Transformational leadership in Norway: Outcomes and ... Classes/Fall 07/Org Psy/Cases... ·...
Transformational leadership in Norway: Outcomes and personality correlates Hilde Hetland and Gro M. Sandal Department of Psychosocial Science, University of Bergen, Norway Transformational leadership is postulated to take diﬀerent shapes in various cultural contexts. The aim of this study was to investigate transformational leadership in Norway. Two research questions were addressed. First, the relationship between transformational leadership and subordinates’ and superiors’ ratings of satisfaction, eﬀectiveness, and work motivation, and, second the relationship between transformational leadership and personality. A sample of 100 mid-level Norwegian managers employed in ﬁve diﬀerent companies completed Cattell’s Sixteen Personality Factors Questionnaire (16PF). Four scales from the 16PF were included in the subsequent analyses: warmth, reasoning, openness to change, and tension. For each manager, ratings of leadership behaviour and outcomes were obtained from one superior and two subordinates using the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ). Hierarchical multiple regression analyses showed that transformational leadership was strongly associated with the outcome measures in both subordinates’ and superiors’ ratings, when controlling for the impact of transactional and passive-avoidant leadership. Together the four personality scales explained a modest but signiﬁcant portion of the variance in transformational leadership, when rated by subordinates, but not when rated by superiors, suggesting that the context in which leadership occurs might be more important determinants than the individual traits of the leader him- or herself. Leadership is entering a new era, as knowledge-intensive companies become a central feature of Western society. The managers of today face the challenge of recruiting and holding on to competent employees in organizations where value added is diﬃcult to supervise. In this context, a # 2003 Psychology Press Ltd http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/pp/1359432X.html DOI: 10.1080/13594320344000057 Requests for reprints should be addressed to H. Hetland, Dept. of Psychosocial Science, University of Bergen, Christiesgate 12, 5015, Bergen, Norway. Email: [email protected]The authors wish to thank all individuals and companies who took part in the study. This study was sponsored by grants from the Directorate of Communication and Public Management in Norway, and by Institutt for Samarbeid og Utvikling (ISU). EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF WORK AND ORGANIZATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY, 2003, 12 (2), 147–170
Transformational leadership in Norway: Outcomes and ... Classes/Fall 07/Org Psy/Cases... · Transformational leadership in Norway: Outcomes and personality correlates Hilde Hetland
Text of Transformational leadership in Norway: Outcomes and ... Classes/Fall 07/Org Psy/Cases... ·...
Transformational leadership in Norway: Outcomes
and personality correlates
Hilde Hetland and Gro M. Sandal
Department of Psychosocial Science, University of Bergen, Norway
Transformational leadership is postulated to take different shapes in variouscultural contexts. The aim of this study was to investigate transformationalleadership in Norway. Two research questions were addressed. First, therelationship between transformational leadership and subordinates’ andsuperiors’ ratings of satisfaction, effectiveness, and work motivation, and,second the relationship between transformational leadership and personality.A sample of 100 mid-level Norwegian managers employed in five differentcompanies completed Cattell’s Sixteen Personality Factors Questionnaire(16PF). Four scales from the 16PF were included in the subsequent analyses:warmth, reasoning, openness to change, and tension. For each manager,ratings of leadership behaviour and outcomes were obtained from one superiorand two subordinates using the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ).Hierarchical multiple regression analyses showed that transformationalleadership was strongly associated with the outcome measures in bothsubordinates’ and superiors’ ratings, when controlling for the impact oftransactional and passive-avoidant leadership. Together the four personalityscales explained a modest but significant portion of the variance intransformational leadership, when rated by subordinates, but not when ratedby superiors, suggesting that the context in which leadership occurs might bemore important determinants than the individual traits of the leader him- orherself.
Leadership is entering a new era, as knowledge-intensive companies becomea central feature of Western society. The managers of today face thechallenge of recruiting and holding on to competent employees inorganizations where value added is difficult to supervise. In this context, a
The authors wish to thank all individuals and companies who took part in the study. This
study was sponsored by grants from the Directorate of Communication and Public
Management in Norway, and by Institutt for Samarbeid og Utvikling (ISU).
EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF WORK AND ORGANIZATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY, 2003, 12 (2), 147–170
leader’s ability to inspire, motivate, and create commitment to commongoals is crucial (Bass, 1997b). These abilities are similar to those described asbeing involved in transformational leadership (Bass, 1985; Burns, 1978).Unlike the traditional leadership theories, which focused mainly on rationalprocesses, theories of transformational and charismatic leadership (House,1977) emphasize emotions and values (Yukl, 1998) and imply that ‘‘leadersand followers raise one another to higher levels of morality and motivation’’(Burns, 1978, p. 20). Transformational leaders have been described asbroadening and elevating the interests of followers, generating awarenessand acceptance among followers, and motivating followers to go beyond selfinterest for the good of the group (Bass, 1997b). The main components oftransformational leadership are defined as: Charisma/idealized influence andinspirational motivation, which imply serving as a charismatic role model andarticulating a vision of the future that can be shared, individualizedconsideration, which involves the leader paying attention to individualdifferences, as well as intellectual stimulation, defined as questioning oldassumptions and the status quo (Avolio & Bass, 1995).
