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Leadership and Job Satisfaction

By Stephanie L. Brooke, PhD

Volume 4 - Issue 1
Feb 13, 2007 - 4:16:55 PM
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Printer friendly page EMPIRICAL
Job satisfaction is an extensively researched topic Learning
(Allen, Drevs, & Ruhe, 1999; Kleinman, 2004; Robbins,
1998; Spector, 1997; Yukl, 1998). Of particular interest
is the relationship between leadership style and job
satisfaction. For the individual, job dissatisfaction can
result in feelings of helplessness, burnout,
resentment, anger, and fatigue (Knoop, 1987; practice
Wilkinson & Wagner, 1993). Further, these emotions
can lead to the following behaviors: aggression,
regression, complaining, fighting, psychological
withdrawal, and leaving the agency (Knoop, 1987; Changes,
Wilkinson & Wagner, 1993). With these emotions and Partnership, and
behaviors, poor physical and mental health may Principal
ensue. From a management perspective, these
emotions can lead to decreased employee
performance, tardiness, absenteeism, turnover, early
retirements, and strikes (Ribelin, 2003; Robbins, 1998).
While understanding the reasons for changing
employment are critical for organizations, discerning
the relationship of leadership style on job satisfaction
is of paramount concern. Working with a leader who
does not provide support, show consideration, or
engages in hostile behaviors can be stressful for
employees (Wilkinson & Wagner, 1993). Negative Students in
leader-employee interactions can result in decreased Schools
pleasure with work, questioning one’s skill on the job,
reacting harshly to the leader, and leaving the agency
(Chen & Spector, 1991). The quality of the leader-
employee relationship has an impact on the
employee’s self-esteem (Brockner, 1988; DeCremer,
2003) and job satisfaction (Chen & Spector, 1991). The
costs to the agency can be quite high in terms of CONSISTENCY
worker stress, reduced productivity, increased OF
absenteeism, and turnover (Keashly, Trott, & MacLean, COUNSELLED
1994; Ribelin, 2003). AND
Considerate leaders, also known as expressive leaders SECONDARY
because they show concern for people, have been STUDENTS IN
found to facilitate a group with higher productivity and CROSS RIVER
higher performance (Singh, 1998). In addition, STATE
leadership consideration (expressive leadership) is GLOBALISATIO
more conducive to job satisfaction (Singh & Pestonjee, GOVERNANCE
1974; Spector, 1985). On the other side of the coin, DEMOCRACY:
task structured leaders, also known as instrumental THE
leaders, show less concern for employees and are
high on initiating structure. “Leader behavior
characterized as high on initiating structure led to
greater rates of grievances, absenteeism, and turnover
and lower levels of job satisfaction for workers
performing routine tasks” (Robbins, 1998, p. 350).

Despite the fact that leadership has been a widely

researched topic (Bass, 1990; Fiedler & Chemers,
1982; Field, 2002; Robbins, 1998; Ruvolo, Petersen, &
LeBoeuf, 2004; Yukl, 1998; Zaleznick, 1992), very little
attention has been directed toward the relationship
between leadership style and job satisfaction in
nonprofit agencies. To date, research has focused on
for-profit industries and the military (Bass, 1985; Hater
& Bass, 1988; Waldman, Bass, & Einstein, 1987). The
problem that this pilot study addresses is leadership
style, a consideration (expressive) orientation, and
structured (instrumental) orientation, in relation to
employee job satisfaction in the nonprofit arena.

With respect to child care organizations, the turnover

rate, a reflection of job dissatisfaction, ranges from 30-
50% per year (Ramsburg & Montanelli, 1999). This rate
is alarmingly high, especially when compared to the
annual turnover rate of 7% among elementary school
teachers (Whitebook & Bellm, 1999). The
consequences of dissatisfied child care workers is that
they develop an intent to leave the job. The
consequences are high in terms of the impact on the
organization as well as the children and families
In 1994, Dr. Bell introduced The Bell Leadership Job Satisfaction Survey. This tool gives
you an accurate understanding of what is happening in your organization. Through
confidential processing and comprehensive results, organizations are immediately able to
focus on the areas needing improvement to become more effective and reach a world-
class level. The Job Satisfaction Survey allows your organization to evaluate such things

Overall job satisfaction


Empowering participation

Morale, teamwork and effectiveness

Work design, ethics and equality of opportunity

Training and career opportunities

Dr. Bell’s work has been used by an astounding 500,000 leaders in more than 4,700
organizations and from over 85 countries. Organizations such as the Young Presidents
Organization and the Chief Executives Organization call on him again and again for his
practical, thought-provoking delivery. Over the years, thousands have enrolled in Dr.
Bell’s open enrollment programs held in Chapel Hill or have sought his services for
company programs, master classes and executive retreats

Leadership and Teamwork: The Effects of Leadership and

Satisfaction on Team Citizenship
Seokhwa Yun1
Seoul National University
Jonathan Cox
Houston, TX
Henry P. Sims, Jr.
Sabrina Salam
University of Maryland
This study examined how leadership related to citizenship behavior within
teams. Leadership was hypothesized to influence team organizational
citizenship behavior (TOCB) either directly or indirectly through job
satisfaction. Longitudinal data were collected in three waves. Leader
behaviors were measured at time 1, follower job satisfaction at time 2, and
TOCB at time 3. Results indicate that both empowering and
transformational leadership related positively to TOCB through job
satisfaction. Aversive leadership was related negatively to TOCB. Also,
leadership was mediated by job satisfaction in negatively relating to team
anticitizenship behavior. The implications and directions for future research
are discussed.

In what many call the postindustrial age, more and more organizations face
high velocity environments which are characterized as dramatically
changing, uncertain, and high-risk (Bourgeois & Eisenhardt, 1988; Riolli-
Saltzman & Luthans, 2001). In such a dynamic environment, many
organizations find the use of teams efficient and productive (LePine, Erez, &
Johnson, 2002). For example, a recent survey found that most Fortune 1,000
firms use teams with at least some employees and that teams are one of the
fastest growing forms of employee 1 This study was supported by the
Institute of Management Research of Seoul National University, Korea and
by Grants from the R. H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland.

We dedicate this paper to our late

colleague Sabrina Salam.
International Journal of Leadership Studies, Vol. 2 Iss. 3, 2007, pp. 171-193
©2007 School of Global Leadership & Entrepreneurship, Regent University
ISSN 1554-3145
involvement (Lawler, Mohrman, & Benson, 2001). One type of behavior
that may contribute to the effectiveness of teams is team members’
citizenship behavior. Organ (1988) conceptualized organizational citizenship
behavior (OCB) and defined it as “individual behavior that is discretionary,
not directly or explicitly recognized by the formal reward system and that in
the aggregate promotes the effective functioning of the organization” (p. 4).
OCB includes behaviors like helping coworkers who have high workloads,
helping newcomers adjust to the organization, and so forth. Since by
definition, OCB is not formally rewarded; it is generally considered
extrarole behavior. Indeed, in many respects, team citizenship is the essence
of teamwork. Team members’ OCB can indirectly improve team
performance through promoting the effective functioning of the team
(Organ, 1988). They can cumulatively lubricate the work process
(Organ, Podsakoff, & MacKenzie, 2005; Smith, Organ, & Near, 1983).

The purpose of this study is to investigate how to build team organizational

citizenship behavior (TOCB). This study examined how TOCB relates to
leadership and job satisfaction. More specifically, we investigated whether
leader behavior influenced TOCB directly and/or indirectly through job
satisfaction. Even though many studies on OCB have been conducted at
the individual level (e.g., Lee & Allen, 2002; LePine et al., 2002; Rotundo &
Sackett, 2002), there has been less research of citizenship behavior at the
team level of analysis (some exceptions include Pearce & Giacalone, 2003;
Pearce & Herbik, 2004; Podsakoff, Ahearne, & MacKenzie, 1997; Raver &
Gelfand, 2005). Nonetheless, the examination of OCB at the individual level
of analysis implicitly assumes the aggregation of individuals’ citizenship
behavior to some higher-level group (Organ, 1988; Pearce & Giacalone).

Thus, we have taken the natural next step and have examined citizenship
behavior at the team level of analysis.

The paper is structured as follows. First, the following section offers a

theoretical background for our study. We begin by presenting a review of
relevant literature on leadership and citizenship behavior. We then propose
team citizenship to be a consequence of leadership, possibly mediated by job
satisfaction. We describe the research method: a longitudinal field study
over three periods of data collection in which team leadership was measured
at time 1, job satisfaction of team members at time 2, and TOCB at time 3.
Next, we present the results of the study. To conclude, we discuss the
implications of our findings.
This study conceptualized leadership along five archetypes on the basis of
literature review. Our theoretical view of leadership was inspired by Manz
and Sims and colleagues (e.g., Cox & Sims, 1996; Manz & Sims, 1991,
2001; Pearce et al., 2003; Scully, Sims, Olian, Schnell, & Smith, 1994).
Their typology originally included four archetypes. In this paper, we
developed extended versions of their archetypes including aversive,
directive, transactional, transformational, and empowering leadership
archetypes. We selected this typology because it is firmly grounded in the
current transactional/transformational leadership paradigm (e.g., Bass,
1985; Burns, 1978) yet extends historically to aversive and directive
leadership and, more
recently, to empowering leadership.
International Journal of Leadership Studies, Vol. 2 Iss. 3, 2007, pp. 171-193
©2007 School of Global Leadership & Entrepreneurship, Regent University
ISSN 1554-3145
Aversive Leadership
The first type of leader influence is through the use of aversive methods such
as punishment, reprimand, and intimidation. Aversive leadership has long
been an important topic of leadership (e.g., Arvey & Ivancevich, 1980; Ball,
Trevino, & Sims, 1994). Aversive leadership mainly focuses on their
followers’ poor work and wrong or unacceptable behaviors.

Directive Leadership
The next archetype is directive leadership which might be considered an
older, traditional view of leadership. This archetype represents a highly
directive leadership style (e.g., Schriesheim, House, & Kerr, 1976).
Directive leadership represents a prototypical boss who engages in a highly
directive style (e.g., Schriesheim et al.). Relying on a formal position in the
organization; directive leaders make decisions, give instructions and
commands, and expect followers to carry out the decisions. Based on their
own judgment, directive leaders command subordinates and expect their
compliance. They clarify followers’ roles and tasks and provide instructions
(Howell & Costley, 2001).

Transactional Leadership
Transactional leadership emphasizes the constructing and clarifying of the
reward contingencies for subordinates. Transactional leaders engage in
instrumental exchange relationships with subordinates by negotiating and
strategically supplying rewards in return for achievement of goals.
Transactional leadership is based on a rational exchange relationship
between leader and subordinate (Bass, 1985; Howell & Costley, 2001). The
leader articulates what behaviors are required and what will be rewarded and
provides feedback to the subordinate about his or her behavior. The
subordinate, in turn, complies with these behavior requirements if rewards
are desired.

