Correlations of relationship quality
The present study analyzed correlations of followers’ perceptions of relationship quality with different variables which will be discussed in the next sequences. As expected, relationship quality correlated positively with followers’ performance (r = 19, p < .001). Gerstner and Day (1997) confirmed a consistent correlation between relationship quality and performance, which were higher when rated by the same source. Yet, the authors conclude that the consistency in correlations cannot be entirely explained by same-source bias. Moreover, expectations by the leader are mainly shaped by their quality of relationship which can in turn influence performance ratings. Similar explanations can be given for members’ ratings. Most likely, followers determine the effort they would like to invest in a task depending on the relationship quality they experience with their supervisor. Those subordinates experiencing high quality relationships are more likely willing to “go the extra mile” for their supervisor.
Relationship quality was further related to followers’ tenure with the leader (r = .14, p < .01). As relationship quality builds over time (Graen & Uhl-Bien, 1995), followers with longer tenure have more opportunities to develop a high quality relationship with their leader. The same might be true for the frequency of face-to-face encounters. Relationship quality was found to correlate positively with frequency of face-to-face interaction (r = .20, p < .001) between leader and followers. High quality relationships with facets of respect, trust, and obligation are easier to establish with personal contact. Lower quality relations, however, are characterized by limited personal interaction (Graen & Uhl-Bien, 1995).
Further attesting to the novelty of the present research, the relationship quality was correlated to self-leadership for the first time. A positive and significant correlation could be detected (r = .21, p < .001). No investigations thus far have empirically examined the link between the quality of relationship and the degree of selfleadership in followers. In one of their primary publications, Graen and Uhl-Bien (1991b) described a potential association between self-managing subordinates and a high quality relationship. The researchers argued that the leader-follower relation determines leadership effectiveness and if this relationship would lead to increased incremental influence, the relation can foster self-management (Graen & Uhl-Bien, 1991b, pp. 34-36). Followers experiencing mature relationships receive resources, support, and guidance that are needed to actively employ self-management activities.