Several studies have documented significant correlations betweentransformational leadership and organizational functioning. Transforma-tional leadership has been linked to a variety of outcomes, such as employeecommitment to the organization (Barling, Weber, & Kelloway, 1996),organizational commitment and lower levels of job stress (Podsakoff,Mackenzie, & Bommer, 1996), and job satisfaction and satisfaction with aleader (Koh, Steers, & Terborg, 1995; Lowe, Kroeck, & Sivasubramaniam,1996). Beyond individual levels, the effectiveness of transformational teamsand organizations has been documented (Bass, 1997b; Tichy & Devanna,1990).
Transformational leadership has been contrasted with transactionalbehaviour, in which cooperation is obtained by establishing exchange ofrewards. Burns (1978) argued that where transactional leaders motivatesubordinates to perform as expected, the transforming leader typicallyinspires followers to perform better than originally expected. According toShamir (1991), leaders must address followers’ self worth in order to engagethem and to make them commit to the organization, and furthermore, thatthis is one of the strongest motivators that transformational leaders add tothe transactional exchange.
Transformational leadership theory is purported to be a behaviouraltheory and a central assumption is that transformational behaviours can belearned (Bass, 1998). However, the components of transformationalleadership are conceptually related to personality traits assumed to representstable dispositions. Several studies have linked personality to transforma-tional behaviour. Using the five-factor model as a framework, Judge andBono (2000) found that extraversion and agreeableness positively predicted
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transformational leadership when analyses were based on 14 samples ofmanagers from more than 200 organizations. Other studies have suggestedthat transformational leaders could be portrayed by high self confidence,personal adjustment, and pragmatism (Bennis & Nanus, 1997; Ross &Offerman, 1997). Dubinsky, Yammarino, and Jolson (1995) found risktaking and abstract orientation to be related to dimensions of transforma-tional leadership. Moreover, intelligence, although it is traditionally notincluded as part of personality measures, has been emphasized both intransformational theories (Bass, 1997b; Den Hartog, House, Hanges, &Ruiz-Quintanilla, 1999) and in studies of leader selection on a general basis(Melamed & Bozionelos, 1992; Mount & Barrick, 1991; Salgado, 1998; Tett,Jackson, & Rothstein, 1991). Whether they concern fundamental measuresof personality, specific trait characteristics, or variables such as individualintelligence, such findings raise questions about the extent to whichtransformational leadership can, in fact, be learned.
Most of the studies exploring links between transformational leadershipand personality have been based on North American samples, which callsinto questions whether or not the results will generalize to other societies.Cross-cultural studies have documented profound differences in the specifictraits and behaviours representing transformational leadership. Even amongWestern societies, there exist various prototypes of leaders and implicittheories of leadership (CLT), that is, conceptions of what leadership shouldentail (Gerstner & Day, 1994; Helmreich & Merrit, 1998; Koopman, DenHartog, & Konrad, 1999; Lord, Foti, & DeVader, 1984). Based on anextensive cross-cultural study, Den Hartog et al. found that many attributesassociated with transformational leadership appeared to be culturallycontingent, including such traits as risk taking, self efficacy, compassion,sensitivity, and ambitiousness. Attributes such as communicative skills,trustworthiness, and ability to encourage were universally endorsed ascomponents of outstanding leadership skills in the study. Contingentattributes may reflect variation in culturally related values. For instance, in aculture endorsing an authoritarian style, leader sensitivity might beinterpreted as weak, whereas in a culture endorsing a more nurturing style,the same sensitivity is likely to prove essential for effective leadership. Withexpanding global markets, culturally diverse work teams, and expatriatework assignments, understanding such similarities and differences inleadership may prove highly beneficial for effective management (Segalla,Fischer, & Sandner, 2000).
