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Predictor Variables Leadership behavior

In the first section of the survey followers were asked to provide ratings on their perceptions of leaders’ leadership behavior according to the dimensions of the FRL

Model. The evolvement of measurements for leadership behaviors is closely related to the development of Full Range Leadership. The Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (Avolio & Bass, 1995) is to date the most widely applied instrument assessing leadership in its subfacets (Lowe et al., 1996). It has, however, been subject to criticism in various prior studies, as outlined in a meta-analysis by Antonakis et al. (2003, p. 263). Findings indicate that the MLQ lacks discriminant validity for its nine-factor structure. Results reveal that the number of discriminant factors range from one to nine, with five being represented most frequently. Avolio et al. (1995) claim this to be caused by the elimination of some subscales in most of the studies. Highlighting this argument, most academic research focuses on the evaluation of charismatic or transformational leadership, and/or transactional leadership. Results by Antonakis et al. (2003) nevertheless provide support for the nine-factor-structure of the MLQ. Particularly, the MLQ 5X short displayed good validity and internal consistency repeatedly (Zach, 2014, p. 123).

The current measure of the MLQ 5X comprises 45 items, of which 36 items evaluate the nine sub-dimensions and nine items assess leadership outcomes. According to the developers, the scale shows internal consistency and satisfactory factor loadings (Avolio, Bass & Jung, 1995; Bass & Avolio, 1997). A study by Den Hartog and colleagues (1997) assessing reliability of the MLQ found transformational leadership to achieve high Cronbach alpha scores (a = .95). For transactional and laissez-faire leadership, alpha coefficients were below the suggested criterion of .70. Transactional leadership showed a low coefficient of a = .60 while the laissez-faire scale resulted in a = .49. The authors justify this outcome with the fact that the subscale assessing for passive management-by-exception was included in the transactional leadership dimension. When passive management-by-exception was left out of transactional and included in the passive leadership[1] dimension, coefficients increased considerably to .79 for transactional and .72 for the higher-order factor of passive leadership. The researchers see theoretical and empirical value in using the three higher-order factor model differentiating between transformational, transactional, and passive leadership. Findings also support the conclusion that there is no reason to distinguish between passive management-by-exception and laissez-faire leadership. Intra-dimension correlations were high, whereas correlations with all other subscales of transformational and transactional leadership show negative effects (Den Hartog et al., 1997, pp. 32-33). Avolio, Bass and Jung (1999) also discussed a three-factor option, including one passive factor. This work follows the suggestion by the researchers treating passive management-by-exception as subfacet of passive leadership together with the original items for laissez-faire leadership.

Despite the criticism outlined in the literature review, this study builds on previous work applying the MLQ 5X short as it is the most widely validated and accepted instrument in academic leadership research resembling subfacets of FRL (Zach, 2014). Table 3 shows the factor-structure of the MLQ 5X short with example items. Responses were rated using a five-point Likert scale ranging from 1 = not at all to 5 = frequently, if not always. For participants speaking German, the language version by Felfe (2006) was applied.

The higher-order factor of transformational leadership with its subscales (1) idealized influence (attributed), (2) idealized influence (behavior), (3) inspirational motivation, (4) intellectual stimulation, and (5) individualized consideration (Bass & Avolio, 1995) are represented by four items each. Transactional leadership is measured with also four items each determining (6) contingent reward, and (7) active MBE. Eight items are rated on the passive leadership scale, four statements each representing (8) passive MBE, and (9) laissez-faire leadership.

Table 3. Nine-Factor Structure of the MLQ 5X short with Sample Items


Sample Items

Transformational leadership

Idealized influence (attributed)

I instill pride in others for being associated with me.

Idealized influence (behavior)

I talk about my most important values and beliefs.

Inspirational motivation

I talk optimistically about the future.

Intellectual stimulation

I seek differing perspectives when solving problems.

Individualized consideration

I spend time teaching and coaching.

Transactional leadership

Contingent reward

I provide others with assistance in exchange for their efforts.

Management-by-exception - active

I keep track of all mistakes.

Passive leadership

Management-by-exception - passive

I fail to interfere until problems become serious.

Laissez-faire leadership

I am absent when needed.

Source: Bass and Avolio (1995)

  • [1] From this point of the work passive leadership is referred to as consisting of the two subfacetsof passive management-by-exception and laissez-faire leadership.
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