Academic journal article Journal of Applied Management and Entrepreneurship

A New Look at Transformational Leadership and Organizational Identification: A Mediation Effect of Followership Style in a Non-Western Context

Academic journal article Journal of Applied Management and Entrepreneurship

A New Look at Transformational Leadership and Organizational Identification: A Mediation Effect of Followership Style in a Non-Western Context

Article excerpt

THE FOLLOWER-LEADER RELATIONSHIP DOES NOT operate in a vacuum (Bjugstad et al., 2006). Since followers and leaders are linked together in interrelated roles and are dependent on each other, the importance of followers cannot be underestimated (Yukl, 2002). While organizations continue to devote time and money to the development of leadership, followership is what enables leadership to succeed (Oyetunji, 2013). The integrated model of followership and leadership styles can be applied and matched to fit different organizational cultures and goals (Kark et al., 2003). Organizations may tend to have certain predominant leaders and/or follower types and so organizations have to be able to fit the two types together (Yukl, 1989, 1998).

In today's global market, companies must recognize that success or failure is a result of both leaders' and followers' roles (Bennis, 2010; Hollander & Offermann, 1990; Kelley, 1992; Oyetunji, 2013). Leadership and followership co-exist; there can be no leaders if there are no followers (Hollander, 1992; Kelley, 2008). Numerous developments in the study of leadership have made evident the practical significance of follower perceptions of the leader-follower relationship (Hollander & Kelly, 1990; Hollander, & Webb, 1955). Followers are as important as leaders, yet in management and organizational behavior literature, the focus is largely on the concept of leadership, while follower behavior is often ignored (Blanchard et al., 2009; Ekundayo et al., 2010; Hollander, 1964).

This present study contributes to the literature by raising three questions. First, "What are the different complements of transformational leadership behaviors that exert their influence on followers in this research context, the UAE?" The second question we focus on is, "What are the possible effects of these different behaviors on followers' styles in this research context, the UAE?" The third is, "What are the effects of such leadership behaviors and followership styles on organizational outcomes like organizational identification in this research context, the UAE?" To this end, the current study develops and tests a theoretical model (see Fig. 1) to explore individual-focused and group-focused transformational leadership behaviors, as well as followers' style and their impact on organizational identification.

A comprehensive revision of the literature of the different variables of the study is first presented. Second, I present the research model and hypotheses development. The research methodology is discussed later. Last, the research results, the implications and a future research agenda are described.

Theory and literature

Transformational leadership

Transformational leadership is one of the most prevalent approaches to understanding individual, group and organizational effectiveness (Bass, 1997). Transformational leadership is a multifaceted construct (Podsakoff & MacKenzie, 1994; Podsakoff et al., 1990, 1996; Yukl, 1989). It displays certain types of behavior that imply that the motivational basis of transformational leadership is a process of changing the way followers envision themselves (see Lord & Brown, 2004; Shamir et al., 1993) either as unique persons with distinctive needs or as passionate members of a social group whose obligations align with the obligations of the group (Tajfel & Turner, 1986).

Individual-focused transformational leadership behaviors

Individual-focused leadership suggests that effective leaders vary their behavior on the basis of followers' individual differences (e.g. abilities and their behavioral styles) (Podsakoff et al., 1990; Rafferty & Griffin, 2004; Wu et al., 2010). Two components of transformational leadership behaviors-individualized consideration and intellectual stimulation-focus on individuals' needs, capabilities and affective states, rather than on their collective interests (Kark et al., 2003; Wu et al., 2010). Individualized consideration and support refers to leadership behaviors that "provide customized socio-emotional support to followers based on one's unique skills, while developing, empowering them and assigning tasks that fit followers' capabilities" (Tse & Chiu, 2014; Wu et al., 2010). Intellectual stimulation refers to leadership behaviors that appeal to followers' intellects (e.g. Brumm & Drury, 2013; Podsakoff et al., 1990; Tse & Chiu 2014; Wu et al., 2010), thereby making them question their assumptions and invite innovative and creative problem awareness, thoughts and imagination that lead to creating unconventional solutions to these problems (Kark et al., 2003; Mosley & Patrick, 2011; Piccolo & Colquitt, 2006; Shin & Zhou, 2007; Wu et al., 2010).