The major aim of the present study was to gain more knowledge ofcharacteristics and outcomes associated with transformational leadership inNorway. Authors have approached the issue of the superiority oftransformational leadership in different cultures both on a theoretical basis(Bass, 1997b) and empirically (Den Hartog et al., 1999; Koopman et al.,
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1999). But to our knowledge, none of the cross-cultural studies addressingtransformational leadership have included data from Norway. Hofstede’s(1980) theoretical dimensions of culture provide one framework from whicha hypothesis regarding Norwegian leadership can be derived. In an extensivestudy involving more than 50 nations, Norway was found to score lowest onmasculinity, suggesting great emphasis is placed upon cooperation and goodworking relationships, traditionally seen as feminine values. Norway alsoscored low on the power distance dimension, referring to the extent to whichpeople accept and expect that power be unequally distributed. These resultssuggest that transformational leadership in Norway might relate to theextent to which the manager is perceived as approachable, open minded, anddemocratic. In the first part of the study presented in this article, weexamined whether empirical findings of the links between transformationalleadership and positive outcomes would be replicated in Norway. Second,we explored whether ratings of transformational leadership were related tothe personality traits of managers.
The impact of transformational leadership in affecting outcomes cannotbe gleaned adequately without demonstrating that it contributes uniquevariance after considering the effects of other types of leadership. Onecould argue that the only real distinction that can be found in leadershipresearch is the distinction between the presence and absence of activeleadership (Den Hartog, Van Muijen, & Koopman, 1997). Yet, accordingto the augmentation hypothesis presented by Bass (1985), transformationalleadership accounts for outcomes after controlling for transactionalleadership. A few studies have directly addressed and supported thisproposition (e.g., Hater & Bass, 1988), but replication in a Norwegiansetting is needed.
To investigate the links between transformational leadership andpersonality in this study, data were extracted from scales in the SixteenPersonality Factors Questionnaire –Fifth edition (16PF5; Russel & Karol,1994). These scales were: warmth, reasoning, openness to change, andtension. Selection of these scales was based on their conceptual similaritieswith the four components of transformational leadership and in light ofprevious research (e.g., Judge & Bono, 2000). Among the scales chosen,warmth was expected to be the most prominent attribute of transforma-tional leaders in a Norwegian context, due to the strong cultural emphasison nurturing and caring qualities. Implicitly, it was assumed that warmthwould be linked to transformational leadership through the impact onindividualized consideration. Reasoning and openness to change could beexpected to affect the transformational process mainly because they arerelated to the ability of the manager to be intellectually stimulating. Changeis also the core concept of transformational theories (Bass, 1997a). Finally,one would expect a low level of tension to be essential for transformational
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leadership. It is reasonable to expect that high tension reduces the likelihoodof almost all aspects of transformational leadership behaviour, includingrisk taking, divergent thinking, and the ability to gain followers’ trust and topresent the future in a positive, compelling, and inspiring way (e.g.,Kirkpatrick & Locke, 1991; Yukl, 1998).
Evaluations of transformational, transactional, and passive-avoidantleadership as well as outcome measures were obtained from theMultifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ; Bass & Avolio, 1995).The outcomes measured included evaluations of effectiveness, satisfactionwith the leader, and work motivation. Initially, a principal componentanalysis was conducted to examine whether the dimensionality of theMLQ could be replicated in a Norwegian setting. In many previousstudies, subordinates have provided both the transformational leadershipratings and the criterion ratings (Hater & Bass, 1988). To overcomepotential biases by same source data, the present study included bothratings from subordinates and from the manager’s superior. Moreover,including these different perspectives allows comparison between thesedifferent views, as subordinates and superiors have been thought to coverdifferent parts of the criterion space (Conway, Lombardo, & Sanders,2001).
The specific hypotheses of this study were the following:
Hypothesis 1: Transformational leadership rated by both subordinatesand superiors is related to the outcome variables, and adds to explainingthese variables beyond that of transactional and passive-avoidantleadership.Hypothesis 2: Warmth, openness to change, reasoning, and tensiontogether explain a significant portion of the variance in transformationalleadership.Hypothesis 3: Warmth, openness to change, and reasoning are positivelyrelated to transformational leadership, whereas tension is negativelyrelated.
The sample consisted of 100 mid-level Norwegian leaders, of whom 17%were women. The age of the sample ranged from 27 to 68 years with a meanof 43 years (SD=9.1). On average they had held their current position for 7years (SD=4.2). A large portion of the sample, 45%, had higher universitydegrees, 34% had lower university degrees, and 18% were educated to alower level. The managers were recruited from five different Norwegian
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organizations, three public service institutions, and two private productionorganizations.
Sixteen Personality Factors Questionnaire. Sixteen Personality FactorsQuestionnaire –Fifth edition (16 PF5; Russell & Karol, 1994) consists of 185items based on Cattell’s theory of personality factors or source traits. Theinstrument yields 16 scales, 15 of which are representative of each of thesesource traits. The final scale (reasoning) is a measure of general intelligence.The instrument also includes an impression management (IM) index, whichassesses social desirability. In addition to the primary scales, the 16PF5contains five global factors of personality constructed by on basis of the 16scales, but these will not be used in this study. The specific item formatvaries across the instrument, but the typical format is a forced-choiceformat, with the options of yes, no, cannot say. Four of the sixteen scaleswere used in the analysis (see Table 1 for definitions and internalconsistencies).
The Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire. The Multifactor LeadershipQuestionnaire –Form 5X (MLQ 5X; Bass & Avolio, 1995) was used to getan evaluation of leadership behaviour and outcomes. The MLQ is aquestionnaire containing 45 items describing behaviour, each rated on a 5-point scale (0= seldom, 4= to a large extent). The present study employeda Norwegian translation of the MLQ 5X (Form 5x – Short). This translationwas obtained by translating the original questionnaire to Norwegian and
TABLE 1Definitions of the personality traits from the 16 PF5
Factor Left meaning Right meaning US UK Norway
A Warmth More emotionally
distant from people
Attentive and warm
.69 .69 .55
B Reasoning Fewer reasoning items
More reasoning items
.77 .80 .67
Traditional, values the
Open to change,
.64 .65 .67
Q2 Tension Relaxed, placid, patient Tense, high energy,
.76 .73 .68
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then back to English by two bilingual translators, in accordance with theprocedure suggested by Berry, Poortinga, Segall, and Dasen (1992). Thebehaviour scales in MLQ describe transformational, transactional, andpassive-avoidant leadership, whereas the outcome scales include satisfactionwith the leader, leader effectiveness, and work motivation (extra effort).Definitions and internal consistencies of the scales are presented in Table 2.
TABLE 2Dimensions of transformational, transactional, and passive-avoidant leadership
Leadership Scale definition
Idealized influence—total The leader instills pride and faith in
followers by overcoming obstacles
and confidently expressing
disenchantment with the status quo
Inspirational motivation The leader inspires followers to
enthusiastically accept and pursue
challenging goals or a mission or
vision of the future
Individualized consideration The leader communicates personal
respect to followers by giving them
specialized attention and by
recognizing each one’s unique needs
Intellectual stimulation The leader articulates new ideas that
prompt followers to rethink
conventional practice and thinking
Contingent reward The leader provides rewards
contingent on performance
Management by exception
The leader takes corrective action in
anticipation of problems
Management by exception
The leader takes corrective action
when problems arise or things do not
go as planned
Laissez faire leadership Avoidance or absence of leadership 4 .71
Satisfaction Satisfaction with leadership methods
and cooperation skills
Effectiveness Leader’s effectiveness in meeting
others’ needs, representing colleagues,
effectiveness in leading group or
Work motivation (extra
Leader’s ability to motivate others to
extra efforts at work
TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADERSHIP IN NORWAY 153
Because the scales constructed to measure aspects of transformationalleadership are highly intercorrelated (all r 4 . 48, M r =.63), a global scorewas calculated by summing the scores on these four scales (Cronbach’salpha= .87). This procedure has been suggested in other studies (Carless,1998; Ross & Offerman, 1997). Global scores were also calculated for thetransactional and passive-avoidant leadership behaviours. The globaltransactional score included contingent reward and management byexception-active (Cronbach’s alpha= .78), while passive-avoidant leader-ship (Cronbach’s alpha= .89), included laissez faire and management byexception – passive. In early studies, management by exception – passive wasincluded as a subscale of transactional leadership. Later research suggeststhat management by exception – passive should be combined with laissezfaire leadership since these two scales correlate positively with each otherand negatively with all other scales (Avolio, Bass, & Jung, 1999; Bass &Avolio, 2000; Den Hartog et al., 1997). The latter structure, which is appliedin this study, also resulted in a relabelling of the third dimension from laissezfaire to passive-avoidant leadership.
The Regional Medical Committee concerning ethical issues and data storagein Norway approved the study presented in this article. All subjects werefully informed as to the nature of the investigation and were told their rights,such as the right to withdraw from the experiment at any time, and signed aDeclaration of Consent Form providing this information. Prior to theinvestigation, the managers were also given a brochure containinginformation about the investigation. The project was introduced andrecommended by the top management of the organization. The ques-tionnaires were distributed to the respondents by mail and they were askedto return the completed forms directly to the investigators. Managers wereassured that all data collected on them were completely confidential, andcould neither help nor hinder their careers. Managers received feedback ontheir own results during a subsequent leadership development trainingprogram. A contact person in the company working in the Human Resourcedepartment selected the subordinates appointed to evaluate the managers.
