Leader-follower congruence and its relationship to follower self-efficacy
Table of Contents Acknowledgments iv List of Figures viii CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION 1 Introduction to the Problem 1 Background of the Study 2 Statement of the Problem 4 Purpose of the Study 4 Research Question 5 Significance of the Study 5 Definition of Terms 7 Assumptions and Limitations and Delimitations 7 Assumptions 7 Limitations 8 Delimitations 8 CHAPTER 2. LITERATURE REVIEW 10 Leadership Concepts 10 Leader-member Theory 11 Transformational Leadership Theory 13 Future Implications of Leadership Research 15 Followership Concepts 17 History of Followership Studies 18 Current Theorists of Followership 19
Robert E. Kelly 19 Ira Chaleff 22 Future Implications of Followership Research 27 Self-Beliefs 29 Social Cognitive Theory 29 Expectancy Beliefs 31 Self-Constructs 31 Self-Efficacy 33 Self-Efficacy Development 34 Efficacy Activation Process 35 Self-Efficacy Assessment 37 Conclusion 39 CHAPTER 3. METHODOLOGY 42 Purpose of the Study 42 Research Design 43 Target Population 44 Participant Selection 44 Variables 45 Measures 45 Hartman Value Profile 45 Capabilities Awareness Profile 47 Research Question and Hypothesis 49 Data Collection and Analyses 49
Ethical Considerations 51 Expected Findings 52 CHAPTER 4. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS 54 Introduction 54 Description of the Sample 54 Statistical Analysis 55 Statistical Analyses and Hypothesis Testing 56 Conclusions 58 CHAPTER 5. RESULTS, CONCLUSIONS, AND RECOMMENDATIONS 59 Summary of Study and Results 59 Summary of Procedure 60 Inferential Statistics 62 Limitations 62 Interpretation of Results 64 Recommendations for Future Research 65 Summary and Conclusion 68 REFERENCES 70 APPENDIX A. RESEARCH WEBSITE LOG-IN 84
APPENDIX B. PARTICIPANT CONSENT FORM 85 APPENDIX C. HARTMAN VALUE PROFILE LOG IN – LEADER 87 85 APPENDIX D. HARTMAN VALUE PROFILE LOG IN – FOLLOWER 88 86 APPENDIX E. CAPABILITIES AWARENESS PROFILE LOG IN 89
List of Figures Figure 1. Two-dimensional model of follower behavior 20
CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION Introduction to the Problem Leadership is one of the most studied phenomena located in literature. Theories of leadership, including the traits, characteristics, competencies, and attributes associated with successful leaders, provide a plethora of studies indicating the support or rejection of a particular theory. Historically leadership has been explained through traits (e.g. Kohs & Irle, 1920; Bird, 1940), situations (e.g. Schneider, 1937; Bennis, 1961), psychoanalytical (e.g. Freud, 1922; Erikson, 1964), humanistic (e.g. McGregor, 1966; Likert, 1961a, 1961b, 1967), contingency (Fielder, 1967), behaviors (e.g. Scott, 1977), attribution (e.g. Pfeffer, 1977), vertical-dyad (Graen, 1976) and transformational (Bass, 1985a, 1985b) represent a small sampling of such leadership theories. Inversely, followership has primarily been ignored in literature. Though the Ohio State leadership studies (Fleishman, 1953; Halpin & Winer, 1957; Hemphill & Coons, 1957) and the Michigan leadership studies (Likert, 1961a, 1967) introduced the concept of followers it was not until Kelley (1988) first introduced the existence and importance of followership. Chaleff (1995) estimated that there were 300 leadership texts to one on followership. Since that time the majority of studies on followership have been correlated to a specific leadership theory (e.g. Cuphy, 1993; Wallace, 1996). Literature searches failed to identify studies that looked at congruence of followers to leaders and how follower self-efficacy can be affected in that relationship. Congruence is best described as the
alignment between leader and follower. Incongruence creates conflict and failure (Bass, 1990). Among this conflict and failure lies follower self-efficacy. Background of the Study Leadership theories proposed by previous researchers have been specific to the theory proposed (e.g. transformation, LMX, contingency). Even with the wealth of information that these studies have provided, there appears to be splitting of hairs in relation to specific nomenclature of leaders. Taxonomies of leadership include trait, attribute, characteristics, character, and personality, among others. While applicable to the research done previously, each descriptor is in fact a synonym of each other. For clarity of this research the term attributes, in a non-physical sense, will be used throughout. Previous research on leadership, and those specific to followership, has looked to identify which attributes were most effective within leaders. A review of the literature identifies words such as, “communication,” “caring,” “creating opportunities” (Sashkin & Rosenbach, 2005), “sensitivity,” “dedication,” “charisma,” “attractiveness,” “intelligence,” “strength” (Offerman, Kennedy, & Wirtz, 1994), “moral,” “visionary,” “integrity,” “ethical” (Quinn, 1996), “cooperation,” “diplomacy,” “sociability” (Nolan & Harty, 2001), “endurance,” “determination,” “desire,” “dependability” (Frigon & Jackson, 1996), “competence,” “honesty,” “dependability,” “perceptiveness,” “involvement” (Hollander, 1992), “a sense of mission,” “motivate others,” “optimism” (Bennis, 2007) “inspirational,” “passion,” and “modeling” (House & Podsakoff, 1994).
