Academic journal article Journal of Behavioral and Applied Management

Relationships between Transformational and Active Transactional Leadership and Followers' Organizational Identification: The Role of Psychological Empowerment

Academic journal article Journal of Behavioral and Applied Management

Relationships between Transformational and Active Transactional Leadership and Followers' Organizational Identification: The Role of Psychological Empowerment

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

We examined the underlying processes through which transformational and active transactional leadership affects followers' organizational identification in a survey study. Using a sample of managers across different industries, we found that followers' psychological empowerment, including competence, impact, meaning, and self-determination, partially mediated the effect of transformational leadership and active transactional leadership on followers' organizational identification. Furthermore, transformational leadership explained variance in followers' organizational identification and psychological empowerment above and beyond active transactional leadership. These findings provide additional support for transformational leadership theory by demonstrating a motivational mechanism through which followers identify with their organizations. Theoretical contributions and practical implications are discussed.

Keywords: transformational leadership, active transactional leadership, organizational identification, psychological empowerment

Introduction

Transformational leadership has been a topic of much research in the past three decades. There has been accumulating evidence to suggest that transformational leadership has a positive effect on follower work attitudes and performance at both the individual and organizational levels (e.g., Lowe, Kroeck, & Sivasubramaniam, 1996). However, it appears that more attention needs to be given to the investigation of the underlying mechanisms and processes by which transformational leaders exert their influence on followers, and ultimately their performance (Kark & Shamir, 2002). Some leadership researchers (e.g., Shamir, House, & Arthur, 1993; Yukl, 2010) consistently emphasize that different transformational leader behaviors might involve different influence processes.

Shamir et al. (1993) proposed a self-concept-based theoretical model to explain the motivational effects of charismatic/transformational leadership on followers. According to this theory, charismatic/transformational leaders influence followers in the following three ways: by increasing followers' self-efficacy, by influencing followers' value internalization, and by facilitating followers' social identification with the group. Kark, Shamir, and Chen (2003) further proposed that follower social identification mediates the effect of charismatic/ transformational leadership on important follower psychological states, such as organizational-based self-esteem and collective efficacy. However, they did not clearly explain the underlying processes through which charismatic/transformational leadership affects follower social identification, and this is a gap in the literature that we aspire to fill in this study. Nor did they contrast these effects against those of transactional leadership, an exchanged-based leadership style also associated with positive outcomes (Bass, 1985: Sosik & Jung, 2010). Therefore, we proposed and tested in this study the theoretical model shown in Figure 1 as an extension and alternative to the theoretical model proposed by Kark et al. (2003).

Accordingly, the main purpose of this study is to draw upon perspectives from transformational leadership theory (Bass, 1985), the self-concept-based motivational explanations of charismatic/transformational leadership (Kark et al., 2003; Shamir et al., 1993), organizational identification theory (Ashforth, Harrison, & Corley, 2008; Tajfel, 1972), and psychological empowerment theory (Spreitzer, 1995) to develop and test a theoretical model which casts light on the underlying processes by which transformational leaders influence followers' organizational identification via enhancing followers' psychological empowerment.

Theoretical Framework and Hypotheses Development

Ashforth et al.'s (2008) model of narrow and broad formulations of organizational identification serves as the theoretical framework for our study. …

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