The participants were informed about which leaders they shouldevaluate. One superior and two subordinates were asked to rate theleadership behaviour of the selected leader. Self-ratings of leadershipbehaviour were also collected, but were not used in the analyses. The leadersalso completed the Cattell Sixteen Personality Factors personality measure.The subordinates were informed that all data given to the managers woulduse only mean subordinate ratings, and that their anonymity would beprotected. Unfortunately, not all leaders had a superior, and a few superiors
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were relocated during the period of the study. This resulted in some missingvalues among superiors. Otherwise, missing values were replaced by meanvalues, and a mean of two subordinates was used in the analyses. Allquestionnaires were marked by individual codes to ensure anonymity.
The relative importance of transformational leadership for the outcomevariables was analysed in two parts. First, Pearson product –momentcorrelation between the variables included in the study was computed (seeTable 3), then hierarchical regression analyses were performed (see Table 5and 6). The correlation analyses revealed that all the three leadershipbehaviour variables correlated significantly with the outcome variables whenrated by subordinates. Transformational and passive-avoidant leadershipalso showed similar significant correlations with the outcome variables whensuperiors made the ratings, whereas no significant associations were foundfor transactional leadership (Table 3).
Factor structure of the MLQ in Norway
A principal component analysis with varimax rotation (see Table 4) yieldedthree factors with eigenvalues exceeding 1. A screeplot before the analysissupported the factor solutions. Bartlett’s test of spherity was significant, andthe Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin measure of sampling was acceptable (5 .89). Intotal, the three factors accounted for 78% of the variance. The first factorexplained 59% of the variance and this factor covered all the transforma-tional leadership scales, as well as contingent reward, which is part of thetransactional scales. Also, consistent with the high correlations reported inTable 3, the outcome variables scales loaded most strongly on the firstfactor. The second factor consisted of laissez faire leadership and manage-ment by exception – passive, explaining 10% of the variance, and the thirdfactor, explaining 9% of the variance, consisted of management byexception – active. Contingent reward also loaded on this factor. Overall,the factor structure found in this study, replicate the transformational andpassive-avoidant leadership dimensions detected in recent MLQ validationstudies. Still, the high loading of contingent reward on the first factor isnoteworthy, and might be suggestive of problems with discriminant validityfor the transformational and transactional scales.
As shown in Table 3, the agreement between superiors’ and subordinates’ratings, calculated by Pearson product –moment correlation, was gen-
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TABLE 3Means, standard deviations, and correlations among study variables
erally low, and ranged from 0.08 for work motivation to 0.28 fortransformational leadership. The interrater correlation between the twogroups of subordinates was consistently somewhat higher. Again, thetransformational leadership scale yielded a higher interrater correlation(.32) than the passive-avoidant (.22) and transactional (.05) leadershipscales.
Leadership and outcome scales measuringsatisfaction with leader, leader’s effectiveness, andwork motivation
Hierarchical regression analyses were performed with the three outcomevariables, satisfaction, effectiveness, and work motivation, as dependentvariables. To control for the possible influence of gender and organiza-tion, these variables were entered in step 1. Men were coded as 1 andwomen as 2. As recent studies have related contextual factors, such asorganizational size to differences in leadership (e.g., Berson, Shamir,Avolio, & Popper, 2001), we constructed a dummy variable fororganizations, where private organizations were given value 1 and publicorganizations value 0. Because these analyses aimed at determining theunique contribution of transformational leadership in explaining theoutcome variables, passive-avoidant and transactional leadership were
TABLE 4Factor loadings in a principal component analysis (varimax rotation) based on the
Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (N=177)
MLQ scales Factor 1 Factor 2 Factor 3
(Work motivation/extra effort)* (.87)
Intellectual stimulation .84
Contingent reward .82 .29
Individualized consideration .81
Inspirational motivation .80
Idealized influence .73
Laissez faire 7.88
Management by exception—passive 7.82
Management by exception—active .97
Eigenvalue 6.50 1.15 1.02
Percentage of variance 59.14 10.47 9.32
*Outcome scales and their loadings are in parentheses to separate them from the leadership
TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADERSHIP IN NORWAY 157
entered at the second step to partial the shared variance with thesevariables. Finally, transformational leadership was entered as the thirdstep. Separate analyses were performed based on the ratings ofsubordinates and superiors. Table 5 shows the results of these analyses.For each step, the increase in explained variance (DR2) is shown. Total R2
is shown on the bottom of the table.These analyses revealed strong and significant association between
ratings of leadership behaviour and the three outcome variables forboth subordinates and superiors. The portion of variance explainedby transformational leadership remained significant even whencontrolling for the two other leadership variables entered on step2. Relative to the other outcome variables, transformational leader-ship was most strongly associated with high work motivation forsubordinates.