In a 1947 study by Jenkins, as cited by Bass (1990), descriptors such as “intelligence,” “adaptability,” “enthusiasm,” “integrity,” “ethical,” “knowledge” and “self-confidence” ranked as being the most desirable in leaders. Stogdill (1969) replicated this study and found similarities in categories. Recent research by Kouzes and Posner (2007) using survey results from over 20,000 respondents identified the following taxonomy of qualities most desired in leaders. These included “honesty”, “supportiveness,” “competency,” “dependability,” “courage,” “maturity,” “loyalty,” and “self-control.” Given that in almost 60 years the same attributes desired in leaders is basically unchanged, for the purpose of this study these will be referred to as most preferred attributes. With the similarities (synonyms) of words the following nine have been selected for use in this study. These are intelligence, competence, ethical, inspirational, honest, visionary, dependable, empowering and motivational. Inversely, descriptors such as compulsive, paranoid, passive-aggressive and narcissistic (McIntosh & Rima, 1997), exploitive, authoritarian, and coercive (Likert, 1961a) have been called negative leader attributes. Less preferred attributes utilized for this study included unethical, aggressive, narcissist, exploitive, dishonest, self-serving, manipulative, coercive and inhibiting. Lord, Foti, and De Vader, as cited by Villalba-Moreno (2000), recommend that leadership studies be examined from the follower’s perspective. Leadership perceptions can be explained in terms of categories (Lord, Foti, & De Vader, 1984). The descriptors identified for use in this research are literature-based categorizations of preferred leader attributes.
Statement of the Problem Leadership is the process of influencing others to obtain objectives. Followership historically has been looked upon as the impact of leaders’ traits, characteristics, and behaviors have upon subordinates. Lord and Maher (1993) stated “The ability to exert dramatic and widespread influence depends on whether an individual is perceived as a leader by others” (p. 212). While recent research of followership exists (e.g. Villalba-Moreno, 2000; Tanoff & Barlow, 2002; Albrego, 2004; Saltz, 2004) each study has compared a specific leadership theory, such as transformational and leader-member exchange (LMX) to measured outcomes, none have tested a global taxonomy of leadership attributes to leader-follower congruence and its impact on follower self-efficacy. This research will fill an existing void in the literature on leader–follower congruence and its impact on follower self-efficacy. Purpose of the Study Multiple studies on leadership exist. They address leadership styles and the relationship and their effects on employee job satisfaction, productivity, gender, team development, turnover, and profitability of the work unit. Minimal research has been done on followership, specifically followership self-efficacy. Followership is relatively a new phenomenon. The simple fact that leadership could not exist without followers has failed to inspire significant research into this phenomenon. Two significant texts on followership exist, Robert Kelley’s The Power of Followership (1992), and The Courageous Follower (1995) by Ira Chaleff. Neither of
the two texts, or a recent text by Atchison (2004), nor any literature located addressed follower self-efficacy as it relates to leader-follower congruence. This study will add to the body of research on followership and self-efficacy. Over 1,000 studies on self-efficacy have been published (Pajares, 2002). Self-efficacy has been shown to have excellent predictability in academic setting (Bong & Clark, 1999; Wood & Locke, 1987; Pajares & Miller, 1994). Yet limited research has been performed in the work place on self-efficacy. One study in particular (Jaina & Tyson, 2004) indicates that psychological similarities between managers and subordinates are more likely to support and maintain self-efficacy beliefs. Research Question Research Question 1: Is there a relationship between leader-follower congruence and follower self-efficacy? Significance of the Study Approximately 80 percent of work performed daily within organizations occurs in a followership role (Kelley, 1992). While leaders and leadership provide an abundance of literature and research to evaluate, followership has maintained anonymity in literature. This appears ironic when one considers that the very essence of a leader is an individual who has followers. The role of follower is difficult to define. Kelley (1992) defines followership as people who act with intelligence, independence, courage, and a strong sense of ethics. Chaleff (1995) and Dixon & Westbrook (2003) expand this to explain that followers are not synonymous with subordinates. Followership often has a negative implication
