Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Leadership Style, Self-Sacrifice, and Team Identification

Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Leadership Style, Self-Sacrifice, and Team Identification

Article excerpt

Team identification is one of the most important factors in defining one's identity. Past researchers have shown that employee identification is a fundamental predictor of efforts on behalf of the organization (Riketta, 2005). Hence, there is an increasing interest in current research, in employee organizational identification and the factors that promote it in teamwork. Team identification is defined as "the extent to which an individual team member identifies with a specific organizational team rather than social groups in general" (Gundlach, Zivnuska, & Stoner, 2006, p. 1608). It represents individual members' perceived sense of belonging to a particular team. Team identification motivates members to behave in accordance with the group's interests and strengthens the ties between members.

Leadership influence is a promising research approach related to team identification. According to the self-concept-based theory of leadership (Shamir, House, & Arthur, 1993) effective leaders are very adept at fostering employee group identification. Following this theory, van Dick, Hirst, Grojean, and Wieseke (2007) developed a transfer model of organizational identification (OI) that links leader OI to follower OI.

An approach to the study of leadership in which the complexity of the changes in modern organizational contexts are described, uses the transformational/ transactional framework (Bass, 1985; Bass & Avolio, 1995). Bass discusses the difference between a transactional leadership model, in which the leader emerges as a result of transactions and exchanges with group members, and a transformational leadership model, in which the leader adapts to the changes and instability of the situation and involves, motivates, and supports followers in a manner consistent with the required transformations.

In the transactional leadership model, leaders are negotiating agents who conciliate and sometimes compromise to obtain greater decision-making power within the group. To achieve this goal, they perform a series of actions that enable them to influence and convince the followers, who are capable of providing valuable support. The activity of leaders consists of implementing interpersonal transactions in which tasks, expectations, and related awards are indicated and clarified. The aim of rewards and punishments is not to transform the followers but to ensure that the expected results are achieved.

Transformational leadership is the other side of the coin. The operational mode of a leader whose leadership style is transformational, causes followers to seek rewards within themselves and facilitates their personal growth and self-awareness (Scaffidi Abbate & Ruggieri, 2008). Unlike the transactional leader who makes use of existing interests, the transformational leader changes each individual's value system to construct a new one constituted by common goals, and actively engages with followers by obtaining their collaboration, and encouraging them to identify with an organizational vision beyond their own self-interest. Followers are encouraged to enhance their group and organizational selves by concentrating on long-term goals and attempting to change situations. This is accomplished by leaders who support their followers by acting as guides and motivators in the change and growth process. The effects, in terms of the effectiveness of use of either a transactional or a transformational leadership style, are found both in face-to-face and computer-mediated communication interactions (Purvanova & Bono, 2009; Ruggieri, 2009).

A topic that has recently attracted increasing attention from leadership researchers is the self-sacrifice of leaders, but to date, relatively little is known about the mediators of the effects of leadership level and self-sacrifice on group factors, especially the effects on group behavior (De Cremer & van Knippenberg, 2004). Leaders who display self-sacrificial behavior are considered by their followers to be more effective, charismatic, and legitimate than are self-benefiting leaders (Hoogervorst, De Cremer, van Dijke, & Mayer, 2012). …

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