Personality and leadership
Also, to examine the association between the four personality scales andleadership, the same two sets of analyses were performed. Pearson’sproduct –moment correlation revealed that warmth correlated significantlywith openness to change as well as transformational leadership and workmotivation in subordinates’ ratings. Warmth also correlated significantlywith leadership satisfaction rated by superiors. The correlation betweenopenness to change and transformational leadership was significant forsuperiors’ ratings, and tension showed a negative significant correlation withtransformational leadership and satisfaction with the leader rated bysubordinates. Finally, transactional leadership rated by subordinatescorrelated significantly with reasoning (see Table 3).
Second, a series of hierarchical regression analyses were performed withleadership behaviour as dependent variables and personality as predictors(see Table 6). Identical but separate analyses were performed forsubordinates and superiors. As in the previous analyses, gender andorganization were entered into the regression analyses as the first step. Instep 2 the personality variables were entered. For subordinates’ ratings, thesecond step, in which the personality variables were entered, was onlymarginally significant with 10% explained variance. Transactional leader-ship or passive-avoidant leadership, rated by subordinates, were notsignificantly predicted from personality. An examination of the beta-weightsfor the individual variables further revealed that the magnitudes of thecoefficients were low, except for the moderate relationship betweenreasoning and transactional leadership. However, the multiple correlationof the four personality variables and transformational leadership rated bysubordinates was moderately high at R=.40. Superiors’ ratings of
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TABLE 5Summary of hierarchical multiple regression analyses based on transformational leadership, controlling for gender, organization, and
passive-avoidant and transactional leadership, with outcome scales as dependent variables (N=100 for subordinates, N=80 for superiors)
transformational, transactional, or passive-avoidant leadership were notsignificantly predicted from personality. A separate regression analysisshowed that the personality scales were not significant predictors of theoutcome scales for subordinates nor for superiors.
The results of this study yielded substantial support for the superiority oftransformational leadership practices in Norwegian organizations. Acrossthe five companies participating in the study, both private and public,transformational leadership showed strong and consistent links with thethree outcome variables, independent of whether subordinates or superiorsmade the ratings. Supporting the augmentation hypothesis (Bass, 1985),transformational leadership contributed unique variance to the outcomevariables after the effects of transactional and passive-avoidant leadershipwere considered. Another major finding of this study was the modestrelationship between transformational leadership and the personalitymeasures, suggesting that the context in which leadership occurs might bea more important determinant than the leader’s individual traits. Specifically,perceptions of the leader appeared to be strongly related to the role of therater, highlighting that leadership is a dyadic process.
Structure of the MLQ
The structural validity of the MLQ has been debated. One issue in thisdebate has been how the components of the traditional transformational,transactional, and laissez faire scales compose separate factors. Results fromthe principal component analysis in this study revealed that transforma-tional, transactional, and passive-avoidant leadership could be extracted asseparate factors in a Norwegian setting. However, as in other studies,contingent reward loaded higher on the transformational leadership factorthan on the transactional scale. This is a common finding which could beexplained by contingent reward being found at the interface between whatindividuals perceive as transactional and transformational (Tejeda et al.,2001). Transformational leaders are also found to use contingent rewardsfrequently, which could be another explanation of high correlation betweenthese variables. However, transformational leadership is within theoryconsidered to be a higher order factor, which points to the fact thatcontingent reward could be a necessary platform to build transformationalbehaviour upon, but that transformational leadership adds somethingbeyond exchange of rewards. Findings from confirmatory factor analyses(Avolio et al., 1999) support transformational leadership as a higher orderfactor.
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Transformational leadership and outcome ratings
Consistent with previous studies (Hater & Bass, 1988) and supporting ourhypothesis, transformational leadership was positively correlated with howeffective the manager was perceived, how much effort the subordinates saidthat they were willing to invest for their manager, and the degree ofsatisfaction with the leader. Consistent with previous research (Judge &Bono, 2000), the results from this study showed that work motivation, orwillingness to exert extra effort, is the outcome variable best predicted bytransformational leadership by subordinates’ ratings. This finding providesempirical support for the theoretical assumption that the motivationalaspect of transformational leadership is what makes it unique and successful(Bass, 1998; Den Hartog et al., 1999). Yet, the answer remains unclear as tohow transformational leadership changes people and organizations. Somesort of empowerment has been hypothesized to be involved (Yukl, 1998)that might be due to increased self-efficacy implying intrinsic as opposed toextrinsic motivation (Bandura, 1986).
As in other studies (Alimo-Metcalfe, 1998; Harris & Schaubroeck, 1988;Scullen, Mount, & Sytsma, 1996), moderate correlations were also foundbetween ratings made by superiors and those made by subordinates. It istherefore noticeable that an almost identical pattern of associations wasdetected between transformational leadership and the outcome variablesacross these two rating sources. We are not familiar with studies reportingequally strong correlations in terms of ratings by superiors. This pattern ofresults lends support to the theoretical assumption that transformationalleadership may have a positive influence on several levels of theirenvironment (Bass, 1985). Specifically, the favourable evaluations bysuperiors suggest that transformational leaders at the mid level of thecorporation can facilitate good communication upwards in an organization,and in this manner contribute to a profitable and healthy workingenvironment. It is also possible that these leaders can increase their ownchance of being promoted as a consequence of good evaluations from theirsuperiors (Judge & Bono, 2000).