associated with the term. Chaleff believes that this occurs through cultural values where a “master-servant” mentality has continued to survive into the 21 st century. Kelley (1992) determined that past research into followership has focused primarily on how followers felt about leadership. Lacking is the assumption that followers have a significant amount of value and input into the leader-follower role when in fact followers offer a considerable amount of importance and input into the leader- follower role. One area that has shown strong significance in performance predictability is self-efficacy. Bandura (1997) believes self-efficacy to be people’s beliefs about their capabilities to perform a task. Self-efficacy has influence on how individuals feel about themselves, motivation, task persistence, affective thought, and action. Strong self- efficacious beliefs provide determination, and view difficult tasks as a challenge. Failure is viewed as a lack of effort or the need to obtain new skills and knowledge (Bandura, 1995). Research literature suggests that intrinsic stressors are reduced, and ability to function in high stress environments is increased. Studies on self-efficacy have been diverse and included, personnel training (Combs, & Luthans, 2007; Orpen, 1999), negotiator confidence (Sullivan, O’Conner, & Burris, 2006), and customer service (McKee, Simmers, & Licata, 2006). Yet even with a multitude of research on self-efficacy there has been limited evidence to indicate if leader-follower congruence has an effect on follower self-efficacy. A study that will contribute to the literature on followership and provide additional credence to the psychological construct of self-efficacy will be useful to a wide-variety of industries and organizations. An analysis of existing research and articles
in professional journals suggests that
with the advent of efficient organizational structures and workflow, leaders and followers need to become a dynamic and fluid interchangeable process, in which self-efficacious individuals will be required to function in both leader and follower roles. Definition of Terms Followership: Is defined as one who pursues a course of action in common with a leader to achieve an organizational goal (Kelley, 1992). Leadership: Leadership is defined as “the ability of an individual to influence, motivate, and enable others to contribute toward the effectiveness and success of the organization . . .” (House et al., 1999, p. 184). Self-efficacy: Bandura (1994) states that self-efficacy is people's beliefs about their capabilities to produce designated levels of performance that exercise influence over events that affect their lives. Assumptions and Limitations and Delimitations Assumptions
Leedy and Ormond (2005) put forth that assumptions are conditions of research or accepted truths taken for granted. There are three basic assumptions to this research study. First is the assumption that the research participants would respond openly and appropriately to the assessments utilized in this research. It can be assumed that the participants might not represent their direct supervisor or organization in a positive light.
Secondly it was assumed that there was no undue organizational influence on the research subjects to either participate or refuse participation in this research study. The third assumption was that the sample population of leaders and followers invited into the study would provide honest and truthful insights of their relationships within the organization and that these would be comparable in scope to other healthcare facilities of similar size and organizational structure. Limitations Limitations identify any potential weakness of a study (Creswell, 2003). The first limitation to this study was that it was the organizational setting and individual responses of the employees at a moderate sized Midwestern health care system in Michigan. A second limitation was the sample itself. A convenience sample was used representing a single organization. While a random experimental sample would have provided greater statistical significance the nature of the study and the difficulty identifying a research site limited the ability to perform an experimental random sample. The last limitation to this research study was the use of correlation analysis. While correlation analysis might illustrate a relationship between leader-follower congruence the use of a correlation itself does not demonstrate causation. In an attempt to show causation a multiple regression analysis in order will measure if the level of follower-leader congruence has an effect on follower self-efficacy. Delimitations
Creswell (2003) describes delimitations as a way to address the narrow scope of the research study. This study was confined to leaders and followers in a
specific health care location. The results of this study may not be generalized to other types of health care organizations or those in other geographic locations. It is the responsibility of the reader to determine how, if at all, the results of this study can be inferred to other health settings.