Transformational Leadership
The transformational leader leads by inspiring and stimulating followers and
by creating highly absorbing and motivating visions (e.g., Bass, 1985; Bass,
Waldman, Avolio, & Bebb, 1987; Burns, 1978; Conger, 1989; Conger,
Kanungo, & Menon, 2000; House, 1977; Kark, Shamir, & Chen, 2003;
Lowe, Kroeck, & Sivasubramaniam, 1996; Podsakoff, MacKenzie,
Moorman, & Fetter, 1990). Transformational leaders utilize behaviors such
as charisma and intellectual stimulation to induce performance of
subordinates beyond expectations. Transformational leaders develop a vision
and motivate their followers to strive for this vision. Also, they encourage
followers to challenge the status quo to be able to pursue that vision.
International Journal of Leadership Studies, Vol. 2 Iss. 3, 2007, pp. 171-193
©2007 School of Global Leadership & Entrepreneurship, Regent University
ISSN 1554-3145

Empowering Leadership
Empowering leadership represents a significant paradigm shift and
emphasizes follower self-influence rather than external, top-down influence
(e.g., Manz & Sims, 1990, 1991). Leaders who use empowering behaviors
believe that followers are an influential source of wisdom and
direction. These leaders emphasize self-influence; self-management; self-
control; or, to use Manz and Sims’ (1990, 1991) term, self-leadership.
Historical perspectives that were instrumental for the development of
empowering leadership variables are behavioral selfmanagement
(e.g., Mahoney & Arnkoff, 1978), social learning theory (e.g., Bandura,
1997), and cognitive behavior modification (e.g., Meichenbaum, 1977).
Empowering leadership creates followers who are effective self-leaders.
Self-leadership, in turn, involves developing actions and thought patterns
that we use to influence our own behavior. Several recent studies (Ahearne,
Matthieu, & Rapp; 2005; Ensley, Hmieleski, & Pearce, in press; Manz &
Sims, 1987; Pearce & Sims, 2002, Pearce, Yoo, & Alavi, 2004; Yun, Cox, &
Sims, 2006; Yun, Faraj, & Sims, 2005) have recognized empowering
leadership as distinct from transformational leadership. Pearce et al.
(2003) developed a leadership typology based on literature review and
analysis of three samples, and argued that empowering leadership is distinct
from transformational leadership.

Citizenship Behavior
Organ (1988) defined OCB as “behavior [by the employee] that is
discretionary, not directly or explicitly recognized by the formal reward
system, and that in the aggregate promotes the effective functioning of the
organization” (p. 4). Noting that discretionary behaviors vary in the
likelihood with which they will be rewarded, Organ (1988) viewed OCBs as
“non-required contributions that are regarded by the person as relatively less
likely to lead along any clear, fixed path to formal rewards” (p. 5). Hence,
the incentive for employees to engage in OCB is not any kind of immediate
extrinsic reward. However, Organ (1988) acknowledged that OCB can
have a beneficial cumulative effect for an individual and that the individual
may consider these long-term benefits. OCB can also benefit organizations
directly and/or indirectly. Examples of directly beneficial OCB include
volunteerism, assistance between coworkers, unusual attendance or
punctuality, and active participation in organizational affairs (Farh,
Podsakoff, & Organ, 1990). Smith, Organ, and Near (1983) stressed the
cumulative, indirect benefits of OCB for “lubricat[ing] the social machinery
of the organization” (p. 654). They linked OCB to spontaneous behavior that
“goes beyond role prescriptions”" (p. 653). Katz (1964) considered such
behavior essential for strong organizational social systems. The organization
gains a measure of systemic resiliency from these small, spontaneous acts of
selfless sensitivity, cooperation, and uncompensated contribution.
International Journal of Leadership Studies, Vol. 2 Iss. 3, 2007, pp. 171-193
©2007 School of Global Leadership & Entrepreneurship, Regent University
ISSN 1554-3145

Puffer (1987) defined negative or noncompliant behaviors as “non-task
behaviors that have negative organizational implications” (p. 615). This is a
type of behavior that has been related to general job satisfaction (Fisher &
Locke, 1992). Based on preliminary research, Fisher and Locke developed
an inductive taxonomy of negative behavioral responses to job
dissatisfaction. Subsequent research built on this initial item pool
categorized the items into dimensions and developed ratings of the relative
“badness” of the items. Dimensions from the Fisher and Locke taxonomy
were later conceptualized as examples of anticitizenship behavior (ACB).
It is possible that OCB and ACB; while negatively correlated; may be
separate, coexisting dimensions that range from zero to some positive
quantity. Accordingly, reduced OCB need not necessitate a corresponding
increase in ACB. The absence of OCB, for example, might only signal
passivity with respect to positive citizenship. ACB, however, involves active
behaviors that have specific negative implications for the organization. Ball,
Trevino, and Sims (1994) found a substantial negative (-.60) correlation
between OCB and ACB, but their factor analysis supported the conceptual
distinctness of these two classes of behavior. This finding offers preliminary
support for the separate dimensionalities of OCB and ACB.

Citizenship as a Team Attribute

While OCB has been extremely important in the traditional organization, the
movement toward team-based organizations raises the question of whether
OCB can be viewed as an internal team attribute. Citizenship is interactive
or social in nature; OCB is typically an act of one person toward another or
others. Thus, most OCB can be conceptually extended toward the team
level. In addition, the examination of OCB at the individual level of analysis
implicitly assumes the aggregation of individuals’ behavior to some higher-
level group (Organ, 1988, 1994; Pearce & Giacalone, 2003). Recognizing
this, this study examined the effects of leadership on team OCB. TOCB is
conceptualized as team members’ citizenship behavior toward other team
members as a whole. It is conceptualized as a team level construct in this
study. Thus, in this research, we take the natural next step and examine
citizenship behavior at the team level of analysis.
This study addresses the question: how do we generate TOCB? There are
certainly many ways in which TOCB appears in employees and teams.
Among several possible antecedents, we propose and empirically test that
leadership can influence TOCB directly and/or indirectly through job
satisfaction. Job satisfaction has long been a central construct in the study of
behavior in organizations. Cranny, Smith, and Stone (1992) stated that
“there seems to be general agreement that job satisfaction is an affective
(that is, emotional) reaction to a job that results from the incumbent’s
comparison of actual outcomes with those that are desired (expected,
deserved, and so on)” (p. 1). Locke (1976) defined job satisfaction as “a
pleasurable or positive emotional state resulting from the appraisal of one’s
job or job experiences” (p. 1300).
International Journal of Leadership Studies, Vol. 2 Iss. 3, 2007, pp. 171-193
©2007 School of Global Leadership & Entrepreneurship, Regent University
ISSN 1554-3145
Fisher and Locke (1992) pointed out that research has failed to establish a
relationship between job satisfaction and specific behavioral criteria such as
turnover or absenteeism. They attributed this result to the attempt to predict
specific behaviors from job satisfaction. Behavior measures, they argued,
should match the generality of the attitude measure. Further, both developed
responses to job satisfaction that are cognitive in nature and affect rather
than need based. Citizenship behavior has these characteristics. On similar
grounds, Organ (1988) commented on the difficulties in finding a
relationship between job satisfaction and performance and hinted that this is
because performance has been too narrowly defined and proposed the
relationship between job satisfaction and OCB. He (1988) also argued that in
most research studies, OCB has been ignored though constituting an
important part of performance. In a study by Bateman and Organ (1983), a
relationship between OCB and job satisfaction was found. Also, Organ and
Konovsky (1989) conducted a study in which they tried to predict OCB from
both affective and cognitive components of job satisfaction. The study
involved the appraisal of jobs and pay by employees. Results showed that
pay cognitions were a significant predictor of altruism and OCB as well as
compliance behavior.

Another study that has found a relationship between job satisfaction and
OCB was conducted by Gibbs, Rosenfeld, and Javidi (1994). They studied
the relationship between job-related behavior/disposition, trait
communication apprehension, its effect on satisfaction with different
aspects of the job, and further job satisfaction’s effects on citizenship
behavior. They stated that a relationship was “found between workers’ job
satisfaction and their self-reported demonstration of organizational
citizenship behaviors” (p. 216). Some researchers have studied job
satisfaction at the group or organizational level and have demonstrated that
organizational level job satisfaction is positively related to organizational
level performance (e.g., Currall, Towler, & Judge, 2005; Harter & Schmidt,
2002; Schneider, Hanges, Smith, & Salvaggio, 2003). Currall et al. provided
theoretical justification of collective job satisfaction based on multilevel
theory (Morgeson & Hoffmann, 1999). Morgeson and Hoffmann (1999)
suggested that individual action and attitude does not exist in a vacuum and
collective structures can occur through a process termed double interact
where one employee makes a statement to which another employee
responds. In turn, the first employee responds back. As a result, collective
attitudes can be developed. Following this argument, we examine job
satisfaction as a collective construct and suggest that job satisfaction at the
team level is positively related to TOCB.

In summary, research has amply demonstrated that job satisfaction is one

determinant of OCB (Podsakoff, Mackenzie, Paine, & Bachrach, 2000). One
reason that research has been successful in establishing this relationship is
because OCB has been defined as an aggregate of behavior, a general type
of behavior which is congruent with the general attitude of job satisfaction.
In this study, we also suggest that job satisfaction is more likely to increase
TOCB and decrease TACB.

H1: Job satisfaction is positively related to TOCB and negatively related to

In this manuscript, we suggest leadership as an antecedent of TOCB. Organ
(1988) has argued that leader fairness induces OCB because a social
exchange relationship develops between employees and their supervisors.
Leaders’ fair behavior is reciprocated by employees’ OCB. Konovsky and
Pugh (1994) tested the relationship between OCB and social exchange and
concluded that “the role of trust in a supervisor as a mediator of the
relationship between
International Journal of Leadership Studies, Vol. 2 Iss. 3, 2007, pp. 171-193
©2007 School of Global Leadership & Entrepreneurship, Regent University
ISSN 1554-3145 procedural justice and OCB, suggests that citizenship
behaviors occur in a context in which social exchange characterizes the
quality of superior-subordinate relationships” (p. 666).
Therefore, leadership that elicits feelings of trust and is associated with
perceptions of procedural justice will elicit OCB in their employees.
Previous research linking supervisor behavior to OCB has been at the
individual level.
The key to inducing OCB in employees is trust in the leader caused by
leaders’ fair behavior. What happens if we move to the team level? Leader
fairness will still be important. But, if trust and fairness are the keys to OCB,
why not induce such feelings from a source other than the leader? Perhaps,
members of a team who engage in highly interactive tasks, where one
person’s actions are effected by and affect another person’s actions, are
more likely to trust each other and perceive fairness as a necessary norm for
productive and efficient interaction on a team. If so, they are more likely to
induce OCB through effective interaction with each other. Therefore,
leadership that promotes teamwork, promotes lateral accountability among
team members, and gives power to the team will be efficient in fostering
TOCB. Podsakoff et al. (1990) proposed that transformational leadership
will have a positive effect on citizenship behavior. The defining
characteristic of the transformational leader is to inspire, and this enthusiasm
can sometimes be translated into a commitment to the group. Also,
transformational leadership develops and provides vision that team members
pursue together. This vision can motivate team members to work together.
Transformational leaders motivate their followers to work for the team’s
future, not only for their current jobs. The vision they provide can facilitate
teamwork among team members. In other words, team members under
transformational leaders are more likely to engage in extra-role behaviors to
achieve their shared goals or visions provided by leaders. Therefore, we
hypothesize a positive relationship between transformational leadership and
TOCB and a negative relationship between transformational leadership and
TACB. We also hypothesize that transformational leadership is positively
related to job satisfaction, as previous studies have found (e.g., Bass, 1985;
Hater & Bass, 1988; Howell & Frost, 1989; Koh, Steers, & Terborg, 1995;
Ross & Offermann, 1997; Sosik, 1997). Alternatively, this leadership style
may indirectly influence OCB through job satisfaction.