Group-focused transformational leadership behaviors

Group-focused leadership is based on the idea that leaders view group members as a whole and treat each in the same fashion (Piccolo & Colquitt, 2006; Shin & Zhou, 2007; Wu et al ., 2010). Followers' perceptions of their group transformational leader's behavior are assumed to be similar and shared (e.g. Podsakoff et al., 1990; Wu et al., 2010). Two transformational leadership behaviors consist of providing high performance expectations and fostering the acceptance of group goals (Brumm & Drury, 2013; Podsakoff et al., 1990; Tse & Chiu, 2014). The first, known as idealized influence, refers to leadership behaviors that inspire and motivate followers to reach ambitious goals that may have previously seemed unreachable by raising followers' expectations (e.g. Kark et al., 2003; Podsakoff et al., 1990; Wu et al., 2010). The second, known as inspirational motivation, highlights group commonalities to instill pride in followers' acceptance and achievement of group goals (e.g. Bjugstad et al., 2006; Lord & Brown, 2004; Piccolo & Colquitt, 2006; Podsakoff et al., 1990; Wu et al., 2010).

Organization-focused transformational leadership behaviors

The present study finds minimal research on this category of transformational leadership behaviors. Only one study discusses such transformational leadership behaviors, namely Podsakoff et al., 1990. In their Transformational Leadership Inventory (TLI), two organization-focused transformational leadership behaviors are identified: providing an appropriate model leadership behavior and articulating a vision leadership behavior. The first refers to leadership behaviors that describe a leader as a role model who is leading by example (Podsakoff et al., 1990). The second highlights a leader's abilities to dream for the company and to set the direction for the whole organization (Podsakoff et al., 1990).

Transformational leadership theory suggests that leadership behavior is likely to result in growth, independence and empowerment of followers (Atchison, 2004; Bass, 1997; Dvir et al., 2002; Kark et al., 2003; Rafferty & Griffin, 2004). However, transformational leadership can also lead to the weakening of followers and a dependency on the leader (Brumm & Drury, 2013; Kark et al., 2003; Riggio et al., 2008). In the following section, the followership styles are discussed in detail.

Followership styles

Researchers widely recognize that followership is an emerging concept (Atchison, 2004; Mosley & Patrick, 2011; Riggio et al., 2008). Chaleff (1995, 2008) describes a follower as a person who shares the same common goals with their leader. Kellerman (2008, p. 213) states that "Followers are subordinates who have less power, authority, and influence than do their superiors, and who therefore usually, but not invariably, fall into line."

Literature on the followership construct is greatly derived from the contributions of three main scholars, Robert Kelley (1988, 1992, 2008), Ira Chaleff (1995, 2008, 2009) and Barbara Kellerman (2008, 2013), who are recognized as pioneers in the field of followership. Each has a different voice, purpose of study and vision for the future of followership. The empirical research addressed in this paper is based on Kelley's (1988, 1992, 2008) theory of followership. However, the other two theories will be the focus of a future research agenda.

Kelley (1988, 1992) distinguishes followers in terms of their behavior and personality attributes and defines the different styles of followership by considering two different behavioral dimensions. The first dimension is independent, critical thinking versus dependent, uncritical thinking. Followers who are independent, critical thinkers consider the impact of their actions on their organizations (Brumm & Drury, 2013; Mushonga & Torrance, 2008). Dependent, uncritical thinkers, on the other hand, go by the leader's thinking and do what the leader tells them to do (Riggio et al., 2008). The second dimension is active behavior versus the passive behavior of the first dimension. Active followers normally take initiatives in decision making and accomplish tasks without constant direction or feedback from the leader. They actively participate in performing their duties and other activities in the organization (Blanchard et al., 2009; Mushonga & Torrance, 2008).

Based on these two dimensions, Kelley (1988, 1992) defines five basic styles of followership: alienated, passive, conformist, pragmatist and exemplary. They exhibit a different degree of independent thinking and organizational engagement and differ in their motivations (Mushonga & Torrance, 2008). These five basic styles of followership depend on how high or low they appear on the rank of the two dimensions (as discussed in Bjugstad et al., 2006; Brumm & Drury, 2013; Collinson, 2006; Dvir et al., 2002; Lussier & Achua, 2010; Mushonga & Torrance, 2008).

