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Direct Effects of Leadership Behavior on Follower Self-Leadership and Performance

Hypothesis 1.1:

Transformational leadership and transactional leadership behavior both predict positive follower self-leadership, whereas passive leadership behavior predicts negative follower self-leadership.

Self-leadership was projected to be positively related to the active leadership dimensions, and negatively to passive leadership (Furtner et al., 2012). Selfleadership was found to correlate moderately positive with transformational (r = .24, p < .001) and transactional leadership (r = .29, p < .001). In particular, the first relation can be attributed to the fact that self-leadership often results from empowerment due to transformational attributes, especially working well with those followers having a strong need for autonomy (Yun et al., 2006b). Attributes like formulating a compelling vision are key in transformational leadership, in turn requiring better self-goal setting and self-observation, which reflect vital selfleadership features (Bass & Bass, 2008). Inspirational leaders further exhibit higher intrinsic motivation (Brown & Fields, 2011) which is expected to relate to natural reward strategies. Furtner et al. (2013) revealed that natural reward strategies were those strategic dimensions which led to an attribution of active and dynamic behavior perceived by followers, arguing that transformational leadership sets the ground for effective self-leadership in followers (Furtner, 2010). Previously mentioned studies investigated self-leadership and attributed leadership behaviors of the same individuals, whereas the present study found interrelations between perceptions of leadership behavior of leaders and self-leadership of followers.

Looking at the outcomes of the analysis, positive effects on follower self-leadership are confirmed by the higher-order factor of transactional leadership (r = .21, p < .01). Neither transformational, nor passive leadership reveal significant correlations. Beta values for significant effects of subfacets of transformational leadership are rather small. This could explain why the higher-order factor in total does not show any significant influences.

Examining the subfacets of FRL more closely, positive significant outcomes can be reported for idealized influence (behavior), (P = .25, p < .01), inspirational motivation (P = .21, p < .05), MBEa (P = .13, p < .05), and MBEp (P = .17, p < .001).

Furtner et al. (2013) reported correlations between facets of active leadership behaviors (transformational and transactional), and self-leadership.

The first-order factor of laissez-faire leadership (P = -.17, p < .05) snegative influence on followers’ self-leadership. An indication for that outcome was provided in prior research when leaders’ passive leadership was negatively related to their selfleadership behavior. In fact, this constitutes the first empirical evidence for superleadership, as perceptions of leaders’ behavior are detected to influence followers’ self-leadership.

An explanation for the positive relation of transformational subfacets with selfleadership can be found in the fact that the inspirational aspect of leadership is strongly reflected in charismatic leadership which in turn was found to relate to self-leadership behaviors such as self-goal setting, visualizing successful performance, and self-observation (Chung, Chen, Yun-Ping Lee, Chun Chen & Lin, 2011). If leaders then exhibited their role-modeling behavior, this attribute could be one indicator triggering self-leadership in followers.

The positive association of active and passive management-by-exception with followers’ self-leadership indicates that self-leadership indeed requires a state of independence to unfold. The negative correlation of self-leadership and frequency of face-to-face interaction support this assumption. Laissez-faire leadership, however, is too passive to trigger any kind of self-leadership behavior in followers. It can thus be concluded that in order to foster self-leadership in followers, active leadership is needed, yet with a strong setting encouraging autonomy and not overly executed face-to-face interaction.

Hypothesis 1.2:

Transformational leadership and transactional leadership behavior both predict positive follower performance, whereas passive leadership behavior predicts negative follower performance.

To address the second hypothesis, a closer look was taken at the direct influences of leadership behavior on follower performance. Primary considerations included the interpretation of the correlation matrix. Correlation of transformational leadership behavior with followers’ performance indicated weak positive relation (r = .16, p < .01). When multiple linear regressions were calculated, taking a range of control variables into account, only attributed idealized influence revealed a positive direct effect on follower performance. This outcome could be due to a large propor?tion of followers being led at physical distance which will be discussed in the course of hypothesis 2.2.

It is not surprising that a subfacet of transformational leadership predicts follower performance. Transformational leadership is not only the most researched dimension of Full Range Leadership, it is also described as the most effective form of the three facets (Bass & Avolio, 1995; Judge & Piccolo, 2004). Those leaders are described as the relationship builders, augmenting the relationship between followers and their team (Bass, 1985; Neufeld et al., 2010). Transformational leaders encourage subordinates to alter their performance and are perceived as effective leaders whom followers can trust (House & Shamir, 1993; Hoyt & Blascovich, 2003). In particular, identification with the leader appeared to be a potential enhancer of the influence of transformational leadership on work performance (Cavazotte et al., 2013). Results of the GLOBE study revealed that outstanding leaders inherited attributes of transformational leadership (Den Hartog et al., 1999). Many other studies, among them numerous meta-analytic publications, found transformational leadership to lead to improved performance (Fuller et al., 1996). Another investigation by Lowe et al. (1996) reveals thoroughly positive effects of transformational behavior on leadership effectiveness. A study by DeGroot, Kiker and Cross (2000) found that correlations between charismatic leadership and individual follower effectiveness outcomes were weaker than in the studies by Fuller et al. (1996) and Lowe et al. (1996). The researchers conclude that charismatic leadership impacts behaviors and performance of groups rather than individuals. A second indication for the outcome is mentioned with the issue of common source variance which might explain the minor validity and decreased correlation.