H2: Transformational leadership is positively related to job satisfaction.

a: Transformational leadership is positively related to TOCB and negatively
relatedto TACB.

b: Transformational leadership is indirectly, positively related to TOCB and
indirectly, negatively related to TACB.

Empowering leadership was hypothesized to be positively related with both

job satisfaction and TOCB and negatively related to TACB. First,
empowering leadership is likely to increase satisfaction because empowering
leaders encourage followers to work independently, unrestrictedly, and
harmoniously with coworkers. This leadership is more likely to fit with the
changing expectation of today’s employees. They increasingly view their
jobs as a means of personal fulfillment, not just a paycheck (Sims & Manz,
1996). They increasingly expect more control and influence over their own
jobs and decision making. Empowering leadership is more likely to meet
this expectation since it emphasizes follower self-initiative.

H4: Empowering leadership is positively related to job satisfaction.

International Journal of Leadership Studies, Vol. 2 Iss. 3, 2007, pp. 171-193
©2007 School of Global Leadership & Entrepreneurship, Regent University
ISSN 1554-3145
If the leader is a real empowering leader, he or she recognizes the potential
of the followers to be self-leaders as well as the importance of the team
process, interaction, and collaboration among the members in the team-
based context. This recognition makes the empowering leader emphasize
teamwork, collaboration, or interaction among team members as
well as individual self-initiative in doing their work. Also, empowering
leaders influence followers to recognize the importance of teamwork,
interaction, collaboration, or extra-role behaviors which can make teamwork
more harmoniously in the team-based context. Thus, empowering leaders
can increase team citizenship behaviors directly or indirectly through job

a: Empowering leadership is positively related to TOCB and negatively
related to TACB.

b: Empowering leadership is indirectly, positively related to TOCB and
indirectly, negatively related to TACB.

Some types of leadership may not be able to promote employee satisfaction

and OCB.
For instance, leaders who behave in an arbitrary and capricious way, like
aversive leaders, are less likely to develop a sense of team commitment and
positive affective response from followers. Further, aversive leaders may
indeed generate active resistance that breeds TACB. That is, we propose that
aversive leader’s behaviors such as threat and intimidation may generate
negative affective response which, in turn, generates behaviors such as
complaining and withdrawal. Therefore, we hypothesize that this leadership
style is negatively related to job satisfaction and TOCB. Alternatively, job
satisfaction may mediate the effect of aversive leadership on TACB.

H6: Aversive leadership is negatively related to job satisfaction.

a: Aversive leadership is negatively related to TOCB and positively related
to TACB.

b: Aversive leadership is indirectly, negatively related to TOCB and
positively related to TACB through job satisfaction.

Similarly, directive leadership was assumed to be negatively related to job

satisfaction and OCB. Directive leaders are those who dictate or direct their
followers regarding tasks. They seize the situation, and their subordinates
are passively expected to follow the leaders. This leadership style is less
likely to fit the changing expectation of today’s employees who increasingly
view their jobs as a means of personal fulfillment, not just a paycheck (Sims
& Manz, 1996). They increasingly expect more control and influence over
their own jobs and decision making. Directive leadership, as well as aversive
leadership, is contradictory to this changing expectation. Therefore, directive
leadership has a negative relationship with job satisfaction. Also, since
directive leaders mainly assign goals regarding tasks and instruct and
command their followers, they make subordinates focus. Therefore,
followers are less likely to engage in extra-role behaviors. Alternatively,
directive leadership indirectly influences OCB through job satisfaction.

H8: Directive leadership is negatively related to job satisfaction.

a: Directive leadership is negatively related to TOCB and positively related
International Journal of Leadership Studies, Vol. 2 Iss. 3, 2007, pp. 171-193
©2007 School of Global Leadership & Entrepreneurship, Regent University
ISSN 1554-3145

b: Directive leadership is indirectly, negatively related to TOCB and
positively related to TACB through job satisfaction.
The relationship between transactional leadership and TOCB seems unclear.
At the individual level, contingent reward patterns of leadership may create
perceptions of a fair exchange and good will which, in turn, may produce a
positive citizenship response. However, reward policies can sometimes
generate only calculating compliance such that individuals do only what
they are paid to do. Under these conditions, compliance may not extend into
good citizenship or extra-role behaviors. Transactional behavior may be
neutral at best, perhaps even deleterious when it comes to TOCB. Therefore,
we did not develop specific hypotheses regarding transactional leadership
and TOCB.

However, we hypothesized a positive relationship between transactional

leadership and job satisfaction. This type of leadership emphasizes
contingent reward which may create perceptions of a fair exchange which, in
turn, may produce job satisfaction. Followers clearly understand what they
are expected to do and what they will get as a result of their performance.
In other words, transactional leaders eliminate uncertainty that their
followers may encounter in their job. Therefore, we hypothesized a positive
relationship between job satisfaction and transactional leadership.

H10: Transactional leadership is positively related to job satisfaction.