Through Kelley's assessment, organizations may recognize the diverse categories of followers, the implications and the importance of existing leadership styles vis-à-vis the categories of followers (Kelley, 2008). Followers under the influence of individual-focused or group-focused transformational leadership behaviors are likely to develop their own perceptions of such behaviors that might fit or conflict with their leader's behaviors (e.g. Blanchard et al., 2009; Brumm & Drury, 2013; Ekundayo et al., 2010; Mosley & Patrick, 2011; Oyetunji, 2013). Based on the previous discussions, the present study proposes the following:

Hypothesis 1. There is a positive relationship between group-focused transformational leadership behaviors (high performance expectations and fostering the acceptance of group goals) and followers' styles of independent-dependent thinking.

Hypothesis 2. There is a positive relationship between group-focused transformational leadership behaviors (high performance expectations and fostering the acceptance of group goals) and followers' styles of active-passive engagement.

Hypothesis 3. There is a positive relationship between organization-focused transformational leadership behaviors (providing an appropriate model and articulating a vision) and followers' styles of independent-dependent thinking.

Hypothesis 4. There is a positive relationship between organization-focused transformational leadership behaviors (providing an appropriate model and articulating a vision) and followers' styles of active-passive engagement.

Hypothesis 5. There is a positive relationship between individual-focused transformational leadership behaviors (providing individualized support and providing intellectual stimulation) and followers' styles of independent-dependent thinking.

Hypothesis 6. There is a positive relationship between individual-focused transformational leadership behaviors (providing individualized support and providing intellectual stimulation) and followers' styles of active-passive engagement.

Organizational identification

The growing body of literature has emphasized the increasingly complex and multifaceted nature of organizational identification (Cheney, 1983; Wright, 2009). For instance, Bartel and Dutton (2001) and Wright (2009) argue that organizational identification is less a matter of being in or out of an organization than knowing when and to what degree one is a member in an organization. For another example, according to Ashforth et al. (2000), organizational identification includes lower-order group identifications (e.g. job, team, department), cross-cutting identities (e.g. cross-functional task forces or informal cliques and networks) and broader occupational and professional identities. A broader look at organizational identification focuses on teleworkers, contract and agency employees (Rubin et al., 2004) and lower, middle and upper managerial employees engaged inside or outside of traditional hierarchies (Larson & Pepper, 2003; Wright, 2009).

Rather than exhibiting a singular-construct, organizational identification should be contingent on how people are seen as prioritizing different identities, depending on the subjective importance of identity to the individual's sense of self and its situational relevance (Ashforth et al., 2000; Wright, 2009). So, as Wright, (2009, p. 311) states, "Organizational identification then is not simply an expression of one's job role or functional or hierarchical location in an organization. Rather it is seen as the product of individual construction shaped through interaction with others on a contingent basis."

In their study, Armstrong-Stassen and Schlosser (2011) hypothesized that the perception of being a valued member of an organization fosters a sense of belonging and of being an important insider in the organization. As a result of feeling a sense of belonging, people will experience both the various rights and responsibilities associated with this organizational identification (ArmstrongStassen & Schlosser, 2011; Cheney & Tompkins, 1987; Graham, 1991). Perceived organizational identification reflects only the rights conferred upon the employees by the organization, formally or informally (Armstrong-Stassen & Schlosser, 2011; Larson & Pepper, 2003; Masterson & Stamper, 2003). In considering the possible combinations of rights granted and responsibilities, four identification profiles can be formed: peripheral, associate, detached and full (ArmstrongStassen & Schlosser, 2011; Masterson & Stamper, 2003; Stamper et al., 2009). All four profiles demonstrate a strategic reliance on a certain exchange currency to facilitate a specific sort of attachment between the employee and the organization (Ashforth et al., 2000; Wright, 2009).

The role of leadership has also received attention in prior research with a special stress on the role of transformational leadership for organizational identification (Epitropaki & Martin, 2005; Kark et al., 2003). Epitropaki (2013, p. 67) argues that "transformational leaders have been found to act as important sense-givers that guide meaning construction towards a preferred definition of organizational reality".

Therefore, examining the role of transformational leadership and followership style can significantly contribute to our understanding of the dynamics of perceived organizational identification processes (Armstrong-Stassen & Schlosser, 2011; Epitropaki, 2013; Masterson & Stamper, 2003). Epitropaki (2013) further argues that groups with high levels of transformational leadership are more likely to be characterized by a sense of community and active members will be unified toward the achievement of group goals. Therefore, the present research claims the following hypotheses:

Hypothesis 7. There is a positive relationship between organization-focused transformational leadership behaviors (providing an appropriate model and articulating a vision) and organizational identification (membership, loyalty and similarity).

