A Behavioral Approach to Understanding Leadership Effectiveness
CitationSinno, Niam. 2018. A Behavioral Approach to Understanding Leadership Effectiveness. Master's thesis, Harvard Extension School.
AbstractRecent research has begun to examine how the effect of leader behaviors differs across subordinates and organizations. Thus far, leadership style has been one of the most discussed and debated factors associated with leadership effectiveness, as early research on
its antecedents began with the search for specific attributes that differentiate leaders across the two labels represented by transformational and transactional leadership to explain
individual differences in effectiveness. Specifically, leadership style has been linked to outcomes such as subordinate ratings of leadership potential and motivation to lead. This
study tested whether certain behaviors contribute to individuals being particularly adept at either transformational or transactional leadership style, as rated by subordinates. 110 leaders
from 12 countries engaged in this research, assessing their own leadership and requesting
feedback from 337 subordinates. Using multiple linear regression, this study tested the hypothesis that relational-oriented and change-oriented behaviors predict a more
transformational style of leadership. Conversely, this study also tested the hypothesis that task-oriented behaviors predict a more transactional style. The question of whether leaders’
self-awareness of their behaviors (as measured by the congruence between leaders’ and their subordinates’ ratings of their behaviors) is associated with higher ratings of transformational
leadership was also assessed. Extensive analyses revealed that transformational leadership
was associated with higher ratings on the full spectrum of leadership behaviors, with specifically higher relational-oriented and change-oriented behavior ratings. Additional
quantitative analysis also showed a strong relationship between self-awareness and transformational leadership.
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