The results from this study is in line with the assumptions thattransformational leadership is more motivating than transactional leader-ship (Bass, 1997a). Despite a high correlation between transformationaland transactional leadership, it is noticeable that transactional leadershipwas not significantly associated with the outcome evaluations amongsubordinates in the last step of the hierarchical regression analyses, withthe exception of effectiveness rated by superiors. This is an importantresult given that transactional behaviours incorporate what traditionallyhas been emphasized as important components of leadership. The resultalso challenges findings from other studies (Den Hartog et al., 1997; Hater
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& Bass, 1988; Howell & Avolio, 1993). The moderate interrater agreementbetween the subordinates found in this study is in line with previousstudies (London, 2001). An explanation for discrepancies in ratings couldbe that subordinates form different relationships with their leaders basedon their dispositions such as personality and values (Ehrhart & Klein,2001; Klein & House, 1995; Lord & Brown, 2001; Thomas, Dickson, &Bliese, 2001). The potential impact of personality and attribution processesamong subordinates needs further documentation. One component of theunexplained variance may be random measurement error and varianceidiosyncratic to the rater (Judge & Bono, 2000). Rater specific variancemay result from factors not controlled for in this study, such as theamount of contact between subordinate and leader, total time ofemployment in the firm, as well as differing work tasks amongsubordinates.
The negative impact of passive-avoidant leadership on the workmotivation of subordinates as indicated by our results, is also consistentwith earlier research (Judge & Bono, 2000). Along this line, findings from arecent study indicates that passive leadership is likely to result in damagingconsequences for the working environment, health, and well-being ofemployees (Corrigan, Lickey, Campion, & Rashid, 2000).
Transformational leadership and personality
A second aim of this study was to explore links between leaderpersonality and transformational leadership. The total amount ofvariance explained by the four personality scales included in our analyseswas modest, as the combination of the four personality scales onlyexplained 10% of the variance. An even lower portion was explainedwhen superiors made the ratings, failing to give significant results and notin support of our hypothesis. None of the four traits made a significantaddition to the prediction of transformational leadership over and abovethe contribution of the other variables. The selected personality scalesshowed inconsistent associations across rating sources and outcomevariables. The weak associations are surprising, given that these traitswere chosen based on conceptual relevance to transformational leader-ship, as well as previous studies. Yet, it is noteworthy that personalitywas more associated with transformational leadership than transactionaland passive-avoidant behaviour, suggesting that the personality conceptswe chose to investigate are more important for transformationalbehaviours.
Consistent with our hypothesis, warmth emerged as the strongestpersonality correlate of transformational leadership rated by subordinates,related to both transformational leadership and satisfaction. This result is
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also consistent with findings from previous studies, linking subordinates’ratings of transformational leadership to agreeableness in the five-factormodel (Judge & Bono, 2000) and to the concepts of femininity andnurturance (Ross & Offerman, 1997). The strength of the correlationbetween warmth and transformational leadership is equal to the correlationbetween agreeableness and transformational leadership revealed in Judgeand Bono, but the correlation between warmth and work motivation insubordinates’ ratings is higher in our findings. The latter finding lendssupport to our assumption that high levels of warmth might be especiallyimportant in Norway, due to the strong cultural value put on stereotypicallyfeminine qualities (Hofstede, 1980). Differential findings for superiors andsubordinates suggest, however, that warmth is more important for thosebeing led than the superiors of the leader. Further research is needed toclarify this issue.
As predicted, a negative significant relationship was detected betweentension and transformational leadership and satisfaction with the leader asrated by subordinates. The results were not significant for superiors. It islikely that tense and impatient leaders affect subordinates to a greaterextent, because being led implies a more direct dependence upon the leader.Subordinates may suffer more under tense leaders simply as a result of thecodependent dyadic nature of this relationship. When leaders are too tenseand impatient, this could in turn lead to frustration and tension in followers(House & Howell, 1992). According to House and Howell, a leader’s choiceof tactics of influence depends to a certain degree on the leader’s expectationof subordinate compliance. One possibility, which needs further examina-tion, is that the managers who possess high levels of tension are lessconfident and have lower efficiency expectancies than others in interpersonalencounters.
