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Advances in Information Systems

and Business Engineering

Nadine Poser

Distance Leadership
in International
Why Organizations Struggle
when Distances Grow
Advances in Information Systems
and Business Engineering

Herausgegeben von
U. Baumöl, Hagen, Deutschland
J. vom Brocke, Vaduz, Liechtenstein
R. Jung, St. Gallen, Schweiz
Die Reihe präsentiert aktuelle Forschungsergebnisse verschiedener methodischer
Ausrichtungen an den Schnittstellen der wissenschaftlichen Disziplinen Wirt-
­schaftsinformatik, Informatik und Betriebswirtschaftslehre. Die Beiträge der Rei-
­he sind auf anwendungsorientierte Konzepte, Modelle, Methoden und ­Theorien
gerichtet, die eine Nutzung von Informationssystemen für die innovative Gestal-
­tung und nachhaltige Entwicklung von Organisationen aufgreifen. Die Arbeiten
zeigen in besonderer Weise, inwiefern moderne Informations- und Kommunika-
tionstechnologien neue unternehmerische Handlungsspielräume eröffnen können.
Zudem wird die Verbesserung bestehender Modelle und Strukturen aufgezeigt.
Zugleich kennzeichnet die Beiträge ein ganzheitlicher Ansatz bei der ­Entwicklung
und Einführung von Informationssystemen, bei dem der organisatorische Hand­
lungskontext in den Dimensionen Mensch, Aufgabe und Technik systematisch be-
­rücksichtigt und aktiv gestaltet wird.

Herausgegeben von
Prof. Dr. Ulrike Baumöl Prof. Dr. Reinhard Jung,
FernUniversität Hagen, Deutschland Universität St. Gallen, Schweiz

Prof. Dr. Jan vom Brocke

Universität Liechtenstein, Fürstentum
Nadine Poser

Distance Leadership
in International
Why Organizations Struggle
when Distances Grow
Nadine Poser
University of Liechtenstein
Vaduz, Liechtenstein

Dissertation University of Liechtenstein, 2016

Advances in Information Systems and Business Engineering

ISBN 978-3-658-15222-2 ISBN 978-3-658-15223-9 (eBook)
DOI 10.1007/978-3-658-15223-9

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This work would not have become reality without the support of some very im-
portant people.
I would like to dedicate this work to my parents Veronika and Wolfgang. During
my whole life you provided me with an environment filled with love and security.
You taught me to work hard and to fight for my values and beliefs. My optimistic
view on life is grounded on your education. You encouraged me at all stages and
have always had my back. Without your trust, I would have never taken on this
challenge. I am so proud to call you my parents.
I would also like to thank my best friends, Annett and Christian, you both are in-
credibly important to me. You were always there for me when I needed you, espe-
cially during the really rough times. I would be happy if I could still call you my
BBF in 50 years from now.
I would like to express my deepest gratitude to Prof. Urs Baldegger. Urs, you are
one of the few people who truly inspired me. More than subjects, you taught me
lessons for life. Thank you for your confidence, giving me the chance to write this
dissertation under your supervision.
My sincere thanks also go to my co-supervisor Prof. Marco Furtner for his continu-
ous support during my study and related research, for his motivation and methodo-
logical assistance.
For the trust and faith in me, I would like to thank my friend Daniel. With your un-
breakable optimism you showed me that everything will work out eventually.

Nadine Poser
Abstract VII


The purpose of this study is to examine the influence of leadership behavior on the
work-related outcomes of self-leadership and individual performance by investigat-
ing the role of physical distance, relationship quality, and interaction frequency in
international corporations. Research was conducted in 19 business units of interna-
tional firms headquartered in Liechtenstein and Switzerland. The sample consisted
of 372 followers reporting to 122 leaders. Structural equation modeling was used to
conduct a confirmatory factor analysis of the recently developed Self-Leadership
Skills Inventory (SLSI) by Furtner and Rauthmann (in prep.). Hypotheses tests
were completed using multiple linear regressions, moderation, and mediation anal-
yses. Study outcomes include that physical distance moderates the influence of
transformational and passive leadership on follower self-leadership and entails neg-
ative effects on followers’ perceptions of relationship quality. Relationship quality
was observed to mediate the influence of transformational and passive leadership
on performance outcomes. Relationship quality was furthermore discovered to have
indirect positive effects on the influence of transactional leadership on perfor-
mance. Interaction frequency moderated the influence of transformational leader-
ship on follower performance. Summarizing the findings, it can be concluded that
the influence of physical distance on the leader-follower relationship is exaggerat-
ed. Instead, the quality of the relationship between leader and follower has shown
to be the tie that binds the two individuals. Frequency of interaction has the capa-
bility yet to enhance the positive influence of transformational leadership on fol-
lowers’ performance. In addition to highlighting the potential that underlies dis-
tance leadership, this work outlines the key influence factors of the leader-follower
relationship in the context of physical distance. This work extends current leader-
ship literature as it examines the roles inherited by physical distance, relationship
quality, and interaction frequency in the leader-follower relationship. In addition,
this research applies Full Range Leadership (FRL) holistically to a physically dis-
tant organizational structure. The research further integrates post-heroic compo-
nents (e.g., self-leadership) that have only recently found application in distant
leadership research.
VIII Abstract

Full-Range leadership; distance leadership; e-leadership; physical distance; rela-
tionship quality; leader-member exchange; interaction frequency; self-leadership;
Table of Contents IX

Table of Contents

Abstract ....................................................................................................................... VII 

Table of Contents ..........................................................................................................IX 
1 Introduction .................................................................................................................. 1 
2 Literature Review ......................................................................................................... 9 
3 Hypotheses ................................................................................................................. 89 
4 Methodology .............................................................................................................. 97 
5 Data Analysis ........................................................................................................... 117 
6 Results ...................................................................................................................... 131 
7 Discussion ................................................................................................................ 161 
8 Conclusion and Outlook........................................................................................... 185 
References ................................................................................................................... 203 
Figures ........................................................................................................................ 233 
Tables ........................................................................................................................ 235 
Abbreviations .............................................................................................................. 237 
Appendices .................................................................................................................. 239 
Table of Contents XI

Table of Contents

Abstract ...................................................................................................................... VII 

Table of Contents ....................................................................................................... IX 
1 Introduction ................................................................................................................ 1 
1.1  Motivation .................................................................................................................... 1 
1.2  Problem Statement ....................................................................................................... 3 
1.3  Knowledge Gap............................................................................................................ 3 
1.4  Research Objectives ..................................................................................................... 5 
1.5  Research Methodology ................................................................................................ 6 
1.6  Quality Control ............................................................................................................ 7 
1.7  Structural Design.......................................................................................................... 7 

2 Literature Review ...................................................................................................... 9 

2.1  Leadership Theories – From Early Stages to Modern Concepts ................................. 9 
2.1.1  Full Range Leadership ........................................................................................ 12 
2.1.2  Relationship Quality ........................................................................................... 21 
2.1.3  Empowering Leadership ..................................................................................... 32 
2.1.4  Self-Leadership ................................................................................................... 38 
2.1.5  Leadership and Context ...................................................................................... 50 
2.2  Distance Leadership ................................................................................................... 53 
2.2.1  E-Leadership ....................................................................................................... 56 
2.2.2  Virtual Leadership .............................................................................................. 58 
2.2.3  Virtual Teams...................................................................................................... 61 
2.2.4  Physical Distance ................................................................................................ 65 
2.2.5  Leader-Follower Interaction Frequency ............................................................. 70 
2.2.6  Distance Dimensions: Potential Influencers of the Leader-Follower
Relation ............................................................................................................... 81 
XII Table of Contents

3 Hypotheses ................................................................................................................ 89 

3.1  Direct Effects of Leadership Behavior on Follower Self-Leadership and
Performance ............................................................................................................... 89 
3.2  Moderation and Mediation Effects of Distance on the Leader-Follower
Relationship ............................................................................................................... 92 

4 Methodology ............................................................................................................. 97 

4.1  Research Question...................................................................................................... 97 
4.2  Research Design and Research Model ....................................................................... 97 
4.3  Operationalization ...................................................................................................... 99 
4.3.1  Predictor Variables............................................................................................ 100 
4.3.2  Outcome Variables............................................................................................ 103 
4.3.3  Moderating and Mediating Variables ............................................................... 106 
4.3.4  Control Variables .............................................................................................. 107 
4.3.5  Survey Design ................................................................................................... 109 
4.4  Population and Sample............................................................................................. 110 

5 Data Analysis .......................................................................................................... 117 

5.1  Descriptive Statistics and Reliability ....................................................................... 117 
5.2  Full Range Leadership ............................................................................................. 118 
5.3  Relationship Quality ................................................................................................ 120 
5.4  Self-Leadership ........................................................................................................ 121 
5.5  Performance ............................................................................................................. 125 
5.6  Physical Distance ..................................................................................................... 126 
5.7  Interaction Frequency .............................................................................................. 126 
5.8  Heteroskedasticity, Multicollinearity, and Common Method Variance .................. 128 

6 Results ..................................................................................................................... 131 

6.1  Statistical Analysis ................................................................................................... 131 
Table of Contents XIII

6.1.1  Direct Effects of Leadership Behavior on Follower Self-Leadership and

Performance ...................................................................................................... 131 
6.1.2  Moderation and Mediation Effects of Distance on the Leader-Follower
Relationship ...................................................................................................... 142 
6.2  Summary of statistical analyses ............................................................................... 156 

7 Discussion ................................................................................................................ 161 

7.1  Leadership Behavior ................................................................................................ 161 
7.2  Self-Leadership ........................................................................................................ 165 
7.3  Relationship Quality ................................................................................................ 167 
7.4  Direct Effects of Leadership Behavior on Follower Self-Leadership and
Performance ............................................................................................................. 169 
7.5  Moderation and Mediation Effects of Distance on the Leader-Follower
Relationship ............................................................................................................. 174 
8 Conclusion and Outlook ........................................................................................ 185 
8.1  Summary .................................................................................................................. 185 
8.2  Limitations ............................................................................................................... 188 
8.3  Research Implications .............................................................................................. 193 
8.4  Managerial Implications .......................................................................................... 195 

References .................................................................................................................. 203 

Figures ........................................................................................................................ 233 
Tables ......................................................................................................................... 235 
Abbreviations ............................................................................................................ 237 
Appendices ................................................................................................................. 239 
1.1 Motivation 1

1 Introduction

Chapter overview
The first chapter of this work elaborates the motivation underlying the research
project. As globalization and technology persistently add value to the way corpora-
tions interact internally, the focus is placed on how these effects impact the leader-
follower relationship in particular. The problem is summarized, followed by a de-
scription of the knowledge gap. A brief summary is provided on research objectives
and methodology, followed by an outline of quality control procedures undertaken
to ensure this study adheres to highest academic quality standards. The structure of
this dissertation is illustrated at the end of the first chapter.

1.1 Motivation
Globalization and technological advancements evolving along with constant access
to the World Wide Web create an environment for international corporations that is
now questioning work modalities and consequently beginning to restructure them.
Regardless of location, corporations use human resources in a way that is strongly
dependent on advanced information technologies (AIT). In particular, organiza-
tional leaders encounter situations in which followers are continuously located in
various places around the globe, facing challenges of geographic dispersion. Addi-
tionally, physical distribution makes leaders realize the high potential that distant
collaboration may hold for performance and productivity (Sobel-Lojeski, 2010).
Electronic collaboration in a physically distant setting does not only cut travel ex-
penses, it may also leverage synergies between cross-functional workgroups (Bull-
ock & Tucker-Klein, 2011).
What are the antecedents that influence the relationship between leaders and fol-
lowers in international corporations? Researchers claim that structural, social, and
psychological distance components potentially affect this dyadic liaison (Napier &
Ferris, 1993) as individuals suddenly find themselves working with people they
have never met face-to-face before. Team members now require a broad knowledge
of sociological diversity when dealing frequently with individuals from different
national and cultural backgrounds (Torres & Bligh, 2012, p. 23). Organizational
leaders may in fact realize that traditional leadership behaviors are no longer as ef-
fective as they once were and that traditional modes of influence and control are
diminishing (Bradner & Mark, 2008; Hertel, Geister & Konradt, 2005). As a con-
sequence of physical distribution, corporations heavily apply new technological
© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden 2017
N. Poser, Distance Leadership in International Corporations,
Advances in Information Systems and Business Engineering,
DOI 10.1007/978-3-658-15223-9_1
2 1 Introduction

infrastructure while the relationship between individuals disappears from focus. A

large number of assisting tools are available to exchange information virtually and
make distant work more transparent. E-mail, telephone and videoconferencing
technology, online presentation-sharing platforms, and virtual workspaces are just a
few examples which help to define a common ground for information exchange.
Understanding the changes in collaboration, organizational decision-makers seem
to lack awareness of the impact that distant alterations in context might have on the
leader-follower relationship. For team leaders, contextual factors provide challeng-
ing implications (Antonakis & Atwater, 2002, p. 698). Not only do leaders and fol-
lowers need to learn how to deal with technology; they require integrating it into
the existing corporate culture and processes (Pulley & Sessa, 2001, p. 225). This
may expose organizational leaders to a new level of complexity when applying tra-
ditional leadership methods to a technology-driven setting. Andrews (2004) de-
scribes the foundation of distance leadership as “focusing on the social aspects of
interaction, being more attentive to the special needs of team members, using tech-
nology creatively, and establishing respectful policies that support communications”
(p. 14).
The implications of modern work structures, remotely located teams and distance
leadership are diverse. Research has investigated traditional leadership theories for
half a century and has recently applied modern frameworks to keep up with the
pace of a fast changing environment. On one hand, dozens of studies have exam-
ined the benefits of virtual teams and (technological) challenges they are facing
when working in dispersed settings. On the other hand, the leader-follower rela-
tionship has largely been neglected in the context of geographic distance and this
provides opportunities for deeper investigation (Eichenberg, 2007).
The presented work closes the knowledge gap by applying one of the most widely
accepted leadership theories in recent academic research to a distance setting. To
wit, Full Range Leadership (Bass & Avolio, 1995) has not yet been applied holisti-
cally to a work setting of physical distance. Insight into the relationship of leaders
and followers in a work environment of physical distance is still sparse even if vir-
tual collaboration promises to be the work mode of the future for international cor-
porations (Zakaria, Amelinckx & Wilemon, 2004). The research correspondingly
discusses the role of leaders and followers in international corporations taking vari-
ous forms of distance into account.
1.2 Problem Statement 3

1.2 Problem Statement

At the heart of this study is the influence of leadership behavior on work-related
outcomes and the potential moderating and mediating effects of distance dimen-
sions, topics that have received international attention in recent leadership research
(e.g., Andressen, Konradt & Neck, 2012; Bligh & Riggio, 2013; Howell & Hall-
Merenda, 1999). As such, the study aims to identify and disaggregate employed
terminologies of distance. Distance leadership is predominantly conceptualized in
two streams of academic literature: (1) when studying contextual factors in leader-
ship, and (2) when investigating virtual teamwork.
With the steady rise in globalization, divisions of firms are often separated by phys-
ical distance. Distribution of followers is obviously beneficial to international cor-
porations yet it might lead to severe drawbacks if leaders and followers remain un-
able to adapt to the new environment. Modern collaboration does assist in reducing
risks of dispersed teams by using technological advancements. Hence, challenges
of the twenty-first century require leaders and subordinates to communicate in dif-
ferent ways and rethink the way of leading and following. To identify factors influ-
encing the effect of leadership behavior on subordinates’ work-related outcomes,
potential moderators and mediators require further clarification.
The focus of this work lies on three distance dimensions: (1) physical distance, (2)
relationship quality, and (3) leader-follower interaction frequency. All three factors
have been previously applied as influencers in distance leadership research (e.g.,
Eichenberg, 2007; Howell & Hall-Merenda, 1999; Kacmar, Zivnuska, Witt & Gul-
ly, 2003). A theory-informed literature review on (distance) leadership research
serves as the foundation for subsequent empirical study.

1.3 Knowledge Gap

Leadership in combination with distance dimensions is still under-researched (An-
tonakis & Atwater, 2002). Only few scholars have thus far attempted to inspect this
new area within leadership theory (e.g., Andressen et al., 2012; Cole, Bruch &
Shamir, 2009). Research conducted in this field is diverse in terms of leadership
behaviors and related outcomes. Avolio and Kahai (2003) suggest that, in an envi-
ronment of physical distance, charismatic leadership is most likely to be more ef-
fective than other leadership behaviors. This finding is confirmed by Hoyt and
Blascovich (2003) who compile empirical evidence linking transformational lead-
ership to positive team performance in a distance work setting. Since both trans-
formational and transactional leaders are perceived as good communicators, the
4 1 Introduction

combination of both behaviors might positively influence follower performance

(Neufeld, Wan & Fang, 2010). Academics generally agree that technology impacts
the way corporations work. Avolio, Sosik, Kahai and Baker (2014, p. 106) argue
that information technology fundamentally affects how leadership is viewed. With
technology, physical distance can be reduced to a certain degree (Cairncross, 1997)
and attention is placed on the building of high quality dyadic relationships (Graen
& Uhl-Bien, 1995).
Whereas physical distance in the workplace is a condition that often may not be
directly influenced, the relationship between leaders and follower may be affected
by both parties. The formation of differentiated relationships by leaders with their
followers represents the main assumption of leader-member exchange (LMX) (Er-
dogan & Bauer, 2014). As a result of this differentiation, the relationship may im-
pact work-related outcomes. Employees experiencing high quality relationships
with their leaders are more likely to receive advantageous mentoring and coaching
treatment (Law, Wong, Wang & Wang, 2000). Not only has high quality relation-
ship been found to be a predictor for transformational and transactional leadership
behavior (Graen & Uhl-Bien, 1995; Wang, Law, Hackett, Wang & Chen, 2005), it
has also been shown to act as moderator and mediator (e.g., Erdogan & Bauer,
2014; Liden, Wayne & Sparrowe, 2000; Wang et al., 2005).
When followers are distant from their leaders and control is limited, self-leading
individuals are a potential response (Andressen et al., 2012). Self-leadership has
caught the attention of academics in the past decades and yet research has only re-
cently begun to examine the concept in combination with distance leadership. A
first empirical attempt to explore effects of leadership behavior on follower self-
leadership in a distance work environment was pursued by Andressen et al. (2012),
whose findings indicate that self-leadership acts as a process factor determining
Summarizing the gaps in different work streams, this research represents the first
effort to examine the impact of leadership behavior holistically, assessing the influ-
ences of Full Range Leadership. Investigations are conducted in both geographical-
ly close and dispersed context. While applying the Multifactor Leadership Ques-
tionnaire (MLQ) 5X short (Bass & Avolio, 1995), a recently established research
instrument is used to assess the extent of self-leadership among followers. For the
first time the Self-Leadership Skills Inventory (Furtner & Rauthmann, in prep.) is
applied to a sizeable sample in an organizational context.
1.4 Research Objectives 5

1.4 Research Objectives

The present work adds in multiple theoretical and empirical respects to current
leadership research. First, it contributes to leadership literature by providing a sub-
stantial foundation for distance leadership literature. Second, it empirically tests the
influence of leadership behavior on followers’ work-related outcomes in a context
of physical distance. In this regard, the influences of relationship quality and inter-
action frequency on the leader-follower relation are explored. Thus far, leading
from a distance has been widely disregarded by scholars and received attention on-
ly by a few researchers (e.g., Antonakis & Atwater, 2002; Cole et al., 2009; Howell
& Hall-Merenda, 1999; Howell, Neufeld & Avolio, 2005; Kerr & Jermier, 1978;
Napier & Ferris, 1993; Yagil, 1998). Yet, many of these publications are conceptu-
al in nature and fail to provide empirical evidence.
For the first time, recent leadership theory is conceptualized, leadership behaviors
are discussed, and challenges and benefits of distance leadership are explicated.
Potential moderating and mediating influences on the leader-follower relationship
are investigated and predictors for work-related outcomes in geographically dis-
persed settings are outlined. Academic journal articles are evaluated according to
their contribution to the current state of research. Discussing the role of AIT in a
distance work context, this research identifies key collaboration tools that may fa-
cilitate communication in corporations. In the process of this work, leadership theo-
ry is reviewed and an imperative position is occupied by definitions of distance di-
mensions recently used in research. Particular interest is attached to distinguishing
terminologies such as distance leadership, virtual leadership, and e-leadership.
Whereas in some cases the terms virtual team, mobile workforce, and virtual
workgroup are used interchangeably (e.g., Criswell & Martin, 2007; Welch, Worm
& Fenwick, 2003), other researchers prefer a rather strong differentiation (Gluesing
& Riopelle, 2010).
Second, this research makes innovative use of the Full Range Leadership Model
which, previously, has often only partially been applied and with a strict focus on
transformational and transactional leadership. Both behaviors have often been con-
sidered when investigating the effect of leadership behavior on follower outcomes
(e.g., Balthazard, Waldman & Warren, 2009; Gupta, Huang & Yayla, 2011; Sosik,
Godshalk & Yammarino, 2004). Consideration and empirical examination of the
entire model is rare in leadership research. Following the nature of laissez-faire
leadership behavior, the dimension of passive leadership is frequently disregarded.
Previous literature indicates that Full Range Leadership supplies leadership behav-
6 1 Introduction

iors that are likely to influence follower self-leadership (Yun, Cox & Sims, 2006a)
and performance (Kahai & Avolio, 2008; Walumbwa, Avolio & Zhu, 2008).
The third and central purpose of this work is to empirically determine moderation
or mediation effects of physical distance, relationship quality, and interaction fre-
quency in the leader-follower relationship. It is expected that physical distance, re-
lationship quality, and interaction frequency will assume a reinforcing position in
distant leader-follower relations.
Findings are projected to confirm the assumption that physical distance negatively
affects the influence of transformational and transactional leadership on follower
self-leadership and performance. If triggers for enhanced self-leadership and per-
formance in a distance work environment rest within transformational and/or trans-
actional behaviors, this dissertation would provide evidence for the necessity of
transformational and transactional leadership behaviors that are particularly essen-
tial in a context of physical distance. In addition, high quality relationships are pro-
jected to be the tying bond between leaders and followers in international corpora-
tions. Interaction frequency is expected to take on an augmenting position, provid-
ing favorable outcomes in the leader-follower relation. From the results extracted
by this work, targeted trainings could be developed in order to strengthen the bene-
ficial aspects of distance leadership.

