to the goal (Locke &
Latham, 1990) is lacking. Our results clearly demonstrated that
goal and process clarity contribute the most to the emergence of
team potency when accompanied by servant leaders, whose
employee-centered focus is beneficial for facilitating team confi-
dence and effective team behaviors. In contrast, the results showed
that in the absence of servant leadership, the impact of goal and
process clarity on team potency was no longer positive or even
became negative.
Practical Implications
The current study has a number of implications for practice
regarding the role of goal and process clarity in building effective
teams. The findings highlight the importance of teamwork design.
The positive effect of goal and process clarity calls attention to the
potential benefits of managerial interventions on goal setting, team
role design, and process control. One implication of these findings
is that for building high potency beliefs in teams and subsequent
team outcomes, it is valuable for team members to understand both
their own individual task goals and procedures and the connection
between their own work and the team goal. This serves to reduce
possible conflicts between team members regarding their respon-
sibilities and reduces the possibility of social loafing problems.
In addition, our results demonstrate that role clarity alone is not
adequate for developing team potency. Leadership training is also
needed in order to assist leaders in developing servant leadership
behaviors in order to shape employees’ shared beliefs in the team’s
general effectiveness. Therefore, organizations should train leaders
to encourage followers to provide service to their teams by devel-
oping such behaviors as healing, performing ethically, and em-
powering. This suggestion is consistent with current needs in
organizations and society to foster ethical organizations that are
dedicated to serving the needs of employees as well other stake-
holders (Cameron, 2008; Luthans & Youssef, 2007).
Strengths, Limitations, and Future Directions
Strengths include (a) the external validity achieved by collecting
data from five organizations and (b) internal validity, given that the
Table 4
Hierarchical Multilevel Analysis Results of the Moderating Role
of Servant Leadership in the Relationship Between Goal and
Process Clarity and Team Potency
Variable
Team potency
Model 1 Model 2 Model 3
Step 1: Control variables
Organization 1, (
10
.88
!!!
.57
!!
.56
!!
Organization 2, (
20
.39 .19 .16
Organization 3, (
30
.52
!
.33 .35
Organization 4, (
40
&.10 &.16 &.15
Team mean age, (
50
.03 0 0
Organizational tenure, (
60
.06 .05 .06
Team mean tenure, (
70
.16
!!
.11
!
.14
Step 2: Independent variables
Goal clarity, (
80
.20 .04
Process clarity, (
90
.16 .09
Servant leadership, (
100
.40
!!
.46
!!
Step 3: Moderator
Goal Clarity +Servant
Leadership, (
110
.52
!!
Process Clarity +Servant
Leadership, (
120
.27
!
R
within-group
2
.15 .17 .21
R
between-group
2
.18 .58 .74
R
total
2a
.13 .29 .36
$R
within-group
2
.03 .04
$R
between-group
2
.40 .16
$R
total
2
.16 .07
Note. N !71.
a
R
total
2
!R
within-group
2
+(1 &ICC1) *R
between-group
2
+ICC1. ICC1
indicates the proportion of variance in the outcome variable that resides
between groups. ICC1 for team potency as the outcome is .29.
!
p%.05.
!!
p%.01.
!!!
p%.001.
3
4
5
6
7
hgihwol
Team Potency
Goal Clarity
High Servant Leadership Low Servant Leadership
Figure 3. Interaction between goal clarity and servant leadership on team
potency.
3
4
5
6
7
hgihwol
Team Potency
Process Clarity
High Servant Leadership Low Servant Leadership
Figure 4. Interaction between process clarity and servant leadership on
team potency.
859
ANTECEDENTS OF TEAM POTENCY AND TEAM EFFECTIVENESS
data were collected from employees and upper level managers.
Collecting data from different sources reduced the potential for
same-source bias in our study. The results supported by hierarchi-
cal linear modeling tests increased our confidence by partialing out
rater effects due to upper level managers rating multiple teams.
Using upper level managers rather than team leaders to rate the
team performance and OCB reduced potential rating bias due to
social desirability. Also, matching two upper level managers’
evaluations to a specific team enhanced reliability and decreased
the likelihood of measurement errors.
Despite the study’s strengths, the findings in the current study
should be considered in light of several limitations. First, the
sample was set in the banking industry, therefore limiting the
generalizability of the results. The current investigation of banks
could be generalized to traditional teams characterized by stable
membership, a shared goal, and a common leader (Hackman,
2002). However, for other settings, such as cross-functional teams
and virtual teams, time may be needed to build teamwork and
gather leadership support within the team. For example, because
cross-functional teams tend not to meet regularly, goal and process
clarity may not promote the quality of team member interactions
and collective potency beliefs, and servant leadership may not be
as powerful in facilitating the positive value of goal and process
clarity in team potency as they were in the traditional teams.
