The Influence of Perceptions of Organizational Structure & Culture on Leadership Role Requirements: The Moderating Impact of Locus of Control & Self-Monitoring

By Shivers-Blackwell, Sheryl | Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies, Summer 2006 | Go to article overview

The Influence of Perceptions of Organizational Structure & Culture on Leadership Role Requirements: The Moderating Impact of Locus of Control & Self-Monitoring


Shivers-Blackwell, Sheryl, Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies


Kahn, Wolfe, Quinn, and Snoek (1964) and Shivers-Blackwell (2004) asserted that managers' perceptions of organizational context and personality influence their interpretations of leadership role requirements. This follow-up study posited that managers' perceptions of organizational structure and culture influence how they interpret their leadership role requirements. Furthermore, locus of control and self-monitoring are proposed to moderate this relationship. One hundred and eighty-six (186) managers were surveyed. Results indicate that there is a relationship between managers' interpretations of organizational context and their perceived transactional and transformational role requirements. Furthermore, this relationship appears stronger for managers with an external locus of control.

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Extant management researchers have not fully explored the dynamic relationships among organizational context, leadership, personality traits, leadership interpretations, and behaviors. Perrow (1970, p. 6) states that leadership style is a dependent variable that depends on the organizational setting or the task. Selznick (1957, p. 23) claims that, "the theory of leadership is embedded within the organization." Pawar and Eastman (1997) note that there is a close relationship between objective measures of organizational context and leadership by citing the works of Perrow (1970), Selznick (1957), Osborn, Hunt, and Janch (1980), and Osborn and Hunt (1975). Osborn and Hunt (1975) emphasize the role of macro situational variables (e.g., size, technology, and formal structure) in leadership research, which they believe consistently influence leader behavior.

Hammer and Turk (1987) also explored organizational determinants of leader behavior and found that technology, union strength, and management pressure contributed significantly to responsive leader behavior. Other theoretical models that have incorporated organizational constraints that affect leader behavior include the resource-dependence model of organizational control (Pfeffer & Salancik, 1978), the multiple influence leadership model (Hunt & Osborn, 1982), and Stewart's (1982) demand-constraints-choices model of managerial jobs. More recently, Green, Anderson, and Shivers (1996) found that the organizational setting presents the leader with various opportunities and constraints that strongly influences the quality of their exchange relationship with their subordinates.

Pillai (1995) argues that future research should be directed at exploring the relationship between personality characteristics (e.g., locus of control, narcissism, self-monitoring, risk-taking, need for power) and organizational context in the emergence of leader behavior. Recently, Bass, Avolio, Jung, and Berson (2003) and Bommer, Rubin, and Baldwin (2004) have expressed the need for more research on individual and contextual antecedents of transformational leadership. Unfortunately, little existing leadership research has integrated transformational and transactional leadership theories with organization theory research. Consequently, this disconnect has resulted in organization theory and transformational and transactional leadership theories being developed without researchers drawing on and extending each other's areas (Pawar & Eastman, 1997, p. 85; Melcher, 1977).

This study tests propositions made in Shivers-Blackwell (2004) that managers' perceptions of organizational context influence their utilization of transactional and transformational leadership behaviors. Extant research suggests that there is a direct relationship between context and leadership behaviors. Role theory recognizes that some persons will experience organizational role expectations and role pressures differently from others, which ultimately leads them to utilize different leadership behaviors within the same context (Kahn et al., 1964).

This study also recognizes personality as a moderator variable in the relationship between managerial interpretations of organizational context and perceived role requirements. …

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