Hypothesis 8. There is a positive relationship between group-focused transformational leadership behaviors (high performance expectations and fostering the acceptance of group goals) and organizational identification (membership, loyalty and similarity).

Hypothesis 9. There is a positive relationship between individual-focused transformational leadership behaviors (providing individualized support and providing intellectual stimulation) and organizational identification (membership, loyalty and similarity).

Hypothesis 10. The followers' style of independent-dependent thinking is positively correlated with organizational identification (membership, loyalty and similarity).

Hypothesis 11. The followers' style of active-passive engagement is positively correlated with organizational identification (membership, loyalty and similarity).

Hypothesis 12. The followers' styles of independent-dependent thinking and active-passive engagement mediate the relationship between transformational leadership behaviors (group-focused, organization-focused and individual-focused) and organizational identification (membership, loyalty and similarity).

Methodology

Data collection procedures

Data were collected in a stepwise style via questionnaires. Primarily, a pilot study was done where 40 leaders with rich management experience from various businesses in the UAE were selected to evaluate the questionnaire. Thirty-two completed and appropriately filled questionnaires were returned and modifications were incorporated accordingly. The process of collecting the data took 11 months and included three visits to the participating companies, from May 2014 to April 2015. Having secured earlier company approval, via inter-organizational mailing systems, a total of 1,200 self-administered surveys, accompanied with the researcher's contact details for any queries, were sent randomly to firms across the UAE. Anonymity and confidentiality were assured, the need for which has been previously emphasized by Podsakoff et al. (2003) and Podsakoff and Organ (1986). After conducting frequent follow-up contacts and visits, a total number of 876 questionnaires were received with a response rate of 73 per cent. However, post editing, 847 were found suitable for final data analysis, representing 70.5 per cent of the total number of targeted questionnaires.

During the data collection process, efforts were made to address the issue of non-response bias (McGrath, 1986; Podsakoff & Organ, 1986; Podsakoff et al. 2003). The detailed, exact purpose of the research work was not shared with the respondents. The entire measurements were selected and adapted from previously used and well-established scales. Some of the items in the scales were negatively ordered and the scales were randomly organized within the questionnaire.

Measurement and scales

To measure all variables, a well-established five-point Likert-type scale ranging from "strongly disagree" (1) to "strongly agree" (5) was adopted.

Measure of transformational leadership behaviors

This scale was adopted from Podsakoff et al. (1990). This 22 item scale was answered on a five-point Likert-type scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree) to reflect the six previously discussed dimensions of transformational leadership behaviors.

Measure of followership style

This scale was adopted from Kelly (1988, 1992, 2008). This 20 item scale was answered on a five-point Likert-type scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree) to express the followership styles of independent-dependent thinking style and active-passive engagement style.

Measure of organizational identification

This scale was adapted from many previous independent studies (e.g. Cheney, 1983; Cheney & Tompkins, 1987; Larson & Pepper, 2003; Rubin et al., 2004). This 25 item scale was answered on a five-point Likert-type scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). It reflects the three sub-constructs of organizational identification (membership, loyalty and similarity).

Data analysis techniques

The study employed a mixture of statistical techniques to analyze the data and to test the research hypotheses, such as descriptive statistics and confirmatory factor analysis (CFA), average variance extracted (AVE), composite reliability (CR) and discriminant validity (DV). To test the research model and to examine the mediating effect of the followers' styles (independent-dependent thinking and active-passive engagement) between transformational leadership behaviors (group-focused, organization-focused and individual-focused) and organizational identification (membership, loyalty and similarity), multiple linear regression and structural equation modeling (SEM) were performed. SEM is a method involving multiple regression, path and confirmatory factor analysis techniques (Hussey & Eagan, 2007; Yu & Choi, 2014). Numerous previous studies have employed the traditional hierarchical regression method to assess mediating influence (Da Silveira & Arkader, 2007; Hussey & Eagan, 2007); nevertheless, this conventional approach can produce some statistical errors in the mediator scores that may lead to modeling problems (Hopwood, 2007; Yu & Choi, 2014). Therefore, SEM was used to overcome the simple regression bias and properly embrace the latent variables that produce more reliable and valid results (Arbuckle & Wothke, 2003).