Second, the relatively small team size (M!4.28) may prevent the
results from being generalized to larger teams. Third, relationships
among goal and process clarity, team potency, and servant lead-
ership may have been influenced by common method variance,
because these variables were assessed via employees’ self-reports
within one time period. Even if the common method bias was not
a problem in predicting upper level manager ratings of team
performance and OCB, method variance in the predictors might
still influence main effects. However, it has been demonstrated
that interaction effects may actually become deflated as a result of
common method variance (Evans, 1985; McClelland & Judd,
1993).
Finally, variables other than those studied here may influence
team potency beliefs. Thus, one promising direction for future
research is to examine other determinants of team potency. Poten-
tial antecedents of team potency include person–team fit (Hollen-
beck et al., 2002) and team positive affective tone (George, 1990).
For instance, in a team with high levels of positive mood, members
who are emotionally tied together are inclined to be confident
about their collective capabilities.
In conclusion, the current research added to the motivation,
team, and leadership literatures by examining the positive value of
goal and process clarity as well as servant leadership on team
potency and subsequent team effectiveness. Also, servant leader-
ship was shown to help strengthen the positive association between
goal and process clarity and team potency. We hope that our study
encourages researchers to explore additional antecedents of team
potency and team effectiveness.
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Received October 20, 2009
Revision received November 22, 2010
Accepted November 30, 2010 !
862 HU AND LIDEN
... Servant leadership's core premise is that leaders enhance followers' growth and well-being by putting their employees' interests above their own, aiding employees in understanding their role in the organization and achieving success, and subsequently improving the organization's performance (Giolito et al., 2021;Yang et al., 2018). Communicating openly, fairly, and honestly, servant leaders take the time and effort to clarify organizational goals (Hu & Liden, 2011), and thus not only inform employees of the goals but also demonstrate their individualized concern and respect for employees by helping them understand what the goals entail for them and the importance of reaching these goals. ...
... The results reveal how important and highly valued organizational goal clarity is in times of organizational change as it was shown to be related with five different desired behaviors. Goal clarity has previously been demonstrated to improve team potency when provided by servant leaders (Hu & Liden, 2011). As proposed by goal-setting theory, clear goals are necessary for employees to be successful and motivated because they enable employees to understand their responsibilities and their parts to play within the organizational framework (Locke, 2004;Locke & Latham, 1990). ...
... The results are consistent with this line of research and add that servant leaders have an important role to play for organizational goal clarity. Servant leaders feel a strong ethical responsibility to help and support their employees and fulfill their specific needs, and as discussed by Hu and Liden (2011), support for reaching the organizational goals is essential for employees' performance. We show that servant leaders indeed understand their employees' needs for clarity regarding the changing organization and its goals, and support their employees through the organizational change by ensuring they receive the clarity, increasing their understanding of what is expected of them. ...
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Organizations operate in dynamic environments, which not only requires organizations to adjust, but also for employees to adapt quickly to align with new or adjusted organizational goals. Servant leadership has been shown to help employees develop and grow and behave in a moral and fair manner which are important elements for successful change. We aim to provide a further understanding of the associations between servant leadership and organizational outcomes during changing times. Drawing on the theories of social exchange and goal-setting, and the norm of reciprocity, we propose the mediating role of organizational goal clarity in the associations between servant leadership and five organizational outcomes. The hypotheses are tested in four studies: a two-wave time-lagged survey study conducted in a service company going through a merger, and three experimental studies. The results show that servant leadership relates positively to goal clarity and negatively to uncertainty of employees during organizational change. Furthermore, organizational goal clarity positively mediates the associations between servant leadership and employees’ organizational change commitment and service performance (e.g., organizational citizenship behavior, customer service and customer orientation). This investigation provides a theoretical and empirical validation of a mechanism through which servant leaders enhance organizational performance during changing times.
... Keeping in view these facts, the current study emphasizes and examines the influence of the servant leadership style on employee performance in a virtual environment which employees are not used to, but must adapt to during the emergency of COVID-19 within the Pakistani context. Previous literature found that important characteristics such as employee performance (Liden et al., 2014), team effectiveness (Hu and Liden, 2011), employee creativity (Aboramadan, 2020), and positive workplace behavior (Brière et al., 2021) are influenced by servant leadership. Yet, very few studies have focused on the psychological empowerment perspective. ...