1.5 Research Methodology

The aim of this research is to test influences of leadership behaviors on work-
related outcomes and to assess effects of physical distance, relationship quality, and
interaction frequency in the relationship between leader and follower. To address
the research question from a statistical perspective, quantitative cross-sectional re-
search design is applied. Previously validated survey instruments are used: leader-
ship behavior is assessed with the MLQ 5X short (Bass & Avolio, 1995); relation-
ship quality is assessed using the LMX-7 (Graen & Uhl-Bien, 1995); and the as-
sessment of self-leadership is facilitated by the recently developed SLSI (Furtner &
Rauthmann, in prep.). Data is collected with the help of self-administered online
questionnaires. In order to analyze the data structural equation modeling (SEM),
multiple linear regressions, moderation, and mediation analyses are anticipated.
1.6 Quality Control 7

1.6 Quality Control

In order to assure certain quality standards, this work follows the guidelines of
scientific writing of the University of Liechtenstein. Documentation is pursued
according to standards of the American Psychological Association (APA).
The dissertation process is divided into two phases. The first phase includes partic-
ipation in higher education courses and the completion of assignments and presen-
tations. Courses in scientific writing, research methods, research design, and theory
of the firm provide the fundamental background for issuing this work. Passing the
courses is a prerequisite for submitting and defending the preliminary study.
The second phase of the dissertation process includes contribution at an interna-
tional conference and doctoral seminars which depict state-of-the-art research ac-
tivities in the majoring field. Throughout the entire dissertation development pro-
cedure, progress is evaluated in regular doctoral consortia with the supervisor, co-
supervisor, and peer researchers. Frequent discussions with Prof. Dr. Urs Baldegger
ensure the positioning of the dissertation in regards to content, theoretical, and
practical value. Consultations with Prof. Dr. Marco Furtner from the University of
Innsbruck confirm the appropriateness of the selected procedures. Repeated ex-
changes of information and discussions with qualified fellow doctoral students
from adjacent research institutes further assist in the evolution of this work. The
present dissertation will be submitted for publication as a monograph. Evaluation
of the monograph is led by the doctoral committee announced during the disserta-
tion process. Potential submissions of research articles will undergo a peer-review
process prior to publication.

1.7 Structural Design

This paper consists of eight chapters. Beginning with the introduction, the scope of
the research is provided in chapter 1. Chapter 2 outlines the theoretical background
underlying this work, culminating in a summary of hypotheses in chapter 3. Chap-
ter 4 supplies information on the methodological approach applied during this work.
Chapter 5 introduces the data analysis followed by the demonstration of results in
chapter 6. Study findings are discussed and critically reviewed in chapter 7. Sum-
marizing this work, chapter 8 provides conclusions of the study outcomes and ar-
ticulates probable limitations. Implications for theory and practice complete this
work. Figure 1 illustrates the work’s structure.
8 1 Introduction

Chapter summary
The motivation for this work derives from a practical point of view as international
corporations prefer to form teams based on capabilities rather than local availability.
Therefore, the presented research adds to theory and practice in many ways assist-
ing corporations to effectively lead followers from a physical distance. Following
scientific guidelines, the study is clustered in eight chapters, each starting with a
short introduction and ending with a brief chapter summary.
Figure 1. Structural Design of the Dissertation
1 Introduction

Motivation Knowledge gap Research methodology

Problem statement Research objectives Quality control

2 Literature review

Leadership theories Context Distance leadership

3 Hypotheses

Direct effects of leadership behavior on follow- Moderation and mediation effects of distance on
er self-leadership and performance the leader-follower relationship

4 Methodology

Research question Population Operationalization

Research design Sample structure Preliminary analysis

5 Data analysis

Leadership behavior Self-leadership Physical distance

Relationship quality Performance Interaction frequency

6 Results

Statistical analyses Hypotheses testing Summary of results

7 Discussion
Leadership behavior Direct effects of leadership be- Moderation and mediation
Self-leadership havior on follower self- effects of distance on the
Relationship quality leadership and performance leader-follower relationship

8 Conclusion & outlook

Implications for theory

Study summary Limitations
and practice
2.1 Leadership Theories – From Early Stages to Modern Concepts 9

2 Literature Review

Chapter overview
The second chapter of this work deals with the most widely recognized leadership
theories of the past decades. After a thorough introduction of the Full Range Lead-
ership and Leader-Member Exchange, recent concepts such as empowering leader-
ship and self-leadership are highlighted. The subsequent part of the work covers the
latest publications on distance leadership, delineating e-leadership, virtual leader-
ship, and distance leadership from one another. In the course of the literature re-
view, definitions of distance dimensions are illustrated and their interaction with
organizational work-related outcomes is indicated, continually placing particular
emphasis on physical distance, relationship quality, and leader-member interaction
frequency. Additional forms of distance are outlined and defined. The chapter final-
ly presents a summary of the most compelling studies with regard to self-leadership
and distance leadership.

2.1 Leadership Theories – From Early Stages to Modern Concepts

The need to study leadership exists jointly with the requirements to lead people in
international corporations. Whereas leadership in its early stages was studied pre-
dominantly as a hierarchical phenomenon, today, leadership encompasses many
issues surrounding the leader, subordinates, peers, and context (Avolio, Walumbwa
& Weber, 2009, p. 422). With its numerous facets, leadership has gradually
evolved into one of the most investigated fields in organizational science (Yukl,
2013). The key role of leadership is regarded as enhancing organizational relation-
ships among individuals. Effective international corporate leadership relies upon
functioning leader-follower relationships (Avolio & Kahai, 2003). With the number
of investigations, the number of definitions of leadership has risen to a substantial
level, involving the frequently discussed controversy between process and behav-
ioral views. Whereas Bass (1990) views effective leadership as dependent on con-
textual factors, others see leadership as a behavior reflecting the quality of under-
standing (House, Javidan, Hanges & Dorfman, 2002). Bass (1990) states that lead-
ership relies on “physical proximity, social and organizational propinquity, and
networks of open channels of communications” (p. 658). House et al. (2002) refer
to organizational leadership as “the ability of an individual to influence, motivate,

© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden 2017

N. Poser, Distance Leadership in International Corporations,
Advances in Information Systems and Business Engineering,
DOI 10.1007/978-3-658-15223-9_2
10 2 Literature Review

and enable others to contribute toward the effectiveness and success of the organi-
zations of which they are members” (p. 5).

A look into the past

Research in leadership has undergone a transition over time, originally placing par-
ticular focus on the investigation of personality traits and competences of organiza-
tional members in the first half of the twentieth century (Jenkins, 1947). From then
on research began to pay attention to the hierarchical component of leadership. The
leader and his/her behavior were the center of focus (Scott, Nahrgang, Wellman &
Humphry, 2011). With the investigation of behavioral aspects of leadership, it was
soon discovered that leaders have to adjust their behavior according to the require-
ments of a specific situation (Blake & Mouton, 1978). Almost contemporaneously,
behavior-based models were further developed, resulting in the evolution of con-
tingency theories of leadership. Contingency models unite ideas from behavior-
based approaches, yet they also consider interaction with followers (Fiedler, 1967;
Fiedler & Garcia, 1987). Other popular contingency leadership theories were de-
veloped by Hersey and Blanchard (1969) and Vroom and Yetton (1973). Only in
the 1990s, more attention was paid to the relationship between leader and followers,
pushing relationship-oriented leadership to the fore. The most widely recognized
concept describing the relationship between the two parties is leader-member ex-
change theory (Graen & Uhl-Bien, 1995). According to this model, leaders and
members form differentiated relationships during their work span which can take
on diverse degrees of quality. High quality relationships are ascribed to a basis in
mutual trust and respect. Low quality relationships do not extend past the mere ful-
fillment of work duties (Graen & Uhl-Bien, 1995).
With the further development of relationship-oriented leadership, Bryman (1992)
defined a paradigm called New Leadership. Opposed to the Old Leadership para-
digm, in which transactional leadership and a concentration on role and task ful-
fillment were dominant behaviors (Antonakis, 2012), charismatic and transforma-
tional leadership play a central role in the New Leadership approach (Furtner &
Baldegger, 2013; Judge & Piccolo, 2004). Charisma is described as a phenomenon
that is frequently subject to research. The charismatic leader can be defined as an
individual who can bring about social change (Weber, 1947). Weber defines cha-
risma as “specific gifts of the body and spirit not accessible to everybody” (Weber,
1986, p. 19). The fundamental aspect describing a charismatic individual lies in the
ascription of charisma, entirely relying on others’ perceptions (Bass, 1985; Neu-
berger, 2002). Yet, Antonakis (2012) traces the roots of charisma to centuries ago.
The author claims that Aristotle (trans. 1954) provided a definition of charisma that
2.1 Leadership Theories – From Early Stages to Modern Concepts 11

continues to inform the modern understanding of the concept. He explains the use
of rhetoric in persuading followers, using terms similar to literature on charismatic
behavior. With this, Aristotle is not only a pioneer in the field of charisma, but also
in Full Range Leadership (Bass, 1985).
Transformational leadership has progressed since its first publication by James
MacGregor Burns in 1978. Effectiveness of leaders and performance outcomes due
to effective leadership have since been investigated carefully. The researcher de-
scribes transformational leadership as a process of transforming leader and follow-
ers by establishing a shared vision and a sense of ethical and moral behavior. The
leader recognizes the needs of followers and tries to fulfill them. In the best scenar-
io, this stimulates intrinsic motivation and leads to improved productivity (Bass &
Riggio, 2006). Leaders must act people-oriented as well as task-oriented. Focusing
solely on one function is far less effective (Denison, Hooijberg & Quinn, 1995).
Favorable leadership has been identified in terms of being active in the leadership
role, initiating structure, exhibiting consideration, and articulating the team goal
(Bass, 1990; Kolb, 1995). Particularly, problems of integrating members and ne-
glecting to respond to individual needs can cause severe disruptions in the leader-
follower relation. The most successful leaders can provide both: structure and con-
sideration (Bass, 1990; Kayworth & Leidner, 2002). The structural component can
be enhanced by continuously providing feedback on task-related issues. Considera-
tion can be pushed through motivational and mentoring activities by leaders that
affect the value-oriented side of followers. Leadership effectiveness is observed
carefully by subordinates since leadership largely depends on the perception of fol-
lowers (Bass, 1990).
The New Leadership paradigm is characterized by its concentration on the heroic
leader who uses their power to influence others (Furtner & Baldegger, 2013). Yet,
the leader-centric approach in empirical investigations is subject to criticism (Ali-
mo, 1995). Leadership concepts focus on the influence of one central individual on
other individuals and the organization, yet it is often noted that effective leadership
of people and organizations requires multiple individuals and/or their cooperation
(Crevani, Lindgren & Packendorff, 2007). The post-heroic approach to leadership
shifts the central view away from the leader to more complex interactional process-
es (Fletcher, 2004). The most recognized streams in post-heroic leadership research
are empowering leadership, and with it shared leadership, superleadership, and
The present study assumes a critical position with regard to heroic, leader-centric
approaches to leadership. Not only does it place the attention on followers, it com-
12 2 Literature Review

bines fragments of the New and Old Leadership paradigms with post-heroic
streams from recent academic work. The research is directed at investigating ef-
fects of leadership behavior on followers’ work-related outcomes, taking concepts
of post-heroic leadership into account. The most widely accepted model reflecting
leadership behaviors is the Full-Range Leadership Model developed by Bass and
Avolio (1995). It not only represents transformational behaviors, but also takes a
more holistic view of leadership including transactional and passive behaviors.
Moreover, the research takes follower-centric aspects into account by incorporating
self-leadership into the empirical investigation. To understand the mechanisms of
leadership and self-leadership, related theories of empowering leadership, shared
leadership, and superleadership are explained. As the interaction between leader
and followers involves a relational component, Leader-Member Exchange theory is
presented as an integral part of this study.

2.1.1 Full Range Leadership

Early theories of leadership restrictedly incorporate exchanges between leaders and
subordinates. Proceeding from Burns’ (1978) work on transformational leadership
and recognizing that charismatic leadership might not lead to desired results as the
sole characteristic of successful leaders, new core functions and behavioral aspects
came to inform expectations of modern leadership. With the introduction of trans-
formational leadership, Bass (1985) affected a paradigm shift in the understanding
of effective leadership (Antonakis, Avolio & Sivasubramaniam, 2003). The Full
Range Leadership Model (Bass & Avolio, 1995) integrates dimensions of charis-
matic, transformational, contingent reward, management-by-exception (MBE) and
laissez-faire leadership into one single theory and opens up a new era of compre-
hensive leadership research. Bass and Avolio’s (1995) model takes value-intensive
needs of subordinates into account for the first time in the history of leadership the-
ory. Undoubtedly, Full Range Leadership has evolved to one of today’s most dis-
cussed theories in leadership research and might be regarded as an advanced ap-
proach to explaining behavioral relations between leaders and followers in interna-
tional corporations.
The original model comprised four factors, however it was revised after repeated
empirical application. The latest model consists of nine single-order factors ac-
counting for leadership effectiveness, active and passive leadership (Antonakis et
al., 2003). Five transformational leadership factors, three transactional and one pas-
sive leadership factor are encompassed in the model (Figure 2).
2.1 Leadership Theories – From Early Stages to Modern Concepts 13

Figure 2. The Full Range Leadership Model


Idealized influence
(attributed / behavior)


Intellectual Transformational
stimulation leadership


passive Contingent reward active

Active management-
Passive management-



Source: Bass and Avolio (1995)

Transformational leadership
Literature reviews on Full Range Leadership revealed that more studies have been
published on transformational and charismatic leadership than on any other popular
leadership theory (Furtner, 2010; Judge & Piccolo, 2004). Transformational leader-
ship can be seen as a matter of directed influence belonging to the New Leadership
14 2 Literature Review

paradigm (Furtner & Baldegger, 2013, p. 136). The dimension focuses on proactive
and inspirational components of organizational leadership. Transformational lead-
ers strive to elevate subordinates’ awareness by providing vision and emphasizing
collective interests over self-interest. Furtner (2010) proposes that transformational
leadership carries traits of soft and emotional leadership characteristics.
Transformational leadership as a higher-order factor includes five behavioral sub-
facets: (1) idealized influence (attributed), (2) idealized influence (behavior), (3)
inspirational motivation, (4) intellectual stimulation, and (5) individualized consid-
eration (Bass & Avolio, 1995). The original term for idealized influence was cha-
risma. Therefore, definitions of the facet still include annotations referring to the
early terminology (Antonakis, 2012, p. 266).
Idealized influence (attributed) describes the socialized charisma of leaders, e.g.,
whether followers perceive a leader as powerful and confident, pursuing higher-
order ideals (Antonakis et al., 2003).
Idealized influence (behavior) builds on leaders’ charismatic actions considering
strong inner values and beliefs. Leaders are admired for their extraordinary capabil-
ities and determination (Bass & Riggio, 2006). The main differentiator between
attributed and behavioral idealized influence is the focus entirely on attributions
and perceptions by followers for the first facet, whereas behavioral aspects are de-
termined by observation (Antonakis, 2012). The two dimensions lead in the best
case scenario to identification with the leader.
Inspirational motivation encompasses behaviors that inspire followers by providing
vision and practicing role modeling (Michel, Lyons & Cho, 2011). These result in
the specific engagement of subordinates by sparking enthusiasm and optimism
(Bass & Riggio, 2006). Providing confidence, leaders raise followers’ expectations
to achieve ambitious goals that may have seemed unreachable (Bass, 1985). As
with idealized influence, inspirational motivation is strongly linked to perceptions
of charismatic leadership (Bass & Avolio, 1993).
Intellectual stimulation refers to leaders taking actions that activate subordinates’
logical thinking, strengthen their creative behavior, and encourage them to take on
new perspectives and be more flexible (Antonakis et al., 2003; Michel et al., 2011;
Sosik, Kahai & Avolio, 1998). It is the only non-emotional facet of transformation-
al leadership (Antonakis, 2012, p. 266). The leader raises followers’ awareness of
problems and stimulates them to solve the issues (Bass, 1985, p. 99).
The last component of transformational leadership, individualized consideration,
contains attributes helping followers to reach their potential by providing socio-
2.1 Leadership Theories – From Early Stages to Modern Concepts 15

emotional support (Bass, 1985; Yammarino & Bass, 1990). Leaders pay attention
to subordinates’ individual needs allowing for personal development. Providing
constant support and coaching, followers are encouraged to perform in order to
meet organizational goals. Individualized consideration is characterized by frequent
contact and feedback (Bass, 1985; Bass & Avolio, 1990).
Early considerations on transformational leadership raised assumptions that leaders
inhibiting strong transformational attributes might be hindered in building relation-
ships and impacting the performance of their followers (Kerr & Jermier, 1978).
Since then, it has been confirmed that transformational leaders are instead the rela-
tionship builders who are associated with high effectiveness and are perceived as
effective by subordinates (Neufeld et al., 2010). Individuals trust transformational
leaders and display a high degree of satisfaction (Hoyt & Blascovich, 2003). Trans-
formational leaders apply mentoring and coaching techniques, encouraging follow-
ers to solve problems creatively and to challenge traditional processes. Effective
leaders tend to use more metaphors, symbols, and imagery-based argumentation
when communicating (Bass, 1985). Fostering personal growth, transformational
leaders augment the relationship between individuals and the team they belong to.
Transformational leaders identify themselves with their work and display a high
degree of self-efficacy which in turn may lead to improved individual performance
(Walumbwa et al., 2008). An earlier study links transformational leadership to
business unit performance, pointing out that leaders must develop transformational
skills in order to lead effectively (Howell & Avolio, 1993). Research suggests that
transformational leaders can stimulate intrinsic motivation in follower behavior and
expect them to perform because of the nature of the task (Kahai & Avolio, 2008).
Those leaders have the power to promote intrinsic value in followers in order to
achieve goals and might in turn foster organizational commitment (Avolio, Zhu,
Koh & Bhatia, 2004). Transformational leaders can guide followers to envision a
better future and to achieve their goals. With their optimistic attitude they give
meaning to followers’ work. Those leaders are further projected to empower people
through their optimism and integrity (Bass & Avolio, 1994). Yet, differentiation
exists between group and individually focused transformational leadership. A study
by Tse and Chiu (2014) discovered that transformational leadership focused on the
individual significantly strengthens creativity but is less effective in encouraging
organizational citizenship behavior. Conversely, citizenship behavior is enhanced
when transformational leadership is directed to the group.
Results of the Global Leadership and Organizational Behavior Effectiveness
(GLOBE) Research Program initiated by Robert House in 1991 indicate that out-
standing leaders display characteristics associated with transformational leadership,
16 2 Literature Review

such as being trustworthy and honest, and showing integrity. Being dynamic, deci-
sive, dependable, and a team builder further figured among the highest-ranked at-
tributes (Den Hartog, House, Hanges, Ruiz-Quintanilla & Dorfman, 1999, p. 239).
On the contrary, being dictatorial, asocial, and non-cooperative were viewed as un-
desired features. The researchers’ proposal that numerous characteristics related to
transformational leadership are universally validated as contributing to successful
leadership, were confirmed. Den Hartog et al. (1999) name them as “motive arous-
er, foresight, encouraging, communicative, trustworthy, dynamic, positive, confi-
dence builder and motivational” (p. 250). Furthermore, findings suggest that lead-
ership competence means more than displaying a set of attributes – rather, it de-
notes that adaptation to each individual culture is necessary (Den Hartog et al.,
Whereas transformational leadership and follower performance have often been the
subject of interest, only little attention has yet been paid to the impact of transfor-
mational leadership behavior on follower leadership potentials (Cole et al., 2009).
In their meta-analysis of the effects of transformational and transactional leadership
on effectiveness, Lowe, Kroeck and Sivasubramaniam (1996) found transforma-
tional leadership to appear more frequently at lower hierarchy levels. Transforma-
tional leadership further revealed higher team effectiveness than transactional lead-
ership (Howell et al., 2005; Lowe et al., 1996). It doesn’t matter whether transfor-
mational leadership is applied in a vertical or shared way; both conditions influence
team effectiveness positively (Pearce & Sims, 2002). Particularly individualized
consideration and charisma were revealed to predict business unit performance
(Howell & Avolio, 1993). Evidence was found that transformational leadership is
also perceived as more efficient by followers than transactional leadership (House
& Shamir, 1993). Mihalcea (2014) discovered particularly attributed idealized in-
fluence and individual consideration to be significantly positively related to subor-
dinates’ performance.
Despite empirically tested direct effects (Birasnav, 2014; Judge & Piccolo, 2004;
Mihalcea, 2014) some scholars searched for underlying indirect effects of trans-
formational leadership on work-related outcomes. One of these studies investigated
the role of positive mood in the leadership-performance relation. Tsai, Chen and
Cheng (2009) highlighted that followers’ positive mood can contribute to a favora-
ble work-performance when transformational leadership is executed. In other
words, it functions as mediator suggesting that followers with a positive mood gen-
erally show an increased task performance. Another study tested for mediation ef-
fects of basic-needs satisfaction and work engagement on the leader-
ship/performance relation. Kovjanic, Schuh and Jonas (2013) articulate that trans-
2.1 Leadership Theories – From Early Stages to Modern Concepts 17

formational leadership is positively linked to followers’ satisfaction of needs for

competence, relatedness, and autonomy. Needs for competence and relatedness
mediated the influence of transformational leadership on work engagement which
in turn led to increased performance quality, quantity, and task persistence. Identi-
fication with the leader further appeared to potentially enhance the influence of
transformational leadership on work performance (Cavazotte, Moreno & Bernardo,

Transactional leadership
The second higher-order dimension of Full Range Leadership requiring considera-
tion is transactional leadership. The foundations of transactional leadership lie in
expectancy theory (Vroom, 1964) and can be allocated to the Old Leadership para-
digm (Furtner & Baldegger, 2013, p. 136). Transactional leadership builds on the
fact that individuals are likely to engage in activities that capitalize on their ex-
pected return for performance. Using reward systems, transactional leadership
seeks to explain the effort-reward relationship (Pearce & Sims, 2002, p. 174).
Whereas transformational leadership places the focus on developing followers,
transactional leadership is characterized by exchange between leaders and follow-
ers (Avolio, 2011). Transactional leaders emphasize a rational exchange process
which is typically characterized by setting clear objectives and monitoring for
The transactional leadership dimension includes three first-order factors: (1) con-
tingent reward, (2) active management-by-exception (MBEa), and (3) passive man-
agement-by-exception (MBEp) (Bass & Avolio, 1995). Contingent reward leader-
ship is based on an exchange process between leader and followers. It is considered
an effective and efficient leadership behavior (Judge & Piccolo, 2004). Targets are
set with followers which in turn are promised rewards if goals are met. Contingent
rewards can be either transactional or transformational in nature. A reward might
be categorized as transactional when it is materialistic. Psychological rewards, such
as praise, make a contingent reward transformational (Antonakis et al., 2003).
Active management-by-exception describes a facet of transformational leadership
that is characterized by monitoring and control by the supervisor. If required, the
leader may take immediate corrective actions to prevent bigger mistakes. For this
reason, active MBE is considered effective in many situations.
Passive management-by-exception is less effective than active MBE as it strives to
place responsibility in the hands of the follower. Followers are required to make
decisions on their own and have to deal with the consequences. The leader assumes
18 2 Literature Review

a passive role and only interferes if mistakes have already been made (Furtner &
Baldegger, 2013, pp. 159-161).
Transactional leadership is considered to be more effective in stable environments
when there is no immediate need for change (Daft & Lengel, 1998). Transactional
leaders encourage followers by emphasizing rewards in return for work perfor-
mance (Kahai & Avolio, 2008). Transactional leadership has often been linked to
successful performance. Leaders that exhibit strong contingent reward leadership
traits are perceived as effective communicators (Neufeld et al., 2010). Contingent
reward leadership was further found to positively influence performance (Bass &
Avolio, 1990). A recent study found transactional rather than transformational
leadership to be associated with subordinates’ satisfaction (Mihalcea, 2014). The
author claims that immediate reward and liberty are of utmost importance. Contra-
dictory findings outline that the relationship between leadership behavior and per-
formance is more difficult than assumed, as group quantitative performance was
found to be better under transactional leadership, whereas group qualitative work
was enhanced under transformational leadership (Hoyt & Blascovich, 2003). This
could be due to the intellectual stimulation associated with transformational leader-
ship (Jung & Avolio, 2000). Whereas transactional leadership encourages followers
to meet the negotiated standard for performance, transformational leadership pro-
motes performance beyond the negotiated level (Bass, 1985). Howell and Avolio
(1993) account for this difference in terms of the commitment expressed by follow-
ers towards leaders.