CHAPTER 2. LITERATURE REVIEW This chapter addresses studies that contribute to the literature relating to the possible relationship between leader-follower congruence and follower self-efficacy. Given the volumes of published literature, it is not meant to be an exhaustive account of every study in the respective field; it is meant to expose the reader with sufficient knowledge and information to provide transparency for the study. It provides a review of historical and current leadership research, introduces the concept of followers and followership, and current state self-efficacy research. Leadership Concepts Leadership symbols found in Egyptian hieroglyphics date as far back as 5,000 years (Tirmizi, 2002). At that time and the centuries that followed, the concept of “great men” theory of leadership was the rationale provided for defining leaders. At the start of the 20 th century the industrial revolution transformed America from an agricultural to industrial based nation. This provided the first time that specific skill sets were required and those individuals who had those skills were being elevated into leadership roles (Clawson, 1999). Scientific leadership studies originated from work of Fredrick Taylor in the early 1900s (Stogdill, 1974) and since that time to the present, the work of numerous researchers has failed to globalize an agreed upon definition of what leadership is. Yukl (2006) states that researchers “define leadership according to their individual perspectives and aspects of the phenomenon of most interest to them” (p. 2), while Stogdill (1974) advocates that there are as many definitions of leadership as those attempting to define
the concept. After over a century, the dilemma of who leaders are and what leadership is, it is still clearly evident that a consensus of such items leads to confusion and individual interpretations of these items. In an attempt to define and explain leadership, intellectuals have developed and proposed a number of theories to explain this phenomenon. Trait theorists define elements as “personality, temperament, needs, motives, and values” (Yukl, 2006, p. 175) as variables that indicate leaders. Social learning theories include Contingency theory (Fielder, 1967) and House’s (1971) Path-Goal theory. Interactive processes include Multiple-Linkage model (Yukl, 1971) and Leader-Member Exchange (LMX) theory (Danserau, Garen, & Haga, 1975). Cognitive theories of interest are Attribution (Pfeffer, 1977) and Rational- Deductive Approach (Vroom & Yetton, 1974). Transactional (Burns, 1978) and Transformational (Bass, 1985a) are examples of hybrids. Two theories that have received considerable attention in recent literature and given the amount of quantitative research involving followers are in connection with for this study are the process based Leader- Member Exchange (LMX), and Transformational Leadership. Leader-Member Theory In an attempt to describe the process between a leader and follower, Danserau, Garen, & Haga (1975) developed the Vertical Dyad Linkage (VDL) theory. The theory postulated a dyadic relationship in which leaders treat followers in different ways – what they referred to as an in-group and out-group. Members of the in-group were a small number of trusted individuals possessing a higher exchange relationship with the leader.