... Moreover, leaders who adopt a servant leadership attitude are focused on workers' activities and provide joint support which enhances their emotional state and increases task performance of the employees (Liden et al., 2015). Therefore, threats related to innovative work behavior would be reduced, and valuable support is provided to employees to enhance their task performance (Hu and Liden, 2011;Yoshida et al., 2014;Aboramadan and Dahleez, 2021). Thus, servant leadership is encouraged for connecting with employees and enhancing task performance among workers. ...
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... Although the literature shows a positive impact of shared leadership on collective motivational states, such as team empowerment (e.g., Nicolaides et al. 2014), it also recognizes that the enactment of leadership roles by multiple individuals is not without its challenges, citing such processual difficulties as ineffective communication, increased complexity and uncertainty (Grissom 2012;Murphy et al. 2017). These limitations of shared leadership can undermine team-level motivation (Hu and Liden 2011), especially in public organizations, where goals are inherently more ambiguous (Chun and Rainey 2005). In this context, vertical leaders, who possess relatively higher organizational status, formal authority, ability to control resources, and outcome accountability (Currie and Lockett 2011), may play an important role in hindering or enhancing the effectiveness of informal shared leadership structures (Morgeson, DeRue, and Karam 2010;Zeier, Plimmer, and Franken 2018;Ran and Qi 2018). ...
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Recent theories of public administration emphasize the importance of leadership as a shared property. This research focuses on the role of the interaction between vertical and shared leadership in promoting agency performance. Specifically, it examines the joint effects of shared leadership and transformational leadership on team empowerment and performance in public settings. Based on field study data collected from 74 street‐level bureaucracies and 423 public servants in Brazil, we find evidence that vertical transformational leadership strengthens the direct relationship between shared leadership and team empowerment as well as the indirect relationship between shared leadership and school performance through team empowerment (a moderated‐mediation model). Findings of this study suggest that greater attention should be paid to the dynamics of shared and vertical leadership structures to better understand their consequences for team processes and outcomes in public settings.
... Regardless of what motivates interpersonal helping, it is still an ongoing scholarly debate concerning the bright and dark side of interpersonal helping. On the one hand, helping others may allow one to experience improved job performance (Hu & Liden, 2011), fulfill basic psychological needs (Weinstein & Ryan, 2010), develop a sense of efficacy (Tang & Ibrahim, 1998), and boost self-perception (Somech & Drach-Zahavy, 2000). On the other hand, helping others can interfere with one's in-role responsibilities and, therefore, trigger role overload, job stress, and work-related strain (Bolino & Turnley, 2005;Somech & Drach-Zahavy, 2013). ...
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Since its inception, interpersonal helping has been conceptualized predominantly from the helper’s perspective. Additionally, scales used to measure the extent of interpersonal helping provided have been developed, allowing scholars to assess the consequences of helping others. In this study, we synergize extant literature and conceptualize receipt of help as receipt of suitable help that the recipient depends on to improve task performance. Moreover, we perform exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses using different sets of samples and establish a three-factor, 14-item scale for measuring the extent of help received. Furthermore, we test the nomological validity of the receipt of help scale. Evidence illustrates that the three-factor, 14-item scale demonstrates an adequate level of reliability and nomological validity.
... Remarkably, leadership studies that demonstrate the discrepancy between western leadership theories and non-western leadership theories are still scarce, except (House et al., 2004;Walumbwa et al.,2010;Sendjaya & Pekerti, 2010;Hu & Liden, 2011;Öner, 2012;Choudhary et al., 2013;Van Dierendonck et al., 2017). Some people live in predominantly individual-oriented 239 social systems, others in more collective-oriented ones (Triandis, 1995). ...
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Destination Management Organisations (DMO’s) have gained ultra-importance in marketing especially in the external and the internal destination development activities. (Presenza, Sheehan, & Ritchie, 2005). Pike and Page (2014) in their narrative analysis of literature on destination brands and DMO for forty years highlights the importance of aligned communication with all stakeholders. A thorough literature review of journal articles till 2018 was carried out by (Ruiz- Real, Uribe-Toril, & Gázquez-Abad, 2020), and opportunities and new challenges were discussed. Destination Branding, as a concept started to evolve as early as the 90’s (Oppermann, 2000). Researchers had earlier developed on the concepts of branding of cities and image of destinations (Morgan, Pritchard, & Pride, 2011). Skinner (2008) highlighted the emergence of place marketing research alongside the emergence of services marketing as a distinct subject area within marketing. Later on Park, Cai, and Lehto (2009) developed conceptual models to explain collaborative destination branding. Tasci and Gartner (2009) suggested an integrative marketing communications approach with both qualitative and quantitative methods for assessment of destination brands. (Kumar & Nayak, 2014) insisted on holistic perspectives to measure the destination personality. Pike (2014) also tracked the brand performance of a competitive set of destinations over time. Hence to further investigate the roles and responsibilities of DMO’s we propose a systematic literature review of articles from 2018 to 2021 by searching databases like Scopus, EBSCO, ProQuest-ABI/INFORM, Emerald Insight and Science Direct. Keywords with the term’s destination marketing organisations and destination management organisations and their abbreviations along with the term’s destination branding and destination marketing were used for the search. Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) protocol was used to funnel down the selection of articles.