Results

Sample characteristics

The data for this study were drawn from a random sample from six different sectors (chemicals, construction/real estate, transportation, employment business, communication, banking/finance/insurance sector) in the UAE. The questionnaire employed was self-administered, having gained prior corporate approval, and administered via inter-organizational mailing systems. Potential respondents were given the researcher's contact details along with a cover letter for any questions regarding procedure, understanding and confidentiality. Anonymity and confidentiality were assured, the need for which being previously emphasized by Podsakoff et al. (2003) and Podsakoff and Organ (1986). Potential respondents were assured that participation was entirely voluntary. Completed hardcopies of questionnaires were returned via a sealed envelope to a secured drop-off box for collection by the researcher only. The survey was conducted over 11 months. Excluding incomplete questionnaires (questionnaires with 20% or more missing responses were not considered), the final sample size included 847 answers generated from 1,000 distributed questionnaires, making a response rate of 84.7%. Table 1 provides the characteristics of the targeted sample. The majority of respondents were male (55.1%), with the largest age group falling between 20 and 30 years of age (62.3%). Notably, UAE citizens represented 58.8% of the total subjects.

Scale validity and reliability

In the first stage of data analysis, descriptive statistics and confirmatory factor analyzes (CFA) were used. CFA is used to determine whether the number of factors (dimensions) and the loadings of measured items conform to what is expected on the basis of the proposed model (see Kim & Mueller, 1978). Using CFA, a principal components analysis (PCA) with a Varimax rotation was carried out. The total variance explained for the overall organizational identification model is 65.67% (see Table 2).

This indicates acceptable construct validity. The reliability coefficient Cronbach's alpha for data consistency in the scales indicated that two factors had weak coefficients (providing individual support, 0.161, fostering the acceptance of group goals, 0.564) and should be dropped from the analysis as they were unreliable (see Fig. 2 for more details). Other factor reliability coefficients ranged between 0.682 (high performance expectation) and 0.882 (organizational identification). The overall estimate of internal consistency scale was 0.927 for the organizational membership model.

Moreover, for construct validity, we used different trials of confirmatory factor analysis (CFA). For validity testing, and based on the standardized loading and the error variance associated with each observed variable, we used three indicators: average variance extracted (AVE) for convergent validity, composite reliability (CR) to determine the internal consistency of a set of measures and discriminant validity (DV), which reflects the degree to which a dimension in a theoretical system differs from other dimensions in the same study (Churchill, 1979). Table 2 shows all indicators of the proposed model.

The results in Table 3 showed CR greater than 0.7, the recommended threshold requirements for all dimensions; however, AVE values are acceptable if they exceed 0.5 (Graver & Mentzer, 1999). Also, it is worth comparing between DV and the correlation values given in Table 3, as it is very clear that DV values are larger than the correlation values within each dimension, which indicates evidence of discriminant validity (Fornell & Larcker, 1981).

Interrelation among the research variables

The various behaviors of transformational leadership and followership styles were then correlated with organizational identification scores (see Table 4). Group-focused transformational leadership (high performance expectations) scores were moderately positively correlated with both followers' independent- dependent thinking scores and followers' active-passive engagement (r (845) = 0.342, p < 0.01), (r (845) = 0.356, p < 0.01), respectively. In addition, the scores of high performance expectations were found to be weak and positively correlated with organizational identification (r (845) = 0.248, p < 0.01). There was a positive weak relationship among organization-focused transformational leadership (articulating a vision) scores and followers' independent-dependent thinking scores and followers' active-passive engagement (r (845) = 0.281, p < 0.01), (r (845) = 0.288, p < 0.01), correspondingly. Moreover, articulating a vision was in moderate positive relationship with organizational identification (r (845) = 0.332, p < 0.01). Concerning organization-focused transformational leadership (providing an appropriate model), it was found to have a positive weak connection with followers' independent-dependent thinking scores and followers' active- passive engagement (r (845) = 0.250, p < 0.01), (r (845) = 0.267, p < 0.01), in that order. Organizational identification was moderately and positively predicted by organization-focused transformational leadership (providing an appropriate model) (r (845) = 0.332, p < 0.01). Individual-focused transformational leadership (providing intellectual stimulation) was a weak positive predictor of the following variables: followers' independent-dependent thinking scores, followers' active- passive engagement and organizational identification (r (845) = 0.267, p < 0.01), (r (845) = 0.255, p < 0.01), (r (845) = 0.202, p < 0.01). The change in followers' independent-dependent thinking scores leads to a variation of organizational identification scores by r (845) = 0.324, p < 0.01. The followers' active-passive engagement scores were found to be correlated with the perception of organizational identification (r (845) = 0.400, p < 0.01) in a moderate positive manner.

