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Rening individualized consideration:
Distinguishing developmental leadership
and supportive leadership
Alannah E. Rafferty* and Mark A. Grifn
School of Management, Queensland University of Technology, Australia
This study explores the theoretical and empirical distinction between developmental
leadership and supportive leadership, which are currently encompassed in a single sub
dimension of transformational leadership, individualized consideration. Items were
selected to assess these constructs, and hypotheses regarding the differential effects of
developmental and supportive leadership were proposed. Conrmatory factor analyses
provided support for the proposed distinction between developmental and supportive
leadership, although these leadership factors were very strongly associated. Structural
equation modelling and multi-level modelling results indicated that both developmental
leadership and supportive leadership displayed unique relationships with theoretically
selected outcome measures. Developmental leadership displayed signicantly stronger
relationships with job satisfaction, career certainty, affective commitment to the
organization and role breadth self-efcacy than did supportive leadership. Results
provide initial evidence in support of the discriminant validity of these two types of
leadership. Discussion focuses on the need to further examine the construct of
developmental leadership.
The changing nature of employment conditions and psychological contracts means that,
increasingly, employees are being asked to continually develop their skills and manage
their own careers (e.g. Cappelli, 1999; Iles, 1997; Waterman, Waterman, & Collard,
2000). In this environment, organizations must give employees opportunities to
develop their employability in exchange for enhanced productivity and commitment as
long as an employee works in the rm (Waterman et al., 2000). As a result,
organizational leaders are being confronted with demands to equip employees with the
skills to succeed in this new environment. One sub dimension of the Bass (1985) model
of transformational leadership, individualized consideration, has been dened as
encompassing a developmental orientation towards followers and may be an important
way that leaders can help followers succeed in todays business environment.
Unfortunately, there has been relatively little theoretical or empirical interest in
* Correspondence should be addressed to Dr Alannah Rafferty, School of Management, Queensland University of Technology,
2 George St, Brisbane 4001, Australia (e-mail: a.rafferty@qut.edu.au).
The
British
Psychological
Society
37
Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology (2006), 79, 3761
q 2006 The British Psychological Society
www.bpsjournals.co.uk
DOI:10.1348/096317905X36731
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the developmental behaviours encompassed by individualized consideration. This lack
of interest may be associated with a theoretically signicant shift in the denition of
individualized consideration away from developing subordinates to something more
akin to supportive leadership (e.g. Avolio & Bass, 1995; Bass, 1999).
We argue that developmental leadership is likely to be a core transformational
behaviour because it enhances followers skills and self-efcacy and, therefore, has
transformational effects. In contrast, empirical research indicates that supportive
leadership is strongly associated with satisfaction, but is not associated with motivation
or performance (e.g. Yukl, 1999). These results suggest that supportive leadership might
not have transformational effects and that the current mixture of supportive and
developmental themes within the individualized consideration construct may be
inappropriate. In this paper, we theoretically delineate the nature of developmental
leadership by drawing on the mentoring literature and contrast this leadership construct
with supportive leadership. We then propose hypotheses regarding the differential
impact of developmental leadership and supportive leadership on a number of
outcomes, including job satisfaction, affective commitment, career certainty and role
breadth self-efcacy.
Transformational leadership
Transactional leadership involves an exchange relationship between leaders and
followers such that followers receive wages or prestige for complying with a leaders
wishes (Burns, 1978). In contrast, transformational leaders motivate followers to
achieve high levels of performance by transforming followers attitudes, beliefs and
values as opposed to simply gaining compliance (Bass, 1985). Bass identied a number
of sub dimensions of transformational leadership including charisma, which is now
referred to as idealized inuence, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation and
individualized consideration.
Empirical tests of the extraordinary effects of transformational leaders on followers
have become known as tests of the augmentation hypothesis (Bass, 1985; Hater &Bass,
1989). This hypothesis proposes that transformational leadership should predict
performance and satisfaction beyond what can be accounted for by transactional
leadership, but not vice versa. Empirical research has found support for this hypothesis
(e.g. Hater & Bass, 1989) and theoretical explanations for the augmentation effect have
focused on the motivational effects of charismatic and inspirational leadership.
However, it may be that a large part of the effect can be attributed to the developmental
impact of individualized consideration on followers. Employees may achieve beyond
expectations not only because they are more inspired and motivated, but because they
have developed and enhanced their skills. Below, we review discussions of
individualized consideration and explore the shifting meanings attached to this
construct over time.
Individualized consideration
Recent empirical evidence indicates that individualized consideration is an important
leadership behaviour in the workplace (Sarros, Gray, & Densten, 2002). Bass (1985)
identied a developmental orientation and individualized attention to followers as
important aspects of individualized consideration. He stated that developmental
leadership is evident when leaders advise staff on their careers, carefully observe
Alannah E. Rafferty and Mark A. Grifn 38
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and record followers progress and encourage staff to attend technical courses.
The delegation of work activities in order to provide challenges was also identied as an
important developmental behaviour. In contrast, Bass discussed individualized attention
as occurring when a leader pays attention to the differences among followers and
discovers what motivates each individual. This author proposed that individualized
attention allows leaders to become familiar with followers, enhances communication
and improves information exchange.
Recently, theorists have begun to shift the focus of individualized attention from
a means topromote familiarity withfollowers toa means toprovide support. For example,
Avolio and Bass (1995, p. 202) stated that a leader displays more frequent individualized
consideration by showing general support for the efforts of followers. The move towards
dening individualized consideration as encompassing supportive leadership as well as
developmental leadership is problematic as research suggests that supportive leadership
is unlikely to have transformational effects (e.g. Yukl, 1999). We propose that the two
aspects of individualized consideration are distinct, and we draw on the mentoring
literature in order to inform our discussion of developmental leadership and to
distinguish supportive and developmental leadership.