Participants and Setting
Data gathered in this study were part of field research conducted at a large
defense firm
located in the mid-Atlantic United States. The sampling unit consisted of (a)
the leader (midlevel
managers or supervisors) and (b) the main focal unit, the team (direct report
subordinates of the
leader). The original sample consisted of 526 subordinates and 73 leaders.
After attrition and
aggregation to the team level, a final sample of 45 teams resulted with full
data across all three
time periods.
Team members averaged 40 years in age (SD = 10.8) and had worked in the
organization for an average of 14 years (SD = 9.51), 4 of which were spent
with their present
supervisor (leader). In addition, responding team members were
predominantly male and
generally well educated, having completed a bachelors degree with some
additional postcollege
training. Quantitative data were collected in three waves. There were 10
weeks between the first
and second waves and 20 weeks between the second and third waves.
Leader behaviors. Perceptions of leader behavior were collected using the
short version
of the Leadership Strategies Questionnaire II (LSQII) at time 1. The LSQII
was an extended
version of the Leadership Strategies Questionnaire (LSQ) used most recently
by Scully et al.
(1994) and Ball et al. (1994). The instrument, however, is deeply rooted in a
long line of leader
behavior measures (Cox & Sims, 1996). All items were measured using a
five-point response
International Journal of Leadership Studies, Vol. 2 Iss. 3, 2007, pp. 171-193
©2007 School of Global Leadership & Entrepreneurship, Regent University
ISSN 1554-3145
format [1 (definitely not true), 2 (not true), 3 (neither true nor untrue), 4
(true), 5 (definitely
An exploratory factor analysis using maximum likelihood rotation provided
a five-factor
solution which supported our theoretical typology of five leadership types
(see Table 1). This
solution is similar to that found by Pearce et al. (2003). As Tabachnick and
Fidell (2001)
suggested, factor scores were estimated through the regression approach
rather than averaging
the items. Factor loadings were used as item weights to create factor scores.
This approach was
recommended in order to cope with multicollinearity issue (Basilevsky,
1994). These five factor
scores were used as variables for further analysis. The leadership variables
were aversive,
directive, transactional, transformational, and empowering.
For each leadership variable; we utilized the James, Demaree, and Wolf
coefficient (rWG(J)) to assess team member consensus within a team and
confirm the within-unit
aggregatability of the data. All rWG(J) were larger than .70 which is
considered evidence of
within-group consensus (George, 1990). Table 1 also shows the internal
reliabilities and rWG(J).
Job satisfaction. The job satisfaction measure was measured with 6 items
which were
adapted from Hackman and Oldham’s (1980) Job Diagnostic Survey.
Participants responded to
each item using a five-point scale [1 (very dissatisfied), 2 (slightly
dissatisfied), 3 (neutral), 4
(slightly satisfied), 5 (very satisfied)]. Examples items include “My job as a
whole. . .” and “The
feeling of worthwhile accomplishment I get from doing my job. . . .”
Cronbach’s alpha was used
to assess internal consistency and was found to be in the acceptable range
(.94). The James et al.
(1984) coefficient was .70.
Citizenship behavior. Team member perceptions of TOCB and TACB were
with 13 items, a short form of the Team Citizenship Questionnaire (TCQ;
Ball et al., 1994). The
TCQ was a variation of a citizenship behavior questionnaire by Ball et al.
(1994) that the authors
successfully used to demonstrate relationships between supervisor
punishment incidents and
subordinate citizenship. Ball et al.’s questionnaire was based on an earlier
OCB measure by
Podsakoff et al. (1990) that was validated in a large-scale field study. The
factor analysis
produced a two-factor solution, TOCB and TACB. Table 2 shows the factor
analysis results
along with alpha coefficients and James et al. (1984) coefficients which
were larger than .70.
Table 1. The Results of the Factor Analysis of Leadership
Factor names/ Factor loadings
Item content I II III IV V Communalities
Transformational leadership
He/she is not afraid to “break the mold” to find different ways of doing
things. .82 .16 .18 -.04 -.05 .53
He/she isn't bound by tradition when it comes to getting things done. .82 .
17 .16 .01 -.07 .56
He/she isn't afraid to “buck the system” if he/she thinks it is necessary. .80 .
13 .15 .05 -.06 .68
He/she is a non-traditional type who "shakes up the system" when necessary.
.70 .07 .06 .22 -.06 .74
He/she challenges established ways of doing things. .70 .05 .17 .10 .03 .72
He/she strives towards higher purposes or ideals. .70 .23 .15 -.04 .16 .59
He/she has a strong personal dedication to higher purposes or ideals. .65 .
25 .18 -.08 .14 .55
He/she provides a clear vision of who and what we are. .63 .25 .24 -.09 .18 .
Because of him/her, I have a clear vision of our organization. .59 .32 .20 .
08 .22 .55
He/she is driven by higher purposes or ideals. .57 .23 .17 -.03 .19 .50
He/she provides a clear vision of where we are going. .55 .22 .26 -.13 .19 .62
He/she provides his/her vision of our organization to me. .48 .33 .26 .03 .14 .
Empowering leadership
He/she urges me to work as a team with other mangers/supervisors who
report to him/her. .14 .82 .15 .03 .17 .74
He/she encourages me to work together with other managers/supervisors
who report to him/her. .21 .81 .16 .04 .13 .74
He/she advises me to work together with other managers/supervisors who
report to hem/her as a team. .21 .79 .09 -.01 .17 .43
He/she advises me to coordinate my efforts with other managers/supervisors
who report to him/her. .21 .71 .15 -.02 .22 .54
He/she has a strong conviction in his/her own beliefs and ideals. .10 .67 .13
-.05 .16 .56
He/she urges me to search for solutions to my problems on the job without
his/her supervision. .22 .64 .26 -.10 -.15 .57
He/she advises me to solve problems when they pop up without always
getting his/her stamp of approval. .23 .63 .23 -.20 -.21 .53
He/she advises me to make improvements in how I do my work on my own
initiative without being told
to do so.
.33 .58 .30 -.03 -.04 .70
He/she encourages me to find solutions to my problems at work without
seeking his/her direct input. .24 .57 .10 -.06 -.17 .61
He/she urges me to assume responsibilities on my own. .30 .55 .30 -.10
-.06 .67
Transactional leadership
If I perform well, he/she will recommend more compensation. .22 .13 .80
-.09 .06 .68
He/she will recommend that I am compensated more if I perform well. .23 .
13 .78 -.09 .84 .55
He/she will recommend that I am compensated well if I perform well. .24 .
12 .76 -.10 .02 .61
He/she gives me positive feedback when I perform well. .21 .35 .70 -.03 .
09 .64
His/her recommendations regarding my compensation depend on my
performance. .20 .12 .69 -.08 .06 .62
He/she commends me when I do a better-than-average job. .22 .36 .68 -.09 .
14 .40
He/she gives me special recognition when my work performance is
especially good. .31 .20 .67 -.07 .11 .48
When I do a job well, he/she tells me about it. .21 .39 .64 -.06 .15 .66
Table 1. The Results of the Factor Analysis of Leadership
Factor names/ Factor loadings
Item content I II III IV V Communalities
Aversive leadership
He/she reprimands me when my performance is not up to par. .02 .15 .07 .72
.09 .68
He/she can be quite intimidating. .05 -.14 -.19 .71 .08 .54
I feel intimidated by his/her behavior. -.04 -.27 -.35 .70 .10 .72
He/she behaves in a threatening manner. -.08 -.30 -.34 .69 .04 .44
He/she reprimands me if my work is below standard. -.05 .19 .14 .67 .10 .43
He/she tries to influence me through threat and intimidation. -.09 -.35 -.29 .
67 .07 .47
He/she is often critical of my work, even when I perform well. -.06 -.31 -.36
.61 .07 .50
When my work is not up to par, he/she points it out to me. .17 .24 .27 .61 .15
I frequently am reprimanded by him/her without knowing why. -.11 -.32 -.30
.57 -.08 .60
He/she lets me know about it when I perform poorly. .10 .20 .18 .55 .06 .67
He/she often displeased with my work for no apparent reason. -.08 -.38 -.37 .
46 .07 .66
Directive leadership
He/she establishes my performance goals. -.02 .15 .09 .05 .78 .64
He/she sets the goals for my performance. -.02 .08 .08 .05 .78 .55
He/she establishes the goals for my work. .03 .13 .11 .10 .75 .52
He/she established my goals for me. .04 -.06 .02 .01 .74 .55
He/she gives me orders about my work. .09 -.10 -.12 .38 .56 .39
When it comes to my work, he/she gives me instructions on how to carry it
out. .30 .28 .18 .14 .51 .51
He/she provides commands in regard to my job. .19 -.10 .02 .32 .45 .36
He/she gives me instructions about how to do my job. .25 .10 .34 .12 .39 .35
Eigenvalue 14.29 5.93 3.22 2.64 2.12
Reliability .80 .82 .74 .77 .74
James et al. (1984) coefficients .70 .69 .65 .70 .69
Table 2. The Results of the Factor Analysis of Team Organizational
Citizenship Behaviors
Factor names/ Factor loadings
Item content I II
My colleagues consider the impact of their actions on coworkers. .82 -.19 .
My colleagues work together as a team. .80 -.30 .73
My colleagues work together. .79 -.29 .71
My colleagues try to avoid creating problems for coworkers. .73 -20 .57
My colleagues are mindful of how their behavior affects other people’s jobs.
.73 -.18 .56
My colleagues willingly help others who have work-related problems. .71
-.22 .56
My colleagues help orient new people even though it is not required. .68 -.23
My colleagues take frequent or extra long breaks to avoid doing work. -.24 .
82 .73
My colleagues make frequent and/or long trips to the water fountain,
vending machines, or
restroom to avoid work.
-.27 .77 .66
My colleagues tend to “make mountains out of molehills.” -.30 .77 .67
My colleagues focus on what’s wrong, rather than the positive side. -.17 .74
My colleagues avoid their jobs by coming in late or leaving early. -.23 .73 .
My colleagues consume a lot of time complaining about trivial matters. -.19
.71 .54
Eigenvalue 6.34 1.77
Intraclass correlation .19 .36
James et al. (1984) coefficients .90 .84
International Journal of Leadership Studies, Vol. 2 Iss. 3, 2007, pp. 171-193
©2007 School of Global Leadership & Entrepreneurship, Regent University
ISSN 1554-3145
Table 3 contains means and standard deviations as well as the
intercorrelation matrix of
all variables. We utilized path analysis as our main approach to test our
hypotheses. Three sets of
ordinary least squares regressions were conducted (see Table 4 and Figure
1). First, TOCB and
TACB were separately regressed against the set of leadership styles and job
satisfaction. Second,
job satisfaction was regressed against leadership.
Table 3. Correlations among Variables
M SD (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7)
(1) Aversive
leadershipa -.03 .61
(2) Directive
leadershipa .03 .58 .05
(3) Transactional
leadershipa .05 .53 -.14 .05
(4) Transformational
leadershipa .03 .70 .14 -.12 -.10
(5) Empowering
leadershipa .09 .50 -.01 -.12 .02 .07
(6) Job satisfaction 3.65 .57 -.18 -.05 -.01 .24* .25*
(7) TOCB 3.57 .61 -.30* -.15 .06 -.05 -.04 .31*
(8) TACB 2.31 .59 -.15 .22 -.10 -.36** -.29* -.46** -.35**
a These variables (factor scores) are estimated through the regression
analysis at the individual level and
aggregated to the group level.
* p < .05. ** p < .01, one-tailed.
Hypothesis 1 concerned the effects of job satisfaction on TOCB and TACB.
The results
showed that job satisfaction was positively related to TOCB (ß = .38, α < .
05), and job
satisfaction is negatively related to TACB (ß = -.35, α < .05). Thus,
hypothesis 1 was supported.
Both transformational leadership and empowering leadership had a positive
influence on
job satisfaction (ß = .21, α < .05; ß = .23, α < .05). Thus, hypotheses 2 and
4 were supported.
The multiple regression analyses showed no direct effects of
transformational leadership
(hypotheses 3a and 3b) or empowering leadership on TOCB and TACB
(hypotheses 5a and 5b). In
summary, the results in Table 4 show that transformational and empowering
leadership have an
indirect, positive effect on TOCB (.08 = .21 * .38, .09 = .23 * .38,
respectively). Furthermore,
job satisfaction has an indirect, negative influence on TACB (-.07 = .21 *
-.35, -.08 = .23 * - .35,
respectively) also through job satisfaction (hypotheses 3b and 5b).
The Table 4 results also indicate that aversive leadership is directly,
negatively related to
job satisfaction (ß = -.17, α < .10; hypothesis 6). Thus, hypothesis 7a was
supported. That is,
aversive leadership was directly, negatively related to TOCB (ß = -.22, α < .
10). There was also
an indirect, negative effect of aversive leadership on TOCB (-.06 = -.17 *
38). Results provide
no support for the direct, positive relationship between aversive leadership
and TACB
(hypothesis 7b). However, the indirect effect of aversive leadership on
TOCB and TACB (.06 = -
International Journal of Leadership Studies, Vol. 2 Iss. 3, 2007, pp. 171-193
©2007 School of Global Leadership & Entrepreneurship, Regent University
ISSN 1554-3145
.17 * -.35), was supported. On the basis of these results, we can conclude
that aversive
leadership has both direct and indirect negative effects on TOCB and an
indirect, positive effect
on TACB through job satisfaction.
The results demonstrate that there is no significant effect of directive
leadership on job
satisfaction, TOCB, and TACB. Hypotheses 8, 9a, and 9b were not
supported. Also, transactional
leadership did not affect job satisfaction (hypotheses 8 and 10).
Table 4. Results of Regression Analysis
Dependent variables
Job satisfaction TOCB TACB
Job satisfaction .38 (.16)* -.35 (.14)**
Aversive leadership -.17 (.10)* -.22 (.13)* -.16 (.12)
Directive leadership .02 (.11) -.15 (.13) .12 (.12)
Transactional leadership .00 (.12) .08 (.17) -.24 (.16)
.21 (.09)* -.18 (.14) -.18 (.12)
Empowering leadership .23 (.11)* -.10 (.14) -.12 (.12)
R2 .16 .23 .25
F 2.52* 2.04* 3.53**
Note. Unstandardized coefficients with standard errors are in parentheses.
*p < .05. **p < .01, one-tailed.
Finally, the overall results are summarized by the path diagram in Figure 1.
Note that
while aversive leadership works directly on TOCB, both transformational
leadership and
empowering leadership influence both TOCB and TACB indirectly through
job satisfaction.
The purpose of our study was to examine how leadership relates uniquely to
satisfaction was tested as a possible mediator. George and Bettenhausen
(1990), who
investigated prosocial behavior (a broader class of behavior that includes a
form of OCB at the
group level of analysis), stated that “research in this area [prosocial and
citizenship research] has
been focused on prosocial behavior at the individual level of analysis, with
very few exceptions”
(p. 699). They concluded that it is meaningful to study phenomena like
citizenship behavior and
other types of prosocial behavior at the group level of analysis.
Previous research has linked leader behaviors such as fairness,
consideration, and
participation as evoking OCB at the individual level. In this study, we tested
whether various
forms within a leadership typology also related to TOCB. We also tested the
mediating role of
job satisfaction (Organ, 1988). In general, our study supports the idea that
leader behaviors affect
TOCB both directly as well as indirectly through job satisfaction, and
different types of leader
behaviors were formed to influence both TOCB and TACB. The results
indicate that only
aversive leadership has both direct as well as indirect relationships to TOCB
as expected.
Finally, both transformational leadership and empowering leadership have
indirect effects to
TOCB and TACB through job satisfaction.
International Journal of Leadership Studies, Vol. 2 Iss. 3, 2007, pp. 171-193
©2007 School of Global Leadership & Entrepreneurship, Regent University
ISSN 1554-3145
Figure 1. Path diagram, the influence of leadership on job satisfaction and
It is easy to explain the negative effects of aversive type behavior on TOCB.
McCroskey and Richmond (1979) explained it, “if people are forced to do
something they don’t
like, it follows they will be less satisfied than will other people” (p. 59).
Also, the aversive leader
will not produce unhappy employees and cause employees to do only as
much as they have to do
and nothing extra. As the power is in the hands of the aversive leader,
employees do the work for
him or her; hence, only the absolute minimum will be worked for a person
who behaves
arbitrarily and capriciously.
Transactional leadership has no effect on job satisfaction, but
transformational leadership
did have a positive effect which is consistent with previous studies that
found an augmenting
capacity of transformational leadership (e.g., Koh, Steers, & Terborg, 1995;
Sosik, 1997; Sosik,
Avolio, & Kahai, 1997; Waldman, Bass, & Yammarino, 1990). The results
for the
transformational leader and empowering leader are very straightforward.
They influence TOCB
through increasing the team member’s job satisfaction. Overall, we conclude
that job satisfaction
does have an influence on TOCB apart from leadership.
Practical Implications
Based on these results, leaders might be encouraged to use both
leadership and empowering leadership in order to make the group effective.
Leaders have to
provide vision which their followers can agree on and pursue together to
enhance job satisfaction
Aversive leadership
Directive leadership
Transactional leadership
Transformational leadership
Empowering leadership
Job satisfaction
International Journal of Leadership Studies, Vol. 2 Iss. 3, 2007, pp. 171-193
©2007 School of Global Leadership & Entrepreneurship, Regent University
ISSN 1554-3145
and TOCB. Also, they need to empower their followers. By empowering
their followers, leaders
can make followers more satisfied with their jobs and enhance their TOCB.
If leaders engage in aversive leadership, it is likely to reduce followers’ job
and TOCB. Aversive leadership style hurts team process in two ways. First,
it directly
suppresses TOCB because followers mainly focus on their own tasks. In
other words, they are
engaged in micromanagement, not extra-role behaviors. Also, it indirectly
influences TACB. In
other words, aversive leadership increases team members’ negative behavior
which is not related
to a task but to group process. Therefore, leaders should not display aversive
In summary, organizations using team-based structures should encourage
leaders to
engage in transformational and empowering leadership and avoid aversive
leadership. To do so,
they need to develop training programs which emphasize these forms of
leadership. Also,
transformational and empowering leadership capability should be considered
a factor in
promotion to positions that entail leadership responsibilities.
One limitation that is cited in many research studies that try to identify
relationships is the issue of reverse causality. It might be that a team who
behaves in a very
cooperative manner and exhibits TOCB causes satisfaction in the team
members and causes the
leader to engage in behavior that gives even more power to the team. This
might simply be due
to the observation by the leader that the team is capable of carrying that
responsibility. Scully et
al. (1994) addressed reciprocal causality in their paper “Tough times make
tough bosses.” They
argued that the leader’s environment, specifically the performance of a
leader’s unit, affects the
way a leader will behave. If performance is low, authoritarian behavior will
be exhibited; if
performance is high, more participative type of behaviors will be used. This
might also be the
case when a leader is guiding a team. The research reported here has the
advantage of a timelagged
arrangement of variables which enhances the capability to infer causality.
Another limitation is that our study measured all the variables from team
possibly leading to same source bias. However, our study had a longitudinal
design which
somewhat reduces this bias by measuring different variables in different
waves. In addition,
aggregation reduces the effect of same source bias. Nevertheless, future
study using different
data sources are required.
We found that job satisfaction mainly mediates the effects of leadership on
However, different time lags might cause different results. There were 20
weeks between
measuring job satisfaction and TOCB. Leadership style was measured 30
weeks before
measuring TOCB. Therefore, the difference of time lag may enhance the
effect of job
satisfaction but reduce the effect of leadership on TOCB when they are
simultaneously. However, the direct effect of aversive leadership on TOCB
shows that this
limitation may not have a high effect on our results. However, future study
has to deal with this
This study sets itself apart from traditional research on OCB because we
focused on
TOCB. Very little research on this behavioral construct has been done at the
group level of
analysis (George, 1990; George & Bettenhausen, 1990). Our results
demonstrate that there is a
International Journal of Leadership Studies, Vol. 2 Iss. 3, 2007, pp. 171-193
©2007 School of Global Leadership & Entrepreneurship, Regent University
ISSN 1554-3145
need for further research at the group level of analysis because different
processes might exist
due to the different kinds of interdependencies that exist in teams. This
becomes even more
relevant since more and more organizations are moving toward a team-based
Our results suggest that transformational and empowering leadership are the
effective types for the guidance of teams. All other leadership styles either
had no effects (as in
directive and transactional leadership) or a negative effect (as in aversive
leadership) on TOCB.
Indeed, the research significantly supports the notion that both
transformational and empowering
leadership can enhance teamwork through the influence of job satisfaction.
About the Authors
Dr. Seokhwa Yun is an assistant professor at the College of Business
Administration at Seoul
National University. He received his Ph.D. in management from the Robert
H. Smith School of
Business, University of Maryland, College Park. Areas of research interest
include leadership,
top management teams, employees’ extra-role behaviors, impression
management, expatriation
issues, and knowledge management. His work has been featured in journals
such as Academy of
Management Journal, Journal of Applied Psychology, Journal of Applied
Behavioral Science,
and International Journal of Human Resource Management.
E-mail: syun@snu.ac.kr
Dr. Jonathan F. Cox is a consultant with MRE Consulting, Inc.; serving
clients in the energy and
energy services industries. He earned his Ph.D. in industrial/organizational
psychology from the
University of Maryland. Dr. Cox’s areas of expertise include leadership,
teamwork, project
management, and organizational change management. His work has been
featured in Journal of
Applied Psychology, Group and Organization Management, Advances in the
Study of Work Teams (JAI Press), and other publications.
E-mail: jcox@mre-consulting.com
Dr. Henry P. Sims, Jr. is professor of management and organization at the
Robert H. Smith
School of Business, University of Maryland, College Park. He earned his
Ph.D. from the College
of Business, Michigan State University. His area of research is leadership
and teams. He has
published 7 books and over 130 articles in such journals as Journal of
Applied Psychology,
Academy of Management Journal, and Administrative Science Quarterly.
E-mail: hsims@rhsmith.umd.edu
Dr. Sabrina Salam received her Ph.D. from the Robert H. Smith School of
Business, University
of Maryland, College Park. Unfortunately, Dr. Salam lost her life in a tragic
accident. Her colleagues mourn her passing.
International Journal of Leadership Studies, Vol. 2 Iss. 3, 2007, pp. 171-193
©2007 School of Global Leadership & Entrepreneurship, Regent University
ISSN 1554-3145
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The Five-Factor Model of Personality in the Workplace
Sean P. Neubert
Rochester Institute of Technology
This paper investigates the correlation and validity of the five-factor model with job
performance and other job-related activities. Motivation, deviation, absences, and job
satisfaction are related to the five factors. Conscientiousness and agreeableness appear to
be positively correlated with productivity in a team environment among peers and are
more likely to aid in being selected for a job. Neuroticism and agreeableness are
negatively correlated with leadership capabilities. Individuals who score high on
conscientiousness tend to perform well at work, whereas individuals lacking
conscientiousness and having neuroticism tend to perform poorly at work.
This is a review of the relation between the five-factor model of personality and
performance in the workplace. Research in this field has yielded correlations between the
five-factor model and aspects of job performance such as motivation, deviation, job
satisfaction, and teamwork.

