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Self-leadership and work-related outcomes

Enhancing followers’ self-leadership is lately regarded as one consequence of modern leadership style. Correspondingly, self-leadership might even serve as the key to creating an organizational setting promoting creative problem solving and innovation (DiLiello & Houghton, 2006). In their conceptual framework, the authors hypothesize that strong self-leaders have more potential for creativity, respectively creative problem-solving, and are more likely to practice innovation than weak self-leaders.

Assessing the relationship between self-management and team outcome a positive correlation was demonstrated by Uhl-Bien and Graen (1998). The authors conducted research in a large public sector organization in the United States investigating functional and cross-functional teams. The research aimed at assessing the effects of team type on the relationship between a team’s self-management and teamwork effectiveness, overall job satisfaction, and perceptions of bureaucratic obstacles. Teams’ self-management showed strong positive associations with effectiveness in functional units and negative relations with cross-functional teams. The authors further discovered self-management to be positively related to overall job satisfaction regardless of the work unit individuals belonged to. Predictions of selfmanagement, being negatively associated with perceptions of bureaucratic obstacles, could only be confirmed for cross-functional teams, whereas for functional teams the opposite applied (Uhl-Bien & Graen, 1998, pp. 345-346).

Prussia, Anderson and Manz (1998) attempted, as one of the first studies, to empirically investigate the effects of self-leadership skills and self-efficacy perceptions on individual performance. With a sample of 151 students, the researchers used a 20-item measure distinguishing behavior-focused strategies, natural reward strategies, and constructive thought-focused strategies. The outcomes verify that selfleadership predicts self-efficacy and self-efficacy perceptions are significant positively related to individual performance. Findings suggest that self-efficacy entirely mediates the influence of self-leadership on performance.

In 2000, Stewart and Barrick conducted an empirical study with 626 individuals belonging to 45 production teams. The study aimed at assessing the effect of inter?dependence and team self-leadership on team performance. The authors define team self-leadership as “the extent to which teams have the freedom and authority to lead themselves independent of external supervision” (Stewart & Barrick, 2000, p. 139). The researchers found greater team self-leadership to be related to higher team performance for teams occupied with conceptual tasks. Structural characteristics related to the allocation of tasks, responsibilities and authority further affected team performance. Additionally, intrateam processes were discovered to mediate the relationship between interdependence and performance.

An evaluation of the relationship between self-leadership and psychological, health, and work-related outcomes was pursued by Dolbier, Soderstrom and Steinhardt (2001). The researchers used an instrument adapted from the Core Wellness Scale by Bezner, Adams and Steinhardt (1997) to investigate self-leadership upon the internal family system, which implies that everybody comprises various subpersonalities forming an internal family and functions just like other people. The authors refer to self as the seat of consciousness. When people are leading with the self, “they feel secure, worthwhile, and are able to effectively deal with situations, which leads to the result that they are effective in what they are doing” (Dolbier et al., 2001, p. 471). Individuals lacking self-leadership express fear and suspicion towards the world. For this reason, the authors suspect self-leadership to be inversely related to distrust. In other words, self-leadership may be interpreted as being rooted in interpersonal trust. Self-leadership was further related to perceived wellbeing and negatively associated with perceived stress and illness. Empirical results lead to the conclusion that self-leadership shows relations to perceptions of a more effective and satisfying work environment (Dolbier et al., 2001).

An empirical analysis by Carmeli, Meitar and Weisberg (2006) aims at studying the relationship between self-leadership skills and innovative behaviors at work. The research finds self-leadership to assume the critical role of enhancing the innovation process and the exhibition of innovative behavior. The research reveals that self-leadership promotes innovative behavior which in turn is a key factor for sustainability in a competitive environment.

Politis (2006) tested for the mediating effect of job satisfaction on the relationship between behavioral-focused strategies of self-leadership and team performance. The author discovered that self-observation, self-goal setting, self-punishment, and self-reward were positively linked to intrinsic as well as extrinsic job satisfaction. Practice could only be related to extrinsic job satisfaction. Additionally, the hypothesis was supported that intrinsic and extrinsic job satisfaction are significantly and positively related to non-financial team performance and overall team perfor?mance. Finally, the author provided empirical evidence that the relationship between self-leadership behavior-focused strategies and team performance is mediated by job satisfaction.

On an individual level, Konradt, Andressen and Ellwart (2009) tested for the effects of self-leadership on team members’ performance, satisfaction, and motivation. A 27-item measure extracted from the Self-Leadership Questionnaire by Houghton and Neck (2002) was used to assess self-leadership. Performance was measured with a single item. Conclusions indicate a positive relation between selfleadership and performance. The authors further tested relationships of the VIST model (Hertel, 2002) to performance and discovered that all elements of VIST (valence, instrumentality, self-efficacy, trust) showed significant positive correlations with performance. Self-efficacy even displayed a mediating character in the self- leadership/performance relationship. Relationship conflict was negatively related to performance and team-task conflicts did negatively predict team performance. Autonomy and task type did not display any moderating effects, as was previously hypothesized by the researchers.

In a series of multiple studies Hauschildt and Konradt (2012a, 2012b) tested for the relationship between follower self-leadership and work-related outcomes. The first study hypothesized team members’ self-leadership to be positively related to individual task-proficiency and team member proficiency as well as to task adaptivity and team member adaptivity. Furthermore, self-leadership was projected to result in stronger task and team-member proactivity. Hauschildt and Konradt (2012a) assessed work role performance with a self-rating instrument developed by Griffin, Neil and Parker (2007). Six performance aspects were assessed with three items each (e.g., “I carried out the core parts of my job well”). Self-leadership was assessed with 27 items of the RSLQ (Houghton & Neck, 2002). The researchers found that self-leadership is positively related to task proficiency and team member proficiency. Furthermore, self-leadership indicated positive relationships with adaptivity and proactivity on both individual and team level. The results thus confirmed a positive association between self-leadership and performance-oriented work outcomes. The second study proposed a positive link between self-leadership and individual task performance and provided initial evidence for the relationship between self-leadership and team member behaviors (Hauschildt & Konradt, 2012b). Study outcomes confirm propositions that self-leadership plays a pivotal role in determining the performance behavior of team members.

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