Dening supportive and developmental leadership
Supportive leadership has received extensive attention in a variety of different research
areas, including the leadership (e.g. House, 1971), occupational stress (e.g. Kahn &
Byosiere, 1992) and mentoring elds (e.g. Allen, Eby, Poteet, Lentz, & Lima, 2004).
House (1981) dened a supportive leader as one who provides emotional,
informational, instrumental and appraisal support to followers. However, this author
stated that the most intuitive meaning of social support is emotional support, which
involves the provision of sympathy, evidence of liking, caring and listening. We adopt
this relatively narrow denition of supportive leadership, and focus on what House
(1981) referred to as emotional support; that is, supportive leadership is dened as
occurring when leaders express concern for, and take account of, followers needs and
preferences when making decisions.
Supportive leadership has been of particular interest in the occupational stress eld
(e.g. Cohen & Wills, 1985; Kahn & Byosiere, 1992), where researchers have identied
two models through which social support inuences well-being. The buffering
hypothesis suggests that social support is related to well-being primarily for persons
experiencing stress. That is, support buffers or protects people from the potentially
negative inuence of stressful events. The main effects model proposes that social
resources have a benecial effect irrespective of whether people are under stress.
Cohen and Wills (1985) conducted an inuential review of the occupational stress
literature, and concluded that supervisor social support has a pure buffering effect; that
is, social support is only effective in the presence of an elevated stress level.
Developmental leadership has received less theoretical attention than supportive
leadership, and a coherent picture of developmental leadership has yet to emerge.
However, Bass (1985) identied a number of specic developmental behaviours when
dening individualized consideration, including career counselling, careful observation
of staff, recording followers progress and encouraging followers to attend technical
courses. These behaviours overlap with a number of behaviours identied in the
mentoring literature.
Developmental and supportive leadership 39
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Two major categories of behaviours that are similar in content to supportive and
developmental leadership have been identied by authors interested in mentoring.
Mentoring has been dened as a relationship between a younger adult, and an older,
more experienced adult [who] helps the younger individual navigate the adult world
and the world of work (Kram, 1985, p. 2). Within the mentoring literature, theorists
have distinguished a career-oriented function of mentoring and a psychosocial function
(Kram, 1983, 1985). The psychosocial function of mentoring involves acting as a role
model, providing acceptance and conrming the proteges behaviour. We focus on the
career-oriented function of mentors, which encompasses the behaviours of sponsor-
ship, exposure and visibility, coaching, protection and providing challenging
assignments (Kram, 1983).
As discussed by Kram (1983, 1985), sponsorship involves actively nominating an
individual for desirable lateral moves and promotions. Exposure and visibility involves a
mentor providing a protege with opportunities to demonstrate competence and high
levels of performance to senior staff. Coaching involves efforts to enhance a proteges
knowledge and understanding and suggesting specic strategies for accomplishing
work objectives and for achieving recognition and career aspirations. Protection refers
to efforts to shield a protege from untimely or potentially damaging contact with senior
staff. The provision of challenging assignments in conjunction with technical training
and ongoing performance feedback enables the protege to develop specic
competencies and to experience a sense of accomplishment in a professional role.
Examination of the career-oriented function of mentors suggests that this function
captures an extensive range of behaviours that go beyond leadership or management as
they are traditionally conceptualized. In addition, researchers have also argued that
leadership is a more formal, overt, and indirect inuence process than mentoring, and
that not all leaders become effective mentors (Godshalk & Sosik, 2000; Raabe & Beehr,
2003). Nevertheless, we expect that transformational leaders will exhibit a number of
developmentally-oriented behaviours, including coaching followers, identifying appro-
priate training courses for followers to undertake and encouraging followers to develop
their job-related skills and abilities.
Differential effects of developmental and supportive leadership
The above review suggests that developmental leadership and supportive leadership
encompass two distinct sets of leader behaviours. However, the empirical relationship
between supportive and developmental leadership has not been addressed. We propose
that there will be a positive relationship between these constructs as both supportive
and developmental leadership are based on an interest in the welfare of followers. As
such, leaders that are attentive to followers needs and preferences are also likely to
recognize individuals developmental needs. Importantly, however, it is proposed that
developmental leadership and supportive leadership are distinct constructs that will
display discriminate validity with each other.
Hypothesis 1. Developmental leadership and supportive leadership will be differentiated as
distinct but related constructs.
In addition, it is proposed that developmental leadership and supportive leadership will
display differential relationships with a number of outcomes. Job satisfaction, affective
commitment and self-efcacy are key outcomes of transformational leadership (Lowe,
Kroeck, & Sivasubramaniam, 1996; Shamir, House, & Arthur, 1993), and so we examine
Alannah E. Rafferty and Mark A. Grifn 40
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these variables in this paper. In addition, we examine career certainty, which refers to the
extent to which individuals feel that they are provided with opportunities for career
advancement and that their job and career are secure.
Job satisfaction
Job satisfaction refers to an individuals global feeling about their job (Spector, 1997),
and authors have argued that the primary effects of supportive leadership are on
affective reactions such as job satisfaction (Yukl, 1999). Empirical research has
supported this assertion (Judge, Piccolo, &Ilies, 2004; Wofford &Liska, 1993). Theorists
have suggested that supportive leadership is associated with affective outcomes because
socio-emotional support increases positive affect and enjoyment in the workplace, and
communicates to followers that they are accepted and liked (Wofford & Liska, 1993).
As a result, it is proposed that:
Hypothesis 2. Supportive leadership will display a positive relationship with job satisfaction.
In the mentoring literature, researchers have tended to focus on objective career
outcomes such as promotion and pay rates rather than on subjective outcomes such as
job satisfaction (Allen et al., 2004). However, Higgins and Thomas (2001) examined
both the subjective and objective impact of mentors on proteges. These authors found
in a sample of lawyers that career-oriented assistance and psychosocial support were
positively related to job satisfaction. We propose that when leaders coach followers by
encouraging them to develop their job-related skills and abilities, followers will feel
more interested and engaged in their job, which will enhance job satisfaction. Thus, it is
proposed that:
Hypothesis 3. Developmental leadership will display a positive relationship with job satisfaction.