Motivation in the Workplace

Studies of sales representatives have defined two aspects of motivation--status striving
and accomplishment striving--and they are correlated with extraversion and
conscientiousness, respectively. These two subsets of motivation lead to sales
performance, although the data imply that status striving leads to performance and
accomplishment striving leads to performance only indirectly via a relation between
accomplishment striving and status striving (Barrick, Stewart, & Piotrowski, 2002). This
study is questionable in that it studied sales representatives, who are likely required to be
extraverted in order to succeed at their job. To say that extraverted sales representatives
perform better is a bit redundant; shy sales people do not go far. Because extraversion is
such an integral aspect of being a salesperson, this study does not lend much support for a
general model or theory correlating the five-factor model with job performance.

Job Satisfaction

The five-factor model is correlated with overall level of job satisfaction experienced by
employees. In general, satisfied employees are more likely to remain in a position and to
avoid absences than are dissatisfied employees.

Initial research indicated that neuroticism is negatively correlated with job satisfaction,
whereas conscientiousness, extraversion, and agreeableness are positively correlated with
job satisfaction. Openness to experience has a negligible impact on job satisfaction.
Additional research, however, has only been able to replicate correlations among the
factors of neuroticism and extraversion, with extraversion being positively correlated
with job satisfaction and neuroticism being negatively correlated. This could be due to
the social nature of the workplace (Judge, Heller, & Mount, 2002).

This finding may be due to the low level of arousability for extraverted individuals
(Hebb's theory). If the workplace is a social environment, then extraverted employees are
more likely to be at a low level of arousal while at work, whereas at their home there is
less stimulation. Introverts, on the other hand, are more likely at their optimal level of
arousal outside of the workplace, where there is less stimulation, and therefore are more
likely dissatisfied with the level of stimulation that they experience while at work.

Deviation in the Workplace

Workplace deviance occurs when an employee voluntarily pursues a course of action that
threatens the well-being of the individual or the organization. Examples include stealing,
hostile behavior towards coworkers, and withholding effort. Stealing and withholding
effort are categorized as organizational deviance, whereas hostile and rude behavior
toward coworkers are categorized as interpersonal deviance.
Workplace deviance is related to the five-factor model of personality. Interpersonal
deviance is negatively correlated with high levels of agreeableness. Organizational
deviance is negatively correlated with high levels of conscientiousness and positively
correlated with high levels of neuroticism. This implies that individuals who are
emotionally stable and conscientious are less likely to withhold effort or steal, whereas
those who are agreeable are less likely to be hostile to their coworkers.

Another entirely different factor to consider is perception of the workplace. Employees

who had a positive perception of their workplace were less likely to pursue deviant
behavior. Research indicates that personality acts as a moderating factor: workplace
deviance was more likely to be endorsed with respect to an individual when both the
perception of the workplace was negative and emotional stability, conscientiousness, or
agreeableness was low (Colbert, Mount, Harter, Witt, & Barrick, 2004).

Performance in the Workplace

Of the five factors, the single factor of conscientiousness is the most predictive of job
performance (Hurtz & Donovan, 2000).


Job absence is very much a part of job performance: employees are not performing
effectively if they do not even come to work. Introverted, conscientious employees are
much less likely to be absent from work, as opposed to extraverted employees who are
low on conscientiousness. Interestingly enough, neuroticism is not highly correlated with
absence (Judge, Martocchio, & Thoresen, 1997). The Judge et al. (1997) study is
interesting considering the Judge et al. (2002) research on job satisfaction and the five-
factor model. The results of the latter research suggests that extraverted individuals are
more satisfied in the workplace, because work gives them an opportunity to experience
an optimal level of arousal, whereas introverted individuals are less satisfied in the
workplace due to too much stimulation. Combining the results of these two studies
suggests that conscientiousness is the deciding factor regarding job absence.

Perhaps another factor in absenteeism is that, although introverts may be less satisfied in
the workplace, they go to work anyway. This behavior might imply either that introverts
are more conscientious or simply that introverts have no compelling reason not to go to
work (whereas extraverts may have friends who urge them to skip work and go see a
movie). This conclusion is debateable, however, because introverts might be tempted to
skip work to avoid the extra stimulation and might perhaps stay home and read a book (a
book on psychology, no doubt). Judge and his colleagues will likely continue their
research and perhaps provide answers in the future.


Oftentimes in the workplace the ability to be a team player is valued and is critical to job
performance. Recent research has suggested that conscientiousness, extraversion, and
agreeableness are all related to cooperative behavior but that they are not related to task
performance. Although this fortifies the case that job performance is related to the five-
factor model via increased cooperativeness among coworkers, it lays siege to the role of
personality by implying that actual job performance (task performance) is related to
cognitive ability and not to personality (LePine & Dyne, 2001).

Leadership abilities are often essential in the workplace, especially for individuals who
aspire to move up into the ranks of management. Studies of Asian military units have
found that neuroticism is negatively correlated with leadership abilities. Contrary to what
the researchers hypothesized, agreeableness is negatively correlated with leadership
abilities as well. Openness to experience is unrelated to leadership abilities, but
extraversion is positively correlated with leadership abilities (Lim & Ployhart, 2004).
This evidence is consistent with the long-standing idea that in teams there are leaders and
there are followers; the leaders make decisions and the followers abide by them.
Although agreeableness is positively correlated with working with a team, it is negatively
correlated with being a leader. Those followers who do not always agree and are willing
to voice their own opinions end up moving up the ranks, whereas those who blindly agree
are left as followers.

