Academic journal article Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies

A Longitudinal Study of the Relationships among Self-Monitoring, Authentic Leadership, and Perceptions of Leadership

Academic journal article Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies

A Longitudinal Study of the Relationships among Self-Monitoring, Authentic Leadership, and Perceptions of Leadership

Article excerpt

There is little research examining variability in leadership outcomes over time as a function of individual differences. The present study investigates how the extent to which individuals are perceived as leaders varies over time, with self-monitoring and authentic leadership as predictors. Hierarchical linear modeling analyses found that change in the extent to which individuals were perceived to be leaders by others varied across individuals, but this variability was not due to individuals' self-monitoring, authentic leadership, or declining interrater reliability. It was also found that individuals' overestimation of themselves as leaders increased over time. Finally, an initial measure of authentic leadership was developed.

Keywords: leadership; perception; self-monitoring; authentic leadership; longitudinal studies; individual differences

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A general criticism of organizational behavior research is that it features a lack of longitudinal designs (Huber & Van de Ven, 1995). Reliance on cross-sectional data is especially at odds with the goals of leadership research, as many theories that include time as a factor have not been fully tested (Ployhart, Holtz, & Bliese, 2002; Yukl, 2002). Although recent longitudinal studies have investigated such important issues as transformational leadership (e.g., Keller, 2006) and implicit leadership theories (ILTs; e.g., Epitropaki & Martin, 2005), there remains little understanding of trait-based predictors of change in leadership outcomes over time (Ployhart et al., 2002). The present study contributes to leadership research by examining individual difference predictors, self-monitoring and authentic leadership, of change in how individuals are perceived as leaders over time.

In examining the proposed relationships, the present study both converges with and diverges from general trends in longitudinal leadership research. Longitudinal leadership studies have generally involved time spans of a few months (Yukl, 2002) and have used military samples (e.g., Atwater, Dionne, Avolio, Camobreco, & Lau, 1999; Bradley, Nicol, Charbonneau, & Meyer, 2002; Chemers, Watson, & May, 2000; Smither, London, & Richmond, 2005). Also, many existing studies do not use repeated measurements of the same variable over time; instead, they involve the measurement of predictors at Time 1 and different types of outcomes (e.g., leadership style vs. leader effectiveness ratings) at later times (e.g., De Hoogh, Den Hartog, & Koopman, 2005; Keller, 2006; Smither et al., 2005). The present study's greatest contribution to leadership research in general is that it will use repeated measurement of the same variable, leadership perceptions, to model change in an important outcome variable in leadership research, using a random coefficients modeling (RCM) approach.

Perceptions of Leadership

Examining the nature of perceptions of individuals as leaders, as an outcome, is important for theoretical and practical reasons. According to Cronshaw and Lord (1987), research on leadership perceptions can inform broader research into the nature of social perceptions. Also, because perceptions of leadership are involved in the development of influence and status relationships at work (Cronshaw & Lord, 1987), research on leadership perceptions can enhance an understanding of who is likely to be conferred with influence and status over others at work.

That the length of time over which individuals are afforded with leadership status may change according to individual differences has implications for selection and team composition. For selection, organizations would likely want to select or promote individuals into leadership positions who are likely to be perceived as leaders by others over time. Although those individuals may not be significantly regarded as leaders initially, their selection or promotion to leadership status should pay dividends over time. …

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