Theoretical arguments suggest that supportive leadership is likely to display a stronger
positive relationship with job satisfaction than developmental leadership. Job
satisfaction consists of two components: an affective and cognitive component (Fisher,
2000). The affective component of job satisfaction captures the feelings that are
engendered by ones job and represents the emotional experience associated with a job.
The cognitive component of job satisfaction refers to beliefs about ones job, and the
location of ones job on various dimensions of judgment (Breckler & Wiggins, 1989).
We suggest that both developmental leadership and supportive leadership will inuence
the cognitive side of job satisfaction by enhancing the standing of the current work
environment in comparison to other possible workplaces. However, it is likely that the
socio-emotional nature of supportive leadership will also display a strong relationship
with the affective component of job satisfaction. As a result, we propose that supportive
leadership will display a stronger overall relationship with job satisfaction than
developmental leadership:
Hypothesis 4. Supportive leadership will display a stronger unique positive relationship with
job satisfaction than will developmental leadership.
Developmental and supportive leadership 41
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Affective commitment to the organization
Affective commitment refers to the extent to which followers identify with, are involved
in and are emotionally attached to an organization (Meyer &Allen, 1997). Meyer, Stanley,
Herscovitch, and Topolnytsky (2002) conducted a meta-analytic review of research on
commitment and concluded that work experiences are a critical driver of attachment to
an organization. Supportive leadership is an important aspect of individuals experience
in the workplace (Eisenberger, Stinglhamber, Vandenberghe, Sucharski, & Rhoades,
2002), and empirical studies indicate that supportive leadership is strongly positively
associated with affective commitment to the organization (e.g. Podsakoff, MacKenzie, &
Bommer, 1996). When leaders express concern for followers needs and preferences,
these individuals are likely to feel a sense of approval and increased afliation with their
leader. Enhanced attraction to the leader will lead to incorporation of the organizational
membership into the employees identity (Rhoades, Eisenberger, & Armeli, 2001).
As such, it is purposed that:
Hypothesis 5. Supportive leadership will display a positive relationship with affective
commitment to the organization.
Developmental leadership is also likely to be positively associated with affective
commitment to the organization. Raabe and Beehr (2003) argued that the career-
oriented function provided by a mentor gives a protege a special advantage in the
organization and, therefore, enhances affective attachment to that organization.
Donaldson, Ensher, and Grant-Vallone (2000) suggested that mentors have a positive
inuence on proteges affective commitment as these individuals provide feedback and
help socialize individuals to an organizations norms. These authors conducted a study
of non-professional employees in the USA, administering two surveys separated by a
period of 6 months. Donaldson et al. reported that proteges with high quality mentoring
relationships had higher levels of commitment to the organization at Time 1 and at Time
2 than individuals in low or moderate quality mentoring relationships. On the basis of
this research, we propose that when an employees leader displays developmental
leadership, affective commitment to the organization will be enhanced. Thus, it is
proposed that:
Hypothesis 6. Developmental leadership will display a positive relationship with affective
commitment to the organization.
However, we propose that developmental leadership will display a stronger positive
relationship with affective commitment than will supportive leadership. Mathieu and
Zajacs (1990) meta-analytic reviewof research on commitment indicated that perceived
personal competence was a very strong inuence on organizational commitment. These
authors concluded that individuals are committed to an organization to the extent that
their company provides opportunities for growth and development. In a labour market
where individuals are increasingly under pressure to develop their skills and manage
their own careers (Waterman et al., 2000), we propose that developmental leadership
will have a particularly strong impact on affective attachment to an organization.
As such, it is proposed that:
Hypothesis 7. Developmental leadership will display a stronger unique positive relationship
with affective commitment than will supportive leadership.
Alannah E. Rafferty and Mark A. Grifn 42
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Career certainty
Researchers in the eld of mentoring have examined subjective career success, which
has been dened as the satisfaction that individuals derive from intrinsic and extrinsic
aspects of their careers, including pay, advancement and developmental opportunities
(Greenhaus, Parasuraman, & Wormley, 1990; Judge, Cable, Boudreau, & Bretz, 1995).
We focus on one aspect of subjective career success, career certainty, or the extent to
which individuals feel that they are provided with opportunities for career
advancement, and the extent to which they feel that their job and career are secure
(Caplan, Cobb, French, Van Harrison, & Pinneau, 1980). When leaders coach followers
by recommending training or by engaging in other actions to increase their skills, those
followers will feel more positive about their employability and more certain about their
career. Thus, it is proposed that:
Hypothesis 8. Developmental leadership will display a positive relationship with
career certainty.
In addition, it is proposed that supportive leadership will be signicantly positively
associated with career certainty. That is, when leaders are sensitive to followers needs
and preferences, it is likely that followers will also feel that their leader will be
supportive of them more generally in terms of their broader career aspirations. As such,
it is proposed that:
Hypothesis 9. Supportive leadership will display a signicant positive relationship with
career certainty.
However, it is likely that developmental leadership will be more strongly associated with
career certainty than will supportive leadership. Allen et al. (2004) conducted a meta-
analytic review of mentoring research and reported that the career-oriented and
psychosocial functions of mentoring were similarly related to career satisfaction.
However, one issue with research in the mentoring eld is that authors have not
typically distinguished between mentors who also supervise their proteges, and
mentors who do not have this kind of day-to-day contact (Raabe & Beehr, 2003).
We suggest that, when ones immediate leader engages in developmental leadership,
there will be a strong positive relationship between developmental leader behaviours
and career certainty. As a result, it is proposed that:
Hypothesis 10. Developmental leadership will display a stronger unique positive relationship
with career certainty than will supportive leadership.
