The research question derives from the theoretical framework illustrated in the previous chapters. Addressing state-of-the-art research in modern leadership, this dissertation takes on fundamental challenges in distance leadership research. Until today, the impact of perceived leadership behaviors on follower self-leadership and performance taking moderating and mediating effects into account, displays a lack of sound research. This research follows the latest academic work in this field (e.g., Andressen et al., 2012; Chung & Luo, 2013; Hauschildt & Konradt, 2012a, 2012b), addressing the following research question:
How do physical distance, relationship quality, and interaction frequency impact the influence of leadership behavior on follower self-leadership and performance in international corporations?
Research Design and Research Model
This research follows a quantitative design. Whereas the number of laboratory experiments is rising (e.g., Hoyt & Blascovich, 2003; Kahai et al., 2004), longitudinal studies are also present (e.g., Carte et al., 2006; Howell & Hall-Merenda, 1999; Howell et al., 2005). Although the need for longitudinal studies is often understood
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N. Poser, Distance Leadership in International Corporations,
Advances in Information Systems and Business Engineering,
to reduce the risks of common method bias and causal interferences, cross-sectional study design is projected to be the most suitable research design for “concrete and externally oriented constructs, [to] sample highly educated respondents, employ a diverse array of measurement formats and scales, [...] strongly rooted in theory” (Rindfleisch, Malter, Ganesan & Moorman, 2008, p. 276). Assessing perceptions of individuals in an under-researched field appears exploratory in nature, thus many examples have shown that cross-sectional design is favorable in that case (e.g., Bis- choff & Denhaerynck, 2010; Saju & Buchanan, 2013). Creswell (2013) recommends this approach when theories are tested and variables form the objects of investigation. Cooper and Schindler (2008) describe quantitative analysis as a method for responding to questions such as how much, how often, how many, when and who. Cross-sectional or social survey design approaches (Bryman & Bell, 2011, p. 53) gather data at a fixed point in time (Creswell, 2013, p. 146). The authors suggest using either an experimental approach or a survey to conduct the examination. With quantitative analyses, variables may be identified and set in relation to each other. As the problem is undoubtedly identifiable with contextual factors predominantly left unstudied, Salkind (2003) confirms the use of quantitative empirical methodology. Figure 5 illustrates the research model underlying this work.
In investigating the stated propositions, the research model guides the empirical section of this dissertation. Leadership behavior according to FRL serves as basic theory. Three higher-order predictors can be identified: (1) transformational leadership, (2) transactional leadership, and (3) passive leadership. Work-related outcomes are determined as: (4) follower self-leadership and (5) follower performance. The process is described in detail in subsequent sections. The emphasis of the study lies on the moderating and mediating effects of the intervening variables: (6) physical distance, (7) relationship quality, and (8) leader-follower interaction frequency.
Figure 5. Research Model