Academic journal article Journal for East European Management Studies

Considering the Gap between Implicit Leadership Theories and Expectations of Actual Leader Behaviour: A Three-Study Investigation of Leadership Beliefs in Romania*

Academic journal article Journal for East European Management Studies

Considering the Gap between Implicit Leadership Theories and Expectations of Actual Leader Behaviour: A Three-Study Investigation of Leadership Beliefs in Romania*

Article excerpt

The conceptual base of behavioural preferences for leadership can be found in Implicit Leadership Theories (ILTs). In a series of three studies, we examined both ILTs and expectations for leader behaviour for the purpose of examining the degree of fit between ILTs and associated expectations. In our first study we found that ILTs for transformational and transactional leadership are highly related, although participant's ILTs were either not related or weakly related to expectations of actual leader behaviour. We conducted two follow-up studies to examine the understanding of transformational and transactional leadership in Romania. We discuss the findings in terms of how culturally-derived factors may serve to influence ILTs and profiles of expected leader behaviours.

Implizite Führungstheorien (ILTs) bilden die konzeptionelle Basis für Führungsverhaltenspräferenzen. In drei Studien haben wir jeweils ILTs und die Führungsverhaltenserwartungen im Hinblick auf ihre Übereinstimmung hin untersucht. In der ersten Studie haben wir festgestellt, dass ILTs sich stark auf transformative und transaktionale Führung beziehen, obwohl die ILTs der Teilnehmer entweder keine oder nur eine schwache Relation auf die Erwartungen des eigentlichen Führungsverhaltens hatten. Wir haben zwei Folgestudien durchgeführt, um das Verständnis für transformative und transaktionale Führung in Rumänien zu untersuchen. Wir diskutieren die Erkenntnisse in Bezug darauf, wie kulturell abgeleitete Faktoren zur Beeinflussung von ILTs und zur Profilierung von erwarteten Führungsverhalten dienen können.

Key words: Implicit Leadership Theories, leadership, transformational, transactional, organisational behaviour; Romania (JEL: L22, M12)

1. Introduction

When organisations embrace a strategy of adapting to business in other cultures, understanding how to increase the relational abilities of leaders can become a key objective (Hawrylyshyn 1985). Such strategies must include considerations of cultural factors that influence which types of interpersonal interactions are both desired and expected. In regard to desired behaviours from leaders, understanding cultural determinants of these behaviours can be critical paths to producing higher leadership skills in cross-cultural contexts. But it is also important to note that routines and norms for communication and other interpersonal behaviours, which are affected by both organisational and national cultures, may alter which types of behaviours are most likely to be expressed by leaders. We note that these two ideas - of simultaneous preferences and expectations of leadership behaviours - are related, but in fact may be different due to moderating factors within organisational and national cultural environments. The conceptual underpinning for behavioural preferences of leaders can be found in Implicit Leadership Theories (ILTs). ILTs have been found to be stable constructs (Epitropaki/Martin 2004) that are related to proximal leadership-based constructs and processes such as LMX, and other more distal organisational outcomes (Epitropaki/Martin 2005).

1.1 ILTs and ideal versus real leadership preferences

A key aspect of intercultural competence is to develop listening, observational, and communication skills so that personal values, norms, and behavioural leadership preferences can be compared to those of managers from other cultures. As noted by de Bettignies (1985), if managers can be sensitive to such differences, they can then adjust their own communication and other interpersonal behaviour to best match the leadership preferences of people from other cultures. Managers who are effective in this process tend to decrease perceived uncertainty during cross-cultural operations, and this type of development can be critical for longterm organisational effectiveness (De Cieri et al. 2008).

The conceptual base of this research is found in the area of implicit leadership theories. Implicit leadership theories (ILTs) are schema-based theories, which have their roots in cognitive psychology. …

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