Role breadth self-efcacy
Self-efcacy is an important motivational construct that inuences individuals choices,
goals, emotional reactions and their effort, coping and persistence (Bandura, 1997).
We examine one specic type of efcacy, role breadth self-efcacy (RBSE), which refers
to the extent to which people feel they are capable of carrying out a range of proactive
integrative tasks beyond prescribed technical requirements. Examples of proactive tasks
include solving long-term problems, designing improved procedures, setting goals and
resolving conicts (Parker, 1998, 2000).
Self-efcacy beliefs are constructed from four major sources of information,
including enactive mastery experiences that serve as indicators of capability; vicarious
Developmental and supportive leadership 43
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experiences that alter efcacy beliefs through transmission of competencies and
comparison with the attainments of others; verbal persuasion; and physiological and
affective states from which people judge their capabilities, strength and vulnerability to
dysfunction (Bandura, 1986, 1997). We propose that developmental leadership will
have a strong positive impact on RBSE. In particular, when leaders coach staff by
recommending training, and encouraging followers to develop their job-related skills, it
is likely that individuals will experience enactive mastery experiences in the workplace,
which will increase RBSE. Thus, it is proposed that:
Hypothesis 11. Developmental leadership will display a signicant positive relationship
with RBSE.
In addition, when leaders take account of followers needs and preferences, employees
are likely to feel more positively about themselves as support conveys that they are
valuable members of the organization. This will enhance employees positive affect.
When judging their capabilities, people partly rely on somatic information conveyed by
physiological and emotional states (Bandura, 1997). Research indicates that even mild
positive affective states can have signicant effects on behaviour and cognitive
processes and on efcacy beliefs (Brief & Weiss, 2002; Isen & Baron, 1991). Thus, it is
proposed that:
Hypothesis 12. Supportive leadership will display a signicant positive relationship with RBSE.
Finally, it is proposed that supportive leadership is not likely to have as strong an
inuence on RBSE as developmental leadership. The latter form of leadership is focused
on enhancing individuals task-related skills, and is likely to increase mastery
experiences in the workplace. In contrast, supportive leadership is directed at
followers needs and preferences and is more likely to inuence individuals emotions
and positive mood rather than RBSE. Bandura (1997) stated that enactive mastery
experiences are the most inuential source of efcacy information because these
experiences provide people with authentic evidence of what it takes to succeed. As a
result, it is likely that developmental leadership will have a strong impact on RBSE. Thus,
it is proposed that:
Hypothesis 13. Developmental leadership will display a stronger unique positive relationship
with RBSE than will supportive leadership.
Method
Procedure and participants
An employee attitude survey was administered in a large Australian public sector
organization employing over 4,000 employees. The primary task of the organization is
strategically planning and developing road infrastructure and managing an extensive
road network. The survey was designed to assess a wide range of factors contributing to
employee satisfaction and well-being in the workplace, and employees responded to the
survey on the understanding that their individual responses would not be reported back
to the organization. Rather, survey results were provided for each work group within the
organization. The survey was administered on an organizational-wide basis to 4,200
individuals and 2,864 surveys were returned from 197 work groups (response rate 63%).
Alannah E. Rafferty and Mark A. Grifn 44
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The survey was responded to by 1,999 males (69.8%) and 816 females (28.5%), while 49
respondents (1.7%) failed to indicate their gender. The average organizational tenure of
respondents was 147.6 months (SD 132).
Measures
The items assessed in this study are shown inTable 1, including a measure of bureaucracy,
which acted as the marker variable. We used this marker variable to assess the effects of
common method variance (CMV) in the data set (Lindell & Whitney, 2001).
Demographics
A number of demographic measures were collected in the survey including gender
(1 male, 2 female), age (years) and organizational tenure (months). In addition,
information on group size was also collected from organizational records.
Table 1. Items used in the study
Item Scale
1. Considers my personal feelings when implementing
actions that will affect me
Supportive leadership
2. Takes into account my personal needs Supportive leadership
3. Ensures the interests of employees are considered
when making decisions
Supportive leadership
4. Encourages staff to improve their job-related skills Developmental leadership
5. Suggests training to improve my ability to carry
out my job
Developmental leadership
6. Coaches staff to help them improve their on-the-job
performance
Developmental leadership
7. Overall, I am satised with the kind of work I do Job satisfaction
8. Overall, I am satised with the organization in which
I work
Job satisfaction
9. Overall, I am satised with my job Job satisfaction
10. There is a job for me in this organization in the future
if I want one
Career certainty
11. There will be opportunities for career
advancement in the next few years
Career certainty
12. I am clear what my responsibilities
will be 6 months from now
Career certainty
13. I am clear about what my future career looks like Career certainty
14. Helping to set targets in your area RBSE
15. Designing new procedures for your work area RBSE
16. Representing your work area in meetings with
senior management
RBSE
17. This organization has a great deal of personal
meaning for me
Affective commitment
18. I really feel as if this organizations problems are my own Affective commitment
19. I feel a strong sense of belonging to this organization Affective commitment
Developmental and supportive leadership 45
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Leadership
All leadership items were assessed via 5-point Likert scales where 1 represented strongly
disagree and 5 represented strongly agree. Employees were asked to respond to the
leadership items, keeping in mind the leader or manager of their local work unit.
Supportive leadership
Three items used by Rafferty and Grifn (2004) assessed supportive leadership.
An example of an item was my work unit leader ensures that the interests of
subordinates are considered when making decisions. This scale had a Cronbach a of .92.
Developmental leadership
Three items were adapted from Houses (1998) developmental orientation measure to
assess this construct. An example of an item was my work unit leader coaches staff to
help them improve their on-the-job performance. This scale had a Cronbach a of .88.
