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Leadership behavior and control variables

With the examination of leadership behaviors, numerous control variables were tested to see whether any explained significant variance of an interrelation between variables. Leader gender, age, and educational background did not show correlations with any of the leadership variables. Despite the fact that leadership experience is often observed as an indicator for certain leadership characteristics, the present analysis did not result in any evidence of that relationship. A potential reason is that most of the respondents had leadership experience of two years only. During that time, leadership behavior might still be transitioning and fresh leaders are in the process of developing their own style.

Transformational leadership was related to leaders’ hierarchy level (r = .22, p < 0.5). In other words, the higher leaders are in the organizational hierarchy, the more followers perceive that they execute transformational leadership. Accordingly, top managers practice transformational aspects of leadership more extensively than do middle or lower management staff. Passive leadership was yet negatively related to hierarchy level. Fuller, Patterson, Hester and Stringer (1996) presented results in which the correlation between charismatic leadership and effectiveness indicators seemed to be stronger at higher hierarchical levels. They explain the findings by the fact that leaders at higher hierarchy levels enjoy greater freedom and autonomy to act and question the status quo.

Transformational leadership further correlated positively with functional area. In indirect/administrative areas the dominant perceived leadership behavior was transformational leadership (M = 3.80). Transactional leadership was perceived remarkably lower at a mean level of 3.50. Passive leadership is perceived as less developed (M = 2.23). In areas of manufacturing, logistics and supply chain, transformational leadership is still perceived the strongest behavior (M = 3.26), ahead of transactional leadership (M = 3.21), and passive leadership (M = 2.52). Yet the comparatively lower mean scores indicate that in those areas particularly transformational and transactional leadership are not that distinct from each other and are more often executed simultaneously.

Finally, followers’ tenure correlated positively with transformational (r = .11, p < .05) and transactional behavior (r = .15, p < .01). The longer followers were on one leader’s team, the stronger they perceived transformational and transactional characteristics. This might owe to the knowledge followers have about their leader. Subordinates with little leader tenure might not have experienced many facets of transformational or transactional behaviors, whereas those who are with a leader for a longer time might ascribe more of these facets to him or her. In addition, male followers rated their leaders’ behavior as more transactional (r = .12, p < .05).

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