Personnel Selection

Research into the relation between the five-factors model and personnel hiring provides
additional evidence that conscientiousness is the most valid predictor of job performance
(Schmidt & Ryan, 1993). Given that conscientious individuals have a tendency to
perform better as employees, it is easy to believe that employers will seek out that factor
or the traits that coincide with it.

Job performance and personality (as measured in the five-factor model) are related. It
appears that the relation between job performance and the five factors is more a
consequence of the social aspects of the workplace than of ability. Research indicates that
cognitive ability is more strongly correlated with task performance than any of the five
factors are correlated with task performance. The five factors are strongly correlated with
cooperating with others and enjoying the overall workplace experience, which are key
components of long-term job success. Being absent from work or working as a team are
correlates of personality that directly affect whether one will succeed in the workplace,
and they are strongly correlated with the Big Five and not with cognitive ability.

It is worth noting that the majority of research has been on sales or other occupations in
which interacting with people is required. Is it possible that these studies are skewed?
Perhaps researching individuals in jobs that require very little human interaction (such as
authors of fiction, like Steven King) would yield different results.

Conscientiousness and extraversion are the two aspects of the five-factor model that are
always correlated with positive job performance, although conscientiousness is more
positively correlated (extraversion is negatively correlated with job performance in that it
appears to inspire more absence, but only when combined with low levels of
conscientiousness). Agreeableness is negatively correlated with job performance within a
leadership role. Openness to experience, in general, is unrelated. Neuroticism is
negatively correlated with job performance.

Cognitive ability may allow an employee to complete a specific task, but the ability to
work with others and to stay motivated are aspects of personality. The five-factor model
is a valid predictor of workplace performance. Personality is an indispensable
consideration for employers looking for quality employees.

Peer Commentary

The Five-Factor Model and Job Performance

Timothy M. Howell
Rochester Institute of Technology

"The Five-Factor Model of Personality in the Workplace" by Sean P. Neubert clearly

showed a large correlation between elements of the five-factor model and job
performance. But what is not entirely clear is what types of jobs show increased
performance, and more importantly which types show little or no correlation. As stated
by the author, most if not all studies on this topic were preformed on sales jobs or other
jobs highly dependent on interaction with others. With a wider variety of research, an
equally wide array of results might occur. Much of the research also seems to look at
traits as either on or off, in that certain traits that seem to have negative effects on a
certain aspect of job performance could be positive in lower amounts.

The author rightly stated that the five-factor model's relation to job performance is most
likely due to the social aspects of the workplace rather than an individual's ability.
Cognitive ability is the major factor in job performance, and outside of jobs that are based
on social interaction, the model's effect is merely a product of background environment
in the workplace. The social aspects of most jobs are unnecessary to the actual work one
is required to do. Granted this social aspect can almost never be removed--and is a must
for many people due to personal needs for interaction--the model will have its affect in a
large number of cases.

In a large company, I believe that the five-factor model has much less impact. With a
larger company usually comes an impersonal relation between employee and employer.
This means that as long as employees have all the required cognitive abilities, provided
they have a job that does not involve teamwork or customer interaction, they will perform
just as well as those who have a favorable personality. In a smaller company, by contrast,
the relation between employee and employer is usually much more personal, and in some
cases the line between employee and employer is very small. In this case a non-favorable
personality could have a very large effect on a person's job performance. Cognitive
ability seems to be a concrete factor in all cases, but the effects of personality on job
performance seem to vary greatly depending on the importance or prevalence of social
situations in the workplace.
The research cited on the five-factor model seemed to consider someone as either having
a factor or completely lacking it. This is most obvious in the statement that agreeableness
is negatively correlated with job performance in leadership positions. I agree that an
unusually large level of agreeableness, such that one would allow oneself to be "used as a
door mat," would have a negative effect on leadership performance, but the trait is
definitely necessary to succeed as a leader. If one's boss were completely disagreeable,
would one willing follow his or her requests, or would one do everything in one's power
to slow or impede the completion of one's assigned work? A good leader needs to be
well-rounded in all the "positive" social aspects of the five-factor model, without any
traits being so pronounced as to reduce performance, such as high levels of agreeableness
impeding one's will to put forth one's own ideas.

The author cited many interesting points, and I agree with most of his conclusions. I
would like to see more research on a boarder range of professions to truly see how large a
role the five-factor model plays in one's job performance. I thought that certain aspects of
the model could be further explored to reveal varying level of certain factors being more
or less influential on job performance. The five-factor model may be a good indicator of
job performance, but I am not convinced that it is as big of a factor as the author

Peer Commentary

How Good Teamwork Leads to Job Satisfaction

Andrew Z. Milinichik
Rochester Institute of Technology

Good teamwork is essential to job satisfaction. If workers are a part of properly

functioning teams, then they feel that they are needed. Furthermore, along with the sense
of belonging is a sense of accomplishment. Team members need to feel that they are
actually contributing to the collective goal of the team. If a team member feels as though
he or she is doing trivial work while others are doing more meaningful work, then team
unity will deteriorate. This is a situation in which the team leader needs to step in and
properly distribute tasks so that each team member is challenged by his or her
assignments. Leaders with proper skills in motivation, who stimulate and challenge
subordinates, are referred to as transformational leaders.

Transformational leadership consists of four constructs: charisma or idealized influence,

inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation, and individualized consideration (Lim
& Ployhart 2004). These are leaders whose teams always outperform everybody else.
These types of leaders are the ones whom everyone wants to be like or to have on their
team. How do transformational leaders relate to job satisfaction? Transformational
leaders take time to answer the questions of an individual worker. They make the worker
feel needed. When team members feel as though they are needed by the team, they are
more likely to be satisfied with their job. Transformational leaders act toward other
employees like coaches and mentors, and many times are seen more as the person with all
the answers then as a a higher-ranking employee. The transformational leader does not
have to be the appointed leader either. The transformational leader can be a normal team
member with all the traits of a transformational leader, acting to mitigate the diminishing
effect that a non-transformational leader has on the team.

Transformational leaders also contribute to workers' sense of accomplishment. When an

employee goes to a transformational leader with a problem, not only does the leader take
the time to help the worker on a one-to-one level but also pushes the worker to achieve
the most with the solution. Another important quality of transformational leaders is
modesty. When commended on a job well done, a transformational leader oftens directs
the credit to his or her workers. This lets the workers know that they are valued, which
also contributes to their sense of accomplishment.

Overall, transformational leaders not only seek to improve the functioning of the team by
using only the brightest individuals but also work with all staff members to improve their
skills. The transformational leader knows that teams are often together for only a single
project. Thus, by helping the individual feel needed, the transformational leader gives
him or her a sense of accomplishment when the goal is reached. More importantly, the
transformational leader instills confidence in his or her employees. This translates into
not only better job satisfaction for employees but also better productivity for the

Peer Commentary

How Much Does Personality Influence Job Performance?

Kory Sinha
Rochester Institute of Technology

A person's personality may not necessarily have a very high impact on a person's job or
productivity per se, depending on the type of work being done. As discussed by Sean P.
Neubert, the notion that salespeople who exhibit high levels of extraversion will have
better overall job performance is pretty evident, for being a salesperson requires a lot of
social interaction, and an introverted salesperson would obviously be less effective than
an extravert. Given that point, another point brought up is about conscientiousness in
addition to extraversion and its positive correlation with job performance in terms of the
social atmosphere present in most workplaces: a conscientious person is obviously more
likely to be a more productive worker and an extraverted person will experience an
optimal level of arousal in a social workplace. Personality influence would perhaps
become less palpable if an individual's place of work is not a highly social arena or the
job is non-traditional.

If one's job does not require constant or high levels of social interaction, then one's
cognitive ability can become a much greater factor. Depending on the type of job one
holds, one's personality may have very little impact on the quality of work being done or
other job performance indicators. As mentioned by Neubert, a job such as a writer may
not necessarily require high levels of extraversion. Other types of jobs that do not require
direct social interaction are probably similar in terms of cognitive abilities or other
factors affecting overall job performance.

Openness to experience has not been shown to correlate significantly with job
performance. This may seem counterintuitive, because openness to experience is
sometimes also referred to intellect, and cognitive ability and intellect are presumably
related. One's openness to experience should be indicative of creativity and originality;
consequently, there may be a direct but unobvious connection to job performance in
terms of creating and trying new things that may improve personal productivity or
otherwise maybe even affect general productivity on a greater scale--for example, a new
way of doing things may improve operation of an entire company. Openness would also
then tie into working with other people--for example, a person who is more open to
experience would be willing to try out new and different ideas presented by coworkers.
Openness may not relate to job performance due to limitations in the methodology of past
research, lack of a high enough correlation to reach statistical significance, or even
perhaps because there really is no direct relation between openness to experience and
overall job performance.

People's personalities obviously have an impact on many, many things that they do, if not
everything. How profound the effect of personality is on job performance depends of
course on the unique facets of an individual's personality. Does personality have a great
impact on overall productivity in a social workplace? Yes, it does. Cognitive ability,
however, has been shown to be more positively correlated to actual task performance.
From this fact, one can argue that personality comes into play again, because if one is
unwilling to perform the task and lacks conscientiousness, then the job will not get done,
regardless of potential ability. Social aspects of many traditional work environments may
overshadow some other unseen factors that affect overall workplace productivity. More
research needs to be conducted on other types of work environments.

Peer Commentary

The Five-Factor Model is Not Enough to Explain Successful Job

Noah J. Stupak
Rochester Institute of Technology

Although job performance may be related to the personality factors of conscientiousness,

agreeableness, and extraversion, these measure only whether a person will show up to
work and get along with his or her co-workers. Although important in the workplace, the
more important concept of task performance is only briefly mentioned in the paper "The
Five-Factor Model of Personality in the Workplace." In the eyes of management and
human resources professionals, a worker who is able efficiently to finish tasks is much
more valuable to a company than a worker who is everyone's friend. Therefore, the goal
of any worthwhile workplace study is successful performance.
Although only mentioned in a few sentences in the paper, cognitive ability is one of the
few, if not only, predictors of successful completion of tasks. Cognitive ability plays a
significant role in jobs that require decision-making and individual work. It is obvious
that more intelligent persons will be able to complete tasks assigned to them faster and
better than less intelligent co-workers. Because of their success at the tasks assigned to
them, intelligent workers will be able quickly to rise up the corporate ladder to positions
suitable to their skills.

The second and equally important predictor of long-term career performance is emotional
intelligence. Employees who are the best in their field, whether it is psychology, law,
medicine, engineering, or banking, are not just good at their jobs and friendly with their
co-workers. They are resilient, optimistic, and confident. Thus, it takes more than
traditional cognitive intelligence to be successful at work--it also takes emotional
intelligence, the ability to restrain negative feelings such as anger and self-doubt, and
instead focus on positive ones such as confidence and optimism. Emotional intelligence
is positively correlated with happiness at work, life success, and career salaries. This
shows a strong relation between personality and workplace success. People with more
emotional intelligence are more successful at work.