Outcome measures
Five-point Likert scales were used for the affective commitment and career certainty
scales, where 1 referred to strongly disagree and 5 referred to strongly agree. A 7-point
scale was used for job satisfaction where 1 referred to strongly disagree and 7 referred
to strongly agree. A 7-point scale was used for RBSE where 1 referred to not at all
condent and 7 referred to very condent.
Job satisfaction
This variable measures the extent to which employees feel satised with their jobs, the
nature of the work that they do and the organization that they work for (Hart, Grifn,
Wearing, & Cooper, 1996). Three items assessed job satisfaction, and an example of an
item is overall I am satised with my job. This scale had a Cronbach a of .90.
Affective commitment to the organization
Three items from Meyer, Allen, and Smiths (1993) scale assessed this construct.
An example of an item was this work unit has a great deal of personal meaning for me.
This scale had a Cronbach a of .85.
Career certainty
Four items assessed this construct (Caplan et al., 1980). An example of an item was
there will be opportunities for career advancement in the next few years. This scale
had a Cronbach a of .78.
Role breadth self-efcacy
Three items developed by Parker (1998) assessed this construct. An example of an item
in this scale was I feel condent representing my work area in meetings with senior
management. This scale had a Cronbach a of .87.
Bureaucracy
This construct assesses the relative emphasis on rules and red tape within an
organization. Three items assessed bureaucracy (Hage &Aiken, 1967), and this scale had
a Cronbach a of .82. An example of an item in this scale was our work involves a great
deal of paperwork and administration.
Alannah E. Rafferty and Mark A. Grifn 46
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Overview of analyses
We assessed the inuence of common method variance (CMV) using the marker variable
approach adopted by Williams and Anderson (1994). A marker variable is the best
estimate of CMV in a data set (Lindell & Whitney, 2001), and is selected on the basis that
it is theoretically unrelated to the substantive constructs of interest and has a correlation
with at least one of those variables that is close to zero (Lindell & Whitney, 2001).
A 3-item measure of bureaucracy was used as the marker variable.
Prior to examining hypotheses, a series of nested measurement models was
estimated based on data from the 2,664 staff members who provided complete
responses to the survey. All model tests were based on the covariance matrix and used
maximum likelihood estimation as implemented in LISREL 8.3 (Joreskog & Sorbom,
1996). After assessing the measurement model using CFA, we developed a structural
model to test our hypotheses.
We also tested the hypotheses using multi-level modelling. The multi-level model
allowed us to investigate relationships between leadership, outcomes and control
measures, taking account of the group structure of the data (Hofmann, Grifn, & Gavin,
2000). We used MLWin 2.0 to estimate the multi-level model (Goldstein et al., 1998). For
each of the four dependent variables, we estimated a multi-level model in which residual
variance was partitioned into within-group and between-group variance. The predictors
were measured at the individual level and were able to explain both individual and
group level variance. Our interest focused on the size of the xed parameters for each of
the predictor measures.
Finally, we examined the discriminant validity of the leadership factors from each
other, and the discriminant validity of the leadership factors with each of the outcome
measures. Using structural equation modelling, we estimated a series of constrained
models that we contrasted using a x
2
difference test. In the multi-level model, a deviance
statistic is computed based on a comparison between a constrained and unconstrained
model. The deviance statistic has a x
2
distribution that was used to test the signicance
of the difference between the paths (Goldstein et al., 1998).
Results
Descriptive statistics and correlations
Means, standard deviations and zero-order correlations among the variables are shown
in Table 2. This table indicates that group size, age, gender and organizational tenure
were consistently associated with the variables assessed in this study. As a result, the
demographic measures and group size were included in the following analyses as
control variables.
The aggregate properties of the substantive measures are displayed in Table 3, which
shows that there was a statistically signicant variance between groups on all measures.
However, the actual amount of variance at the group level was relatively low, comprising
less than 10% of variance for all measures. Because the group level variance was
relatively low, we include the individual level measure of leadership in the multi-level
model, rather than aggregating the measures to the group level of analysis.
Measurement model
We rst estimated an 11-factor measurement model that distinguished between all of
the constructs in the study, including the marker variable. In this model, Model 1, the
Developmental and supportive leadership 47
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Alannah E. Rafferty and Mark A. Grifn 48
Copyright The British Psychological Society
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loadings from the marker variable to the 22 items assessing the substantive variables
and the three demographic measures were free to vary. This model provided a good t to
the data, x
2
(236) 2,629.10, p , :001; GFI :93, CFI :94, NNFI :92, RMSEA
:06 (see Table 4).
In Model 2, we constrained the 22 paths from the marker variable to the indicators of
the substantive constructs and to the demographic measures to zero. Therefore, the
comparisonof Models 1 and 2tested whether there were signicant method effects inthe
dataset. Model 1 was a signicantly better t to the data than Model 2, Dx
2
22 129:19,
p , :001, indicating that signicant method effects were present. Next, Model 3 tested
whether the method factor had an equally strong inuence on all the indicators of the
substantive constructs and the demographic measures by constraining these loadings to
be equal. Model 1 was a signicantly better t than Model 3, Dx
2
(21) 1,020.31,
Table 3. Group level properties of measures
Variables
Between-group
variance
Within-group
variance
Percentage of
between-group
variance (%)
F value for group
effect (1,195)
Developmental leadership 0.07 0.86 7.70 2.84***
Supportive leadership 0.08 1.00 7.47 2.54***
Satisfaction 0.06 1.78 3.31 2.03***
Affective commitment 0.03 0.89 3.60 1.72***
Role breadth self-efcacy 0.03 0.85 3.54 1.94***
Career certainty 0.08 0.94 7.49 2.68***
Note. *p , :05, **p , :01, ***p , :001.