Laissez-faire leadership
While transformational and transactional leadership are active behaviors, laissez-
faire leadership is characterized by a fairly passive way of interacting with follow-
ers (Den Hartog, Van Muijen & Koopman, 1997, p. 21). As the name suggests,
laissez-faire is considered to be non-participative leadership and is therefore also
referred to as non-leadership. Laissez-faire leaders’ behavior is characterized by
the avoidance of decision-making and the disposal of responsibility (Antonakis et
al., 2003). These supervisors tend to miss meetings, often excusing themselves
(Furtner & Baldegger, 2013). The interaction between supervisor and subordinates
is limited and a relationship between the two parties is unable to evolve. Rather,
followers substitute their own knowledge and competences for the missing leader-
ship (Furtner, 2012; Furtner & Baldegger, 2013). In contrast to transformational
and transactional leaders, leaders with predominantly laissez-faire characteristics
do not actively execute leadership and success is often a result of coincidence.
Team members must thus make and rely on their own decisions, and are left alone
2.1 Leadership Theories – From Early Stages to Modern Concepts 19

in most situations as feedback and direction are rare. Laissez-faire leadership is

viewed as a counterproductive way of engaging with followers as it may result in
interpersonal conflict (Skogstad, Einarsen, Torsheim, Schanke-Aasland & Hetland,
2007, p. 89). While this might be true if the leader fails to interfere during conflicts
or is unable to motivate followers, a healthy portion of less leadership activity may
on the other side result in the empowerment of subordinates (Den Hartog et al.,
1997, p. 21). Indeed, most sources describe only negative effects of laissez-faire
leadership and the suffering of followers under those circumstances, yet a laissez-
faire leader provides potential for proactive followers to substitute their individual
self-leadership for the (missing) leadership (Furtner & Baldegger, 2013; Manz &
Sims, 1980).

Augmentation effect
Burns (1978) thought of transformational and transactional leadership as opposed
to one another. Bass (1985) was one of the first to introduce the notion that leaders
could exhibit both transformational and transactional behaviors. In fact, Full Range
Leadership dimensions should be regarded as belonging to a continuum rather than
to separable behaviors. Transformational and transactional leadership are related to
such an extent that it is often difficult to discern their effects (Judge & Piccolo,
2004). Transactional leadership reflects its position as a precondition for transfor-
mational leadership, and ideal leaders exhibit a composition of both transactional
and transformational leadership (Furtner & Baldegger, 2013).
Bass and Avolio (1994) claim that in addition to the effects of transactional leader-
ship, transformational leadership explains an additional positive variance of subor-
dinates’ performance known as augmentation effect. Followers are more motivated
to accomplish targets and even go the extra mile to achieve them, and they perceive
higher satisfaction (Bass, 1995). Yet, contradictory results expose the augmentation
effect to criticism. Wang, Tsui and Xin (2011b) could not confirm effects of the
augmentation hypothesis. A recent study by Birasnav (2014), however, found that
transformational leadership is positively linked to organizational performance even
after controlling for effects of transactional leadership. The study also supported
assumptions that transformational leadership is positively associated with
knowledge management procedures beyond the effects of transactional leadership.

Assessing leadership behavior

Zäch (2014, p. 119) identified seven appropriate scales for assessing leadership be-
havior. The Conger-Kanungo Scale (Conger & Kanungo, 1988) measures leader-
20 2 Literature Review

ship behavior over a period of time. Criticism of the instrument includes the high
intercorrelation between its subscales (Rowold & Heinitz, 2007). The Transforma-
tional Leadership Behavior Inventory (Podsakoff, MacKenzie, Moorman & Fetter,
1990) is the most widely accepted and theoretically substantiated measure of trans-
formational behavior besides the MLQ. The measure evaluates transformational
and transactional leadership in terms of 33 items (Podsakoff, Todor, Grover & Hu-
ber, 1984). A validated German language version offering high reliability is also
available (Rowold & Heinitz, 2007). The Leadership Practice Inventory (Posner &
Kouzes, 1993) is a 30-item measure repeatedly showing low to moderate internal
consistency (Zagorsek, Stough & Jaklic, 2006). Behling and McFillen (1996) creat-
ed the Follower Belief Questionnaire which assesses nine dimensions of transfor-
mational leadership behavior. Zäch (2014, p. 121) found that the measure has thus
far been applied only sparsely in academic research and lacks a validated German
translation. Alimo-Metcalfe and Alban-Metcalfe (2001) developed the Transforma-
tional Leadership Questionnaire which is used in accordance with FRL, yet reflects
only the transformational dimension. Some researchers criticize the focus of leader-
ship assessment scales on management rather than on the leadership process itself
(Kent, Crotts & Azziz, 2001). Six dimensions reflecting the process were devel-
oped, of which only four factors could be confirmed thus far (Kent et al., 2001, p.
223). The scale developed by Rafferty and Griffin (2004) reflects all aspects of the
FRL compared to the other discussed measures. However, the scale shows high
intercorrelation between the different sub-dimensions. Contingent-reward leader-
ship displayed high positive correlation with the transformational scale. Zäch (2014,
p. 123) concludes that using the MLQ for assessing leadership behavior bears ad-
vantages over the discussed instruments. High intercorrelation between subscales
and lower internal consistency of some measures do not abrogate the criticism of
the MLQ (Bass & Avolio, 1995). The original MLQ consisted of 73 items and was
first published as a 67-item version by Bass and Avolio in 1990. The revised scale,
the MLQ 5X (Bass & Avolio, 1997) shows consistently acceptable reliability (An-
tonakis et al., 2003; Bass & Riggio, 2006). Furthermore, a thoroughly validated
German language version exists (Felfe, 2006). Den Hartog et al. (1997) suggested
that passive management-by-exception and laissez-faire leadership should be con-
densed to one passive leadership factor, as transactional behavior is far more active
than passive MBE. This is assumed to be reflected in the improved internal con-
sistency. Felfe and Goihl (2002) confirm the lack of adequate discriminant validity
of passive MBE and laissez-faire leadership.
Although Full Range Leadership is among the most influential leadership theories
of the last decades, meta-analyses show that it is not free of criticism (Judge & Pic-
2.1 Leadership Theories – From Early Stages to Modern Concepts 21

colo, 2004; Wang, Oh, Courtright & Colbert, 2011a). Full Range Leadership and
the major academic focus on transformational leadership neglect the task and stra-
tegic-oriented facets of leadership (Yukl, 2008). Beyond FRL, leaders must take
environmental factors into consideration and ensure efficient use of resources
(Mumford, 2006). Antonakis and House (2002) call the particular behavior of striv-
ing for organizational effectiveness instrumental leadership. Instrumental leader-
ship was found to be strongly linked with prototypically good leadership and to be
more important for effectiveness outcomes than transformational or transactional
leadership (Antonakis & House, 2014, p. 765).

2.1.2 Relationship Quality

Conceptualization of relationship quality between individuals has mostly been re-
flected in an expression of the quality of leader-member exchange (Graen & Uhl-
Bien, 1995). The review by Erdogan and Bauer (2014) provides reasonable evi-
dence that the quality of relationship is indeed replicated in LMX literature that has
found practical application in many research attempts. The term relationship quality
is thus used synonymously with leader-member exchange in this work. An argu-
ment for viewing relationship quality as a part of distance is provided by Shamir
(2013), on the one hand, who declares distance to be actively related to the leader-
ship relation. On the other hand, Eichenberg (2007) used the reciprocal of LMX to
determine relationship distance.

Fundamentals of relationship quality and the evolution of leader-member exchange

Some 40 years ago, leader-member exchange began revolutionizing leadership the-
ory as it was one of the first concepts to concentrate on the dyadic relationship be-
tween two individuals within an organization (Graen & Uhl-Bien, 1995, p. 225).
The relationship-based approach holds that leaders and direct reports possess the
ability to form mature partnerships (Graen & Uhl-Bien, 1991a). Leader-member
exchange theory evolved from vertical-dyadic linkage theory (Dansereau, Graen &
Haga, 1975) and is estimated to be the foremost dyadic leadership theory in re-
search (Erdogan & Liden, 2002). Hence, LMX is considered the key to understand-
ing effects of dyadic relationships (Erdogan & Bauer, 2014, p. 407). It perceives
relationships between leaders and subordinates as unequal due to limitations in time
and social resources which manifest in either low or high quality relationships
(Mayer, Keller, Leslie & Hanges, 2008). Since the 1970s, LMX has undergone in-
vestigations considering many different perspectives. From dyadic over group level
22 2 Literature Review

to intra-group dyadic considerations, LMX has frequently been the subject of aca-
demic interest (Graen & Uhl-Bien, 1995).
Leader-member exchange postulates that in order for effective leadership to occur,
leader and subordinates must develop mature partnerships. Research has shown that
relationships may differ in terms of quality. Whereas supervisors’ relationships
with some members manifest in high quality exchange, built on trust and respect,
different individuals could be exposed to lower quality exchanges (Erdogan &
Bauer, 2014; Zalesny & Graen, 1987). Low quality relationships are characterized
by limited personal interaction with leader and follower appearing to be almost
strangers to each other. Leadership is primarily existent because of the obligation
by subordinates to comply, which in turn exhibits parallels to the exchange pro-
cesses existent in transactional leadership (Bass, 1985; Graen & Uhl-Bien, 1995).
Gouldner (1960) explains that trust evolves while the type of exchange moves from
economic to social as favors are returned after a while by intrinsic motivation rather
than formal obligation. In other words, individuals stop keeping count of the favors
performed, resulting in a purely voluntary behavior (Erdogan & Bauer, 2014, p.
Based on a series of studies Graen and Uhl-Bien (1991b) developed the “Life Cycle
of Leadership Making” (Figure 3), which identifies stages of relationship formation,
and provides suggestions on developing high quality leader-follower relations.
Three stages are grounded on a life cycle model of leadership relationship maturity
(Graen & Uhl-Bien, 1995, p. 231). The first stage, called stranger, amounts to the
relationship-building phase. Individuals have their first interactions which occur on
a formal basis. Exchanges are pursued adhering to contractual agreement. Leaders
provide the information which followers need to perform; in return, followers be-
have as required. Social exchange is vital at that point in time for the relationship to
move on. Leaders and followers may then reach the acquaintance stage which is
characterized by limited relationships. Individuals begin to exchange social infor-
mation beyond contractual agreement. Leaders and followers share information and
resources, still limitedly though. As these relationships grow, leaders and followers
enter the maturity stage. At this step, leader and subordinate have developed a ma-
ture partnership that is characterized by respect, obligation, and a high degree of
mutual trust. Both partners should be able to benefit from reciprocal influence and
by taking on supplementary responsibilities within the organization (Graen & Uhl-
Bien, 1995).
2.1 Leadership Theories – From Early Stages to Modern Concepts 23

Figure 3. The Life Cycle of Leadership Making

Characteristic Stranger Acquaintance Maturity

A. Relationship Role-finding Role-making Role

building phase implementation

B. Type of reciprocity Cash & carry Mixed In-kind

C. Time span of Immediate Some delay Indefinite


D. Leader-member Low Medium High


E. Incremental None Limited Almost unlimited


F. Type of leadership:
1. Transactional Behavioral Reciprocal
management favors
(Bass, 1985) (Burns, 1978)

2. Transformtional Self-Interest Team-interest

Source: Graen and Uhl-Bien (1995, p. 231)

The key hypothesis of LMX is that individuals form differentiated relationships

(Erdogan & Bauer, 2014, p. 408). Taking this into account, leader-member ex-
change may affect not only the relationship between leader and follower but also
work-related outcomes. The potential influence of LMX appears realistic as fol-
lowers could respond negatively to differentiation of individuals within groups as
this might be perceived as unfair by followers (Uhl-Bien, Graen & Scandura, 2000).
Perception of unfairness by followers was in turn found to predict performance
negatively (Johnson, Truxillo, Erdogan, Bauer & Hammer, 2009). On the contrary,
followers might develop a feeling of disappointment as their leader develops the
24 2 Literature Review

same degree of relationship with each subordinate. This may be especially true for
cases when contributions made by some followers to a project differ largely from
those made by others (Sias & Jablin, 1995). Team members finding themselves in
high quality LMX positions might attain the chance to grow personally and profes-
sionally in the first place as they receive more mentoring and coaching (Erdogan &
Bauer, 2014; Law et al., 2000).

Leader-member exchange and work-related outcomes

There are many ascendants associated with the emergence of LMX. Team members
showing that they invest attention and effort in cultivating a good relationship with
their leader will facilitate the emergence of a high leader-member exchange quality
(Maslyn & Uhl-Bien, 2001). Employees seeking feedback from their supervisors
might further value their leaders’ opinion which in turn leads to the development of
LMX quality (Lam, Huang & Snape, 2007). Lee, Park, Lee and Lee (2007) discov-
ered that employees were much more likely to actively seek feedback from their
supervisors when LMX quality was high. In turn, supervisors were found to be
more favorable to providing feedback if the relationship was well-functioning (Har-
ris, Harris & Eplion, 2007).
A meta-analytic study by Gerstner and Day (1997) found that LMX quality is an
indicator for individual performance. The meta-study further investigated correla-
tions between LMX and performance ratings done by followers. For leader-
reported LMX the mean sample-weighed correlation was higher than for member-
rated LMX and member-rated performance. The authors further found associations
of LMX with satisfaction, commitment, and role clarity. Testing leader-rated LMX
and performance and member-rated LMX and performance the scholars found that
there is a difference whether LMX is rated by leaders or team members. Results
indicate that the relationship between LMX and performance is stronger when
LMX is measured from the leaders’ perspective (Gerstner & Day, 1997, p. 833).
This outcome might be justified as performance ratings were done by supervisors
in the majority of studies. As supervisors with high quality LMX tend to rate fol-
lowers more highly in performance (Kacmar et al., 2003) this might be an issue of
which side responses are collected on. For supervisors rating followers’ perfor-
mance LMX thus might produce higher correlations. Self-ratings of performance
by followers are therefore predicted to correlate more strongly with follower ratings
of LMX.
A different study analyzed 106 dyads for leaders’ and subordinates’ perceptions of
LMX and the correlation with the level of delegation they encounter in their jobs
2.1 Leadership Theories – From Early Stages to Modern Concepts 25

(Schriesheim, Neider & Scandura, 1998). For evaluating leader-member exchange

they used a six-item scale by Schriesheim, Neider, Scandura and Tepper (1992).
The researchers show that leaders’ and followers’ perceptions of LMX are signifi-
cantly correlated with delegation. Delegation also shows a significant relationship
to follower performance. In support of the multidimensionality of LMX, delegation
did not account for most of the variance in the regression model as it probably
would have done if LMX was merely a task-related concept, the authors argue. Su-
pervisors’ ratings of LMX also moderated the relationship between delegation and
individual performance. Erdogan and Bauer (2014, p. 412) explain delegation as a
way for leaders to test their subordinates. The ability of a leader to delegate thus
comes with a higher level of job autonomy in which the follower may decide them-
selves how to perform the work (Erdogan & Bauer, 2014).
Murphy and Ensher (1999) investigated the effects of high quality LMX relation-
ships on performance outcomes. The researchers discovered that supervisors liked
subordinates better who were higher in self-efficacy. Those participants who were
perceived to be more similar to their supervisors, experienced higher quality rela-
tionships and were rated as better performers compared to those lower in self-
efficacy. Furthermore, similarities with regards to perceptions of supervisors and
followers were found to be pivotal compared to demographic similarities.
Another study tested the effects of LMX and communication frequency on perfor-
mance ratings by supervisors (Kacmar et al., 2003). In a sample of 188 private sec-
tor workers, the researchers found evidence that LMX was positively related to per-
formance ratings by supervisors. This finding indicates that followers in high LMX
relationships received significantly higher performance ratings by supervisors than
did those in low LMX relationships. Furthermore, for those followers reporting fre-
quent communication, LMX was related more strongly to job performance. For
those communicating infrequently, the relationship was weak. When LMX was low,
frequent communication corresponded to unfavorable job performance ratings,
whereas infrequent communication correlated with higher job performance ratings.
At high levels of LMX quality, outcomes were the opposite. Followers communi-
cating frequently with their managers received the highest job performance ratings
while those communicating infrequently received unfavorable ratings. Summariz-
ing the findings, frequency of communication moderated the relationship between
LMX and job performance ratings. In high LMX relationships, the more frequently
supervisor and subordinates communicated with each other, the higher the job per-
formance ratings. Conversely, in low LMX quality relationships, the more fre-
quently the two parties communicated the further job performance ratings dropped.
The second study confirmed outcomes of the first study (Kacmar et al., 2003).
26 2 Literature Review