Based on the correlation results, Hypotheses 1-11 can be accepted. However, correlation does not propose a cause-effect connection. It only expresses the degree of parallelism or concomitance between the research variables (see, for example, Baron & Kenny, 1986; Frazier et al., 2004), the cause of which may be unidentified or needs to be explored. As a result, the variables were entered into the multiple linear regression equation to decide the independent variables that significantly contribute to the variance in dependent variable (see Table 5 and Table 6).

Transformational leadership behaviors and followership styles as significant predictors of organizational identification

As shown in Table 5, a multiple linear regression was calculated to predict organizational identification based upon transformational leadership behaviors and followership styles. In model 1, followers' independent-dependent thinking significantly predicted organizational identification scores, β = 0.244, t (2.003) = 17.539, p < .000. Followers' independent-dependent thinking also explained a significant proportion of the variance in organizational identification scores, R2 = 0.179, F (1, 845) = 104.771, p < .000.

In model 2, followers' active-passive engagement significantly predicted organizational identification scores, β = 0.266, t (1.874) = 17.696, p < .000. Followers' active-passive engagement also explained a significant proportion of variance in organizational identification scores, R2 = 0.219, F (1, 844) = 158.757, p < .000. As for transformational leadership behaviors, "providing an appropriate model" and "articulating a vision" were found to be the most significant predictors of organizational identification scores in models 1 and 2.

Transformational leadership behaviors as significant predictors of followership styles

As shown in Table 6, a multiple linear regression was calculated to predict followership styles using transformational leadership behaviors. In model 1, where followers' independent-dependent thinking is the dependent variable, the results found that three transformational leadership behaviors (high performance expectations, providing intellectual stimulation and articulating a vision) significantly predicted these followership style scores: β = 0.248, t (2.515) = 25.784, p < .000. These leadership behaviors also explained a significant proportion of variance in followers' independent-dependent thinking scores: R2 = 0.137, F (1, 844) = 111.301, p < .05. In model 2, followers' active-passive engagement was significantly predicted by only two of the transformational leadership behaviors (high performance expectations and articulating a vision): β = 0.284, t (2.556) = 24.287, p < .000. A significant proportion of variance in followers' active-passive engagement scores, R2 = 0.140, F (1, 844) = 121.996, p < .000, is explained by these transformational leadership behaviors.

Model testing: mediation effect:

Hair et al. (1998, 2006) and Hu and Bentler (1999) claim that a general set of criteria enables an evaluation of whether models are characterized by an acceptable fit. SEM analyzes were performed using a covariance matrix as input to the analysis of moment structure software (Arbuckle & Wothke, 2003) using maximum likelihood estimation. The missing data were replaced through the use of the expectation maximization (EM) approach prior to analysis. Moreover, for evaluating the model, residual mean squared error (RMSEA), standardized root mean square residual (SRMR), normed fit index (NFI), comparative fit index (CFI) and goodness of fit index (GFI) and adjusted GFI (AGFI) values were taken into consideration, noting that a fit index value of more than 0.90 and a mean squared error of less than 0.08 would indicate a close fit of the model. The fit of the measurement model was acceptable (see Table 7), with a significant chi-square ( c 2 (187) = 372.972, P < 0.001; SRMR = 0.038; GFI = 0.963; AGFI = 0.950; NFI = 0.932; CFI = 0.964 and RMSEA = 0.034).

As shown in Figure 3, the followership active-passive engagement style significantly and fully mediates the relationship between transformational leadership behavior (high performance expectations) and organizational identification (membership, loyalty and similarity). This is different from the followers' independent-dependent thinking style, which partially mediates the relationship between transformational leadership behavior (high performance expectations) and organizational identification (membership, loyalty and similarity).

