Finally, this study is subject to several limitations. A critique of research instruments is provided along with theoretical and methodological limitations.
Full Range Leadership
Although the MLQ is one of a few empirical measures capable of assessing transformational leadership in a quantitative way (Avolio & Gibbons, 1988), and it is the instrument most widely applied for this purpose (Antonakis et al., 2003, p. 271), accuracy of the measure is questioned by acknowledging the potential of monomethod bias and hence limited generalizability (Lowe et al., 1996). The MLQ further suffers from ambiguity with regard to level of analysis. Content validity is equivocal as items show mixed indications reflecting individual, group, and organizational references (Schriesheim et al., 2009). Discussions arose during the execution of the study whether the four-item factor of laissez-faire leadership should be combined with passive management-by-exception to the higher-order factor of passive leadership as suggested by prior research that these two dimensions are not clearly separable (Den Hartog et al., 1997). This study followed the suggestion as reliability scores improved considerably by holding both dimensions closely together. Yet, criticism is not only directed at the fact that discriminant validity and reliability might produce dissatisfactory results. Bycio, Hackett and Allen (1995) state that a sample pooled from different hierarchy levels and leader gender could also have affected the inter-factor correlations of the MLQ and thus it shows only little discriminant validity. Michel et al. (2011, pp. 501-502) found certain behaviors missing in the MLQ that are held accountable for variances in supervisor- and follower-rated effectiveness outcomes. Particularly, external monitoring and change-related leadership behavior are missing. Another factor that could potentially have impacted reliability of passive management-by-exception is that, prior to sending out the questionnaire, the four items of laissez-faire leadership were recoded to better fit the tonality of the survey instrument. Yet, this procedure was not followed for the four passive management-by-exception items which could be cause for confusion among respondents as some items were formulated negatively and others positively. Findings by Tejeda, Scandura and Pillai (2001) explored the psychometric properties of the MLQ and did not support the original factor structure of the instrument. Instead, they proposed a 27-item measure which would still fully capture FRL behavior. Antonakis et al. (2003) provide strong evidence for the nine-factor model of the MLQ Form 5X. The authors acknowledge the measure as a comprehensive instrument for capturing the entire range of leadership.