Out-group relations with leaders are more formal and less interpersonal. Due to limited time and energy, the leader is unable to provide equal time to all followers (Gerstner & Day, 1997). Development of leader-follower dyads is described as a “life cycle model” that consists of three stages (Graen & Scandura, 1987; Graen & Uhl-Bien, 1991). Stage one begins with the leader and follower appraising each other’s motives, attitudes, and resources to be exchanged. The exchange process may never proceed beyond this stage (out-group). If the process elevates to the next stage the relationship will be refined. Trust, loyalty, and mutual respect are established. Maturation of the relationship is the third stage. This stage signifies the highest level of in-groups. It is at this level that follower behaviors are most positive. Quality of LMX has been empirically shown to have a positive impact on follower satisfaction, organizational commitment (Ilies, Nahrgang, & Morgeson, 2007; Epitropraki & Martin, 2005), role clarity (Gerstner & Day, 1997), empowerment (Gomez & Rosen, 2001; Chen, Lam, & Zhong, 2007), objective performance, trust, and attitudes (Krishnan, 2005). Those individuals of the in-group have consistently generated higher results than those of the out-group. Members of the out-group do not develop rebellious or distractive behavior. The individual will follow rules, regulations, and expectations of the leader but will not go above and beyond for the leader or organization. It is evident that LMX has a direct impact on follower outcome behaviors. High- quality relationship individuals often engage in behaviors beyond their prescribed roles (Ilies, Nahrgang, & Morgeson, 2007). Linden and Maslyn (1998) linked these to four aspects of LMX: affect, loyalty, contribution, and professional respect. An important
study by Howell and Hall-Merenda (1999) indicates that distance between the leader- follower does not affect the relationship between the leader and follower. Transformational Leadership Theory First introduced by Burns (1978) as part of his Transformation-Transactional Leadership theory, Bass (1985) separated it into two distinct leadership styles. Transactional leadership is described as proper exchange of resources between leader and follower. Transformational leaders provide trust, admiration, loyalty, and respect by transcending beyond immediate short-term and focus on higher intrinsic needs. Transactional leadership provides for the needs of the follower while transformational leadership aligns follower needs with the leader. Where Burns saw the two concepts as intertwined, Bass saw them as distinctly different constructs. Transformational leaders motivate followers to do more than expected (Bass, 1985). Burns (1978) states the effect as, “the result of transforming leadership is a relationship of mutual stimulation and evaluation that converts followers into leaders and may convert leaders into moral agents” (P. 4). Four dimensions are attributed with transformational leadership: charisma, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation, and individualized consideration (Judge & Piccolo, 2004). Charismatic leaders are viewed as extraordinary individuals in whom followers have complete faith. Followers are proud to have an association with the leader and develop high levels of trust. Inspirational leadership encompasses articulation of vision that appeals to followers. The follower is challenged with high standards and develops a sense of heightened motivation. Leaders who intellectually stimulate seek to raise
questions. They challenge followers to identify new ways to accomplish tasks, take risks, and question assumptions. Individual consideration is seen with the leader who listens to follower concerns. Personal attention is given to each follower individually. The leader assists the follower with individual goal obtainment by assuming roles of coach and mentor. Transformational leadership has been widely studied in a variety of organizational settings, including the military (Kane & Tremble, 2000), business (Howell & Avolio, 1993), and education (Koh, Steers, & Terborg, 1995) as cited by Judge and Piccolo (2004). Empirical research has shown significance between transformational leadership and follower outcomes in efficiency and effort (Felfe & Schyns, 2004), organizational attachment (Krishnan, 2005), follower performance (House & Aditya, 1997; Yukl, 2006), performance (Bass, Avolio, Jung, & Berson, 2003), job satisfaction and motivation (Judge & Piccolo, 2004). One study by Lim and Ployhart (2004) found that transformational leadership style was particularly effective in times of crisis. As with LMX, transformational leadership appears to be an effective leadership style that enhances follower outcome behaviors. Of interest is the increase in literature that indicates LMX and transformational leadership may be interrelated (Piccolo & Colqutt, 2006; Kirshan, 2005). Some research suggests that LMX should incorporate transformational leadership style (Graen & Uhl-Bien, 1995), while Yukl (2006) states that the third stage of LMX “corresponds to transformational leadership” (p. 118). Given the complexity of defining leadership and the apparent similarities of the two models, it would serve researchers to look closely at this possibility. Bass (1990) stated, “transformational leadership can be learned, and it can, and should, be the subject
