An examination of the relationships between followers' self-concept based characteristics and their perceptions of transformational leadership

Wu, Kunjun (Annie)
Matheny, Jonathan
Littrell, Romie
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Master of Business
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Auckland University of Technology

In this study, mainly built on Shamir, House and Arthur’s (1993) self-concept based motivational theory, several sources were integrated to build a theoretical framework, which encompasses five self-concept based characteristics in the transformational relationship. Followers’ generalised self-efficacy, organisation based self-esteem, selfengagement, self-confidence, and self-actualisation needs were proposed to act in a moderating role in the relationship between transformational leadership and followers’ trust in the leader, job satisfaction, organisational commitment, and job performance.

Empirically, I examined the relationships between transformational leadership and followers’ five self-concept based characteristics. Transformational leadership was hypothesized to be positively associated with followers’ generalised self-efficacy, organisation based self esteem, self-engagement, and self-actualisation needs. On the other hand, transformational leadership was hypothesized to be negatively associated with followers’ self-confidence. Using a business sample consisting of 70 participants who evaluated their own characteristics and their immediate superiors’ level of transformational leadership, I found support for positive associations between transformational leadership and followers’ organisation based self-esteem and selfengagement.

A positive correlation was obtained between transformational leadership and followers’ generalised self-efficacy; however, the relationship was relatively weak and insignificant. Contrary to what had been expected, no empirical evidence was found for an association between transformational leadership and followers’ self-confidence or between transformational leadership and self- actualisation needs.

An in-depth discussion of the results was provided to explain why the hypothesized associations received or did not receive empirical support from the current study. Moreover, issues that may have limited the generalisability of the study were examined and suggestions for future research were proposed. Finally, theoretical as well as practical implications of the current study were discussed.

Leadership , Employee motivation , Achievement motivation , Organizational behavior , Self-esteem , Self psychology
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