Table 4. Model comparisons for the measurement and structural models
Models df x
2
NNFI RMSEA CFI GFI
Model 1
a
236 2,629.10 .92 .06 .94 .93
Model 2
b
258 2,758.29 .92 .06 .94 .93
Model 3
c
257 3,649.46 .88 .07 .91 .91
Model 4
d
236 2,629.10 .92 .06 .94 .93
Model 5
e
258 2,758.29 .92 .06 .94 .93
Model 6
f
260 3,134.83 .91 .06 .93 .92
Model 7
g
244 3,559.79 .89 .07 .92 .91
Note. N 2,534.
a
Model 1 Measurement model with unequal loadings from method factor.
b
Model 2 Measurement model with no loadings from the method factor.
c
Model 3 Measurement model with loadings from the method factor to substantive indicators
constrained to be equal.
d
Model 4 Saturated structural model with unequal loadings from the method factor to substantive
indicators.
e
Model 5 Saturated structural model with loadings from the method factor to substantive indicators
constrained to be zero.
f
Model 6 Model 4 with relationships between the demographic factors and leadership and outcomes,
and the leadership factors and outcomes set to the unstandardized values obtained from Model 5.
g
Model 7 Model 6 with no relationships between the leadership factors and outcomes.
Developmental and supportive leadership 49
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p , :001, indicating that method effects were not equal for indicators within substantive
constructs.
On the basis of the above model comparisons, the measurement model examined in
this study included a common method factor that loaded on all items in the study with
the exception of the group size measure, with these loadings free to vary. This
measurement model, Model 1, became the basis for all subsequent comparisons. Table 5
displays the standardized parameter estimates for the measurement model (Model 1).
All of the model parameters loaded signicantly on their hypothesized factor at p , :001,
and the latent factors explained substantial amounts of item variance (R
2
ranged from
.38 to .92). Table 5 also displays the factor loadings of the substantive variables on the
method factor. With the exception of organizational tenure, gender, age, one satisfaction
item and one career certainty item, all of the study items loaded signicantly on the
method factor (p , :05).
Factor intercorrelations in Model 1 indicated that developmental leadership and
supportive leadership were very strongly positively correlated with each other (r :77,
p , :001). Although this level of correlation was high, the value is lower than what is
typically found between different aspects of transformational leadership (e.g. Lowe et al.,
1996).
Structural model
To develop an appropriate structural model for testing hypotheses, we rst tested
a saturated structural model in which all the leadership factors were related to all
the outcome measures (Model 4; see Table 4). Loadings from the method factor to the
indicators of the substantive constructs and the three demographic measures were
free to vary. Because this model was saturated, the t was exactly the same as
the measurement model (Model 1), which was a good t to the data. This model allowed
us to estimate the value of structural paths between leadership and outcomes when
methods effects were included.
Next, we estimated a model in which the loadings from the method factor to the
indicators of the substantive constructs and the demographic measures were set to zero
(Model 5; see Table 4). This model allowed us to estimate the value of structural paths
between leadership and outcomes when CMV was not included. To test whether the
method factor was having a signicant effect on the structural paths, we estimated
a sixth model (Model 6). In this model, the method factor was included, but the
structural paths were constrained to be equal to the estimates from Model 5, in which
no method factor was included.
A signicant difference in t between Models 4 and 6 would indicate that the
structural paths were inuenced by CMV. Model 4 was a signicantly better t than
Model 6, Dx
2
24 505:73, p , :001, suggesting that method effects did signicantly
change the estimated values of the structural paths. Therefore, Model 4, which included
the effects of CMV, was used as the nal structural model with which to test the
hypotheses.
Finally, to test the contribution of the structural parameters to the overall t of the
model, we estimated a null model that included common method effects only (Model 7;
see Table 4). In this model, relationships between the leadership factors and the
outcome variables were set to zero. Comparison of this null model with Model 4
provides a test of whether the relationships between the leadership factors and the
outcomes are equal to zero. Model 4 was a signicantly better t to the data than Model
Alannah E. Rafferty and Mark A. Grifn 50
Copyright The British Psychological Society
Reproduction in any form (including the internet) is prohibited without prior permission from the Society
T
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Developmental and supportive leadership 51
Copyright The British Psychological Society
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7, Dx
2
8 930:69, p , :001, indicating that the structural paths were necessary for
the overall t of the model. In summary, Model 4, which controlled for method effects,
was a signicantly better t than a range of other nested models. Therefore, this model
was used to test the specic hypotheses.
Hypothesis testing
To test whether developmental and supportive leadership were distinct from each
other, we compared the 11-factor measurement model (Model 1) with a constrained
model in which the relationship between the leadership factors was set to 1.00. A x
2
difference test was performed on the values obtained for the unconstrained and the
constrained measurement models obtained using structural equation modelling. A
signicantly lower x
2
value for the unconstrained model indicates that the leadership
factors that have been constrained to be equal are not perfectly correlated, and that
discriminant validity exists (Anderson & Gerbing, 1988). The x
2
difference test was
signicant, Dx
2
1 34:88, p , :001, indicating that developmental and supportive
leadership were distinct from each other providing support for Hypothesis 1. We tested
the remaining hypotheses using the saturated structural model and a series of multi-level
models. The results of the analyses are summarized in Table 6.
After controlling for the effects of group size and the demographic measures,
supportive leadership displayed a signicant unique positive relationship with
satisfaction in both the structural model (b 0:19, p , :001) and the multi-level
model (b 0:24, p , :001), providing support for Hypothesis 2. Developmental
leadership also displayed a signicant unique positive relationship with satisfaction in
both the structural model (b 0:36, p , :001) and the multi-level model (b 0:48,
p , :001), providing support for Hypothesis 3. When the paths from both types of
leadership to satisfaction were constrained to be equal, there was a signicant decrease
in t for both the structural model, Dx
2
1 8:92, p , :01 and the multi-level model,
Dx
2
1 8:03, p , :001. This result indicated that developmental leadership had a
signicantly stronger unique positive relationship with satisfaction than supportive
leadership. This result is opposite to that predicted by Hypothesis 4, which was
therefore not supported.