Wang et al. (2005) investigated the relationship between transformational leader-

ship and task performance taking mediating effects of leader-member exchange
into account. The researchers found transformational leadership to correlate signifi-
cantly and positively with task performance and organizational citizenship behavior.
LMX showed similar results correlating with both outcomes. Mediation analysis
revealed that LMX fully mediated the effects of transformational leadership on per-
formance. The finding was true for both task performance and organizational citi-
zenship behavior. Conclusions of the work entailed the potential of transformation-
al leadership to foster high quality LMX relationships and to encourage “extrarole
behaviors, through processes of personal and/or social identification” (Wang et al.,
2005, p. 429). LMX makes transformational leadership meaningful to followers.
Bauer, Erdogan, Liden and Wayne (2006) investigated the effects of leader-
member exchange on performance, turnover intention, and actual turnover during
new executive development. The authors tested for the moderating role of extraver-
sion and found it to be moderating the relationship between LMX, turnover inten-
tion, and turnover. Interestingly, the researchers found extraverts to be performing
at the same level, regardless of their LMX relationships. Yet, for introverts LMX
quality did matter. Those introverted individuals that failed to establish high LMX
relationships were rated lower in performance by supervisors. Findings of the study
suggest that LMX could be regarded as a substitute for extraversion and might thus
act as moderator as the difference between extraverted and introverted followers
with regards to performance and turnover only existed in low quality LMX rela-
A study by Johnson et al. (2009) assessed the relationship between organizational
and departmental fairness and follower work performance while investigating mod-
eration effects of leader-member exchange quality. The researchers found that
overall organizational fairness was positively correlated with organizational citi-
zenship behavior targeting individuals. Yet, the relationship became insignificant
when departmental fairness was included in the model. This finding strongly sug-
gests that organizational fairness and departmental fairness are distinct and of ut-
most importance. It was detected that task performance as well as organizational
citizenship behavior towards the organization were more intensely impacted by the
extent of perceived departmental fairness. The authors further found interaction
between organizational fairness and leader-member exchange quality indicating
that LMX assumes a moderating role in the relationship between fairness and task
performance. Results of positive correlations between perceptions of overall organ-
izational fairness and in-role task performance occurring only under low LMX rela-
tionships lead to the assumption that fairness takes on higher relevance when trust
2.1 Leadership Theories – From Early Stages to Modern Concepts 27

is lacking (Johnson et al., 2009, pp. 444-445). LMX was furthermore found to
moderate the relation between departmental fairness, in-role task performance, and
organizational citizenship behavior towards the organization. In high quality LMX
relationships departmental fairness did not predict performance, whereas in low
quality LMX relationships departmental fairness did matter.
Liden, Erdogan, Wayne and Sparrowe (2006) studied the influence of LMX differ-
entiation on individual performance and group performance with a sample of 834
employees from six organizations. Findings included that LMX differentiation pre-
dicted neither individual performance nor group performance, yet individual LMX
did positively predict individual performance. A link between LMX differentiation
and individual performance for team members with a low degree of LMX was con-
firmed. Followers low in LMX who belong to a team with high LMX differentia-
tion could gain motivation to increase their performance with the aim of achieving
a similar high quality relationship with their leader to that of their peers. For mem-
bers high in LMX, the level of LMX differentiation had limited effects (Liden et al.,
2006). For teams with high task interdependence, LMX differentiation positively
predicted group performance. LMX median further moderated the relationship be-
tween LMX differentiation and group performance. For groups with a low median,
LMX differentiation was positively and significantly related to team performance,
whereas for high LMX median groups, the relationship could not be confirmed.
Conducting three field studies, Mayer and colleagues (2008) found that coworkers’
LMX moderated the relationship between individual LMX and work-related out-
comes. In other words, relationships were stronger when coworkers’ LMX was
high. In summary, individual-level outcomes (job satisfaction, organizational
commitment, competence perceptions, group identification, organizational citizen-
ship behavior, deviance, performance) were more promising when LMX scores of
individual team members and peers were consistent.
Research by Golden and Veiga (2008) was undertaken to explore effects of work-
ing virtually and how the condition influences the relationship between LMX quali-
ty and work-related outcomes. Testing for moderation of working virtually on
LMX and organizational commitment, the authors found that the influence of LMX
on commitment, job satisfaction, and job performance was affected by the degree
of virtual work. For instance, team members with well-established LMX relation-
ships showed high commitment when frequently working virtually. Members with
less established LMX showed less commitment when working similarly frequently
in virtual mode. The degree of virtual work also moderated the influence of LMX
on job satisfaction in the sense that job satisfaction was highest when members
28 2 Literature Review

were working extensively virtually and had good LMX relationships. When estab-
lished relationships were limited, job satisfaction decreased when working even
more virtually. Finally, the researchers found the degree of virtual work also mod-
erated the influence of LMX on job performance. Findings show that LMX (on all
levels) was more positively linked to individual performance when jobs are per-
formed virtually.
LMX was tested as potential mediator in the dyadic leader-follower relationship in
a study by Carter, Jones-Farmer, Armenakis, Field and Svyantek (2009). The au-
thors found that LMX and interactional justice mutually mediated the relationship
between transformational leadership and follower job performance. It was discov-
ered that LMX and interactional justice form a reciprocal relationship, yet if one
mediator was excluded, the model was still significant. This outcome indicates that
LMX alone still acts as a mediator. Major results of the research include that trans-
formational leadership stimulates leader-follower dyadic relationships. Furthermore,
followers are able to interpret relationships and, most importantly, the quality of
their relationship did impact their job performance. A study published shortly af-
terward investigated effects of organizational justice on work performance while
assessing mediating roles of organizational justice and leader-member exchange
(Wang, Liao, Xia & Chang, 2010). The researchers discovered that organizational
commitment and LMX generally mediated the relationship between organizational
justice and work performance.
Particular attention in leader-member exchange theory was placed on the leader in
published work by Schwind-Wilson, Sin and Conlon (2010). The conceptual
framework discusses the question of what leaders derive from their dyadic relation-
ships followers. The authors claim that, for instance, friendship is shared by both
leaders and followers and may thus benefit both parties. Yet, there are some rela-
tionship outcomes that are beneficial exclusively to leaders. The researchers sug-
gest that followers should know their leaders in order to provide the best support
reciprocally (Schwind-Wilson et al., 2010, p. 369).
Davis and Bryant (2010) undertook the attempt to research LMX, trust, and per-
formance in an academic and scientific environment (research centers). The authors
treated LMX and trust as distinct indicators which were confirmed in their study.
Findings revealed that research center performance fully mediated the relationship
between LMX and satisfaction with the research center, as well as between trust
and satisfaction with research centers, and between LMX and commitment to re-
search centers. Research center performance further predicted satisfaction and
2.1 Leadership Theories – From Early Stages to Modern Concepts 29

commitment to research centers. Yet, LMX and trust did not mediate any relation-
Looking for mediation effects of self-efficacy on the relation between LMX and
job performance, self-efficacy turned out to fully mediate this relationship. In addi-
tion, LMX was found to be a positive direct predictor of job performance (Luo &
Cheng, 2014). Yet, leader-member exchange quality is not only linked to better
performance, it also works the other way around. Sue-Chan, Au and Hackett (2012)
found that job performance did predict supervisors’ trust in employees positively.
The study further outlined that better job performance led to higher assessment in
LMX. Trust was found to mediate the relationship between followers’ job perfor-
mance and leaders’ experience of LMX.
In their review of more than 400 studies, Erdogan and Bauer (2014) conclude that
there is no consistency in demographic variables linked to LMX. The only variable
which showed frequent significance was dyad tenure. It is yet unclear whether dyad
tenure is a predictor or a consequence of LMX as team members that do not get
along with their leader well would presumably leave the team earlier (Erdogan &
Bauer, 2014, p. 411).

Assessing relationship quality

Discussions on how to measure the quality of relationships has since been ongoing.
The originally developed scale by Dansereau and colleagues (1975) has been re-
fined multiple times. Liden and colleagues (2006) assessed leader-member ex-
change quality with the LMX-13 scale from subordinates’ perspective. In a survey
prepared by Kacmar et al. (2003) a seven-item scale developed by Scandura, Graen
and Novak (1986) was applied. The scale showed strong reliability with a
Cronbach alpha value of .87. Another study by Mayer et al. (2008) used a measure
by Scandura and Graen (1984) to evaluate LMX in three independent samples of
209 employees (α = .80), 904 employees (α = .93), and 455 individuals (α = .92).
Graen and Uhl-Bien (1995) theorize about two aspects that have mainly driven the
evolution of the LMX measure. First, it has undergone multiple phases of refine-
ment and second, the question whether it is uni- or multidimensional has not been
solved. As the range of reliability for a single measure is expectedly high, the hy-
pothesis of LMX being unidimensional has often caused controversies. The re-
searchers claim LMX to have three dimensions: respect, trust, and obligation
(Graen & Uhl-Bien, 1995, p. 237). As all three sub-dimensions are greatly correlat-
ed, they may be employed as a unidimensional instrument. The LMX-MDM, con-
taining 12 items, is applied as a multidimensional scale assessing affect, loyalty,
30 2 Literature Review

contribution, and professional respect (Liden & Maslyn, 1998). Whenever used,
studies revealed no evidence that any of the subscales showed stronger predictive
validity (Erdogan & Bauer, 2014, p. 409). A frequently applied LMX measure is
the LMX-7 (Lee, Scandura & Sharif, 2014; Zhang, Waldman & Wang, 2012)
which is recommended by Graen and Uhl-Bien (1995). The seven-item measure
generated reliability values between .80 and .90 and is assumed to constitute the
most appropriate measure of leader-member exchange to date. Davis and Bryant
(2010) adopted the LMX-7 in their investigation and reported a reasonable coeffi-
cient alpha of .83.
The meta-analytic review by Gerstner and Day (1997) included assessments of 79
studies containing 85 independent samples. Checking for reliability, the authors
discovered a mean item-number of 7.57 with a mean sample-weighed alpha of .85.
Predictably, the seven-item version of the LMX (Graen, Novak & Sommerkamp,
1982) showed a higher alpha coefficient for members’ LMX (α = .89) than all other
related scales (α = .83) (Gerstner & Day, 1997, p. 831). The researchers detected a
slightly better reliability for members than for leaders (α = .77).
To the question of whether LMX is transactional or transformational, the research-
ers argue that it entails elements of both dimensions:
LMX is both transactional and transformational: It is a dyadic social ex-
change process that begins with more limited social “transactions” […],
but for those who are able to generate the most effective LMX relation-
ships, the type of leadership that results is transformational. (Graen &
Uhl-Bien, 1995, p. 239)
This definition leads to the understanding that LMX is expected to relate to both,
transactional and transformational leadership behavior with transformational lead-
ership being associated with greater LMX quality. LMX development was found to
increase with the leader communicating a compelling vision, which is related to the
demonstration of transformational leadership behaviors (Wang et al., 2005).
Erdogan and Bauer (2014) argue that team members with a high quality LMX with
their supervisors experience a much more favorable work atmosphere. Thus, lead-
ers in high quality LMX relationships tend to challenge followers, whereas lower
LMX quality results in much more authority (Fairhurst & Chandler, 1989). Team
members involved in a high quality relationship with their supervisor are given
several advantages over those who have low quality work relationships. Benefits
include generous resources, superior projects and emotional support (Liden &
Graen, 1980). If less frequent communication limits the amount of exchange and
2.1 Leadership Theories – From Early Stages to Modern Concepts 31

feedback between leader and subordinate even in high quality relationships, uncer-
tainty may appear and limit performance and subsequently performance ratings by
supervisors (Andrews & Kacmar, 2001; Kacmar et al., 2003).

The role of trust in distance relationships

Situations of predominantly virtual collaboration raise issues of trust between lead-
ers and followers. Trust is one of the most researched fields of investigation within
virtual and distance leadership literature. Lack of physical interaction and infre-
quent communication bear the potential of not only nurturing misunderstandings
but also creating a decrease in trusting relationships. Trust is generally known to be
perceived differently by individuals and, first and foremost, it is difficult to estab-
lish and maintain (Kossler & Prestridge, 1996; Shamir, 1995). Moreover, the de-
velopment of trust between individuals is a time-intensive process (Kollock, 1998)
just as developing a high quality LMX relationship is (Graen & Uhl-Bien, 1995).
Erdogan and Bauer (2014) draw parallels between LMX and a trust-building pro-
cess. Each individual pays attention to capabilities, integrity, and benevolence of
the other individual (Bauer & Green, 1996). In particular, a virtual work environ-
ment is reliant on trusting relationships among team members and leaders as com-
mon methods of control are redundant and trustworthiness is perceived as showing
commitment (Zolin, Hinds, Fruchter & Levitt, 2004). Hoyt and Blascovich (2003)
found that team members in virtual teams had greater trust in transformational
leaders. The researchers confirmed the moderating role of trust in the relationship
between transformational leadership and group cohesiveness and satisfaction. LMX
was further discovered to be a direct predictor of performance.
Several factors have been revealed to enable trusting relationships in organizations.
Schaubroeck, Lam and Peng (2011) identified the mediating role of cognition-
based and affect-based trust in leader-follower relationships. Their findings dis-
close that leaders’ trust in team members might unlock potential by displaying con-
fidence in the team which in turn results in better team performance. Regular in-
formation sharing about work processes is further acknowledged as a trust-enabler
in distributed environments (Zolin et al., 2004). Team members develop more trust
in leaders with whom they can identify. This was found to be evident in both close
and distant settings (Connaughton & Daly, 2004).
Moreover, teams highest in trust show rotating leadership behavior wherein each
individual exhibits some leadership traits while an actual leading figure is not pre-
sent. Leadership emerges in a dynamic manner, somewhat more distributed than
32 2 Literature Review

static. As the need for active leadership rises, one team member fills the gap (Jar-
venpaa, Knoll & Leidner, 1998). Teams rather low in trust perceive missing guid-
ance as challenging, since leadership is either absent or negative. This indicates that
leaders play a significant role in the development of trusting relationships. Con-
firming these findings Joshi, Lazarova and Liao (2009) emphasize the role of dis-
tant leaders who have the potential to enhance commitment and trust in virtual
teams. Findings indicate that in virtual settings trust does not only grow during vir-
tual collaboration, but that an essential proportion might even be established prior
to collaborative work. Co-location extends the influence of team members as trust
is already established (Bradner & Mark, 2008, p. 63). Trust could be maintained
even after physical co-location shifts to virtuality.
A study by Torres and Bligh (2012) aimed at assessing the role of leader-follower
distance on employees’ trust level, among other factors, found that study partici-
pants tended to express a higher degree of trust towards their direct leaders than
organizational leaders. Perceived social distance was negatively associated with
trust, whereas neither physical distance nor interaction frequency revealed any sig-
nificant correlations. The authors follow an earlier definition of distance (Antonakis
& Atwater, 2002) and compare groups of those leaders who are close and distant on
all dimensions of social distance, physical distance, and interaction frequency.
Mayer, Davis and Schoorman (1995) define trust as the “willingness of a party to
be vulnerable to the actions of another party based on the expectation that the other
will perform a particular action important to the trustor” (p. 712). A sample of 241
cases revealed that followers tend to express higher levels of trust towards their di-
rect leaders compared to organizational leaders. Perceptions of leader-follower dis-
tance were further significantly correlated with trust in leadership. Social trust was
negatively related to trust, which indicates that the more socially distant a leader is
perceived, the less trust employees will express (Mayer et al., 1995).

2.1.3 Empowering Leadership

The process of organizational restructuring recurs every other decade and as firms
again move to decentralized formations and reduce hierarchy levels, they often en-
courage employees to take on a higher degree of responsibility for their work and
outcomes (Houghton & Yoho, 2005). Empowering leadership is therefore closely
linked to self-leadership. Researchers justify that association as they explain that
self-leadership is “a process of utilizing a set of complimentary behavioral and
cognitive strategies while empowerment is a cognitive state created by a constella-
tion of malleable cognitions” (Houghton & Yoho, 2005, p. 68). Empowering lead-
2.1 Leadership Theories – From Early Stages to Modern Concepts 33

ership further encourages team members to make use of self-influence and self-
leadership strategies (Pearce & Sims, 2002). Often, managers interfere intensively
to provide support; however, this prevents team self-leadership energy from devel-
oping and reinforces dependence on leaders (Davis, 2004).
Pearce and Sims (2002, p. 175) identify six attributes of empowering leaders: (1)
encouraging independent action, (2) encouraging opportunity thinking, (3) encour-
aging teamwork, (4) encouraging self-development, (5) using participative goal-
setting, and (6) encouraging self-reward. The researchers show that shared em-
powering leadership is positively linked to self-rated team effectiveness. Compara-
ble outcomes are revealed in a study employed in a public high school as empower-
ing leaders drove subordinates to higher performance (Vecchio, Justin & Pearce,
2010). Vecchio et al. (2010) refer to empowering leadership as “behaviors that
share powers with subordinates” (p. 531). The researchers claim that sharing of
power might result in a better performance of followers. Manz and Sims (2001)
similarly hypothesize empowering leadership to reveal the best in people in order
to reach higher performance initially. It is assumed that, for example, transactional
leadership predicts only low degrees of creativity and innovation, whereas empow-
ering leadership behavior is believed to lead to a high level of creativity and inno-
vation in organizations. Particularly, employees in environments that are rather un-
structured might benefit from empowering leadership which might consequently
lead to employee empowerment. Yet, there are situations in which different leader-
ship behaviors might be more appropriate (Houghton & Yoho, 2005). In case of
routine tasks with simple structure, transactional leadership can be more effective.
Also critical or crisis situations might stipulate transactional or transformational
leadership behavior.

In order for organizational leaders to be effective they must be able to revert to a
wide range of leadership behaviors targeted to a specific situation. Leaders are not
only expected to function as formal leading figure but also to trigger certain behav-
iors in followers. Leaders primarily need to develop self-leadership abilities as ef-
fective self-leadership builds the foundation for effective leadership (Furtner,
Baldegger & Rauthmann, 2013). In two studies, the researchers assessed the inter-
relation between self-leadership and facets of Full Range Leadership. In the first
study, the relation between leaders’ self-reports of leadership behavior and self-
leadership was investigated. The researchers detected self-leadership to be positive-
ly related to transformational and transactional leadership, yet negatively to laissez-
faire leadership. The second study included leaders’ self-leadership in relation to
34 2 Literature Review

followers’ reports of supervisors’ leadership behavior. Outcomes show that natural

reward strategies rated by leaders were positively associated with followers’ per-
ceptions of active leadership (transformational and transactional, and less passive).
Building on extended self-leadership competences some supervisors are able to
transfer these capabilities to followers. Those leaders can be described as Super-
leaders (Manz & Sims, 1991). The researchers claim true leadership originates
within a person, the outside serves as a supporting structure only. The most effec-
tive leaders are seen as those who are not afraid to reveal and encourage their fol-
lowers’ strengths. The superleader does not assume a heroic status; instead, these
leaders strive to bring out the best in followers, whom they in turn expect to be-
come self-leaders. With this starting point, the focus of leadership is entirely shifted
towards the followers. Leaders thus become super due to the empowerment of oth-
ers to utilize their capabilities (Pearce & Sims, 2002, p. 175).
Manz and Sims (1991, pp. 22-33) introduced Seven steps to Superleadership. The
framework provides instructions on becoming a superleader. In the first step, one
must become a self-leader. In the authors’ words, self-leadership is described as
“the influence we exert on ourselves to achieve the self-motivation and self-
direction we need to perform” (Manz & Sims, 1991, p. 23). Subsequently, the re-
searchers recommend becoming a role model and constantly displaying self-
leadership behavior in daily business to enhance subordinates’ behavior. Brown
and Fields (2011) discovered that followers are capable of detecting self-leadership
in leadership behavior. Often this can be achieved by setting goals, particularly
when goals are set by subordinates themselves, and leaders actively seek this be-
havior. The researchers point out that goal-setting is a learned behavior and can be
executed basically by any individual. The more difficult consequence is to encour-
age employees to think in positive thought patterns and to allay doubts and fears of
followers by expressing confidence in them. To ensure these patterns are followed,
leaders need to reinforce good behavior through rewards such as incentive pay-
ments. Nevertheless, leaders must also ensure the development of an environment
conducive to developing self-leadership. A positive and performance-oriented or-
ganizational culture may add to such an environment (Manz & Sims, 1991). The
authors claim that everyone practices self-leadership to some extent, even if uncon-
sciously. Yet, not everyone is an effective self-leader. Considering organizational
settings, self-leadership is essential for all hierarchical levels and all individuals in
an international corporation. Superleadership has become necessary due to innova-
tive workplace arrangements, lean management techniques, and flatter structures in
general. Followers today are expected to manage themselves rather than to be man-
aged by someone else. To embed superleadership in the entire organization, not
2.1 Leadership Theories – From Early Stages to Modern Concepts 35

only managers but also followers should possess sufficient self-leadership skills
(Furtner, 2010). In the sense of guided participation (Manz & Sims, 1991, p. 31),
leaders are required to give direction with a view of followers becoming effective
Self-leadership behaviors of supervisors and perceptions of those by followers were
investigated by Brown and Fields (2011). Using the Self-Leadership Questionnaire
by Anderson and Prussia (1997) and linking supervisor self-leadership to perceived
leadership behavior, the strongest correlation was detected with role-modeling. Be-
havior-focused strategies may help leaders to emphasize the effect of setting an ex-
ample. The researchers argue that leaders who focus on behavior-oriented self-
leadership strategies, practicing a high degree of self-discipline, would have better
chances of encouraging subordinates to follow their example. Neither natural re-
ward strategies nor constructive thought patterns showed correlations with inspir-
ing a shared vision or challenging the process. Self-leadership of supervisors had
limited effects on leadership behavior. Based on the findings, the influence of self-
leadership on leadership behavior perceived by followers might be exaggerated
(Brown & Fields, 2011, pp. 288-289).
Furtner et al. (2013) undertook the first attempt, to wit, to link leader self-
leadership to the entire Full Range Leadership model. The researchers postulate
self-leadership to be associated with transformational leadership and transactional
leadership, although the latter association is expected to be less strong. For this rea-
son, the authors conducted two studies in which they assessed influences of self-
leadership self-ratings and other-ratings on Full Range Leadership facets. Findings
of the first study revealed that self-leadership was positively related to transforma-
tional and transactional leadership. Self-leadership showed further negative rela-
tions with laissez-faire leadership facets. The authors projected this outcome as this
behavior is often linked to introverted, hesitant, and thoroughly passive leaders
(Avolio, 2011). The second study was concerned with the interrelatedness of self-
leadership and follower-ratings of leadership behavior. The researchers discovered
that self-ratings of leaders’ natural reward strategies did predict followers’ percep-
tions of active leadership. In other words, leaders were attributed stronger trans-
formational and transactional and less passive behavior. Leaders’ self-cueing be-
havior was perceived as more passive by subordinates though (Furtner et al., 2013).
Superleadership is thought to promise many favorable work-related outcomes in
subordinates. Since 2000, the term is used synonymously with empowering leader-
ship (Vecchio et al., 2010). Yet, only few endeavors have been undertaken thus far
to study the concept empirically.
36 2 Literature Review

Shared leadership
With the law of the situation Follett (1924) introduced a modern group leadership
approach where - instead of following hierarchical leaders - it sometimes made
more sense to follow the group member who was the most knowledgeable in that
particular field of interest. The first illustrations of shared forms of leadership were
only found in the second half of the twentieth century (Pearce & Conger, 2003).
When leadership begins to function independently without direct control from an
external individual, leadership might shift from hierarchical to shared forms. For
the past two decades, shared leadership has often been the subject of study even if
the majority of research has been conceptual in nature (Wassenaar & Pearce, 2012,
p. 364). Shared leadership occurs when senior roles are shifted from one team
member to another in order to achieve set goals. It includes the minimization of
power distribution between team member and the enhancement of perceptions of
psychological empowerment and solidarity within the group, resulting from an in-
crease in group-level caring (Houghton, Pearce, Manz, Courtright & Stewart, 2014,
in press). Leadership influence is thus distributed among team members.
Cox, Pearce and Sims (2003) argue that “shared leadership involves mutual influ-
ence processes between the members of teams” (p. 171). Pearce and Conger (2003)
contribute to that definition by concluding that shared leadership is a “dynamic,
interactive influence process among individuals in groups for which the objective is
lead one another to the achievement of group or organizational goals or both” (p. 1).
Official as well as unofficial leaders emerge in this process consecutively (Pearce,
2004, p. 48). Shared leadership is often used interchangeably with collective lead-
ership and distributed leadership (Avolio et al., 2009; Carson, Tesluk & Marrone,
2007; Ensley, Hmielski & Pearce, 2006; Murphy & Ensher, 2008).
Shared leadership is applicable in situations where individuals must rely on a cer-
tain degree of interdependency (Wassenaar & Pearce, 2012, p. 382). The group ex-
ists with the lack of a designated leading individual, thus each group member ac-
tively participates in the leadership process (Pearce & Manz, 2005). The research-
ers attempt to portray the clear distinction between leadership and shared leadership.
Whilst leadership research places its focus predominantly on individuals (either
leaders or followers), shared leadership concentrates rather on the process of work
collaboration and supposes that leaders will emerge based on situation and need
(Pearce, 1997; Pearce & Sims, 2002). To fully leverage the potential of shared
leadership, group members must willingly and proficiently participate in the leader-
ship process (Conger & Pearce, 2003). In particular situations, shared leadership is
considered the more efficient way of leading, as identified in a study of startups by
2.1 Leadership Theories – From Early Stages to Modern Concepts 37