of management training and development” (p. 27). Transformational leadership has shown to be an effective style to influence follower loyalty, organizational commitment, and task performance. Future Implications of Leadership Research While the debate continues to rage in relationship to the definition of what makes a leader, specifically an effective or poor one, there are several areas of research that are demanding attention of researchers. These include the areas of context, ethics, globalization of workforce, and gender. Contextual leadership theory is an offshoot of contingency theory. Factors related to the effectiveness or failure of leadership behaviors such as leader hierarchical level, nationality, cultural beliefs, and gender are areas that future leadership research would benefit from (Antonakis, Avolio, & Sivasubramaniam, 2003). Understanding the contextual factors embedded in leadership is critical to obtaining a wider comprehension of leadership. With the current media exposure of unethical behavior in internationally recognized leaders (e.g. Mark Sanford, Tom Delay, etc) it is mildly surprising that leadership ethics has not historically been considered a factor worthy of research. Bass (1998) himself failed to make a distinction between what he termed authentic (e.g. ethical) transformational leaders and inauthentic (e.g. unethical) transformational leaders (Bass & Steidmeier, 1999). Future leadership models need to include the ethics of how a leader achieves and outcome and the means in which it was accomplished. Dickson, Den Hartog, and Michelson (2003) examined literature relating to leadership and culture and determined that national cultural instills individuals with ways
of perceiving and acting that affect what followers expect from leaders and how they enact their behaviors. Cultural differences within globalized organizations create barriers to understanding and judgment of appropriate leadership behaviors. What may be seen as a universal trait (e.g. honesty), the context in which it is delivered varies from one culture to another and while eye contact is expected in one culture it may indicate disrespect in another. Additionally, the increased use of electronic communication exacerbates already existing cultural issues. Most research on gender and leadership uses gender as a variable. This approach, advocated by liberal feminism (Kark, 2004) is not based on biological differences. Therefore, research has looked to differentiate leadership styles between men and women. Labeled as “women-in-management” (Kark, 2004), quantitative research has failed to fully answer if there is a difference in leadership styles. What research has shown is that the amount of perceived masculinity does attribute to advancement of females in the workplace (Hackman et al., 1992) thereby reinforcing the concept of gender schemas. A meta-analysis performed by Eagly and Johnson (1990) on 167 studies found that women were more orientated to transformational leadership styles than men. In a follow-up study (Eagly, Johannesen-Schmidt, & van-Engen, 2003) it was reported that female managers function more democratically than their male counterparts. This finding correlates well with other studies in which female leaders are perceived as using transformational leadership styles more than men (Kark, 2004). Female leaders are often disadvantaged by stereotypes and are presented with the proverbial “glass ceiling.” They are as effective as males, and females actually display
more effective leadership styles than males. Leadership researchers may be well served to study male-female dichotomy as it relates to leader-follower relationship and what, if any, impact gender plays of follower self-efficacy. Followership Concepts Leadership as a field has dominated almost all researchers efforts in organizational studies with a minority of researchers focusing specifically on followers and followership. Bjugstad et al. (2006) states the ratio for leadership to followership books is 120:1. The pursuit for leadership-related studies has created followership to become a forgotten, if not ignored, concept (Greenberg & Baron, 2008). Even Leader- Member Exchange (LMX), a 20th century leadership theory that is predicated on the role of the follower does so only in relation to the leader and an individual. Lee (1991) suggests that followership is a specialized field of leadership that looks at behavior of followers within the leader-follower relationship. The difficulty arises in defining who the follower is. Thody (2003) believes that individuals are asked to fulfill whether role dependent on what is requested, the skill required, and the perceived value of the role. He further states, “the amount of leadership and followership in any one role will not be static but will vary according to different projects, personalities, contexts and how other people decide to perform their roles” (p. 163). Followership and leadership are in fact relational and interdependent of each other (Lee). Kelley (1988) states that “followership is not a person but a role, and what distinguishes followers from leaders is not intelligence or character but the role they play (p. 146). This statement supports the beliefs of Thordy (2002) that the distinction
between leader and follower are interchangeable and most individuals’ function in a follower role more than leader. Delineating who is the top leader is almost impossible in any organization. Even Chief Executive Officers (CEO) are accountable to a Board of Directors, who are then accountable to stake holders (Lee, 1991). What is evident is that one cannot be a leader with out followers and according to Kelley (1992) followers can control what is accomplished in an organization. History of Followership Studies As stated previously, the literature on followership has lagged far behind those relating to leadership. While not a recent concept, Follett (1949) first addressed the relationship that existed between leaders and followers. Specific to followers, he stated “Their part is not merely to follow, the have a very active role to play and that is to keep the leader in control of the situation” (p. 47). Even though this predated the Ohio Leadership Studies by almost a decade, the concept of followers and/or followership only recently resurfaced into organizational researchers horizon. Lee (1991) states that any study of effective leadership without considering the role of followers is an incomplete under taking. While organizations spend millions annually on leadership selection, education, and training, very little capitol is allocated to follower development. Kelley (1988) was one of the first researchers to acknowledge the specific role of followers in organizations and indicated that most organizations contain more followers than leaders. Crockett (1981) found that organizations place little, if any, emphasis to the development of followers. To be successful, according to Kelley (1998), organizations