Supportive leadership was signicantly related to affective commitment to the
organization in the structural model (b 0:08, p , :05), but not in the multi-level
model (b 0:06, ns), which provides partial support for Hypothesis 5. In contrast,
developmental leadership was signicantly positively related to affective commitment
in both the structural model (b 0:31, p , :001), and in the multi-level model
(b 0:23, p , :001), providing support for Hypothesis 6. When comparing the
magnitude of these two effects, the constrained structural model showed a signicant
decrease in t, Dx
2
1 30:85, p , :001, as did the constrained multi-level model,
Dx
2
1 6:45, p , :05. This result indicated that developmental leadership had
a signicantly stronger unique positive relationship with affective commitment
compared with supportive leadership, providing support for Hypothesis 7.
Developmental leadership was signicantly and positively related to career certainty
in both the structural model (b 0:43, p , :001) and the multi-level model (b 0:32,
p , :001), supporting Hypothesis 8. In addition, Hypothesis 9 was supported as
supportive leadership was signicantly positively associated with career certainty in
both the structural model (b 0:11, p , :01) and the multi-level model (b 0:11,
p , :001). Supporting Hypothesis 10, the constrained model resulted in a decrease in t
Alannah E. Rafferty and Mark A. Grifn 52
Copyright The British Psychological Society
Reproduction in any form (including the internet) is prohibited without prior permission from the Society
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Developmental and supportive leadership 53
Copyright The British Psychological Society
Reproduction in any form (including the internet) is prohibited without prior permission from the Society
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Alannah E. Rafferty and Mark A. Grifn 54
Copyright The British Psychological Society
Reproduction in any form (including the internet) is prohibited without prior permission from the Society
for both the structural model, Dx
2
2 30:39, p , :001, and the multi-level model,
Dx
2
1 9:8, p , :01, indicating that developmental leadership was more strongly
associated with career certainty than was supportive leadership.
Hypothesis 11 was supported as developmental leadership was signicantly
positively related to RBSE in both the structural model (b 0:14, p , :001) and the
multi-level model (b 0:07, p , :05). In contrast, Hypothesis 12 was not supported as
supportive leadership was not signicantly associated with RBSE in either the structural
model (b 0:02, ns) or the multi-level model (b 20:00, ns). The constrained model
was a signicantly poorer t for the comparison of the structural paths, Dx
2
2 4:09,
p , :05, but not for the comparison of paths in the multi-level model, Dx
2
1 1:49,
p . :05. Therefore, Hypothesis 13 was only partially supported.
Table 6 also reports the paths from the control variables to the outcomes and to the
two leadership constructs in the structural model. Group size was signicantly
negatively associated with all of the outcome variables with the exception of satisfaction
in the multi-level model (b 20:00, ns). The structural model indicated that group size
was particularly strongly related to supportive leadership (b 20:16, p , :001),
developmental leadership (b 20:16, p , :001), and RBSE (b 20:14, p , :001).
In addition, the structural model indicated that age was signicantly and positively
related to satisfaction (b 0:11, p , :001), RBSE (b 0:08, p , :001), and
commitment (b 0:17, p , :001), but was not related to career certainty (b 0:00,
ns). Finally, males displayed higher levels of RBSE and commitment in both analyses, and
higher levels of career certainty in the structural model.
Discussion
Denitions of individualized consideration have shifted subtly over time so that,
increasingly, authors are discussing this leadership sub dimension as encompassing both
developmental leadership and supportive leadership, with an emphasis on the latter.
However, Yukl (1999) argued that it is not appropriate to consider developmental and
supportive leadership behaviours in a single sub dimension of transformational
leadership. Despite this, theorists have not systematically explored whether supportive
leadership and developmental leadership are distinct constructs with differential
relationships with outcomes. We undertook this task in this study.
Findings indicated that developmental leadership and supportive leadership are
empirically distinct constructs that have different effects on followers. Whilst analysis
revealed that developmental and supportive leadership displayed discriminant validity,
these constructs were very strongly positively correlated. The strong positive
relationship between developmental leadership and supportive leadership is not
surprising as followers may perceive both types of leadership as indications of a leaders
overall level of concern for their welfare in the workplace.
These ndings provide evidence that supportive leadership contributed to the
outcomes examined in this study. However, developmental leadership had a substantially
greater impact on affective commitment, career certainty, RBSE and job satisfaction than
did supportive leadership; that is, developmental leadership accounted for additional
variance in outcomes above that accounted for by supportive leadership. These results
provide some preliminary evidence to suggest that it is appropriate to consider
developmental leadership as an important sub dimension of transformational
leadership. In contrast, supportive leadership had a weaker relationship with outcomes
Developmental and supportive leadership 55
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and these ndings raise the question as to whether supportive leadership as dened in
this study truly has transformational effects on followers.
Another nding of note was that supportive leadership was not signicantly
associated with RBSE in either the structural or the multi-level model. This result
supports previous work that indicates that mastery experiences have a stronger impact
on efcacy beliefs than other factors such as vicarious experiences, cognitive
simulations, verbal persuasion or physiological and affective states (Bandura, 1997).
There was clear support in this study for the idea that in order to inuence followers
condence in their capacity to carry out a wide range of proactive tasks, leaders must
actively attempt to provide active mastery experiences through coaching and training to
improve followers skills and abilities.
Unexpectedly, developmental leadership had a stronger relationship with job
satisfaction than did supportive leadership, although satisfaction has been identied as a
key outcome of supportive leadership. One possible explanation for this nding is that
the measure of job satisfaction used in this study was strongly cognitively based and did
not tap into the affective component of job satisfaction. The job satisfaction measure
that was used in this study asked people to evaluate their job and, as such, the results of
this study only provide evidence to suggest that developmental leadership is more
strongly positively associated with individuals cognitive evaluations of their job than is
supportive leadership. The ndings of this study cannot inform us about whether
supportive leadership or developmental leadership are more strongly positively
associated with individuals emotional response to their job.