Discussion

Based on the findings of the present study, leaders of organizations in the UAE should be aware of different followership styles and should identify followership styles among their subordinates in order to identify the desirable characteristics associated with exemplary followership behaviors that add value to an organization's success. Our findings suggest that to retain followers with exemplary behaviors and to enhance the perception of organizational identification, organizations should invest in educating leaders on the importance of knowing the personalities, skills, knowledge and attitudes of their followers. The results also demonstrate the importance of identifying the best transformational leadership behaviors in an Arab context and culture that will help in creating appropriate working conditions that optimize followers' behaviors and styles through boosting their meaningful perceptions of organizational identification and identity.

What stands out most from the results is the fact that the marriage of transformational leadership and organizational identification theory opens up a new domain of investigation into the potential mediation effect of followership effects. Our research findings support the significance of containing both transformational leadership behaviors and followership styles if one wishes to attain an inclusive understanding of the antecedents of the followers' perception of organizational identification, as discussed earlier (Podsakoff et al., 1996), especially in collectivistic cultures like our research context, the UAE. As demonstrated in Table 2, the results of "Cronbach's alpha and component loading range" recommend ignoring the transformational leadership behaviors of "providing individual support" and "fostering the acceptance of group goals" in any further analysis. This may be attributed to the collectivistic (horizontal collectivism and vertical collectivism) nature of the research context, the Arab UAE culture, as argued by Hofstede (1984, 1985, 1998) and Triandis (1995, 1999, 2001). In collectivistic organizational cultures, priority is given to collectivistic objectives and cooperative behaviors and followers are rewarded for mutual contributions to organizational endeavors, as discussed by Chatman and Barsade (1995) and Sarkar (2009).

Nevertheless, the findings of the present study offer little or no support for the universal prediction that followership styles fully mediate the relationships between transformational leadership behaviors and organizational identification. Two of the transformational leadership behaviors (articulating a vision and high performance expectations) have been considered the most influential factors in the research context. As for the first factor, this is in line with previous studies such as Podsakoff et al. (1996) and Bass et al. (2003) who argued that transformational leaders who articulate a vision should have positive effects on followers' attitudes, general satisfaction and organizational identification. Considering the "high performance expectations" factor, the result of the present study contradicts many previous studies, such as Tichy and DeVanna (1986), House et al. (1991) and Podsakoff et al. (1990), which argue that high performance expectations tend to increase followers' role conflict and decrease followers' general performance. Despite that, it would be inaccurate to disregard the rest of the factors when investigating the effects of transformational leader behaviors in any future research agenda or in any research context, as previously argued by Podsakoff et al. (1990).

Implications for research and practice

This paper furthers the understanding of social exchange processes by discussing the various types of leadership-followership relationships and their effects on followers' perceived organizational identification. As such, organizations could use such information as a diagnostic tool to identify existing transformational leadership work behaviors, which followership profiles are likely to fit with these patterns of leadership behaviors in the organizations and what strategic changes could be made to better manage employment relationships in order to better enhance the organizational identification profiles.

Considering the identification profiles during recruitment and selection procedures can assist organizations in providing applicants with a realistic job preview (Phillips, 1998) by describing what the applicants can expect from their organizational identification in order to have clear expectations about their roles in the company (Phillips, 1998; Armstrong-Stassen & Schlosser, 2011). Another potential implication for managers is related to cultural differences in the relative significance of organizational identification. In more collectivistic cultures, like the Arab culture (Hofstede, 1984), followers' perception of organizational identification is strongly associated with belonging within the group (Triandis et al., 1990; Markus & Kitayama, 1991; Gelfand & Realo, 1999; Behery, 2009, 2011). They tend to focus on their responsibilities to the group, putting these obligations before self-interest (Hong et al., 2001; Armstrong-Stassen & Schlosser, 2011).

The present research sheds light on the importance of and the need to identify characteristics in a task and the work context (Piccolo & Colquitt, 2006) that will enhance the effectiveness of the relationships between transformational leadership behaviors and followership styles. Additionally, to boost the followers' perception of organizational identification, new transformational leaders should be geared toward increasing their usage of transformational language and imagery through comprehensive training activities, as stressed by Dvir et al. (2002) and Piccolo and Colquitt (2006). From a human resource management point of view, incorporating transformational competences into the yearly performance management and developmental assessments for both leaders and followers is suggested through the present study.

