Home Business & Finance Distance Leadership in International Corporations: Why Organizations Struggle when Distances Grow
Full Range Leadership
The sample of 372 followers was asked to evaluate the leadership behavior of their direct supervisors. Perceptions of Full Range Leadership were examined using the dimensions of transformational, transactional, and passive leadership behavior. The MLQ 5X short containing 36 items was applied. Means, standard deviations, skewness and kurtosis were computed. Scale statistics are specified with Cronbach’s alpha reliability scores and mean inter-item correlations.
Transformational leadership was the behavior perceived as most distinctive by followers in business units of international corporations (M = 3.65, SD = 0.65). Variances between first-order factors were rather small. Inspirational motivation (M = 3.75, SD = 0.69) was the predominant behavior, whereas attributed idealized influence was observed the least distinctive out of the five subfacets (M = 3.61, SD = 0.78). Descriptive information and scale statistics are depicted in Table 10. Followers allocated their leaders’ transactional leadership behavior with a mean score of 3.47 (SD = 0.57). Comparing contingent reward leadership (M = 3.68, SD = 0.69) with active MBE (M = 3.25, SD = 0.70), estimates revealed that contingent reward leadership was the predominant transactional leadership behavior perceived by subordinates.
In general, mean values of facets of passive leadership scored rather low in ratings, whereas attributes of transformational and transactional leadership were rated relatively high. The lowest values, again, were retrieved for the higher-order factor of passive leadership. Resulting in a mean value of 2.21 (SD = 0.59) followers ascribed their leaders this behavioral aspect the least. The subfacet of laissez-faire leadership illustrated the lowest mean score of the entire scale (M = 2.14, SD = 0.66), followed by passive MBE producing a mean score of 2.40 (SD = 0.66).
Table 10. Scale Statistics for Full Range Leadership
Note. Standard error of skewness = . 126. Standard error of kurtosis = .252.
The assessment of FRL dimensions by followers showed reasonably stable reliability throughout the facets. Except for the higher-order factor of passive leadership, alpha values were within a range of .70 and .83. Passive management-by-exception illustrated profound evidence for reliability of this subfacet after deletion of items 3 (“My leader fails to interfere until problems become serious”) and 12 (“My leader waits for things to go wrong before he/she takes action”) which led to an increase of Cronbach’s alpha from .45 to .72. When passive management-by-exception was left out of transactional and included into the passive dimension, coefficients increased considerably. Den Hartog and colleagues (1997, p. 32) previously found that there is no need to distinguish between passive MBE and laissez-faire leadership. As a result, passive MBE was included in the passive leadership factor. With this setup, higher-order factors displayed acceptable reliability scores for transformational leadership (a = .95), transactional leadership (a = .77), and passive leadership (a = .64). Looking at mean inter-item correlations, subfacets of idealized influence (attributed) (.55), inspirational motivation (.51), intellectual stimulation (.53), and individualized consideration exceed the suggested value of .50.
In the next step, it was determined if leadership behavior varied with the extent of physical distance. The file was therefore split in different categories resembling physical distance and the three higher-order factors of Full Range Leadership. Table 11 shows the outcomes of the analysis. The follower sample located at no distance (0 km) to the leader shows a comparatively high degree of transformational leadership (M = 3.71, SD = .66). A similar finding can be reported for those followers who are located 11 - 100 km (M = 3.71, SD = .51) and 101 - 1,000 km (M =
3.80, SD = .50) away from their direct leaders. For those who were 1 - 10 km (M = 3.49, SD = .70) and more than 1000 km (M = 3.51, SD = .64) separated, the mean scores were remarkably lower.
For transactional leadership, mean scores did not vary that extensively. The highest extent of transactional leadership could be reported for followers 101 - 1,000 km (M = 3.56, SD = .47) apart from their direct leaders. All others lied within a range between 3.45 and 3.51.
Passive leadership was reported least frequently for those subordinates located at 11 - 100 km (M = 2.10, SD = .47) from their leaders. The highest extent of passive leadership was perceived by followers 1 - 10 km (M = 2.41, SD = .46) and more than 1,000 km (M = 2.41, SD = .51) away.
Table 11. T-Tests for Variations in Leadership Behavior with Physical Distance
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