Theoretical and practical implications
A key theoretical contribution of this paper is that we systematically considered the
nature of individualized consideration and integrated material in the mentoring and
transformational leadership areas to inform our understanding of developmental
leadership. Using this analysis, we developed a series of hypotheses concerning the
differential effects of developmental and supportive leadership. This is an important
step because little attention has been directed towards determining how formal leaders
inuence followers perceptions of their career progress. The results of this study
suggest that developmental leadership is an important leadership construct.
In addition, results demonstrated that supportive and developmental leadership are
distinctly different leadership constructs that display differential relationships with
outcomes. This is an important nding as researchers currently include both
developmental and supportive leader behaviours in one of the sub dimensions of
transformational leadership, individualized consideration. Therefore, researchers are
obscuring important relationships by assessing a single transformational sub dimension.
Previous researchers have argued that the transformational literature lacks theoretical
clarity regarding the nature of the sub dimensions of the model (e.g. Barbuto, 1997), and
that a number of the sub dimensions of the transformational model encompass an overly
diverse array of behaviours (Bryman, 1992; Yukl, 1999). Our study further renes the
nature of transformational leadership.
A key practical implication of this study was that we identied the behaviours of
formal organizational leaders that can be used to enhance employee development in the
workplace. This is critical as employees are increasingly being asked to manage their
own careers and to continually develop their skills. Effective developmental leadership
is likely to be an important mechanism to help individuals become more competent at
Alannah E. Rafferty and Mark A. Grifn 56
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managing their own career and at assessing their own strengths and weaknesses.
We identied a number of specic behaviours that are associated with developmental
leadership that organizations can train their managers in and which can also become
a part of selection packages when identifying new managerial talent.
Future research
This study represents a rst step in the process of exploring relationships between
developmental leadership and supportive leadership and outcomes. A number of
important avenues for future research are evident based on the results of this study. First,
this study indicates that it is particularly important that further attention is directed
towards theoretical explication of the construct of developmental leadership. Specic
issues that require further attention include exploration of the antecedents of
developmental leadership and the relationship of developmental leadership to the other
sub dimensions of transformational leadership. Recent research by Bommer, Rubin, and
Baldwin (2004) examined the antecedents of transformational leadership. These
authors reported that managers who were highly cynical about organizational change
were less likely to engage in transformational leader behaviours while the level of
transformational leadership displayed by managerial peers was positively related to the
degree to which managers displayed transformational leadership behaviours. While
these authors focused on a global transformational leadership factor, it is important to
determine whether these ndings apply to the sub dimensions of transformational
leadership including developmental leadership.
Previous research in the occupational stress and coping eld suggests that stress
moderates the relationship between supportive leadership and well-being, such that
social support is only effective in the presence of an elevated stress level. These ndings
suggest that it is important for future studies to examine the inuence of developmental
leadership and supportive leadership in an environment where employees are
experiencing a great deal of stress, such as when the rm is experiencing organizational
change. In this type of environment, it may be that supportive leadership will display
stronger relationships with outcomes than developmental leadership. In addition, it is
important that authors also explore the mechanisms that underpin the relationships
between developmental leadership and supportive leadership and outcomes.
In particular, while we made various hypotheses about the mechanisms by which
developmental or supportive leadership would be related to outcomes, we did not test
these mediated relationships. Future research should address this issue.
Another avenue for research involves examining relationships between develop-
mental and supportive leadership and affectively and cognitively focused job satisfaction
measures. As discussed previously, the results of this study suggest that developmental
leadership is strongly associated with a cognitively focused measure of job satisfaction.
However, we do not yet know whether this relationship will hold when an affectively
laden job satisfaction measure is used. Finally, further attention should be directed
towards further developing and validating the measure of developmental leadership.
Strengths and limitations
A strength of this study was the use of both structural equation modelling and multi-level
modelling when testing hypotheses. The use of these analytic techniques allowed
us to take advantage of the benets of both approaches. The structural model allowed us
Developmental and supportive leadership 57
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to examine the inuence of developmental and supportive leadership on a number
of outcomes measures and also allows incorporation of measurement error and testing
for common method effects. The multi-level model has the advantage of taking account
of the non-independence of measures obtained from individuals within the same group.
A limitation of the current study was the cross-sectional nature of the research and
the self-report nature of the data that we collected. This self-report nature of the data
leaves open the possibility that results are due to the inuence of common method
variance. Podsakoff and Organ (1986) state that, when measures are collected from
a single source, any defect in that source will contaminate both measures, presumably
in the same fashion and in the same direction. However, we controlled for the effects
of common method variance using procedures discussed by Williams and Anderson
(1994). The cross-sectional nature of the study means that we cannot rule out the
possibility that the path of causation is the reverse of that hypothesized. That is, we
operated under the assumption that leaders inuence employees attitudes. However, it
is possible that followers attitudes inuenced their ratings of their work group leaders.
In order to address this concern, there is a need to conduct longitudinal research where
leadership ratings are collected prior to attitude measures.
Concluding comments
This study provides evidence that it is not appropriate to consider developmental
leadership and supportive leadership in a single sub dimension of transformational
leadership. Findings indicate that developmental leadership and supportive leadership
are distinct, but related forms of leadership. Both types of leadership displayed unique
relationships with theoretically selected outcome measures. However, developmental
leadership displayed signicantly stronger relationships with job satisfaction, career
certainty, affective commitment to the organization and RBSE than did supportive
leadership. These ndings provide initial support for the discriminant validity of these
two types of leadership, and indicate that developmental leadership is an important, but
neglected form of leadership.
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Received 2 March 2004; revised version received 16 December 2004
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