Ensley et al. (2006). Even if shared leadership is attracting scholarly attention re-
cently, hierarchical leadership will not become obsolete as there will always be a
need for vertical leadership (Leavitt, 2005; Wassenaar & Pearce, 2012).
Scholars frequently support the hypothesis that shared leadership is a determinant
of organizational performance (Wassenaar & Pearce, 2012) and team effectiveness
(Pearce & Sims, 2002; Pearce, Yoo & Alavi, 2004; Small & Rentsch, 2010). For
shared leadership to evolve, two conditions must be fulfilled: (1) team members
must seek to provide direction while (2) they are willing to rely on leadership (Katz
& Kahn, 1978). In order for shared leadership to occur, group members need to
have a common understanding of the group’s purpose and goals (Carson et al.,
2007). Followers must also provide social support to each other and communicate
constructively. Voice can enhance shared leadership and is defined as the group
members’ degree of influence on the team’s purpose (Carson et al., 2007, p. 1222).
In a supportive environment, shared leadership is more likely to occur. Manz and
Sims (1987) argue that supportive coaching enables in-group leadership develop-
ment as it raises self-competence and independence.
Teams where leadership rotates among team members are amongst the most effec-
tive (Davis, 2004; Ensley et al., 2006). Shared transformational and shared empow-
ering leadership were positively related to performance. Yet, vertical transforma-
tional and empowering leadership were negatively associated with performance,
which contradicts recent findings (Pearce & Sims, 2002). Ensley et al. (2006) ex-
plain this outcome within the specific context of new ventures. Like the context, the
internal environment also plays a significant role in the emergence and success of
shared leadership. Furthermore, team empowerment might enhance the develop-
ment of shared leadership within groups (Carson et al., 2007). Another study relates
shared leadership to team performance by using a direct measure of distribution.
Small and Rentsch (2010) found more collectivistic team members to increase the
likelihood that shared leadership will emerge even if team members do not know
each other. Therefore, this leadership behavior requires a high degree of intra-team
trust (Small & Rentsch, 2010).
Assessing shared leadership in virtual teams, directive leadership behavior was
found to be higher in high-performing teams, whereas transformational and partici-
pative leadership did not differ in low and high-performing teams (Carte, Chidam-
baram & Becker, 2006). Two key findings were further identified. First, members
of virtual teams with specific task-related skills play a significant role when leading
the group, due to expertise. Second, expertise alone might still not be sufficient as
the group must monitor activities collectively and drive tasks forward. Shared lead-
38 2 Literature Review

ership was found to be a predictor for virtual team performance, even more than
vertical leadership (Yoo & Alavi, 2004).
Pearce and Conger (2003) conclude that self-leadership determinants could also
work for shared leadership if abilities, skills, organizational understanding, and mo-
tivation were present within each individual group member. Shared leadership
could even substitute for traditional leadership when age diversity in the team is
low (Hoch, Pearce & Welzel, 2010). Developing shared leadership is still difficult.
It might not be the solution to all leadership issues as it could fail under certain cir-
cumstances, for example, if a group is incompetent at performing a task (Pearce,
Hoch, Jeppesen & Wegge, 2010).

2.1.4 Self-Leadership
The roots of self-leadership
The beginning of self-leadership theory dates back to the early 1980s with the con-
cept of self-management addressed by Manz and Sims. First attempts at substitut-
ing traditional leadership with self-management were undertaken as researchers
found work-related outcomes to be mainly predicted by substitutes for leadership as
opposed to any other action (Kerr & Jermier, 1978). It took another three years be-
fore the term self-leadership appeared in a publication directed at practitioners
(Manz, 1983). Interpretations of self-management describe it as “a set of strategies
that aides employees in structuring their work environment, in establishing self-
motivation […] that facilitate appropriate behaviors for achieving minimal devia-
tions from primarily lower-level behavioral standards” (Manz, 1986, p. 590). Manz
and Sims (1980) argue that everyone demonstrates self-management to some ex-
tent. Particularly, organizational leaders are expected to become aware of their own
internal image before they may be able to direct others (Davis, 2004).
Deeply investigating the theory of self-management, academics discovered that
encouraging self-management of individuals carries unknown potential for organi-
zations. Undertaking a first empirical endeavor to identify self-management charac-
teristics of team leaders, Manz and Sims (1987) noted that self-management dif-
fered from traditional leadership paradigms with respect to locus of control and di-
rection, as those were found to lie within the teams. At that time, self-management
and self-control were still considered to be closely related or even interchangeable
(Thoresen & Mahoney, 1974, p. 12). Manz and Sims (1987) believed that self-
management would contribute to leader-effectiveness in many ways as leaders en-
2.1 Leadership Theories – From Early Stages to Modern Concepts 39

courage self-reinforcement, self-observation, and evaluation in subordinates (Manz

& Sims, 1987, p. 124).
Self-management was handled earlier by Mahoney and Arnkoff (1979). The re-
searchers found self-management procedures to include: (1) self-observation,
which is demonstrated by the systematic approach of collecting information on
oneself in order to self-evaluate one’s behavior and reinforce desired behavior; (2)
specifying goals, demonstrating that goals which are stated officially are more ef-
fective; (3) cueing strategies, by stimulating a desirable behavior; and (4) rehears-
al, the continuous practice of desired or imagined performance (Mahoney & Arn-
koff, 1979). Evaluating how leaders may encourage subordinates to engage in self-
management, role-modeling could certainly be one important element. Leaders’
self-management behavior could serve as an idealistic example to others. As soon
as followers finally engage in self-management, the leadership behavior must
change in order to provide subordinates with more self-responsibility. Leaders
should therefore sooner take actions to encourage followers rather than reinforce a
specific behavior actively (Manz & Sims, 1980).
Self-management is explained to be an activity helping to complete difficult but
necessary tasks, whereas self-leadership is intrinsically motivated (Stewart,
Courtright & Manz, 2011), going beyond self-management by leading the system
of self-influence (Manz, 1986, p. 590). Self-management directs the focus onto be-
haviors and cognitive strategies, whereas self-leadership takes the deeper intrinsic
value behind a specific behavior or task into account. Self-leadership is furthermore
affected by a higher degree of self-guidance compared to self-management. Manz
(1986) depicts self-leadership as a perspective of leading the self toward personal
standards and intrinsic motivation. He conceives self-leadership as “a comprehen-
sive self-influence perspective that concerns leading oneself toward performance of
naturally motivating tasks as well as managing oneself to do work that must be
done but is not naturally motivating” (Manz, 1986, p. 589). Furthermore, he identi-
fies three key factors of self-leadership: (1) standards for self-influence, (2) intrin-
sic work motivation, and (3) strategies for employee self-control. Self-influence
encompasses the dynamic augmentation of intrinsic motivation through develop-
ment of competence and self-control towards a process, whereas self-leadership
focuses on the need to do a job rather than feeling a task should be done (Manz,
In contrast to self-management, self-leadership appreciates rewards due to the per-
formance of the activity itself. This may be achieved by redesigning tasks in order
to establish motivating processes that naturally provide a feeling of purpose. Manz
40 2 Literature Review

(1986) identifies several self-leadership strategies that can assist in stimulating in-
trinsic motivation. Work context strategies include choosing a work environment
that (by physical nature) enhances performance. This pattern includes generating
shared values, and establishing high quality leader-member exchange relationships.
Task performance process strategies focus on how tasks are performed, purposeful-
ly placing natural rewards in the process. Followers aware of the things they enjoy
doing may assess upcoming duties reasonably and may establish processes to main-
tain this performance level by increasing their self-leadership. The third practical
strategy identified is self-leadership of thought patterns. The researcher describes
the definite purpose of self-leadership to enhance the performance of employees by
managing their thought patterns. Since every task holds pleasant and unpleasant
responsibilities, mental energy is the essential differentiator. If an individual places
mental energy on unpleasant duties, one might experience the project as unfavora-
ble. If mental energy however is placed on the pleasant parts of the job, it might
result in a positive project experience. In that case, mental energy has the power to
stimulate intrinsic motivation and make unpleasant tasks seem pleasant. The ulti-
mate aim must be to cultivate thought patterns that enhance employee motivation
and performance (Manz, 1986).
In 1992, Neck and Manz proposed a cognitive self-leadership model and tested
whether relationships between cognitive strategies and performance of employees
existed. The authors suspected individuals to be able to influence their performance
by controlling their own thoughts. The authors describe cognitive strategies that
may be applied to change one’s behavior: (1) beliefs, (2) internal dialogues, (3)
mental imagery, and (4) thought patterns. The suggested theory of Thought Self-
Leadership (TSL) carries the underlying assumption that thought is a medium that
can be self-controlled and applied through cognitive strategies (Neck & Manz,
1996). Leaders are able to encourage thinking by asking questions and by helping
others to clarify their thought processes (Manz & Neck, 1991). The researchers de-
fine thought self-leadership as the action of leading oneself by applying control
over one’s own thoughts. Especially in organizations with less centralized struc-
tures, self-leadership might be an effective tool to influence performance (Tata &
Prasad, 2004).
According to a publication by Manz and Neck (2004), three primary categories ex-
ist into which self-leadership strategies may be arranged:
(1) Behavior-focused strategies,
(2) Natural reward strategies, and
2.1 Leadership Theories – From Early Stages to Modern Concepts 41

(3) Constructive thought pattern strategies

Behavior-focused strategies include elements of self-observation, self-goal setting,
self-reward, self-punishment, and self-cueing. Setting ambitious goals and subse-
quently rewarding oneself can lead to a significantly higher level of performance
(Locke & Latham, 1990; Manz & Neck, 2004; Manz & Sims, 1980). Self-
rewarding processes do not necessarily imply materialistic rewards. Here, an imag-
inary handshake of a supervisor can sometimes be just as satisfying (Neck &
Houghton, 2006). Unlike self-reward, self-punishment requires careful handling.
Self-punishment could better be compared to the denial of a reward instead of ful-
filling an actual punishment which may be unfavorable to performance in some
situations. In addition, the simple appearance of positively associated or encourag-
ing visualizations such as motivational images, posters, and cues can help to
achieve a desired result (Manz & Sims, 2001; Manz & Neck, 2004).
Natural reward strategies focus on the intrinsic joy someone would experience
when solving a task or working on a project. Two strategies may be distinguished:
The first approach involves the addition of pleasant elements to the actual, unpleas-
ant activity in order to make a task itself more rewarding. The second strategy con-
tains the shift away from unpleasant features of tasks by concentrating on enjoyable
aspects of the activity. According to the authors, natural reward strategies create a
sense of self-competence leading to improved performance (Manz & Neck, 2004;
Neck & Houghton, 2006).
Constructive thought pattern strategies are the third facet associated with self-
leadership in literature. Characteristics of the dimension encourage individuals to
become aware of, identify, and replace disruptive thought patterns using mental
imagery or positive self-talk to enhance performance (Manz & Neck, 2004). Mental
imagery is the cognitive creation of an imaginary scene happening before it actual-
ly happens (Driskell, Copper & Moran, 1994). The authors found significant empir-
ical support for the positive relation of mental imagery on individual performance.
People building a positive imaginary scene of what will happen are likely to
achieve better results (Manz & Neck, 2004).
In the late 1980s, the focus of leadership shifted from leaders to followers when
Manz and Sims (1987) found that leaders used different methods to stimulate em-
ployee engagement. For instance, leaders began asking questions instead of dictat-
ing what needed to be done. Instead of performing direct control, leaders encour-
aged team members to test through trial and error. At that time, leaders began to
execute what the pioneers of self-leadership referred to as “lead[ing] others to lead
themselves” (Manz & Sims, 1987, p. 115). The researchers postulate that the exter-
42 2 Literature Review

nal function of leaders who are leading others to lead themselves is significantly
important, however, differs from the traditional role of leadership. Manz and Sims
(1991, p. 18) were the first to suggest that leaders should learn to lead themselves
in the first place before they would actually be able to serve as role models to fol-

Self-leadership and work-related outcomes

Enhancing followers’ self-leadership is lately regarded as one consequence of
modern leadership style. Correspondingly, self-leadership might even serve as the
key to creating an organizational setting promoting creative problem solving and
innovation (DiLiello & Houghton, 2006). In their conceptual framework, the au-
thors hypothesize that strong self-leaders have more potential for creativity, respec-
tively creative problem-solving, and are more likely to practice innovation than
weak self-leaders.
Assessing the relationship between self-management and team outcome a positive
correlation was demonstrated by Uhl-Bien and Graen (1998). The authors conduct-
ed research in a large public sector organization in the United States investigating
functional and cross-functional teams. The research aimed at assessing the effects
of team type on the relationship between a team’s self-management and teamwork
effectiveness, overall job satisfaction, and perceptions of bureaucratic obstacles.
Teams’ self-management showed strong positive associations with effectiveness in
functional units and negative relations with cross-functional teams. The authors
further discovered self-management to be positively related to overall job satisfac-
tion regardless of the work unit individuals belonged to. Predictions of self-
management, being negatively associated with perceptions of bureaucratic obsta-
cles, could only be confirmed for cross-functional teams, whereas for functional
teams the opposite applied (Uhl-Bien & Graen, 1998, pp. 345-346).
Prussia, Anderson and Manz (1998) attempted, as one of the first studies, to empir-
ically investigate the effects of self-leadership skills and self-efficacy perceptions
on individual performance. With a sample of 151 students, the researchers used a
20-item measure distinguishing behavior-focused strategies, natural reward strate-
gies, and constructive thought-focused strategies. The outcomes verify that self-
leadership predicts self-efficacy and self-efficacy perceptions are significant posi-
tively related to individual performance. Findings suggest that self-efficacy entirely
mediates the influence of self-leadership on performance.
In 2000, Stewart and Barrick conducted an empirical study with 626 individuals
belonging to 45 production teams. The study aimed at assessing the effect of inter-
2.1 Leadership Theories – From Early Stages to Modern Concepts 43

dependence and team self-leadership on team performance. The authors define

team self-leadership as “the extent to which teams have the freedom and authority
to lead themselves independent of external supervision” (Stewart & Barrick, 2000,
p. 139). The researchers found greater team self-leadership to be related to higher
team performance for teams occupied with conceptual tasks. Structural characteris-
tics related to the allocation of tasks, responsibilities and authority further affected
team performance. Additionally, intrateam processes were discovered to mediate
the relationship between interdependence and performance.
An evaluation of the relationship between self-leadership and psychological, health,
and work-related outcomes was pursued by Dolbier, Soderstrom and Steinhardt
(2001). The researchers used an instrument adapted from the Core Wellness Scale
by Bezner, Adams and Steinhardt (1997) to investigate self-leadership upon the
internal family system, which implies that everybody comprises various sub-
personalities forming an internal family and functions just like other people. The
authors refer to self as the seat of consciousness. When people are leading with the
self, “they feel secure, worthwhile, and are able to effectively deal with situations,
which leads to the result that they are effective in what they are doing” (Dolbier et
al., 2001, p. 471). Individuals lacking self-leadership express fear and suspicion
towards the world. For this reason, the authors suspect self-leadership to be in-
versely related to distrust. In other words, self-leadership may be interpreted as be-
ing rooted in interpersonal trust. Self-leadership was further related to perceived
wellbeing and negatively associated with perceived stress and illness. Empirical
results lead to the conclusion that self-leadership shows relations to perceptions of
a more effective and satisfying work environment (Dolbier et al., 2001).
An empirical analysis by Carmeli, Meitar and Weisberg (2006) aims at studying the
relationship between self-leadership skills and innovative behaviors at work. The
research finds self-leadership to assume the critical role of enhancing the innova-
tion process and the exhibition of innovative behavior. The research reveals that
self-leadership promotes innovative behavior which in turn is a key factor for sus-
tainability in a competitive environment.
Politis (2006) tested for the mediating effect of job satisfaction on the relationship
between behavioral-focused strategies of self-leadership and team performance.
The author discovered that self-observation, self-goal setting, self-punishment, and
self-reward were positively linked to intrinsic as well as extrinsic job satisfaction.
Practice could only be related to extrinsic job satisfaction. Additionally, the hy-
pothesis was supported that intrinsic and extrinsic job satisfaction are significantly
and positively related to non-financial team performance and overall team perfor-
44 2 Literature Review

mance. Finally, the author provided empirical evidence that the relationship be-
tween self-leadership behavior-focused strategies and team performance is mediat-
ed by job satisfaction.
On an individual level, Konradt, Andressen and Ellwart (2009) tested for the ef-
fects of self-leadership on team members’ performance, satisfaction, and motiva-
tion. A 27-item measure extracted from the Self-Leadership Questionnaire by
Houghton and Neck (2002) was used to assess self-leadership. Performance was
measured with a single item. Conclusions indicate a positive relation between self-
leadership and performance. The authors further tested relationships of the VIST
model (Hertel, 2002) to performance and discovered that all elements of VIST (va-
lence, instrumentality, self-efficacy, trust) showed significant positive correlations
with performance. Self-efficacy even displayed a mediating character in the self-
leadership/performance relationship. Relationship conflict was negatively related to
performance and team-task conflicts did negatively predict team performance. Au-
tonomy and task type did not display any moderating effects, as was previously
hypothesized by the researchers.
In a series of multiple studies Hauschildt and Konradt (2012a, 2012b) tested for the
relationship between follower self-leadership and work-related outcomes. The first
study hypothesized team members’ self-leadership to be positively related to indi-
vidual task-proficiency and team member proficiency as well as to task adaptivity
and team member adaptivity. Furthermore, self-leadership was projected to result
in stronger task and team-member proactivity. Hauschildt and Konradt (2012a) as-
sessed work role performance with a self-rating instrument developed by Griffin,
Neil and Parker (2007). Six performance aspects were assessed with three items
each (e.g., “I carried out the core parts of my job well”). Self-leadership was as-
sessed with 27 items of the RSLQ (Houghton & Neck, 2002). The researchers
found that self-leadership is positively related to task proficiency and team member
proficiency. Furthermore, self-leadership indicated positive relationships with
adaptivity and proactivity on both individual and team level. The results thus con-
firmed a positive association between self-leadership and performance-oriented
work outcomes. The second study proposed a positive link between self-leadership
and individual task performance and provided initial evidence for the relationship
between self-leadership and team member behaviors (Hauschildt & Konradt,
2012b). Study outcomes confirm propositions that self-leadership plays a pivotal
role in determining the performance behavior of team members.
2.1 Leadership Theories – From Early Stages to Modern Concepts 45

Self-leadership and personality

The Big Five model is a widely acknowledged concept of personality characteris-
tics and illustrates a broad scope of perspectives of human characteristics (Zhao &
Seibert, 2006). It is a distinct theory that is believed - and was found - to correlate
with certain aspects of self-leadership (Furtner & Rauthmann, 2010). Assessing the
relationship between self-leadership and the Big Five, Houghton, Bonham, Neck
and Singh (2004) observed that all three self-leadership dimensions are positively
associated with consciousness and extraversion. The linkage between extraversion
and behavior-focused strategies and self-goal setting was confirmed by Furtner and
Rauthmann (2010). The researchers conclude self-leadership to enhance personal
and cognitive growth, mental development and goal orientation. A key contribution
to self-leadership research followed by challenging the relation between self-
leadership and openness to experience. In particular, the connection to constructive
thought patters was found to be strong. Openness to experience and creativity are
assumed to be key characteristics of self-leadership (Furtner & Rauthmann, 2010).
Furtner, Rauthmann and Sachse (2010) tested for the relationship between emo-
tional factors and self-leadership. Results revealed that socioemotional intelligence
correlates positively with self-leadership and its sub-dimensions. Emotional sensi-
tivity, which relates to the ability of a person to identify and correctly interpret an-
other person’s emotions, was found to be positively linked to all facets of self-
leadership. The authors further expected emotional control to be related to self-
leadership or its subfacets, but this relationship could not be established empirically
(Furtner et al., 2010, p. 1195).
In a subsequent publication the researchers found hope for success, rather than fear
of failure, to be a determinant for self-regulation and self-goal setting (Furtner &
Rauthmann, 2011). The findings indicate that natural reward strategies and con-
structive thought patterns are positively related to hope for success. Although both
self-leadership and need for achievement encompass goal-focused strategies that
can enhance motivation and performance, they should still be considered two dis-
tinct constructs. Investigating differences between self-leadership and personality
traits, the independence of self-leadership as a distinct concept is confirmed, even if
the two are interrelated. Self-leadership is yet more likely to be considered a behav-
ioral reflection of personality characteristics. Particularly, extraversion and consci-
entiousness show links with all three self-leadership strategies, whereas emotional
stability is projected to be associated with natural reward strategies (Houghton et
al., 2004. p. 436).
46 2 Literature Review

An investigation by Furtner, Rauthmann and Sachse (2011) examining the relation-

ship between self-leadership and the dark triad explained that narcissism was posi-
tively related with seven subfacets of self-leadership (self-goal setting, constructive
thought patterns, natural reward strategies, evaluating beliefs and assumptions, and
visualizing successful performance). Machiavellianism presented negative correla-
tions with self-reward and natural reward strategies, whereas psychopathy correlat-
ed significantly and negatively only with self-cueing. Evaluating beliefs and as-
sumptions was further found to be positively linked to impulsive thrill seeking, a
subfacet of psychopathy, and self-cueing showed a significant negative association
with interpersonal manipulation (Furtner et al., 2011).
In their most recent work, Furtner, Rauthmann and Sachse (2015) investigated the
distinctiveness of self-leadership from other related constructs, such as need for
achievement, self-regulation, and self-efficacy. The researchers tested for discrimi-
nant and incremental validity and they confirmed self-leadership to display discri-
minant validity compared to other scales. In addition, self-leadership scales did
predict individual performance regardless of need for achievement, self-regulation,
and self-efficacy (Furtner et al., 2015, pp. 116-118).
Researchers have investigated whether self-leadership is adaptable to various cul-
tural contexts (Alves, Lovelace, Manz, Matsypura, Toyasaki & Ke, 2006). As the
model of self-leadership was developed in the United States, the concept refers to
American cultural values. Alves and colleagues (2006) claim self-leadership to be a
universal theory and describe it as “a set of behavioral and constructive strategies
aiming the enhancement of personal effectiveness” (p. 356). This work follows the
definition of self-leadership outlined as “the process of influencing oneself” (Neck
& Manz, 2010, p. 4) by leading one’s thoughts and behaviors (Furtner & Rau-
thmann, 2010).