Finally, the fields of work that the paper discussed are very narrow. Depending on the
job, each of the five factors could be the most important. For example, a highly neurotic
accountant who fusses over every detail would be an extremely beneficial addition to a
company. A person high in openness to experience would succeed easily in a job that
places the person in a variety of situations, such as actor, doctor, or soldier. Extraversion
would really only be positive in a job that requires a lot of interpersonal contact; in jobs
that are mostly based on individual tasks, the importance of extraversion would be

Finally, the paper neglected to mention creativity as having a viable place in the
workplace. Creative people at work are often the most useful. The creative worker is the
one who will innovate and try to move the company forward or come up with new ideas
for products. Creative workers will also come up with solutions that other people might
not consider. A creative solution could potentially save a company vast resources,
including money, manpower, and supplies. In jobs that involve independence, like artists,
designers, advertisers, and inventors, creativity is intrinsically necessary to the

Author Response

The Combination of Conscientiousness and Cognitive Ability

Sean P. Neubert
Rochester Institute of Technology

I would like to thank the authors of the peer commentaries for providing good points for
discussion with regards to my paper. Among the commentaries there appeared to be a
consensus that cognitive ability is a more crucial factor than personality in workplace
performance. Although it is indeed true that cognitive ability has been more strongly
correlated with completing a specific task, every study has found that conscientiousness
is strongly correlated with workplace performance. Conscientious employees are less
likely to be absent from work and are less likely to steal from the organization. Although
cognitive ability relates strongly to the ability of an employee, conscientiousness relates
strongly to how an employee applies that ability.

Howell reiterated that most of the research has been on persons who are in work
environments that require interaction, and that research into different professions, which
may not require so much interaction, may lead to different results. Despite over a decade
of research regarding this topic, there is not a prolific number of studies that have
attempted to find differing degrees of influence of personality in separate professions.
Every research sample has included sales representatives, convenience store clerks,
managers, or another occupation that requires social interaction. Future studies should
address this issue by looking at occupations that allow telecommuting and professions
that do not require working with other people directly.

Sinha questioned why openness to experience has not been positively correlated with
workplace performance. Studies have found positive correlations between this trait and
performance, but the findings were not replicated universally, nor were they strong
enough to be beyond chance.

Stupak suggested that emotional intelligence plays a key role in workplace performance,
whereas the five-factor model is not important for measuring actual performance.
Although emotional intelligence may be a part of workplace performance, research
indicating positive correlations between workplace performance and conscientiousness
have been more abundant.

Milinichik elaborated on the role of transformational leaders within a team environment.

If I were to revise my paper, I would include this topic.

This paper was an attempt to find correlations between personality and work
performance. With research on this topic spanning only the past 10 years, this is a
relatively new field of research. Although the question of whether different professions
are affected differently by the personality of an employee is a question for future
research, current data conclusively indicate that conscientiousness and cognitive ability
are two characteristics of an employee that strongly predict positive workplace

Barrick, M. R., Stewart, G. L., & Piotrowski, M. (2002). Personality and job
performance: Test of the mediating effects of motivation among sales representatives.
Journal of Applied Psychology, 87, 43-51.
Colbert, A. E., Mount, M. K., Harter, J. K., Witt, L. A., & Barrick, M. R. (2004).
Interactive effects of personality and perceptions of the work situation on workplace
deviance. Journal of Applied Psychology, 89, 599-609.

Hochwater, W. A., Witt, L. A., & Kacmar, K. M. (2000). Perceptions of organizational

politics as a moderator of the relationship between conscientiousness and job
performance. Journal of Applied Psychology, 85, 472-478.

Hurtz, G. M., & Donovan, J. J. (2000). Personality and job performance: The Big Five
revisited. Journal of Applied Psychology, 85, 869-879.

Judge, T. A., Martocchio, J. J., & Thoresen, C. J. (1997). Five-factor model of personality
and employee absence. Journal of Applied Psychology, 82, 745-755.

Judge, T. A., Heller, D., & Mount, M. K. (2002). Five-Factor model of personality and
job satisfaction: A meta-analysis. Journal of Applied Psychology, 87, 530-541.

LePine, J. A., & Dyne, L. V. (2001). Voice and cooperative behavior as contrasting forms
of contextual performance: Evidence of differential relationships with big five personality
characteristics and cognitive ability. Journal of Applied Psychology, 86, 326-336.

Lim, B., & Ployhart, R. E. (2004). Transformational leadership: Relations to the five-
factor model and team performance in typical and maximum contexts. Journal of Applied
Psychology, 89, 610-621.

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Leadership can be defined as a process by which one individual influences others toward
the attainment of group or organizational goals. Three points about the definition of
leadership should be emphasized. First, leadership is a social influence process.
Leadership cannot exist without a leader and one or more followers. Second, leadership
elicits voluntary action on the part of followers. The voluntary nature of compliance
separates leadership from other types of influence based on formal authority. Finally,
leadership results in followers' behavior that is purposeful and goal-directed in some sort
of organized setting. Many, although not all, studies of leadership focus on the nature of
leadership in the workplace.

Leadership is probably the most frequently studied topic in the organizational sciences.
Thousands of leadership studies have been published and thousands of pages on
leadership have been written in academic books and journals, business-oriented
publications, and general-interest publications. Despite this, the precise nature of
leadership and its relationship to key criterion variables such as subordinate satisfaction,
commitment, and performance is still uncertain, to the point where Fred Luthans, in his
book Organizational Behavior (2005), said that "it [leadership] does remain pretty much
of a 'black box' or unexplainable concept."

Leadership should be distinguished from management. Management involves planning,

organizing, staffing, directing, and controlling, and a manager is someone who performs
these functions. A manager has formal authority by virtue of his or her position or office.
Leadership, by contrast, primarily deals with influence. A manager may or may not be an
effective leader. A leader's ability to influence others may be based on a variety of factors
other than his or her formal authority or position.

In the sections that follow, the development of leadership studies and theories over time
is briefly traced. Table 1 provides a summary of the major theoretical approaches.

Table 1
Leadership Perspectives
Historical Leadership Theories
Leadership Time of
Major Tenets
Theory Introduction
Individual characteristics of leaders are different
Trait Theories 1930s
than those of nonleaders.
Behavioral 1940s and The behaviors of effective leaders are different than
the behaviors of ineffective leaders. Two major
Theories 1950s classes of leader behavior are task-oriented behavior
and relationship-oriented behavior.
Factors unique to each situation determine whether
Contingency 1960s and
specific leader characteristics and behaviors will be
Theories 1970s
Historical Leadership Theories
Leadership Time of
Major Tenets
Theory Introduction
Leaders from high-quality relationships with some
subordinates but not others. The quality of leader-
Member 1970s
subordinates relationship affects numerous
workplace outcomes.
Effective leaders inspire subordinates to commit
Charismatic 1970s and themselves to goals by communicating a vision,
Leadership 1980s displaying charismatic behavior, and setting a
powerful personal example.
Characteristics of the organization, task, and
Substitutes foe
1970s subordinates may substitute for or negate the effects
of leadership behaviors.


Three main theoretical frameworks have dominated leadership research at different points
in time. These included the trait approach (1930s and 1940s), the behavioral approach
(1940s and 1950s), and the contingency or situational approach (1960s and 1970s).


The scientific study of leadership began with a focus on the traits of effective leaders.
The basic premise behind trait theory was that effective leaders are born, not made, thus
the name sometimes applied to early versions of this idea, the "great man" theory. Many
leadership studies based on this theoretical framework were conducted in the 1930s,
1940s, and 1950s.

Leader trait research examined the physical, mental, and social characteristics of
individuals. In general, these studies simply looked for significant associations between
individual traits and measures of leadership effectiveness. Physical traits such as height,
mental traits such as intelligence, and social traits such as personality attributes were all
subjects of empirical research.

The initial conclusion from studies of leader traits was that there were no universal traits
that consistently separated effective leaders from other individuals. In an important
review of the leadership literature published in 1948, Ralph Stogdill concluded that the
existing research had not demonstrated the utility of the trait approach.
Several problems with early trait research might explain the perceived lack of significant
findings. First, measurement theory at the time was not highly sophisticated. Little was
known about the psychometric properties of the measures used to operationalize traits. As
a result, different studies were likely to use different measures to assess the same
construct, which made it very difficult to replicate findings. In addition, many of the trait
studies relied on samples of teenagers or lower-level managers.

Early trait research was largely atheoretical, offering no explanations for the proposed
relationship between individual characteristics and leadership.

Finally, early trait research did not consider the impact of situational variables that might
moderate the relationship between leader traits and measures of leader effectiveness. As a
result of the lack of consistent findings linking individual traits to leadership
effectiveness, empirical studies of leader traits were largely abandoned in the 1950s.


Partially as a result of the disenchantment with the trait approach to leadership that
occurred by the beginning of the 1950s, the focus of leadership research shifted away
from leader traits to leader behaviors. The premise of this stream of research was that the
behaviors exhibited by leaders are more important than their physical, mental, or
emotional traits. The two most famous behavioral leadership studies took place at Ohio
State University and the University of Michigan in the late 1940s and 1950s. These
studies sparked hundreds of other leadership studies and are still widely cited.

The Ohio State studies utilized the Leader Behavior Description Questionnaire (LBDQ),
administering it to samples of individuals in the military, manufacturing companies,
college administrators, and student leaders. Answers to the questionnaire were factor-
analyzed to determine if common leader behaviors emerged across samples. The
conclusion was that there were two distinct aspects of leadership that describe how
leaders carry out their role.

Two factors, termed consideration and initiating structure, consistently appeared.

Initiating structure, sometimes called task-oriented behavior, involves planning,
organizing, and coordinating the work of subordinates. Consideration involves showing
concern for subordinates, being supportive, recognizing subordinates' accomplishments,
and providing for subordinates' welfare.

The Michigan leadership studies took place at about the same time as those at Ohio State.
Under the general direction of Rensis Likert, the focus of the Michigan studies was to
determine the principles and methods of leadership that led to productivity and job
satisfaction. The studies resulted in two general leadership behaviors or orientations: an
employee orientation and a production orientation. Leaders with an employee orientation
showed genuine concern for interpersonal relations. Those with a production orientation
focused on the task or technical aspects of the job.
The conclusion of the Michigan studies was that an employee orientation and general
instead of close supervision yielded better results. Likert eventually developed four
"systems" of management based on these studies; he advocated System 4 (the
participative-group system, which was the most participatory set of leader behaviors) as
resulting in the most positive outcomes.

One concept based largely on the behavioral approach to leadership effectiveness was the
Managerial (or Leadership) Grid, developed by Robert Blake and Jane Mouton. The grid
combines "concern for production" with "concern for people" and presents five
alternative behavioral styles of leadership. An individual who emphasized neither
production was practicing "impoverished management" according to the grid. If a person
emphasized concern for people and placed little emphasis on production, he was terms a
"country-club" manager.

Conversely, a person who emphasized a concern for production but paid little attention to
the concerns of subordinates was a "task" manager. A person who tried to balance
concern for production and concern for people was termed a "middle-of-the-road"

Finally, an individual who was able to simultaneously exhibit a high concern for
production and a high concern for people was practicing "team management." According
to the prescriptions of the grid, team management was the best leadership approach. The
Managerial Grid became a major consulting tool and was the basis for a considerable
amount of leadership training in the corporate world.

The assumption of the leader behavior approach was that there were certain behaviors
that would be universally effective for leaders. Unfortunately, empirical research has not
demonstrated consistent relationships between task-oriented or person-oriented leader
behaviors and leader effectiveness. Like trait research, leader behavior research did not
consider situational influences that might moderate the relationship between leader
behaviors and leader effectiveness.