Contrary to our hypothesis, neither levels of reasoning nor openness tochange correlated significantly with transformational leadership rated bysubordinates. Future studies should test the robustness of this unexpectedfinding. As hypothesized, superiors’ ratings revealed that openness tochange correlated with transformational leadership. Scores on the person-ality scales were not significantly related to any of the outcome variables.One possibility is that these personality traits do not autonomously influencethe transformational process, but rather, the level of discrepancies betweenthe leader and his or her subordinates does. Indeed, research on similarityattraction has revealed that subordinates prefer leaders similar to themselves(Ehrhart & Klein, 2001).
The fact that reasoning was not associated with transformationalleadership or outcome ratings could be due to little variance in thereasoning scale, since almost all leaders scored above average in relation tothe norms for this scale. A replication in a less homogeneous sample is
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warranted to overcome this limitation. It is possible that above a certainlevel, further increase in reasoning skills has minimal effects on leadership.In our sample, all leaders could have had the reasoning skills necessary. Onemight question the extent to which the reasoning scale in Cattell 16PFencompasses the cognitive abilities involved in transformational leadership.The reasoning scale in 16PF is assumed to measure knowledge of establishedfacts rather than the ability to see new or different solutions. Along this line,the transactional scale, thought to measure traditional leadership skillswithout opening for new and different solutions to problems, correlatedsignificantly with the reasoning measure.
Probably, a measure of intelligence implying divergent thinking would bemore appropriate for further research, as questioning old assumptions andencouraging new ideas seem closer to the concept of creativity or intelligenceembedded in transformational theory.
Survey research of this type has obvious limitations, including the effects ofstereotypes and attribution biases in ratings of behaviour of leaders who areknown to be effective. Halo effects and common methods variance arecommon response biases in survey research (Avolio, Yammarino, & Bass,1991; Murphy & Anhalt, 1992; Baltzer & Sulsky, 1992). As the first factor inthe principle component analysis accounted for much of the variance, thiscould indicate a general impression halo effect, whereby a rater’s overallimpression or evaluation of the leader leads the rater to evaluate all aspects ofperformance in a manner consistent with this general impression orevaluation. While we cannot exclude the possibility that these kinds ofresponse bias have influenced on our findings, the extraction of three separateleadership factors suggest that the respondents have indeed differentiatedbetween different leadership behaviours. It is also worth noting that thepositive outcomes associated with transformational leadership were observedwhen controlling for transactional and laissez faire behaviour, independentof the potential effects of common method variance or halo effects. Yet, theextent to which future research makes use primarily of self-reported dataindicates that imposing some control for response biases would be in order.
The extent to which subjective reports of outcomes correspond with moreobjective indicators has been addressed in previous research (Podsakoff etal., 1996). The use of subjective outcome measures of effectiveness andsatisfaction has been criticized for inflating relationships, but then again,using objective criteria is found to have an attenuating effect. In terms ofmotivational outcomes, it is reasonable that subjective criteria are moreappropriate (Lowe et al., 1996). The limited amount of women in the sample(only 17%) underlines the need for a replication study to analyse the
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robustness of the lack of gender effect found in our regression analysis. Also,as our data are collected mainly in knowledge-intensive organizations, theresults might not generalize to production companies. Finally, given thatour data is cross-sectional, we cannot make conclusions about causalrelationships in our findings. To overcome these limitations, a replication ona larger, longitudinal, and less homogeneous database seems warranted.
The study presented in this article suggests that the superiority oftransformational leadership documented in a number of studies alsogeneralizes to a Norwegian context. With growing globalization, researchon cultural similarities and differences concerning leadership is crucial.Nordic organizations, with their distinct features such as egalitarian values,encounter increasing demands concerning incorporation in organizationallife worldwide, for instance as part of multinational organizations (Kald &Nilsson, 2000).
The extent to which the leader possesses warmth and sensitivity inrelation to the needs of others appears to be an important attribute for beingperceived as a transformational leader among Norwegian employees.Nevertheless, the relatively weak associations with personality give rise tooptimism that these leadership behaviours may be learned. While guidelineshave been developed for leaders who seek to inspire and motivate followers(e.g., Yukl, 1998), much remains to be explored about whether personalitytraits may act to limit the success of training. Situational factors may bealternative predictors where personality fails to predict transformationalleadership, and should also be further investigated (Shamir & Howell, 1999).Research is still needed to verify the many theories on the processes involvedin transformational leadership (Bass, 1998; Yukl, 1998). New focus on howfeatures of subordinates affect ratings, and how subordinates formtransformational relationships with their leader, can also reveal importantcontributions to this field. More research is also warranted on the impact oftransformational leadership on the health and well-being of employees,beyond organizational satisfaction and commitment. Transformationalleaders are crucial as motivators in organizations. Our findings haveindicated the importance of transformational leadership in yet anotherculture. We hope this study will inspire future research on such leaders andtheir behaviour and traits.
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