Assessing self-leadership
Self-leadership is a rather new concept in leadership research and only a limited
number of instruments have yet been applied in empirical evaluations. Previous
research measures all predicate upon a prototype developed by Manz and Sims
(1987; 1991). The subsequent catalogue developed by Cox (1993) covered 34 items
and set the initial point for the Self-Leadership Questionnaire (SLQ). The instru-
ment was refined by Anderson and Prussia (1997), finally entailing 50 items. Re-
sulting from this measure Houghton and Neck (2002) developed the Revised Self-
Leadership Questionnaire (RSLQ) which has been applied in educational and busi-
ness research recently (e.g., Andressen et al., 2012; Furtner & Rauthmann, 2011;
2.1 Leadership Theories – From Early Stages to Modern Concepts 47

Furtner et al., 2013; Hauschildt & Konradt, 2012a, 2012b; Houghton et al., 2004).
Although the RSLQ represents the most trusted instrument in self-leadership re-
search thus far, some dimensions still seem to lack satisfactory reliability (Furtner
& Rauthmann, 2011; Konradt et al., 2009). Furtner and Baldegger (2013) hence
suggest the development of an improved self-leadership measurement. Preliminary
work has been undertaken by Furtner and Rauthmann (in prep.) who developed the
Self-Leadership Skills Inventory, a measure that produced satisfactory reliability
scores in a first academic application (α ≥ .79; n = 270). With the present study, the
SLSI is applied to a larger organizational audience for the first time.
Previous paragraphs argued that the transition from leaders to followers as field of
interest has become viable in the past decades. This shift entailed the evolution of
leadership from a hierarchical, leader-centric approach, to concepts including the
followers as influencers of the organizational context. The path to follower-centric
approaches is still underway and requires not only more conceptual attention, but
also a substantial increase in empirical research in that area. With the acknowl-
edgement of research in fields such as self-leadership, present work highlights the
potential lying in this and similar concepts. Modern approaches to leadership take
the perspective of substituting hierarchical forms of leadership, particularly in dis-
tance leadership, an organizational context that promises to become the predomi-
nant work mode in the future. The emergence of distance leadership due to globali-
zation and technology applications forms a playground for the discovery of new
leadership concepts that can overcome distance. For a better understanding of the
value of context and its interaction with leadership, the following paragraphs pro-
vide an overview of what is known as context and consequently explicate what is
so far understood as distance leadership. Empirical investigations of influences of
self-leadership on work-related outcomes have been structured and concisely sum-
marized in Table 1.
48 2 Literature Review

Table 1. Effects of Self-Leadership on Work-Related Outcomes

Variables and Opera-
Author(s) Sample Results
Teams’ self-management shows positive associa-
tions with effectiveness in functional units
Teams’ self-management displays negative rela-
n1 = 211 (func-
IV: Self-management tions with cross-functional teams
tional team
DV: Teamwork effec- Self-management is positively related to overall
Uhl-Bien members)
tiveness, overall job job satisfaction for both work units
& Graen
satisfaction, perceptions Self-management was observed to have negative
(1998) n2 = 184 (cross-
of bureaucratic obsta- relations with perceptions of bureaucratic ob-
functional team
cles stacles in cross-functional teams
members of the
Self-management reveals positive relations with
public sector)
perceptions of bureaucratic obstacles when
tested in functional teams

n = 151 stu- Self-leadership significantly and positively af-
Prussia, dents IV: Self-leadership fects self-efficacy
Anderson Gender: 66% DV: Individual perfor- Self-efficacy perceptions are significantly
& Manz male mance positively related to individual performance
(1998) A: 27 years MedV: Self-efficacy Self-efficacy mediates the influence of self-
Work experi- leadership on individual performance
ence: 9.3 years

n = 626 (45
Structural characteristics related to allocation of
IV: Interdependence, tasks, responsibilities and authority do influ-
team self-leadership ence team performance
Stewart & G: 56% female
DV: Team performance Intrateam processes mediate the relationship be-
Barrick A: 42 years
CV: Task type, team tween interdependence and performance
(2000) Tenure: 15
size, tenure Greater team self-leadership results in higher
MV: Intrateam process team performance specifically for teams en-
Team tenure:
gaging in conceptual tasks
3.47 years

Study 1
IV: Self-leadership
DV: Coping styles,
dispositional optimism, Self-leadership is inversely related to ineffective-
USA hardiness, ineffective- ness
n1 = 270 (stu- ness, interpersonal trust, Self-leadership is linked to perceived wellness
dents) perceived stress, per- and inversely linked to perceived stress and
G: 102 male ceived wellness, symp- symptoms of illness
A: 19.22 years toms of illness Self-leadership correlates with a more effective
& Stein-
and satisfying work environment
n2 = 160 (em- Study 2 Self-leadership is inversely related to distrust
ployees) IV: Self-leadership towards the world
G: 84 male DV: Work stress, work Self-leadership is perceived to be related to a
A: 36.3 years satisfaction, organiza- more effective organizational communication,
tional communication, team culture, and relationship to the leader
quality management,
relationship to leader,
team culture
2.1 Leadership Theories – From Early Stages to Modern Concepts 49

Variables and Opera-

Author(s) Sample Results

n = 175 (6 IV: Self-leadership Self-leadership is significantly and positively
organizations) DV: Innovative behav- correlated with self- and supervisors’ ratings
Meitar &
G: 118 female ior of innovative behavior
A: 36.3 years CV: Job tenure, income, Income and job tenure are significantly related to
Job tenure: 6.32 gender, education innovative behaviors at work
Self-observation, self-goal setting, self-reward,
and self-punishment are significantly positive-
ly related to intrinsic job satisfaction
Self-observation, self-goal setting, self-reward,
IV: Self-leadership self-punishment, and practice are significantly
n = 304 (manu-
behavioral focused and positively linked to extrinsic job satisfac-
Politis facturing)
strategies tion
(2006) G: 94.1% male
DV: Job satisfaction, The relationship between intrinsic and extrinsic
team performance job satisfaction on performance is positive and
Extrinsic job satisfaction mediates the relation
between self-leadership behavioral-focused
strategies and team performance
A positive relation between self-leadership and
performance is detected
IV: Self-leadership
All elements of VIST (valence, instrumentality,
DV: Motivation, satis-
self-efficacy, trust) show significant positive
n = 310 (40 faction, performance,
correlations with performance
Konradt, teams) team identification
Self-efficacy mediates the influence of self-
Andressen Team size: 9 MV: Intrateam con-
leadership on performance
& Ellwart members flicts, task conflict, task
Intrateam conflict is negatively related to perfor-
(2009) Team tenure: type, autonomy
32 months MedV: Self-efficacy,
Task conflicts predicts team performance nega-
instrumentality, va-
lence, trust
Autonomy and task type do not display any mod-
eration effects
The strongest correlation of self-leadership is
USA detected with role-modeling
n1 = 75 leaders Behavior-focused strategies may help leaders to
IV: Self-leadership
G: 70 male emphasize the effect of role modeling
DV: Leadership behav-
A: 47.9 years Leaders who focus on behavior focused self-
Brown & Leadership leadership strategies encourage subordinates
MV: Leader locus of
Fields exp.: 8 years to follow their example
(2011) Neither natural reward strategies nor constructive
CV: Leadership experi-
n2 = 225 thought patterns show correlations with stimu-
ence, team size, follow-
G: 171 male lating a shared vision or challenging the pro-
er social desirability
Org. tenure: 7.6 cess
years Self-leadership of supervisors has limited effects
on leader behavior
50 2 Literature Review

Variables and Opera-

Author(s) Sample Results
Germany Individual self-leadership is positively linked to
n = 81 (44 in task and team member proficiency
IV: Self-leadership
permanent Self-leadership is positively related to adaptivity
Hauschildt DV: Work role perfor-
teams, 37 in and proactivity (towards individual and team)
& Konradt mance
project teams)
(2012a) MV: Collectivism ori- A positive relationship between self-leadership
G: 31 male
entation and individual performance is observed
A: 33.4 years
CV: Age, sex Results project self-leadership to show a positive
Team tenure:
32 months relation to team-oriented behaviors
Study 1
IV: Self-leadership
DV: Individual task
behaviors, indiv. behav-
n1 = 85 Positive effects of individual self-leadership strat-
CV: Previous work
G: 67.1% fe-
experience, ease of egies on individual task performance ware
imagining the scenarios found
A: 34.8 years
Hauschildt The studies provide first evidence of a relation-
Work exp.:
& Konradt Study 2
12.08 years ship between self-leadership and team mem-
(2012b) IV: Self-leadership
DV: Individual task ber behaviors
n2 = 63 Self-leadership plays a causal role in enhancing
behaviors, indiv. behav-
G: 55.6% male
ior team member performance behavior
A: 34.7 years
MV: Task interdepend-
ence, uncertainty
CV: Work experience,
ease of imagining sce-
Note. IV = independent variable, DV = dependent variable, CV = control variable, MV = moderating
variable, MedV = mediating variable; demographic variables reflect averages, G = gender, A = age

2.1.5 Leadership and Context

Beginning in the 1970s, contextual factors slowly gained consideration in leader-
ship studies as they were expected to alter leadership research and impact the lead-
er-follower relationship (Howell, Dorfman & Kerr, 1986; Osborn, Uhl-Bien & Mi-
losevic, 2014). Osborn et al. (2014, pp. 589-590) summarize the evolution of lead-
ership attention along with the interest in contextual matters in three simplistic
terms: (1) leadership nested in hierarchy; which describes a leader-centric approach
resulting from a hierarchical interaction of a leader with followers, (2) leadership to
be pervasive in social processes; including relational components of influence, and
(3) hybrid approaches of nested and pervasive views. Hybrid concepts primarily
take into account the context in which leadership occurs, shifting with the evolution
of leadership (Osborn et al., 2014, p. 590). Hybrid approaches in leadership re-
search link context to influence, or as the researchers describe, they link context to
causal mechanisms. Observing the importance of a definition as the starting point
2.1 Leadership Theories – From Early Stages to Modern Concepts 51

for research, the authors present influential mechanisms of an individual residing in

an organization as nested, taking the work unit and organizational context into con-
sideration. Pervasive views reflect moreover social constructs, including the inter-
action of individuals. Rather than building the foundation of what needs to be stud-
ied, in pervasive views leadership emerges as a result of context: Hybrid approach-
es view leadership as necessarily embedded in social context. Context is co-defined
with leadership, and is a trigger for the emergence of specific aspects of lead-ership
as well as the effectiveness of different leadership dimensions. (Osborn et al., 2014,
p. 592)
Potentially limiting leadership influence, distance leadership provides a stimulating
area of interest. Shamir (1995) and Katz and Kahn (1978) argue that distance may
significantly influence certain effects of leadership. While distance opens a wide
range of investigative fields, Osborn et al. (2014) disagree on the extent to which
context clarification is truly needed in leadership research. In particular, because
distance has multiple dimensions, this work assumes the challenge and investigates
not only the most commonly used form of distance – physical distance. It further
considers the ability of leaders and followers to form relationships and investigates
the chance of communication to overcome the obstacles distance brings with it.
Osborn et al. (2014) believe leader-member exchange and transformational leader-
ship to be rooted in the leader as individual. Although the authors argue that trans-
formational leaders do not adapt to context, foundations of the present work rest on
the knowledge that individuals have to adjust to contextual parameters in order to
be effective.
Anything but existing in a vacuum (House & Aditya, 1997, p. 445), the leader-
follower relationship requires attention to organizational characteristics, demo-
graphic variables, and other environmental factors (Antonakis et al., 2003, p. 270).
Liden and Antonakis (2009) define context as the “milieu – the physical and social
environment – in which leadership is observed” (p. 1587). The researchers insist
that in order to understand context, one must necessarily study its moderating effect,
as context might contain references for interpretation (Liden & Antonakis, 2009) or
provide alterations to understand leadership under certain circumstances (Aber-
nathy, Bouwens & Van Lent, 2010). Despite the awareness of contextual impact,
research thus far has not produced a satisfactory amount of empirical evidence
(Hauschildt & Konradt, 2012b; Porter & McLaughlin, 2006).
Scholars are indeed becoming increasingly aware of possible moderating effects of
contextual factors when studying leader-follower relationships. Predominantly,
forms of distance between leaders and subordinates have progressively retained
52 2 Literature Review

researchers’ attention, as distance is expected to impact leader effectiveness and

work-related outcomes (Antonakis & Atwater, 2002). In particular, the study con-
ducted by Cole et al. (2009) is one of the first to examine different aspects of dis-
tance in a moderating role. As work settings may involve contingencies that the
supervisor is not able to control (Manz & Sims, 1980) distance dimensions might
just be more of those. With real-time information available, this environment re-
quires leaders to form customized relationships (Avolio, Kahai & Dodge, 2001, p.
617). Without explicit consideration of the context, leadership is hard to integrate.
Kelley and Kelloway (2012, p. 438) note that, in particular, the distance context
needs attention as it differs widely from the proximal context, for instance, in the
way communication shifts from face-to-face to virtual.
Leadership models have to be adapted to the context of distance leadership to stand
a chance of fully functioning. Bridging the gap of trusting relationships in a dis-
tance setting might be possible by applying a concept that Hertel, Konradt and Or-
likowski (2004) call Management by Interdependence. The underlying assumption
of this concept is that by increasing togetherness among team members and leader,
physical and temporal distance might be compensated for (Hertel et al., 2004). The
concept refers to three levels of interdependency: (1) task interdependency, (2) goal
interdependency, and (3) result interdependency. The interpretation of task interde-
pendency allows for the assumption that if team members are all linked by the
work they do, they have to work together and, as a result, they become familiar
with each other. For goal interdependency, the theory suggests that the higher the
individual goal of each team member, the more likely it is for the group to accom-
plish a favorable group result. Result interdependency is claimed to impact team-
work in a virtual environment as it reinforces identification with the group by set-
ting collective goals (Hertel et al., 2004).
Avolio et al. (2001) suggest that context influences the way information technology
emerges and how it is applied. Corporations using social media channels for work
may empower followers to engage actively with each other, creating a collective
purpose and a common social identity (Eisenbeiss, Blechschmidt, Backhaus &
Freund, 2012; Sheldon, Abad & Hinsch, 2011). Motivational factors leading to the
use of virtual worlds include the desire to socialize, express creativity, and escape
(Eisenbeiss et al., 2012, p. 16). Seeking the needs for relatedness and self-
expression (Avolio et al., 2014), social media used by leaders was further found to
be related to transformational leadership traits (Sosik, Chun, Blair & Fitzgerald,
2013). Avolio and colleagues (2014) argue that in a technology-driven environment,
leaders are likely to encounter greater pressure to act authentically and be transpar-
ent. Uhl-Bien, Marion and McKelvey (2007) suggest that the usage of social media
2.2 Distance Leadership 53

in organizations shifts the locus of leadership to the context. There are many factors
influencing the performance of leaders, and determining which leadership style is
the most effective in a particular context can be critical to success (Kets de Vries,
Vrignaud, Agrawal & Florent-Treacy, 2010). The authors believe that interrelated-
ness between leaders, followers, and the context is the key to organizational effec-
tiveness as understanding of leadership practices needs to be tailored to the specific
Eichenberg (2007, p. 68) describes the context of distance leadership as dependent
on the entire environment within and surrounding the organization, in which leader
and followers are embedded (Figure 4). The leadership situation refers to the spe-
cial characteristics of a leader-follower relation, e.g., leader-follower physical dis-
tance, interaction frequency or relationship distance, with regard to the quality of

Figure 4. Contextual Interactions of Distance Leadership

   distance Relationship
  Leader Follower
  Frequency of

Leadership context

Source: Eichenberg (2007, p. 68)

2.2 Distance Leadership

Today’s leadership faces challenges that have evolved through the process of glob-
alization and the widespread use of technological advancements. Physically proxi-
54 2 Literature Review

mate leadership as we have known it for decades is steadily substituted with leader-
ship through digital media as team members are often located around the world.
The need for physical proximity is replaced with the need for competences (Weis-
band, 2008). Leadership from physical distance does not imply that conventional
responsibilities become obsolete; nevertheless, traditional elements of leadership
may lose relevance.
Leadership at a distance has been the subject of recent investigations, working hand
in hand with the application of AIT in organizations. Yet only few empirical stud-
ies have since been published (e.g., Andressen et al., 2012; Cole et al., 2009). Most
research has been conceptual in nature. The value of insights in distance leadership
is undoubtedly increasing as international corporations are forced to collaborate,
and with the assistance of AIT this is today possible virtually. With Bass (1990, p.
658) defining leadership as dependent on physical proximity, the premise of leader-
ship is now questioned.
Looking back on the first half of the twentieth century, Bogardus (1927) was the
first to conceptualize the subject of distance within leadership research. Notably,
until today the topic has received little attention, although the value in assessing
contextual factors in leadership is promising (Cole et al., 2009). Limited attempts
have been made to examine distance leadership by comparing leadership behavior
in proximate and distant settings (e.g., Connaughton & Daly, 2004; Howell & Hall-
Merenda, 1999; Howell et al., 2005). According to Remdisch and Utsch (2006, p.
36) distant leadership comprises three dimensions in addition to traditional leader-
ship: (1) distance; i.e., physical, social and cultural distance, (2) media-supported
leadership and (3) changed organizational format; i.e., project work and virtual
teams. The authors further identify six core elements of distance leadership which
they predict to be influential in a physically distant leader-follower relationship:
distance and trust, team development, communication, working routines, qualifica-
tion and development, and culture. Moreover, modern leaders incorporate a new
leadership competence which is described as global literacy by Rosen and Digh
(2001, p. 74). Global literal leaders inherit all four attributes that are essential for
sustainable leadership in a virtual world: personal, social, business, and cultural
literacy. The first element refers to understanding and valuing oneself. The second
attribute entails engagement and challenging others. The next feature depicts the
broader image of an organization by focusing and mobilizing one’s business. Final-
ly, the last dimension declares valuing and utilizing cultural differences as a key
competence (Rosen & Digh, 2001, p. 74). Alon and Higgins (2005) suggest a three-
step approach to developing intercultural leadership competences. First, the poten-
tial leaders’ skills should be assessed, upon which, in the next step, appropriate ed-
2.2 Distance Leadership 55

ucation is provided. The third step involves on-the-job experience in a foreign cul-
ture. Professional knowledge of the organization’s core business processes, mana-
gerial competences, including the ability to work in teams and having interpersonal
skills, strategic international understanding, frequent exchange of information, and
cross-cultural competences are further indispensable for future organizational lead-
ers (Bikson, Treverton, Moini & Lindstrom, 2008, p. 27). Leadership practices are
highly sensitive in a distance relationship and require distinctive attention (Hoch,
Andressen & Konradt, 2007). The latter suggest contingency-related leadership be-
havior is favorable for conditions of physical distance. Distant leaders also need to
place particular focus on selecting the right people as potential team members need
to have not only good technical but also excellent interpersonal skills (Horwitz,
Bravington & Silvis, 2006).
A compelling book-length study on distance leadership was published by Eichen-
berg (2007). The researcher looked at the question, how (1) spatial distance, (2)
relationship distance, and (3) cultural distance impact leadership effectiveness. Spa-
tial distance is described as the sum of time units of potential physical proximity
and time units of shared time windows on a workday between leader and followers.
Relationship distance is viewed as multidimensional, entailing elements of trust,
similarity in communication behavior, and congruence of personal attitudes and
experiences. Relationship distance, among others, inherits components of leader-
member exchange and can therefore be seen as the reciprocal of relationship quali-
ty. Eichenberg (2007) views cultural distance as the combination of differences in
context orientation of communication and differences in preference for power dis-
tance. The author found that spatial distance and cultural distance showed indirect
effects on leadership variables only. Main outcomes showed, among other things,
that spatial distance had a positive influence on relationship distance which can be
interpreted as a negative influence on the quality of relationship between leader and
followers. Cultural distance also showed positive influences on relationship dis-
tance. Relationship distance presented a strong negative association with leadership
effectiveness. Eichenberg (2007) specifies that spatial distance has an ambivalent
position in distance leadership. On the one hand, spatial distance significantly in-
fluences the relationship between leader and followers, resulting in a negative de-
velopment, the further both parties are separated. He claims that one reason is that
trust is more difficult to establish in a distance setting. Yet, a direct influence of
spatial distance on leadership effectiveness could yet not be detected. This finding
leads to the impression, that relational quality could be far more essential in a dis-
tance setting than originally presumed and spatial distance is ultimately a limiting
situational component that can be overcome as such. The researcher confirms as-
56 2 Literature Review

sumptions that an established relationship can reduce boundaries of physical dis-

tance. Furthermore, Eichenberg (2007) emphasizes implications of relationship dis-
tance. The emergence of a trusting relationship plays a far more important role in
the leader-follower relation. Relationship distance that is high (and represented by a
low quality of relationship) was found to be negatively impacting leadership effec-
tiveness. The strongest negative effect was detected concerning follower orienta-
tion. In other words, if the relationship quality is low, people-oriented leadership
styles can still not reach their full potential which in other cases would lead to an
increase in performance and satisfaction. Eichenberg (2007) concludes that among
the three distance components, relationship distance has the strongest effects and
relationship quality may thus act as the essential tie in a working distant leader-
follower relationship.
This work succeeds earlier considerations by Antonakis and Atwater (2002) as well
as Napier and Ferris (1993) and understands distance as a construct defining the
physical separation, quality of relationship, and extent of interaction frequency be-
tween leader and follower. Distance leadership is understood as a goal-oriented in-
fluence executed over physical distance, determined by the quality of relationship,
and the extent of interaction frequency between leader and follower.
The following paragraphs discuss recent literature with particular focus on the de-
lineation of different streams in distance leadership. Theory on e-leadership, virtual
leadership, and virtual teams is processed.