Contingency or situational theories of leadership propose that the organizational or work

group context affects the extent to which given leader traits and behaviors will be
effective. Contingency theories gained prominence in the late 1960s and 1970s. Four of
the more well-known contingency theories are Fiedler's contingency theory, path-goal
theory, the Vroom-Yetton-Jago decision-making model of leadership, and the situational
leadership theory. Each of these approaches to leadership is briefly described in the
paragraphs that follow.

Introduced in 1967, Fiedler's contingency theory was the first to specify how situational
factors interact with leader traits and behavior to influence leadership effectiveness. The
theory suggests that the "favorability" of the situation determines the effectiveness of
task- and person-oriented leader behavior.
Favorability is determined by (1) the respect and trust that followers have for the leader;
(2) the extent to which subordinates' responsibilities can be structured and performance
measured; and (3) the control the leader has over subordinates' rewards. The situation is
most favorable when followers respect and trust the leader, the task is highly structured,
and the leader has control over rewards and punishments.

Fiedler's research indicated that task-oriented leaders were more effective when the
situation was either highly favorable or highly unfavorable, but that person-oriented
leaders were more effective in the moderately favorable or unfavorable situations. The
theory did not necessarily propose that leaders could adapt their leadership styles to
different situations, but that leaders with different leadership styles would be more
effective when placed in situations that matched their preferred style.

Fiedler's contingency theory has been criticized on both conceptual and methodological
grounds. However, empirical research has supported many of the specific propositions of
the theory, and it remains an important contribution to the understanding of leadership

Path-goal theory was first presented in a 1971 Administrative Science Quarterly article by
Robert House. Path-goal theory proposes that subordinates' characteristics and
characteristics of the work environment determine which leader behaviors will be more
effective. Key characteristics of subordinates identified by the theory are locus of control,
work experience, ability, and the need for affiliation. Important environmental
characteristics named by the theory are the nature of the task, the formal authority
system, and the nature of the work group. The theory includes four different leader
behaviors, which include directive leadership, supportive leadership, participative
leadership, and achievement-oriented leadership.

According to the theory, leader behavior should reduce barriers to subordinates' goal
attainment, strengthen subordinates' expectancies that improved performance will lead to
valued rewards, and provide coaching to make the path to payoffs easier for subordinates.
Path-goal theory suggests that the leader behavior that will accomplish these tasks
depends upon the subordinate and environmental contingency factors.

Path-goal theory has been criticized because it does not consider interactions among the
contingency factors and also because of the complexity of its underlying theoretical
model, expectancy theory. Empirical research has provided some support for the theory's
propositions, primarily as they relate to directive and supportive leader behaviors.

The Vroom-Yetton-Jago decision-making model was introduced by Victor Vroom and

Phillip Yetton in 1973 and revised by Vroom and Jago in 1988. The theory focuses
primarily on the degree of subordinate participation that is appropriate in different
situations. Thus, it emphasizes the decision-making style of the leader.

There are five types of leader decision-making styles, which are labeled AI, AII, CI, CII,
and G. These styles range from strongly autocratic (AI), to strongly democratic (G).
According to the theory, the appropriate style is determined by answers to up to eight
diagnostic questions, which relate to such contingency factors as the importance of
decision quality, the structure of the problem, whether subordinates have enough
information to make a quality decision, and the importance of subordinate commitment to
the decision.

The Vroom-Yetton-Jago model has been criticized for its complexity, for its assumption
that the decision makers' goals are consistent with organizational goals, and for ignoring
the skills needed to arrive at group decisions to difficult problems. Empirical research has
supported some of the prescriptions of the theory.

The situational leadership theory was initially introduced in 1969 and revised in 1977 by
Hersey and Blanchard. The theory suggests that the key contingency factor affecting
leaders' choice of leadership style is the task-related maturity of the subordinates.
Subordinate maturity is defined in terms of the ability of subordinates to accept
responsibility for their own task-related behavior. The theory classifies leader behaviors
into the two broad classes of task-oriented and relationship-oriented behaviors. The major
proposition of situational leadership theory is that the effectiveness of task and
relationship-oriented leadership depends upon the maturity of a leader's subordinates.

Situational leadership theory has been criticized on both theoretical and methodological
grounds. However, it remains one of the better-known contingency theories of leadership
and offers important insights into the interaction between subordinate ability and
leadership style.


Although trait, behavioral, and contingency approaches have each contributed to the
understanding of leadership, none of the approaches have provided a completely
satisfactory explanation of leadership and leadership effectiveness. Since the 1970s,
several alternative theoretical frameworks for the study of leadership have been
advanced. Among the more important of these are leader-member exchange theory,
transformational leadership theory, the substitutes for leadership approach, and the
philosophy of servant leadership.


Leader-member exchange (LMX) theory was initially called the vertical dyad linkage
theory. The theory was introduced by George Graen and various colleagues in the 1970s
and has been revised and refined in the years since. LMX theory emphasizes the dyadic
(i.e., one-on-one) relationships between leaders and individual subordinates, instead of
the traits or behaviors of leaders or situational characteristics.

The theory's focus is determining the type of leader-subordinate relationships that

promote effective outcomes and the factors that determine whether leaders and
subordinates will be able to develop high-quality relationships.
According to LMX theory, leaders do not treat all subordinates in the same manner, but
establish close relationships with some (the in-group) while remaining aloof from others
(the out-group). Those in the in-group enjoy relationships with the leader that is marked
by trust and mutual respect. They tend to be involved in important activities and
decisions. Conversely, those in the out-group are excluded from important activities and

LMX theory suggests that high-quality relationships between a leader-subordinate dyad

will lead to positive outcomes such as better performance, lower turnover, job
satisfaction, and organizational commitment. Empirical research supports many of the
proposed relationships (Steers et al., 1996).


Beginning in the 1970s, a number of leadership theories emerged that focused on the
importance of a leader's charisma to leadership effectiveness. Included within this class
of theories are House's theory of charismatic leadership, Bass's transformational
leadership theory, and Conger and Kanungo's charismatic leadership theory.

These theories have much in common. They all focus on attempting to explain how
leaders can accomplish extraordinary things against the odds, such as turning around a
failing company, founding a successful company, or achieving great military success
against incredible odds. The theories also emphasize the importance of leaders' inspiring
subordinates' admiration, dedication, and unquestioned loyalty through articulating a
clear and compelling vision.

Tranformational leadership theory differentiates between the transactional and the

transformational leader. Transactional leadership focuses on role and task requirements
and utilizes rewards contingent on performance. By contrast, transformational leadership
focuses on developing mutual trust, fostering the leadership abilities of others, and setting
goals that go beyond the short-term needs of the work group.

Bass's transformational leadership theory identifies four aspects of effective leadership,

which include charisma, inspiration, intellectual stimulation, and consideration. A leader
who exhibits these qualities will inspire subordinates to be high achievers and put the
long-term interest of the organization ahead of their own short-term interest, according to
the theory. Empirical research has supported many of the theory's propositions.


Kerr and Jermier introduced the substitutes for leadership theory in 1978. The theory's
focus is concerned with providing an explanation for the lack of stronger empirical
support for a relationship between leader traits or leader behaviors and subordinates'
satisfaction and performance. The substitutes for leadership theory suggests that
characteristics of the organization, the task, and subordinates may substitute for or negate
the effects of leadership, thus weakening observed relationships between leader behaviors
and important organizational outcomes.

Substitutes for leadership make leader behaviors such as task-oriented or relationship-

oriented unnecessary. Characteristics of the organization that may substitute for
leadership include formalization, group cohesiveness, inflexible rules, and organizational
rewards not under the control of the leader. Characteristics of the task that may substitute
for leadership include routine and repetitive tasks or tasks that are satisfying.
Characteristics of subordinates that may substitute for leadership include ability,
experience, training, and job-related knowledge.

The substitutes for leadership theory has generated a considerable amount of interest
because it offers an intuitively appealing explanation for why leader behavior impacts
subordinates in some situations but not in others. However, some of its theoretical
propositions have not been adequately tested. The theory continues to generate empirical


This approach to leadership reflects a philosophy that leaders should be servants first. It
suggests that leaders must place the needs of subordinates, customers, and the community
ahead of their own interests in order to be effective. Characteristics of servant leaders
include empathy, stewardship, and commitment to the personal, professional, and
spiritual growth of their subordinates. Servant leadership has not been subjected to
extensive empirical testing but has generated considerable interest among both leadership
scholars and practitioners.

Leadership continues to be one of the most written about topics in the social sciences.
Although much has been learned about leadership since the 1930s, many avenues of
research still remain to be explored as we enter the twenty-first century.

SEE ALSO: Contingency Approach to Management ; Leadership Styles and Bases of

Power ; Management Styles

Tim Barnett


Bass, Bernard M., Bruce J. Avolio, Dong I. Jung, and Yair Berso. "Predicting Unit
Performance by Assessing Transformational and Transactional Leadership." Journal of
Applied Psychology 88 (2003): 207–218.

Blank, Warren, John R. Weitzel, and Stephen G. Green. "A Test of the Situational
Leadership Theory." Personnel Psychology 43 (1990): 579–597.
Fiedler, Fred E. A Theory of Leadership Effectiveness. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill,

Graeff, Claude L. "The Situational Leadership Theory: A Critical View." Academy of

Management Review 8 (1983): 285–291.

Graen, George, and William Schiemann. "Leader-Member Agreement: A Vertical Dyad

Linkage Approach." Journal of Applied Psychology 63 (1978): 206–212.

Greenberg, Jerald, and Robert A. Baron. Behavior in Organizations: Understanding and

Managing the Human Side of Work. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 2000.

House, Robert J. "A Path-Goal Theory of Leader Effectiveness." Administrative Science

Quarterly 16 (1971): 321–339.

House, Robert J., and Ram N. Aditya. "The Social Scientific Study of Leadership: Quo
Vadis?" Journal of Management 23 (1997): 409–473.

Kirkpatrick, Shelley A., and Edwin A. Locke. "Leadership: Do Traits Matter?" Academy
of Management Executive 5 (1991): 48–60.

Kinicki, Angelo, and Robert Kreitner. Organizational Behavior. Boston, MA: McGraw-
Hill Irwin, 2006.

Luthans, Fred. Organizational Behavior. Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill Irwin, 2005.

Podsakoff, Philip M., et al. "Do Substitutes for Leadership Really Substitute for
Leadership? An Empirical Examination of Kerr and Jermier's Situational Leadership
Model." Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 54 (1993): 1–44.

Steers, Richard M., Lyman W. Porter, and Gregory A. Bigley. Motivation and
Leadership at Work. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1996.

Stogdill, Ralph M. "Personal Factors Associated with Leadership: A Survey of the

Literature." Journal of Psychology 25 (1948): 335–71.

Stogdill, Ralph M., and Bernard M. Bass. Handbook of Leadership: A Survey of Theory
and Research. New York, NY: Free Press, 1974.

Vroom, Victor H., and Phillip W. Yetton. Leadership and Decision Making. Pittsburgh,
PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1973.

Wren, Daniel A. The Evolution of Management Thought. New York, NY: Wiley, 1994.

Yukl, Gary. Leadership in Organizations. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1994.

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