... Conceptual skills for servant leadership entail drawing on the ability to provide effective support and assistance to others, made possible because of the leader's comprehensive knowledge of the organization and expertise in salient tasks (Liden et al., 2008). Servant leaders with conceptual skills can understand specific situations, and provide guidance and coaching for members (Hu & Liden, 2011). For example, He [the leader] has rich law knowledge, and experiences of compliance and all other aspects. ...
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The classical literature on Confucianism exhorted leaders to practice five core virtues as the basis for becoming a noble person (Junzi) and for sustaining harmonious communities built on trust and good example. We present a theory about how the senior management in modern corporations, by enacting the five Junzi virtues through virtuous environmental, social, and governance (ESG) policies and practices, might inspire virtue-based relationships between superiors and subordinates and between employees. We argue that if middle managers and employees observe and experience that their firm’s ESG policies and practices are virtuous, they would feel encouraged to practice those virtues in their own behavior, and thus embody and promote interpersonal harmony. We provide three types of illustration for our theory. First, we map the five Junzi virtues to the content of a specimen ESG report. Second, we map seven subtypes of servant leadership behavior of middle managers to the five Junzi virtues. Third, we map seven types of employee organizational citizenship behavior to the five Junzi virtues.
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Based on social exchange theory, we develop and test a longitudinal model in which leaders’ expressed humility and team members’ helping behavior reciprocally influence each other over time and ultimately predict subsequent team performance and turnover. Using multi‐source, 3‐wave repeated measures data from 281 work teams, our cross‐lagged panel modeling results supported the hypotheses. We found that leader humility increased subsequent team helping behavior, and team helping behavior also promoted leader humility at a later time. As compared with leader humility, team helping behavior is a more proximal predictor of team performance and reduced team turnover rate. We found that leader humility has indirect effects on team performance and team turnover through the mediating role of team helping behavior. These findings shed new light on how leaders and teams can develop through their respective humble and helping behaviors, and how this reciprocal relationship ultimately enhances team effectiveness and helps reduce turnover of team members.
Purpose Although there is growing research on the relationship between servant leadership and job performance, limited research examined conditions under which servant leadership is more effective. The purpose of this paper is to investigate whether employee-oriented human resource policy is shaping the relation between servant leadership and job performance. Design/methodology/approach Empirical research was carried out among 263 organizations operating in Poland. To verify formulated hypotheses, statistical reasoning with moderator was made using model 1 of SPSS Macro Process. Findings The present study has proved that employee-oriented human resource policy may act as a moderator between servant leadership and job performance strengthening this relation. Integrating human resource policy with leadership is important to reach a better understanding of how human resource and leadership can influence employee performance. Originality/value The current study provides a practical implication for organizations to train managers with leadership skills to improve the job performance of their employees.
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Purpose This paper aims to integrate the extant literature on the impact of positive leadership on organisational outcomes within the Australian not-for-profit (NFP) organisations, identifies existing gaps in the literature and proposes a framework capturing feasible pathways for future research on positive leadership in NFP organisations. Design/methodology/approach This is a systematic review of the existing literature on positive leadership and external/environmental factors and organisational values as applied to Australian NFP organisations mainly based on journal articles. Findings This paper proposes a plausible conceptual framework postulating how Australian NFP organisations could attain superior performance outcomes when there is a perfect alignment between positive forms of leadership, external/environmental factors and organisational values. We explain the conceptual framework through testable research propositions explaining interrelationships between positive leadership, external/environmental factors, organisational values and organisational performance. Research limitations/implications The review focused on two positive forms of leadership (i.e. transformational and servant) and could benefit by including other closely related leadership styles and behaviours (like authentic and ethical leadership). In addition to the positivist paradigm and quantitative approach adopted by this paper, interpretative and critical paradigms and related qualitative approaches may also lend themselves well to exposing pertinent issues and relationships that have not been imagined before in the under-researched NFP sector. Practical implications Leaders within NFP organisations need to understand when and how to align positive forms of leadership, external/environmental factors and organisational values to maximise limited resources available to Australian NFP organisations. Originality/value This systematic review adds to the limited literature exploring the impact of positive forms of leadership within Australian NFP organisations. The proposed framework offers unique insights into the relationships between positive forms of leadership, external/environmental factors, organisational values and organisational performance.
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