2.2.1 E-Leadership
Although rather sporadically, theory of distance environments has been covered in
academic literature since the end of the last century (e.g., Howell & Hall-Merenda,
1999; Kayworth & Leidner, 2002; Hoyt & Blascovich, 2003) with the first aggre-
gated summary provided by Antonakis and Atwater in 2002. Since then, many def-
initions of distance leadership have been released providing synonymous terminol-
ogies such as e-leadership or virtual leadership. Predictably, a large stake of dis-
tance leadership theory was handled under the work stream of virtual teams.
Distance leadership is sometimes referred to as e-leadership (e.g., Avolio & Kahai,
2003; Avolio et al., 2009; Avolio et al., 2014; Pulley & Sessa, 2001). The distinc-
tive feature of this leadership style is based on premises of technology-driven
means of communication. E-leadership differs from traditional leadership to the
extent that work depends largely on the use of information technology (Avolio &
Kahai, 2003). Researchers declare e-leadership to be “a dynamic, robust system
2.2 Distance Leadership 57

embedded within a larger organizational system” (Avolio & Kahai, 2003, p. 325).
The purpose of e-leadership is explained as using relationships among members
and enhancing them. The role of the leader becomes more proactive, with the need
to establish social structures alongside which AIT is able to evolve (Avolio et al.,
2001). Zaccaro and Bader (2003, pp. 381-382) identify the challenge for e-leaders
in handling affective processes, such as the management of emotions and expres-
sions, in a much more complex environment. Furthermore, leaders of e-teams must
foster team trust and cultivate the team toward a stage of frequent interaction by
defining roles, ensuring clear task distribution, and forming a shared understanding
within the team. As understanding in a remote environment relies heavily on non-
verbal cues, managing team conflict can be difficult for e-leaders. The leader will
have to establish team norms and free time whenever social support is needed by a
team member (Zaccaro & Bader, 2003).
In the German-speaking region, dispersion of the term e-leadership has mostly oc-
curred due to the influence of Hertel and Lauer, according to whom the main duty
of e-leadership is the integration of people with technology. This can only be
achieved by influencing attitudes, feelings, behaviors, and performance (Hertel &
Lauer, 2012, p. 105). The willingness of subordinates to be led might also be af-
fected by a change in context, because establishing trust in a virtual setting is diffi-
cult. Furthermore, the actual physical environment of the workplace of a virtual
team member (e.g., noise level within the office, various responsibilities) might be
difficult to imagine for others. A frequent issue that arises is caused by overlapping
leadership structures. Virtual teamwork is frequently set up as project work, in
which the functional project leader is often not the disciplinary leader of the team,
which may result in hierarchy issues (Hertel & Lauer, 2012).
The formerly stated definition declares e-leadership to be “a social influence pro-
cess mediated by AIT to produce a change in attitudes, feelings, thinking, behavior,
and performance with individuals, groups, and/or organizations” (Avolio et al.,
2001, p. 617). In their review Avolio et al. (2014) publish a refined definition stat-
ing “E-leadership is defined as a social influence process embedded in both proxi-
mal and distal contexts mediated by AIT that can produce a change in attitudes,
feelings, thinking, behavior, and performance” (p. 107). AIT not only changes the
way organizations interact with customers, it also empowers customers through the
use of rating sites, blogs, and social media.
E-leadership is projected to have certain advantages over face-to-face leadership,
such as greater flexibility, fewer costs for organizations and an easier way of doc-
umenting processes as the nature of electronic collaboration inherits the need for
58 2 Literature Review

documentation itself (Hertel & Lauer, 2012). With a major part of leadership exe-
cuted with the help of AIT, leadership will change into the direction of a participa-
tive approach where particularly self-managing employees become the focus of
attention. Autonomy of followers needs to be promoted and, although e-leadership
is still in its beginning, the interferences made by studies on flexible leadership
styles need to be incorporated in trainings quickly in order to adapt to the new situ-
ation (Hertel & Lauer, 2012). Still, leadership and technology might not always co-
evolve efficiently. Kahai (2013) admits that outcomes of e-leadership might be pos-
itive or negative and therefore leadership styles beyond transformational and trans-
actional behaviors should be considered. Information technology has the chance to
either enhance or weaken the effects of e-leadership, meanwhile increasing trans-
parency at all levels (Kahai, 2013).
Research covering transformational and transactional leadership in a distance lead-
er-follower relationship has not been attempted to a substantial extent (Hertel &
Lauer, 2012). The recent publication by Avolio et al. (2014) confirms that the un-
derstanding of the effects of technology advances on organizational leadership re-
mains vague. Avolio et al. (2014) adjusted their definition to declare e-leaders to be
“affected by time, distance, and cultural considerations in how they actively shape
their followers’, customers’ and society’s views and use of AIT, and potentially the
context that embeds them” (p. 106). The authors further claim that e-leadership re-
flects how advanced information technology mediates leadership influence pro-
cesses. Avolio et al. (2001) declare AIT to consist of “tools, techniques, and
knowledge […] that can help leaders [to] scan, plan, decide, disseminate, and con-
trol information” (p. 616). By its name, e-leadership takes the emerging context
within a technology-driven environment into account. However, not only commu-
nication channels affect the way leaders and followers interact. Avolio et al. (2014)
emphasize the necessity of forming high quality relationships between leaders and
followers. With this, the researchers incorporate LMX theory as a critical element
into distance leadership research just as previously academic work has done (e.g.,
Golden & Veiga, 2008; Napier & Ferris, 1993).

2.2.2 Virtual Leadership

Virtual leadership usually involves the presence of a virtual team. Thus, it is diffi-
cult to delimit virtual leadership from those of virtual teams. Research on virtual
teams however often examines team perspective on collaboration, whereas virtual
leadership predominantly addresses the challenges from the leader’s point of view.
Virtual leadership warrants reference in this work, as the critical factor differentiat-
2.2 Distance Leadership 59

ing ineffective from effective virtual teams is inherently placed with the leaders,
who claim a special position in developing and leading virtual teams (Caulat, 2006,
p. 2). Virtual leadership is often used synonymous with distributed leadership
(Gronn, 2002) which describes the goal of influencing the attitude and behavior of
team members (Hoch et al., 2007, p. 52).
The success of virtual leadership largely depends on leaders’ capability of engaging
in the leadership role. A survey of 129 organizational leaders revealed that more
than 80% identified virtual leadership as a requirement for today’s leaders
(Criswell & Martin, 2007, p. 7). Even a higher percentage (92%) specified that vir-
tual leadership involves different skills than face-to-face leadership. Leadership is
probably the most critical element in virtual work (Hambley, O’Neill & Kline,
2007a; Carte et al., 2006) and can be seen as a core competency of team leaders of
today (Horwitz et al., 2006).
Leaders that are more flexible in roles may affect greater cohesion among team
members and are more likely to perform better (Wakefield, Leidner & Garrison,
2008). The study suggests that the understanding of different roles of leaders is
positively correlated with the output of the team. Leaders that can assume different
roles in a virtual task or project are more likely to achieve greater team unity and
cohesion than those that only assume one leadership role. Furthermore, if leaders
inhibit and expose traits, such as mentoring, facilitating, monitoring and coordinat-
ing to the virtual team, fewer conflicts arise and performance will most likely im-
prove. Building a personalized relationship between team leaders and followers is
considered a crucial element in virtual leadership. Leaders further require distinc-
tive communication skills to integrate distant team members and foster group cohe-
sion (Hambley, O´Neill & Kline, 2007a). They also need to keep the big picture in
mind (Bell & Kozlowski, 2002). Virtual leaders have to provide a common direc-
tion for the group and set the vision (Hambley et al., 2007a). Further obligations
include getting every team member on the same level of information. Leaders often
function as initiator, scheduler or integrator (Yoo & Alavi, 2004) and urgently need
to detect conflicts while initiating counter-actions (Hertel et al., 2005). Leaders of-
ten need to manage tensions within the group that might appear due to dependen-
cies on technology and relationships (Caulat, 2006). Here, standard operating pro-
cedures might be able to facilitate tasks (Bell & Kozlowski, 2002).
Face-to-face teams are inherently more likely to support the emergence of leader-
ship. They develop a more constructive work style, whereas virtual teams might
come up with a more defensive style of collaboration (Balthazard, Waldman & At-
water, 2008). Thus, it is not surprising that empirical evi-dence varies by context.
60 2 Literature Review

Results indicate that effective leadership is related to team members’ perception of

effective communication, communication satisfaction, and the capability of leaders
to establish role clarity among virtual team members (Kayworth & Leidner, 2002).
Furthermore, leadership effectiveness is mostly related to the mentoring capabili-
ties of leaders. Efficient virtual leaders strengthen team members’ appreciation of
goal accomplishment and value others’ contribution which in turn increases identi-
fication within the team (Kark & Shamir, 2002). Particularly, inspirational leaders
seem to be of higher significance in distributed work environments (Joshi et al.,
2009). The researchers postulate that working in distant contexts might result in
reduced team identity due to physical dispersion and lack of community. In that
case, inspirational leaders would have the potential to occupy the role of a substi-
tute by establishing a collective mission and vision for the team.
In a study conducted by Kahai, Sosik and Avolio (2004) on electronically led teams,
empirical results showed no evidence of participative leadership enhancing team
satisfaction. Yet, participants had a more positive attitude towards participative
leaders compared to directive leaders. Whereas in a less structured task a participa-
tive leadership approach is recommended, the authors propose that a directive lead-
ership style is more effective when facing a more structured problem (Kahai, Sosik
& Avolio, 1997, pp. 141-142). Weisband (2008) observed that in early stages of
virtual leader-follower interaction, goal-driven aspects and directive styles are more
promising, whereas in the emergence of the relationship, e-leaders may shift to
more transformational behaviors. A positive relation between transformational
leadership and organizational commitment among subordinates was established
(Avolio et al., 2004). Furthermore, there might be value in the application of trans-
formational and transactional leadership behavior to enhance virtual team perfor-
mance (Huang, Kahai & Jestice, 2010).
The question whether external leadership truly adds value to virtual group work has
not been answered sufficiently and opinions by researchers diverge. Some explain
external leadership to be indispensable for virtual teams, since external leaders pro-
vide objectives and assist in establishing relationships among team members (Manz
& Sims, 2001). Others claim that virtual teams fulfill their tasks self-managing and
envision them as completely self-organizing systems, as control is difficult to exer-
cise and might shift to the group members (Hertel et al., 2005, p. 82). As distribut-
ed teams are more task-focused than face-to-face teams (Zigurs, 2003) they might
be more autonomous and act analogously to self-managed teams (DeRosa, Hantula,
Kock & D’Arcy, 2004). The authors state that there is a possibility that self-
managed work teams do not even require external leadership as they might benefit
from rotational or shared leadership. Nonetheless, there are situations when a top-
2.2 Distance Leadership 61

down leadership approach might be appropriate although transfer to group-internal

leadership is important as team members need the ability to make decisions in the
absence of a physical external leader (DiLiello & Houghton, 2006).

2.2.3 Virtual Teams

Due to change in the contexts in which organizations operate, corporations today
need to be present in almost every corner of the world in order to survive in an in-
creasingly competitive market. Virtual teams have emerged as a modern way of
organizational collaboration due to AIT and possibilities provided by internet net-
working. Particularly, in the case of virtual teams, numerous publications have
shown that this field of research is steadily becoming more valuable to academics.
The majority of publications discusses challenges faced by virtual teams (e.g., Her-
tel et al., 2005; Martins, Gilson & Maynard, 2004; Powell, Piccoli & Ives, 2004).
The papers argue that virtual teams are composed of geographically dispersed
workgroups who communicate predominantly through electronic means.
Alongside the evolution of virtual leadership, virtual teams have progressed and
have become a vital object of research over the last two decades. Distributed teams
differ from face-to-face teams in the sense that operational work occurs predomi-
nantly in physically distributed contexts. Social cues, facial expressions, and body
language might disappear (Townsend, DeMarie & Hendrickson, 1996). The num-
ber of virtual teams within international corporations is rising due to composition
of teams according to competences rather than proximity (Weisband, 2008). As
such, distant teams are expected to meet performance expectations (or even per-
form better). The attribute virtual is used as a synonym for geographical distribu-
tion between team members themselves or team members and leaders (Weisband,
2008, p. 5)
Virtual teams are characterized as groups of individuals working while geograph-
ically distributed from each other (Hoch et al., 2007; Townsend et al., 1998). Hor-
witz and colleagues (2006) add the technological component and conceptualize vir-
tual teams as “groups of people working on interde-pendent tasks, geographically
distributed, conduct[ing] their core work mainly through an electronic medium” (p.
474). According to this definition, virtual team members communicate with each
other primarily through technology (Hertel et al., 2005; Lipnack & Stamps, 2000).
Using terms similar to previously stated definitions, the authors describe virtual
teams as consisting of two or more people collaborating in order to achieve a com-
mon goal in which at least one team member works at a different location, organi-
62 2 Literature Review

zation or timing so that communication is conducted predominantly via electronic

media (Hertel et al., 2005, p. 71). Virtual teams by definition have no option but to
make use of technology in order to stay informed (Zakaria et al., 2004). These
teams are known for their dynamic membership, which implies that membership
changes readily according to different needs and stages of the project (DeSanctis &
Poole, 1997). In addition to their large virtual component, most virtual teams,
whether project based or permanent, practice at least some face-to-face contact be-
tween team members and leaders. The degree of virtuality can then be assessed us-
ing the number of face-to-face meetings or the number of different work locations
(Hertel et al., 2005).
Global virtual teams have and will become one of the predominant methods of
team collaboration in international corporations (Zakaria et al., 2004). Global virtu-
al teams form an alteration of traditional virtual teams in which members usually
acquire different functions. Zakaria and colleagues (2004) refer to global virtual
teams as geographically distributed, of diverse national and cultural background,
and occupying various functions (p. 17). Particularly, in human resources (HR)
functions, managers are eligible for virtual teaming before other departments, as
HR supports so many different functions within an organization (Townsend et al.,
1996). Yet, only one third of virtual teams are seen as effective (Goodbody, 2005).
This may be because traditional teamwork differs from virtual collabo-ration and
teams are often not well prepared. Long decision-making processes and preliminary
misunderstandings in communication make problems more complex (Dube & Pare,
2001). Searching for the catalyst of virtual team failure in literature, a prevalent
theme is that obstacles often arise due to the lack of face-to-face communication
and the complexity of technology. Distributed team members might therefore have
to invest greater effort to communicate and share information with their team
members and consequently might keep information to themselves (Bradner & Mark,
2008). Virtualization not only promotes complexity, it also inhibits the sharing of
sensitive knowledge between team members (Breu & Hemingway, 2004). Further-
more, the need to raise cultural competences might be especially integral to global
virtual teams (Weisband, 2008).
Teams often consist of individuals with diverse backgrounds. Diverse team mem-
bers may support each other and teams can benefit from synergies that result from
members’ differing expertise and perspectives. Particularly in product development
and electronically based learning environments, virtual teams might be feasible,
whereas it poses a limitation in certain contexts (Cohen & Gibson, 2003). Hertel
and colleagues (2005) similarly claim that virtual teams are particularly suitable for
tasks based on information rather than physical work, such as research and devel-
2.2 Distance Leadership 63

opment or project management. What happens early in the establishment of virtual

teamwork might be critical to success, performance, satisfaction, and trust (Avolio
& Kahai, 2003). Early face-to-face meetings, ideally prior to virtual collaboration,
are vital for the development of group work. Moreover, face-to-face meetings can
enhance task accomplishment significantly (Kirkman, Rosen, Tesluk & Gibson,
2004). However, others argue that meeting face-to-face early in the process might
not be as relevant (Caulat, 2006; Staples & Zhao, 2006).
In order for effective teamwork to evolve, some basic principles must be consid-
ered. First of all, every group should learn how to become a group (Schein, 2010).
Agreement on a common language among team members is vital. Consensus on
who is a member and who is not should be clarified upfront and roles need to be
assigned. Standard operating procedures should be based on rules, and criteria need
to be set for rewarding or punishing members. The role of leaders comes into place,
as leaders serve a purpose similar to an initiator, and are generally the ones who
start discussions (Schein, 2010). Particularly the latter may be difficult as virtual
teams are more anonymous than face-to-face teams (Avolio & Kahai, 2003). Team
members’ commitment can be increased by assigning higher degrees of responsi-
bility to the individuals (Horwitz et al., 2006). Furthermore, cognitive and interper-
sonal skills as well as oral language skills are regarded as essential in an interna-
tional organizational context (Bikson et al., 2008). Spontaneity and informal con-
versations are also considered positive for virtual teamwork. Thus, it is clear that
setting targets and deadlines alone does not contribute to enhancing working rela-
tionships among team members as informal exchange is missing (Caulat, 2006).
Non-work related conversations might enhance personal relationships and in turn
lead to greater trust and commitment (Hertel et al., 2005).
In a case study analysis conducted by Fairfield-Sonn (1999) the author identified
key determinants of problem solving teams which help the groups to perform better
in a distributed setting. First and foremost, the researcher mentions the time needed
to request and receive support in case help is needed. The second challenge is the
degree of responsibility as the teams have to truly make their own decisions. The
third critical factor is the extent to which the teams receive internal or external ex-
pert advice. The last factor is the sensitivity among leaders toward providing ap-
propriate rewards and recognition to the team members. During virtual teamwork,
transactional leadership may help to provide course corrections; however, leaders
should promote the attitude that team members should preferably correct them-
selves or each other instead of simply accepting corrections from the leading per-
son (Davis, 2004).
64 2 Literature Review

Zander, Zettinig and Mäkelä (2013, p. 229) summarize critical challenges of global
virtual teams as (1) goal alignment, (2) knowledge transfer, and (3) motivation. The
researchers differentiate operational and mutual team goals. Operational team goals
are clear to team members, whereas mutual goals are usually assumed to be known
by everyone. Both types of goals influence team effectiveness. Knowledge transfer
or knowledge sharing are by-products of communication. For them to occur, mem-
bers need to establish trust which usually develops through shared experiences. The
scholars further describe leadership style as a potential influencing factor for demo-
tivation. The authors associate this with cultural and personal complexity. Yet, ad-
aptation to individual cultural preferences of team members has been found to cre-
ate a negative impact on team culture. The researchers delineate the virtual team-
work process in three phases (Zander et al., 2013, pp. 230ff.):
(1) Welcoming phase
(2) Working phase
(3) Wrapping-up phase

The welcoming phase is defined by the alignment of goals, building of relation-

ships, and definition of tasks. Here, leaders need to clarify the goal of the virtual
collaboration, as overall goals might be interpreted differently by individuals. A
real environment needs to be established and a social setting must be defined,
which may include language and priorities. In creating a mutual understanding of
each other and developing trust within the group, relationship building might be the
most essential part in the welcoming phase. It serves as an introduction and sets the
social context in which each individual is acting by making this context visible to
others. Knowing individual circumstances is vital to understanding team members
and it helps if group members disclose their personal backgrounds as this facilitates
team socialization. The welcoming phase closes with the delineation of the task
itself. Leaders have ownership of the project; they have to clarify and align the un-
derstanding of expected outcomes among team members.
During the working phase, processes actually come into place and team members
start working to-gether. This phase contains three main activities: (1) assigning
roles and processes, (2) coordinating means, and (3) operations. It is vital to estab-
lish the means of collaboration. Not only communication media but also decision-
making processes need to be defined. Particularly, team leaders are ascribed an es-
sential role in this phase as they must define the roles and responsibilities of each
individual in the group. It must be clear to all members, where specific expertise
2.2 Distance Leadership 65

and resources lie within the group. At the same time, rules of collaboration are set
up mutually. Coordinating the tools with which the work is done later should be a
mixture of rich and less rich media. It must be appropriate to the situation and ca-
pabilities of all participants. With operations, the authors refer to the process of su-
pervision of teamwork by leaders, stating “the leader needs to shift roles between
being a facilitator of processes, guiding members, connecting people, creating
common context and following progress closely” (Zander et al., 2013, p. 234).
Finally, the wrapping-up phase entails the finalization of the project and debriefing
of the group. During finalization, the group should discuss common achievements
together with a group reflection coordinated and directed by the leaders. The de-
briefing session should then broaden the group’s understanding of how tasks have
been approached, how processes progressed, and which conflicts arose. Debriefing
represents an essential last step in (virtual) teamwork as it encourages open feed-
back and serves as basis for continuous improvement. (Zander et al., 2013).
Conversely, virtual teaming also might present competitive advantages. In fact, cul-
tural boundaries, once overcome, might be used to create cultural synergies instead
and to uncover innovative solutions (Zakaria et al., 2004). Furthermore, creativity
increases with the diversity of the team and new ideas are usually accepted faster as
teams can work 24 hours on a project taking advantage of time zone differences
(Horwitz et al., 2006). Resources utilization can be improved through more flexi-
bility with team members (Symons & Stenzel, 2007); employees might perceive
greater empowerment (Hertel et al. 2005), and operating costs might be reduced
(Jarvenpaa & Leidner, 1999). Predominantly, in regions suffering from low infra-
structural development, virtual teamwork can integrate people with reduced mobili-
ty (Hertel et al., 2005).

