A selection of interesting articles we found recently on leadership styles.

Is there really a difference between empowering and laissez-faire leadership?
Not as much as originally thought, according to Sut Humborstad and Steffen Giessner’s research. Empowering leadership and laissez-faire leadership are generally thought to represent quite different leadership styles—the former more active and directed in follower development and the latter more passive and dismissive of followers’ needs.

The present study questions this sharp differentiation. Building on leader categorization theory, the authors suggest that followers can perceive empowering leadership as laissez-faire depending on followers’ empowerment expectations. Specifically, when leaders’ behaviours are not aligned with followers’ expectations (they are either higher or lower), followers may evaluate them as being laissez-faire. A two-stage field study of 150 leader-follower pairs supported the authors’ hypotheses. Furthermore, followers’ perceptions of laissez-faire leadership as a mediator subsequently lead to lower leader effectiveness evaluation. Consequently, the results indicate that empowering and laissez-faire leadership in the perceptions of followers are closer to each other than researchers previously thought.

Published online before print: Sut I Wong Humborstad and Steffen Robert Giessner. 2015. The Thin Line Between Empowering and Laissez-Faire Leadership: An Expectancy-Match Perspective.
Journal of Management, March 18 2015, doi 0149206315574597


Transformational leaders’ in-group versus out-group orientation
To further the debate on the ethical dimension of transformational leadership (TFL) from a virtue ethics perspective, David Effelsberg and Marc Solga focused on leaders’ in-group orientation as well as their in-group versus out-group orientation in situations of conflict between organisational interests and broader ethical values. More precisely, the current study captured leaders’ organisational identification (OI) as well as their willingness to engage in unethical pro-organisational behaviour (UPB) and tested the relations between these attitudes and follower-perceived TFL behaviour.

In total, the leadership behaviours of 112 middle- and top-level managers were evaluated by 900 direct-reports. Results showed leaders’ organisational identification to be positively related to TFL. However, we found no relation between leaders’ willingness to engage in unethical pro-organisational behaviour and TFL. Implications regarding the ethical dimension of TFL are discussed.

More information is contained in: David Effelsberg and Marc Solga. 2015. Transformational Leaders’ In-Group versus Out-Group Orientation: Testing the Link Between Leaders’ Organizational Identification, their Willingness to Engage in Unethical Pro-Organizational Behavior, and Follower-Perceived Transformational Leadership.
Journal of Business Ethics, 126(4), 581-590.


Machiavellianism, culture and bullying
Exposure to bullying at work is a serious social stressor, having important consequences for the victim, the co-workers, and the whole organisation. Bullying can be understood as a multi-causal phenomenon: the result of individual differences between workers, deficiencies in the work environment or an interaction between individual and situational factors. The results of the previous studies confirmed that some characteristics within an individual may predispose to bullying others and/or being bullied.

In the present study, Irena Pilch and Elżbieta Turska clarify the relationships between workplace bullying considered from the victim’s and the perpetrator’s points of view, employee Machiavellianism as a personality factor and perceptions of organisational culture as depicted by Cameron and Quinn. The sample consisted of 117 workers, employed in different organisations in Poland. The empirical data regarding both being exposed to bullying and being a perpetrator of bullying were obtained by the use of self-reports from participants. According to the expectations, Machiavellianism predicted involvement in bullying others. The groups of bullies and bully-victims had a higher Machiavellianism level compared with the groups of victims and persons not-involved in bullying.

The results showed that being bullied was negatively related to the perceptions of clan and adhocracy cultures and positively related to the perceptions of hierarchy culture. The results of a moderated regression analysis demonstrated that Machiavellianism was a significant moderator of the relationships between the perceptions of adhocracy and hierarchy cultures and being bullied. Theoretical and practical implications of the results were discussed.

Read further in: Irena Pilch and Elżbieta Turska. 2015. Relationships Between Machiavellianism, Organizational Culture, and Workplace Bullying: Emotional Abuse from the Target’s and the Perpetrator’s Perspective.
Journal of Business Ethics, 128(1), 83-93.


Authentic Leadership enhances store performance
Arménio Rego and his team used 68 stores of a retail chain for testing a model in which perceived authentic leadership (AL) predicts stores’ sales achievement through the mediating role of perceived store virtuousness and perceived store potency. Employees reported AL, store virtuousness, and store potency. Sales achievement over a period of four consecutive months subsequent to data collection (on independent and mediating variables) formed the dependent variable (for control: sales achievement in the previous 4 months).

The main findings are the following:
(a) AL predicts store potency through the mediating role of store virtuousness;
(b) store virtuousness predicts sales achievement through the mediating role of store potency;
(c) AL predicts sales achievement via the mediating role of both store virtuousness and store potency.

By focusing on three positive constructs, whose interrelations have scarcely been explored, and relating them to store performance, the study enriches the Positive Organizational Scholarship movement, and suggests that AL and virtuousness are good in themselves and also potential facilitators of group success.

For more details see: Arménio Rego, Dálcio Reis Júnior and Miguel Pina e Cunha.  2015. Authentic Leaders Promoting Store Performance: The Mediating Roles of Virtuousness and Potency.
Journal of Business Ethics, 128(3), 617-634.
Corporate psychopathy
Corporate psychopathy (CP) thrives perhaps as the most significant threat to ethical corporate behaviour around the world. These authors argue that Human Resources Management (HRM) professionals should formulate strategic solutions metaphorically by balancing what strategic military planners famously call ‘Search and Destroy’ (SD) and ‘Hearts and Minds’ (HM) counter-terrorist strategy. Marshall and his team argue that these military metaphors offer creative inspiration to help academics and practitioners theorise CP in richer, more reflective and more balanced and complementary ways. An appreciation of both metaphors is likely to favour the use of hybrid strategies comprising SD and HM elements, which may provide the best HRM solutions to CP for the same reasons as the military now considers parallel hybrid solutions optimal for combating terrorist and guerrilla insurgency.

The full paper is available at: Alasdair J. Marshall, Melanie J. Ashleigh, Denise Baden, Udechukwu Ojiako and Marco G. D. Guidi. 2015. Corporate Psychopathy: Can ‘Search and Destroy’ and ‘Hearts and Minds’ Military Metaphors Inspire HRM Solutions?
Journal of Business Ethics, 128(3), 495-504.
Leadership styles and employee outcomes in luxury hotels
This study examines the effects of transformational, transactional, and non-transactional leadership on hotel employees’ outcomes including extra effort, perceived efficiency, and satisfaction with managers. Employees from eleven 4-star hotels in Spain provided the collected data.

A series of statistical analyses
(1) identify the elements of three leadership styles using a multi-factor leadership questionnaire (MLQ-5X);
(2) examine the effect of leadership styles on employees’ outcomes. The results of this study indicate that “idealized attributes” of transformational leadership and “contingent reward” from transactional leadership are the most important factors that positively affect all three outcomes (i.e., extra effort, perceived efficiency, and satisfaction);
and (3) to assess the moderating effect of different types of ownership of hotel properties on the relationship between styles of leadership and outcomes of employees’ activities other than these two elements, the significant factors indicating positive or negative relationships vary depending on the types of individual outcomes as well as ownership of hotel properties.

The discussion sections indicate theoretical and practical implications of the findings.

For more information, see: Teresa Aguiar Quintana, Sangwon Park and Yasmina Araujo Cabrera. 2015. Assessing the Effects of Leadership Styles on Employees’ Outcomes in International Luxury Hotels.
Journal of Business Ethics, 129(2), 469-489.