Dual-level effects of transformational leadership : the mediating role of efficacy beliefs

Date

2014

Authors

Lau, Ka Yee

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Abstract

There is accumulating evidence that transformational leadership influences employee motivation and performance both individually and collectively (Dansereau et al 1995, Avolio and Bass 1995, Yammarino et al 1998). Previous studies have mainly treated transformational leadership as an overarching construct focusing on the individual and group levels of analysis separately. Understanding the underlying process of different behavioural components of transformational leadership at both the individual and group levels is theoretically and practically important (Yukl 1998, Kark and Shamir 2002, van Knippenberg et al 2004). Theoretically, examining behavioural components provides clarity as to how transformational leadership affects individuals and groups (Wu et al 2010). Practically, it provides important managerial implications for adapting appropriate sets of transformational leadership behaviours to manage teams and individuals effectively (Chen et al 2007). Recognizing the important implications of this line of research and extending the results of current research, this study focuses on the effects of the behavioural components of transformational leadership and examines the influence process of each transformational leadership behavioural component at its designated level. The aim of this thesis is to examine the underlying mechanism that enables transformational leadership to affect individual and collective levels of behaviours. The behavioural dimensions of individual-focused and group-focused transformational leadership are first defined and described. Drawing on social cognitive theory, self-concept theory and a target similarity framework, this study then proposes a model of the underlying process via which behavioural components of transformational leadership influence individual and group outcomes. Self and collective efficacies, which reflect the characteristics of personal and collective efficacy beliefs, are proposed as mechanisms that underpin the dual-level effects of transformational leadership on the outcomes. Specifically, I theorize that individual-focused and group-focused transformational leadership behaviours are positively related to personal efficacy and collective efficacy respectively. I further hypothesize that individual-focused transformational leadership behaviours positively influence individual level work outcomes through the mediating effect of personal efficacy. At the group level, I hypothesize that group-focused transformational leadership behaviours positively influence group level work outcomes through the mediating effect of collective self-efficacy. A pilot study is conducted to confirm that individual- and group-focused transformational leadership behaviours are distinct. The transformational leadership scale from the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ) form 5x is adopted with wording revised to represent group-focused and individual-focused referents. The items are validated via a sample of 77 postgraduate students enrolled in Business Management programs in China and Australia. The model is then tested with data from a sample of 297 subordinates and 100 supervisors, which represent 100 work teams, in a major hotel in Southern China. Results provide support for the model, showing that self-efficacy mediates the effect of individual-focused transformational leadership behaviours on individual performance and career expectation at the individual level. Collective self-efficacy also mediates the effect of group-focused transformational leadership behaviours on group performance and organizational citizenship behaviours at the group level. Implications for theory and practice are discussed and the limitations of the current study for future research directions are outlined.

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Thesis (MPhil)

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Open Access

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DOI

10.25911/5d611dc22e1b6

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