Leadership and Temperament Congruence: Extending the Expectancy Model of Work Motivation

Article excerpt

We integrate theory and research from disparate areas to develop a comprehensive expectancy model of work motivation. Within our model, we: (1) consolidate the motivation, leadership, and personality literatures; (2) effectively incorporate the self-concept and personalities of leaders and followers; (3) provide an expanded view of the dynamics surrounding the concept of effort; (4) specify dyadic temperament congruence as a critical source of goal-directed behavior, and (5) offer a more realistic depiction of the implications of satisfaction and perceived equity.


While theories of leadership and personality have continued to develop and expand, the investigation of work motivation appears stagnant. A review of many good organizational behavior textbooks (e.g., George & Jones, 2002; Luthans, 2002; Robbins, 2003) would indicate there has been little progress since Porter and Lawler (1968) refined and broadened the work of Vroom (1964). The work motivation literature is replete with those scholars bemoaning the fact that real progress has been anemic (Shamir, 1990). Empirical studies have produced conflicting results and have rarely offered any compelling explanation of unique variance in work productivity (Katzell & Thompson, 1990). A number of scholars have concluded that many established models are basically incorrect (Locke & Henne, 1976) or, at best, deficient of salient variables that make them too simplistic (Klein, 1989; Landy & Becker, 1987). "There is a growing realization that traditional models of motivation do not explain the diversity of behavior found in organizational settings" (Leonard, Beauvais, & Scholl, 1999: 969). Selden and Brewer (2000: 531) contend that "capturing the complexity of human behavior in a recursive theoretical framework is difficult, and such a framework is hard to operationalize and test in real world settings." We agree. Clearly, the multifaceted nature of work motivation is problematic for many conventional theories that reduce work motivation to one or two specific influences.

While the study of work motivation has certainly enhanced our knowledge, theorists are beginning to realize what we have is a "variety of motivation theories with no unifying theme ... that create conceptual clutter for researchers and confusion among practitioners who try to apply them to work settings" (Leonard et al., 1999: 969). We have a plethora of literature examining an impressive array of subsidiary concepts (e.g., goal setting, task complexity, rewards, satisfaction, equity, etc.) that are linked in some way to work motivation. To further complicate matters, these constructs have their own literature and are explicated in a myriad of disciplines ranging from evolutionary biology to the modern social sciences and business management. Yet, work motivation researchers must "confront the vexing questions about the interrelationships among these variables" (Selden & Brewer, 2000: 532). Many researchers have concluded it is likely many of these subsidiary concepts work together and that a Gestalt approach to work motivation is needed (Leonard et al., 1999; Selden & Brewer, 2000). To that end, Katzell and Thompson (1990: 151) suggested researchers attempt to synthesize these disparate theories into a more "comprehensive framework." Although such a metatheory of work motivation has proven elusive (Selden & Brewer, 2000), we propose a model we believe goes a long way toward developing just such a framework.

We begin with our comprehensive representation of how workplace behavior is energized, directed, and sustained (Steers, Porter, & Bigley, 1996) in real-world organizational settings. Upon presenting the model, we support our conceptualization by examining the relevant literature including an abridged assessment of the conceptual fragmentation of motivation that has hindered the development of work motivation theory. Next, we briefly review Porter and Lawler's (1968) expectancy paradigm by focusing on their significant contributions. …