Leadership and Research Methods Essay

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Summary and Analysis of The Forgotten Followers Contingency Model of Leadership and Follower Self-leadership by Seokhwa Yun and Jonathan Cox and Henry P Sims Jr.

This study was conducted to evaluate the impact of leadership and follower attributes on follower self-leadership.  The abstract provides a clear summary of the study in terms of its purpose, research methodology, findings, implications and limitations of the study, practical implications, and originality/value of the study.  As shown in the abstract, the purpose of the study was to assess the effect of leadership and follower attributes and follower self-leadership.  The researchers found that the impact of leadership on follower self-leadership was dependent on follower need for autonomy.

As part of conducting the study, these researchers introduce several concept beginning with the idea that, “Not everyone wants to be empowered!”  The statement basically highlights the two major differences in people’s response to self-leadership opportunities i.e. some people want to be self-leaders while others do not.  Through this statement, the researchers postulate the view that follower self-leadership is not common to every follower because of differences in personal desires and willingness to capitalize on self-leadership opportunities.  

The second concept is empowering leadership, which provides the different reasons leaders engage in empowering behaviors toward their followers.  These reasons include leaders’ limitations in scope of authority, knowledge, energy and time, follower motivation and flexibility, and followers’ first-hand access to information and/or solutions to problems in their jobs.  Therefore, empowering leadership behaviors are not automatic processes but dependent on certain factors that must exist in the workplace.  If these factors do not exist, then leaders do not engage in empowering leadership behaviors toward their followers. The changing nature of the modern workplace and workforce expectations require leaders to engage in such behaviors.

The third issue is the follower as a contingency element, which basically highlights the idea that there is no single leadership style that is appropriate for all situations with regards to empowering followers.  As demonstrated in existing literature, this is primarily because of the differences in follower attributes and need for autonomy.  This means that empowering leadership behaviors toward follower should be determined based on followers’ characteristics.  

In hypothesis development the researchers define self-leadership as self-influence and self-control of behaviors.  They also define empowering leadership as behaviors and actions undertaken by leaders to encourage followers to take initiative and manage/control their behaviors.  It is clear that self-leadership and empowering leadership are connected because empowering leadership is a crucial component towards self-leadership.  In addition to personality, traits, and preferences, empowering leadership acts as the foundation for self-leadership through influencing an individual’s engagement in self-control of behaviors.
On the other hand, self-leadership becomes the premise for development of need for autonomy.  The first hypothesis portrays the idea that empowering leadership combines with follower need for autonomy to positively impact the follower’s engagement in self-influence and self-control of his/her behavior.  The second hypothesis portrays the view that directive leadership does not promote follower self-leadership when it interacts with follower need for autonomy.

The research method employed in the study is quantitative research in which longitudinal data was collected using questionnaires. The first set of data (i.e. leader behavior and followers’ need for autonomy) was collected from 404 subordinates within 75 groups while the second (followers’ self-leadership) was collected from 313 subordinates within 72 groups.  

The analysis was carried out using hierarchical linear modeling since the research design entailed hierarchical data structure.  

Table 1 focused on examining the intercorelations between the research variables.  The first three variables acted as level 1 variable while the last one was level 2 variable.  The researchers examined the link between level 1 and level 2 variable in which an alpha of 0.05 was used as the cutoff for significance. In statistical testing, a probability value of less than or equal to 0.05 (p ? 0.05) indicates strong evidence against the null hypothesis, which implies that the null hypothesis is rejected.  In this study, the statistical testing of Hypothesis 1 using variables of empowering leadership, need for autonomy, and self-leadership generated a probability value of less than 0.01 (p<0.01). On the other hand, the statistical testing for Hypothesis 2 generated a probability value of less than 0.05 (p<0.05).  

Table 2 provided the results of the HLM analysis that examined the full model.  Based on the table, the response variable is self-leadership, which changes depending on the predictor variable.  When need for autonomy interacts with empowering leadership as the predictor variable, it generates a probability value of p < 0.01 (y=0.11, t-ratio = 4.42).  When the need for autonomy interacts with directive leadership as the predictor variable, it generates a probability value of p < 0.05 (y= - 0.04, t-ratio = -1.80).  In this case, the predictor variable of empowering leadership generates positive y and t-ratio values, which indicate positive impact on the response variable while the predictor value of directive leadership generate negative y and t-ratio values, which indicate negative impacts.

Appendix 1 provides directive leadership items and empowering….....

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