The study also highlights the need for transformational leaders not only to communicate high performance expectations to their followers in an unambiguous manner, but also to have and show trust and confidence in their followers' abilities to meet these expectations, as previously supported by Podsakoff et al. (1990, 1996).

Research limitations and future research intent

The theoretical contributions discussed above should be interpreted in light of the different limitations of the present study. Ambiguity in causal direction within the research model and alternative explanations for observed results may exist because the data was cross-sectional (see Piccolo & Colquitt, 2006). The proposed relationship between transformational leadership behaviors and followership styles may also be negatively influenced by the followers' individual personal characteristics, such as introversion/extraversion, self-esteem and self-actualization (Dvir & Shamir, 2003), which in turn may influence their perceptions of organizational identification.

The entire research variables were gathered with survey measurements and are thus subject to mono-method bias, as discussed by Piccolo and Colquitt (2006). In addition, the sample employed in the present study gives some imperative limitations, such as generalizability. Furthermore, the secured participating sample was drawn from the UAE only, making no claims as to whether the results can extend to other Arab countries. Unfortunately, the researcher was not able to secure data from an entire list of followers who report to the same leader, thus making it impossible to aggregate the data to the bottom-line unit of analysis, as argued by Bass et al. (2003) and Piccolo and Colquitt (2006).

Last, the study uses organizational identification as one whole construct in the analysis, despite having been referred to and studied in the literature as containing three sub-constructs (membership, loyalty and similarity in an organization's identification). Similarly, the study addresses the followership style as containing two main sub-constructs (independent-dependent thinking partially and followers' style of active-passive engagement), although it has been discussed in terms of the following five styles: alienated followers, conformist followers, passive followers, exemplary followers, and pragmatist followers. The rationality behind this decision is attributed to two main reasons. First, this facilitated the data analysis and results. Second, this gives room for investigating this construct in detail in a future study.

Conclusion

First, in this research paper, a new perspective on the leadership-followership employment relationship in a non-Western research context, the UAE, was provided, going beyond previous studies that have confounded this type of relationship with psychological exchange and emotional attachment. Transformational leadership behaviors (group-focused, organization-focused and individual-focused) were re-visited and re-investigated. Second, two main profiles of followership behaviors (independent-dependent thinking partially and followers' style of active-passive engagement) were focused on and developed. The concept of perceived organizational identification (membership, loyalty and similarity) was then integrated. Finally, mediating propositions, suggesting that the types of followers' behavior may explain potential variations in organizational identification behavior among employees through the effect of their transformational leaders' behaviors, were developed.

Using this large sample, the significant role of followership style in mediating the relationship between transformational leadership and the perceived organizational identification was empirically demonstrated. The findings also supported the proposed differences between the effect of these mediators on the interrelationships between perceived organizational identification and the transformational leadership. Although there was relative similarity in the hypothesized pattern of the mediation path relationships, there were some differences in the magnitude of the coefficients for relationships and the strength of mediation relationships (independent-dependent thinking partially versus followers' style of active-passive engagement), as indicated by the regression results. Some research implications and study limitations were also addressed with the hope that the present study will encourage researchers to further investigate other contexts and cultures.

[Reference]

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[Author Affiliation]

Mohamed Behery

Menoufia University, Egypt

After completing his PhD in Management in 2005 at Glasgow University - UK, Mohamed Behery held a full-time Assistant Professor position at the Business School at University of Dubai - UAE. From February 2010 to June 2015, he moved to the College of Business Administration at Abu Dhabi University - UAE where he was working as an Associate Professor of Management and Human Resource. He is currently working as an Associate Professor of Management in the Faculty of Commerce at Menoufia University - Egypt. Dr. Behery's current research interest is Leadership, Organizational Behavior, and Human Resource Management. He has published in many renowned international blind-peer-refereed journals such as Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews (Elsevier), International Journal of Organizational Analysis (Emerald), International Journal of Productivity & Performance Management (Emerald), European Business Review (Emerald), Journal of Applied Management and Entrepreneurship (Greenleaf ).

Mohamed Behery is the corresponding author and can be contacted at: mohamed.behery@me.com

* Associate Professor Menoufia University, Faculty of Commerce, Business Administration Department, Menoufia, Egypt

* mohamed.behery@me.com

* +201200967555

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