For transactional leadership, correlations of the higher-order factor did not reveal statistically significant outcomes. Looking at the sub-dimensions, only contingent reward leadership (r = .12, p < .01) reported weak positive correlation with follower performance. Together with transformational leadership transactional leadership builds one of the active dimensions of FRL. It can be seen as very effective using rational exchange process to set clear goals and control for achievement (Avolio, 2011). Other studies highlighted similarly positive effects of transformational leadership and contingent reward on performance outcomes (Dumdum, Lowe & Avolio, 2002; Judge & Piccolo, 2004; Wang et al., 2011a). Practicing an effort- reward relationship, followers usually know what leaders expect and they strive to deliver accordingly (Pearce & Sims, 2002). Whereas transformational leadership usually triggers followers’ intrinsic motivation to outgrow, transactional leadership encourages them to deliver on a negotiated performance level needed to receive a certain reward. Another reason for the significance of correlation between contin?gent-reward leadership and follower performance could be the strong interconnection of contingent-reward (r = .87, p < .001) with transformational leadership. In fact, this is a frequently reported scenario. Felfe and Goihl (2002) discovered that contingent reward loaded strongly on the transformational scale. The reason for the interrelation is that for transformational leadership to occur, a stable foundation of reasonable exchange (transactions) needs to be set up (Bass, 1993). The influence of contingent reward on performance diminished, however, once control variables were taken into the model.

Passive leadership was found to stipulate a slight decrease in follower performance (r = -.17, p < .001). This is to be expected, as active and passive management-byexception, and laissez-faire leadership revealed negative correlations with performance measures in previous studies (e.g., Dumdum et al., 2002). Placing most of the responsibility in the hand of followers, passive leadership is regarded as ineffective and counter-productive (Furtner & Baldegger, 2013; Skogstad et al., 2007). The influence decreased, however, when control variables were taken into account.

Although effects are relatively small, the present study could replicate the additional positive effect of transformational leadership on top of transactional leadership. This finding could be established by numerous previous studies (Elenkov, 2002; Howell & Avolio, 1993; Waldman, Bass & Yammarino, 1990). Although the foundation of an effective work relationship lies in the social exchange processes inherent to transactional behavior, transformational leadership adds to this relationship as it inspires followers and provides a vision, in that sense, to bring out the best in them.

Hypothesis 1.3:

Follower self-leadership strategies have a direct positive effect on follower performance.

Looking at the interaction between self-leadership and individual follower performance the correlation matrix points out that there might be a direct positive effect of medium strength (r = .24, p < .001). In fact, positive interactions between global self-leadership and followers’ performance were reported, displaying 5.8% of the variance. With an exception of cognition-based strategies, both other selfleadership strategies showed relevant outcomes. Natural-reward strategies (r = .15,

p < .05) seem to have a slightly bigger impact on follower performance than social self-leadership strategies (r = .14, p < .05).

As expected, self-leadership as a goal-focused strategy (Furtner & Rauthmann, 2011) predicted successful performance. In particular, natural reward strategies (e.g., success envision) and social self-leadership strategies (e.g., performance referencing) are characterized by a clear focus on the successful completion of tasks and the improvement of performance aspects. Findings of the present study follow the outcomes of prior investigations. Many studies confirmed a positive relation between self-leadership and work-related outcomes. Uhl-Bien and Graen (1998) discovered self-management to be positively related to effectiveness in functional units. Self-leadership was further reported to contribute to innovative behavior (Carmeli et al., 2006), team performance (Stewart & Barrick, 2000), and perceptions of a more effective and satisfying work-relationship (Dolbier et al., 2001). This outcome is supported by Politis (2006) as self-observation, self-goal setting, self-punishment, and self-reward were positively linked to intrinsic and extrinsic job satisfaction. Furthermore, job satisfaction mediated the relationship between self-leadership and team performance. Studies by Hauschildt and Konradt (2012a, 2012b) revealed self-leadership to be positively related to task and team member proficiency as well as adaptivity and proactivity on individual and team level.

The question remains open, whether self-leadership is distinct from constructs such as self-regulation, need for achievement or self-efficacy (Furtner et al., 2015). Interrelations were found in studies by Konradt et al. (2009) and Prussia et al. (1998). Outcomes of both investigations found that the influence of self-leadership on individual follower performance was fully mediated by self-efficacy. Furtner et al. (2015) could not confirm these results, as they found self-leadership to be predicting performance regardless of need for achievement, self-regulation, or selfefficacy.

The concept of self-leadership is still in its early development and not many empirical investigations have been published to date. However, the recognition of selfleadership as a distinct concept has made considerable progress thanks to extensive work in the field by academics particularly in the German-speaking region (e.g., Furtner, 2010; Furtner & Rauthmann, 2010, 2011, in prep.; Furtner et al., 2010, 2011, 2015; Hauschildt & Konradt, 2012a, 2012b; Konradt et al., 2009).

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