2.2.4 Physical Distance

Physical distance is defined as how close or how far leaders and subordinates are
located from each other (Antonakis & Atwater, 2002, p. 684). The dimension im-
plies only little face-to-face interaction between the two parties and is expected to
create challenges which may result in a severe decrease in performance of the dis-
tant team. A physically distant setting might make it more difficult for trans-
formational leaders to establish individualized relationships (Howell et al., 2005;
Kerr & Jermier, 1978). Furthermore, physical distance may cause difficulties for
leaders to monitor and rate followers’ performance. The more opportunities leaders
66 2 Literature Review

have to observe their subordinates, the higher they rate their performance (Judge &
Ferris, 1993). Particularly, active influence on subordinate performance becomes
challenging (Kerr & Jermier, 1978). Being physically close, leaders have the
chance to role model and influence subordinates directly which is certainly hin-
dered over long distance (Yagil, 1998). Investigating behaviors of distance leaders
shows they are more frequently reported to possess strong rhetorical skills as a
characteristic of charisma (Shamir, 1995). Indeed, particularly in distant follower-
leader relationships, charismatic leadership is regarded as highly efficient (Katz &
Kahn, 1978). It is assumed that high physical distance may lead to a reduction of
social interaction which will further weaken the relationship between leaders and
followers (Bass, 1990). Subordinates also tend to place stronger emphasis on lead-
ers’ behaviors if they are distant as specific actions are more dominating (Howell et
al., 2005).
A longitudinal analysis by Howell and Hall-Merenda (1999) surveying banking
managers and their team members in a Canadian institution evaluated effects of
transformational and transactional leadership behaviors on follower performance
under physically close and distant conditions. The authors hypothesized transfor-
mational leadership to be directly and positively related to follower performance,
yet the assumption could not be confirmed. Also for contingent reward leadership,
no statistically significant direct positive relation could be detected. On the contrary,
MBEa was found to be positively related to follower performance, whereas MBEp
did not reveal negative significant results as projected. The authors expected con-
tingent reward leadership to predict follower performance in close leader-follower
conditions. However, empirical evidence was found for the opposite; contingent
reward produced significantly better follower performance under distant conditions.
MBEa showed lower follower performance when followers were distant. On the
other hand, MBEp led to lower performance when followers were close. LMX rat-
ings by followers revealed significant correlations with follower performance. As-
sessing effects of LMX on perceptions of leadership behavior the authors found
LMX to be positively associated with transformational and contingent reward lead-
ership. LMX further displayed significant negative effects on MBEa and MBEp
leadership behavior. No evidence was found for moderating effects of physical dis-
tance on the relationship between LMX and follower performance. Summarizing
the outcomes, the authors discovered that transformational leadership is significant-
ly more effective in predicting follower performance under close leader-follower
relationships. Perhaps the most significant finding of this study is that relationships
between leadership behavior (transformational, contingent reward, MBEa, and
MBEp) and follower performance were moderated by physical distance.
2.2 Distance Leadership 67

In addition, Kirkman and colleagues (2004) assume empowerment to be a critical

factor for learning in virtual team environments as virtual teams that lack empow-
erment might become passive. The researchers test the hypothesis that virtual teams
high in team empowerment are presumed to take more corrective actions in order to
improve team processes than those showing a low degree of team empowerment.
The scholars finally reveal that team empowerment is significantly related to posi-
tive work-related outcomes as empowerment is found to be predicting process im-
provement in a virtual setting. For teams meeting face-to-face frequently the effect
of empowerment on process improvement was not significant. Furthermore, em-
powerment was found to positively impact leader performance, innovation, and job
satisfaction. The authors even argue that team empowerment could be a substitute
for leadership in virtual teams. As virtual teams lack external motivation, intrinsic
motivation might be a critical factor improving their performance (Kirkman et al.,
Howell and team (2005) assessed effects of physical distance on business unit per-
formance in the Canadian banking sector. The authors found transformational lead-
ership to predict business unit performance under close conditions and physical
distance to have moderating effects. These findings concur with previous empirical
evidence (Howell & Hall-Merenda, 1999). In a dispersed context, transformational
leadership no longer predicted unit performance. Contrasting findings were re-
trieved for contingent reward leadership. While leaders and followers were close,
contingent reward leadership was not linked to business unit performance. Howev-
er, when distant from each other, business unit performance increased. These out-
comes suggest that while transformational leadership was more effective in a close
environment, contingent reward leadership might enhance performance in a distant
setting. The scholars interpret this finding as contingent reward leaders granting
their followers autonomy to perform tasks in a way that works best for distantly
self-managed subordinates – as long as targets are met.
Aiming to identify the role of inspirational leadership (Bass, 1985) on virtual team
performance, Joshi et al. (2009) observed that by cultivating socialized relation-
ships with followers, inspirational leaders are able to foster attitudes directed at the
collective team entity. Providing inspiration and vision, setting collective goals and
inspiring group unity involves exceptional attention when developing leadership
behavior. In other words, inspirational leaders are important in all contexts but are
more important in highly dispersed contexts. Since inspirational leadership was
discovered to facilitate positive outcomes, developing critical leadership behaviors
that may be considered inspirational is clearly an imperative when working global-
ly. Although the importance of self-management in teams is often emphasized, the
68 2 Literature Review

results of the study imply that certain aspects of active leadership may have a piv-
otal role for influencing important work-related outcomes (Joshi et al., 2009).
Physical distance seemed not to impact either leadership performance or communi-
cation effectiveness, according to Neufeld et al. (2010). A positive link was found
between transformational leadership and perceived leadership performance, how-
ever physical distance showed no significant correlations. Being physically close
might be an advantage as leaders have the opportunity to role model and influence
followers directly, which is surely more difficult to exercise over a long distance
(Yagil, 1998). Establishing individualized relationships might also work better
when leaders and followers are close. The researchers conclude that physical dis-
tance does not necessarily need to negatively affect leadership or communication.
The key to leadership effectiveness rather lies in communication, as this was found
to have mediating effects on the influence of transformational and contingent re-
ward leadership on leader performance. Since both leader archetypes are perceived
as good communicators, the combination of both behaviors might positively influ-
ence follower performance. Assumptions by the authors conclude that without ef-
fective communication, leadership becomes irrelevant, particularly under condi-
tions of physical distance (Neufeld et al., 2010).
A recent empirical assessment of 681 employees in 129 teams and 116 team leaders
conducted by Andressen et al. (2012) examined the relationship of self-leadership
to transformational leadership, motivation, job performance, and affective com-
mitment. Self-leadership was assessed using the RSLQ (Houghton & Neck, 2002).
Furthermore, the researchers investigated the role of virtuality in this relation. To
wit, Andressen and colleagues are the first to investigate this influence in a virtual
context. First, it was discovered that follower self-leadership acted as a process fac-
tor for the influence of transformational leadership determining motivation. Results
demonstrate that team leader virtuality moderated the relationship between trans-
formational leadership and self-leadership of followers, indicating that transforma-
tional leadership is less predictive of self-leadership in high-distance settings.
Moreover, self-leadership predicted motivation more strongly when working in a
virtual setting.

Assessing physical distance

The most comprehensive article thus far on different forms of distance was pub-
lished by Antonakis and Atwater in 2002. Since then, authors have directed their
interest in leader-follower relations stronger to the impact of physical distance. Ac-
knowledging the differences in measurement tools, a wide variance of outcomes
2.2 Distance Leadership 69

exist. Andressen et al. (2012) declare virtuality to be moderating the effect between
transformational leadership and self-leadership. The researchers measure virtuality
as the combination of physical distance and communication frequency. In their
study, computer-mediated interaction frequency was assessed in relation to the
overall interaction frequency between followers and team leader while an index by
O’Leary and Cummings (2007) represented physical distance. Study outcomes re-
vealed that virtuality moderated the influence of transformational leadership on fol-
lower self-leadership. In addition, virtuality was discovered to moderate the rela-
tion between team empowerment and process improvement (Kirkman et al., 2004).
The impact of transformational, contingent reward, active and passive manage-
ment-by-exception on follower performance was found to be moderated by physi-
cal distance in a study by Howell and Hall-Merenda (1999). Research by Howell
and colleagues (2005) suggests that physical distance moderates the effect of trans-
formational and contingent reward leadership on business unit performance.
O’Leary and Cummings (2007, p. 434) view geographical dispersion as a composi-
tion not of two elements, but of three: (1) spatial; the average spatial distance, (2)
temporal; the extent to which working hours overlap in different time zones, and (3)
configurational distance; the number of sites at which individuals are located, their
isolation from each other, and the balance between subgroups. The single dimen-
sions however are not mutually exclusive and overlap in many cases. In contrast,
absence of temporal dispersion can still pose challenges to leader-subordinate or
intra-team collaboration as geographical distance might still be high (e.g., one party
in Germany and the other in South Africa). Howell and Hall-Merenda (1999) and
Howell and colleagues (2005) measure physical distance adapting an instrument by
Klauss and Bass (1982). Respondents are asked to indicate how close to or how
distant they work from their leaders. Neufeld and colleagues (2010) assess physical
distance with three items used by Kerr and Jermier (1978). Golden and Veiga
(2008) used a method by Wiesenfeld, Raghuram and Garud (1999) to determine the
degree of virtual work by asking respondents to indicate their average amount of a
work week spent working in virtual mode. Antonakis and Atwater (2002) suggest
to measure physical distance as per objective geographical distance between leader
and follower.
70 2 Literature Review

2.2.5 Leader-Follower Interaction Frequency

Interaction and communication
To understand the impact of communication on the leader-follower relationship it is
important to briefly look into communication theory. Early literature on communi-
cation already highlights the distinction between communication and information
flow. Ruben (1992) defines communication as “an interactive process involving the
transformation of information” (p. 22). The major difference lies within the con-
struction of meaning which is particularly present in communication, whereas in-
formation is not transmitted as such. Conveying meaning through human interac-
tion is often the constraint as interaction is perceived as complex and difficult to
predict and control (Ruben, 1984).
Communication and virtuality become subject to study since technologies have fa-
cilitated interaction over space and time. Yet communication is often regarded as
the major obstacle to be surmounted in virtual team leadership (Zakaria et al.,
2004). Problems could arise in intercultural teams as some cultures are able to es-
tablish relationships and trust more easily, therefore causing issues for other team
members. Consequently, the communication medium must be individualized to the
recipient in order to exchange information effectively.
Modifications in the workplace have occurred mainly due to decentralization and
the resulting need for advances in technology. Recent technologies are seen as ad-
vantageous to global entities, enabling them “to rapidly form teams that are not re-
stricted by geography, time, or organizational boundaries” (Avolio et al., 2001, p.
337). Distances can be overcome by equipping distributed groups with technologi-
cal communication media such as e-mail, telephone conferencing, and videoconfer-
encing (McGrath & Hollingshead, 1994). Leaders and followers must communicate
in order for the work to function (Gibson et al., 2009). Additionally, their responsi-
bility includes creating a comfortable environment for group members to com-
municate and it is the leaders’ responsibility to ensure frequent and open communi-
cation (Cummings, 2008). In distant leader-follower conditions the task of group
work stays the same, yet means and modes of communication change (Herrmann,
Hüneke & Rohrberg, 2012, p. 86). Indeed, frequent communication within the
group as well as with the leaders was found to be positively related to group per-
formance in a study by Cummings (2008) indicating that leader-follower commu-
nication is viable in a distant work environment. Outcomes of the research further
suggest that leaders of high-performing teams use informal face-to-face meetings
more frequently while leaders of rather low-performing groups use more scheduled
virtual communication media. As face-to-face communication occurs less frequent-
2.2 Distance Leadership 71

ly in virtual collaboration, leaders of virtual teams need to know how they can in-
fluence distant team members to achieve expected results. Communication fre-
quency among the team members decreases drastically with distance (Cummings,
2008, p. 46). It is hence not surprising that team effectiveness is a matter of fre-
quent interaction between team members. Interaction should also be scheduled in a
temporal rhythm. This rhythm might be composed of “regular, intense face-to-face
meetings, followed by less intensive shorter interaction incidents using various me-
dia” (Maznevski & Chudoba, 2000, p. 489).
Avolio et al. (2001) illustrate the advantages of recent technologies as enablers for
organizations “to rapidly form teams that are not restricted by geography, time, or
organizational boundaries” (Avolio et al., 2001, p. 337). Communicating over long
distances can pose problems for leaders when it comes to showing transformational
behavior, such as being inspirational, unless followers can see or hear them (Anto-
nakis & Atwater, 2002, p. 698). Yet Kahai, Huang and Jestice (2012) found that
transmitting limited characteristics in a virtual world can still be advantageous.
Leaders engaging in transformational behaviors were particularly found to be suc-
cessful and encouraged group interaction.
According to Balthazard and colleagues (2009) the most common way to evaluate
emergent or trans-formational leadership is simply to ask team members which in-
dividual they perceive to be the group leader. In a virtual setting, however, the au-
thors found that – unlike in face-to-face teams – personality traits do not encourage
the emergence of transformational leadership perceptions. This might be due to the
fact that the individuals do not usually meet in person. Instead, communication is
used as a substitute to drive the relationship between personality characteristics and
perceptions of transformational leadership (Balthazard et al., 2009). How and how
often individuals communicate could therefore impact the emergence of transfor-
mational leadership. Researchers thus agree that virtual team leaders require differ-
ent leadership skills than traditional leaders (Caulat, 2006; Hambley et al., 2007a).
In a study on global virtual teams in Europe, Mexico and the United States by
Kayworth and Leidner (2002), leadership effectiveness was found to be mostly re-
lated to mentoring abilities of leaders when acting in a virtual environment. Out-
comes indicate effective leadership to be related to team members’ perception of
effective communication, communication satisfaction, and the capability of leaders
to establish role clarity among the virtual team members. Effective leaders commu-
nicated frequently with team members, provided detailed information, and an-
swered rapidly. Particularly, motivational and mentoring activities affecting the
value-oriented side of the subordinate can be used to alter perceptions.
72 2 Literature Review

Hoyt and Blascovich (2003) discovered differences in quantitative and qualitative

performance when collaborating in a virtual environment. Groups performed better
quantitatively under transactional leaders in both, face-to-face and virtual teams.
However, under transformational leadership the oppo-site was found. Here both,
face-to-face and virtual teams showed better qualitative performance. For tasks that
depend on qualitative outcomes, findings suggest transformational leadership is
more effective, whereas for repetitive tasks where output counts, transactional be-
haviors might be more effective.
In an academic study by Kelloway, Barling, Comtois and Gatien (2003) students
were found to differentiate between different leadership styles when e-mail mes-
sages were exchanged. Until then, it has not been clear whether receivers of mes-
sages could detect different leadership styles simply by reading e-mails. The study
shows that individuals can distinguish and respond to different leadership styles
even when communication is solely electronic. The findings from the previous par-
agraph suggest that it is valid to predict physical distance to have a moderating ef-
fect on the relationship between leadership behavior and follower performance.
Hambley, O’Neill and Kline (2007b) explored effects of transformational and
transactional leadership styles, and means of communication on team outcomes.
The researchers found that the impact of leadership style on constructive team in-
teraction did not significantly depend on the types of media employed. Teams did
not interact more defensively using less rich media either. Team cohesion was also
not predicted by the usage of less or more rich means of communication. Finally,
tests revealed that communication media did not have a significant impact on task
performance; yet, richer media seemed to have some positive influence on team
interaction. Summarizing the study, findings indicate that leadership behavior has
only limited impact on predicting team outcomes, considering communication
through rich or less rich media. Outcomes suggest that teams do interact differently
or more defensively through less rich media and declare videoconferencing and
chat to be a possible alternative to face-to-face interaction.
Subsequent findings supported the assumption that leadership effects rely on com-
munication media (Kahai et al., 2012, p. 743). Results of one study indicate that the
effect of leadership behavior on work-related outcomes is moderated by media
richness (Huang et al., 2010). The decision whether rich or lean media should be
used is the responsibility of leaders in the coordination function (Cascio, 2000). In
order to differentiate between rich and lean media it is required to check which type
of media is appropriate for which situation. Media richness is determined as “ca-
pacity to process rich information” (Daft & Lengel, 1986, p. 560); thus denoted by
2.2 Distance Leadership 73

its capacity for language variety, multiple cues, immediate feedback, and personali-
zation. Rich media (e.g., telephone, videoconferencing, face-to-face meetings) is
more suitable for situations in which complex communication is required, whereas
lean media (e.g., mail, e-mail, fax, chat) channels are suited to standardized rou-
tines. In situations in which lean media is used, transactional leadership encourages
task cohesion and transformational leadership develops a cooperative environment
(Huang et al., 2010). When media is utterly rich, these effects diminish. E-mail is
mainly used to facilitate the organization of collaboration and to improve commu-
nication, whereas teleconferencing (and nowadays videoconferencing) is used to
replace face-to-face meetings and progress reports. Team leaders use telephone
conferences multiple times per day to receive status updates. Specific information
is often distributed through online document sharing software (Bradner & Mark,
2008, p. 57).
Research confirms that a high level of information exchange results in a better team
performance (Weisband, 2002). However, this is true only to a certain extent. Pa-
trashkova and McComb (2004) found that performance increased with the degree
of communication until a mid-level frequency is reached but then remains stable
and does not improve further. Specifically, text-only usage was found to result in
better performance than audio-only communication (Baker, 2002, p. 88). The addi-
tion of video to text-only showed lower output, whereas the addition of video to
audio-only caused slightly higher output. A study by Hambley et al. (2007b) found
team interaction scores were almost equal for videoconference and chat teams and
equally cohesive. Videoconferencing as such is therefore not regarded as a substan-
tial improvement over chat. However, when teams used videoconferencing it cost
them less time to fulfill a task compared to when using chat media. Results indicate
that in situations where teams cannot meet face-to-face, using functionalities of
videoconferencing may be a feasible alternative (Baker, 2002; Hambley et al.,
Kelley and Kelloway (2012) investigated effects of contextual factors on percep-
tions of leadership style. Four predominant contextual aspects, namely perceived
control, regularly scheduled communication, unplanned communication, and prior
knowledge (of the history between group members) were evaluated in predicting
perceptions of transformational leadership (p. 444). For the remote sample, trans-
formational leadership predicted job satisfaction, organizational commitment, and
manager trust. Transformational leadership was further predicted by perceived con-
trol, regularly scheduled communication, unplanned communication, and prior
knowledge. For the proximal group, perceived control and unplanned communica-
tion predicted perceptions of transformational leadership. Correlations in the prox-
74 2 Literature Review

imal and distant sample vary in strength, indicating that the four selected contextual
factors are not as important in a close setting.
Hoch and Kozlowski (2014) studied effects of hierarchical leadership, structural
supports, and shared leadership on team performance, controlling for influences of
team virtuality. The researchers found influences of hierarchical leadership to be
destabilized when teamwork is conducted predominantly virtually. Diminished
leadership behaviors should thus be replaced. Under increasing levels of virtuality,
structural supports, such as reward systems and communication and information,
were more strongly related to team performance than hierarchical leadership.
Shared team leadership predicted team performance positively, regardless of the
level of virtuality.

Assessing interaction-frequency
Interaction frequency describes a repetitive communication behavior in a specific
situation or an environment that a dyadic relationship is based on. Yet, a clear dis-
tinction is required from LMX theory, as interaction does not directly imply a well-
established leader-follower relationship (Antonakis & Atwater, 2002, p. 687). Ap-
plied as a situational variable (Yukl, 1999), frequency of communication between
leader and followers was found to influence the leader-follower relationship. The
variable was repeatedly linked to moderation effects of (virtual) dyadic relation-
ships and performance (e.g., Kacmar et al., 2003; Napier & Ferris, 1993). As the
focus of the present study lies on the relationship quality between leaders and direct
reports when working at great physical distance from one another, interaction fre-
quency might be even more relevant in this context. It is assumed that most long-
distance interaction is conducted via digital media and software. Antonakis and
Atwater (2002) even argue to treat perceived interaction frequency as determinant
of leader-follower distance, being defined as the “degree to which leaders interact
with their followers” (p. 686).
Interaction frequency can be assessed by different items. Kirkman and colleagues
(2004) suggest taking frequency of face-to-face meetings into account when study-
ing virtual team leadership. The researchers assessed the number of face-to-face
meetings with the question “How many times did your entire team meet face-to-
face in the past year?” Using a sample of 254 distribution service employees,
Kacmar et al. (2003) applied a four-item scale developed by McAllister (1995) al-
lowing for responses on a seven-point Likert scale by asking questions such as
“How often do you and your manager talk about work?” (pp. 765-766). Although
2.2 Distance Leadership 75

the scale showed proper reliability (α = .85) it is still regarded as unsuitable for this
research as the type of media channel is completely ignored.
Table 2 below summarizes the outcomes of the literature review systematically and
supports a thor-ough overview of previous academic findings. Up to this point the
main differences of distance leadership, e-leadership, and virtual leadership (with
additional attention given to virtual teams) have been outlined. Furthermore, two
key variables causing a context to be noted as distant (according to state-of-the-art
work by Antonakis and Atwater, 2002) have been explained, namely physical dis-
tance and interaction frequency. Yet, distance, due to its multidimensional nature,
is more than simply geographical distribution or the extent of communication. For
this particular reason, and, considering that without explaining other dimensions of
distance, this work would simply be incomplete, the sequences following the table
briefly discuss other relevant forms of distance that have recently been considered
in academic research.

Table 2. Leadership Behavior and Work-Related Outcomes: Effects of Physical Distance,

Relationship Quality, and Interaction Frequency
Variables and Operationali-
Author(s) Sample Results
LMX and active management-by-exception
n1 = 109 (bank
directly and positively predict follower
managers) IV: Transformational and
Howell & Gender: 95% male transactional leadership,
Transformational leadership is more effective
Hall- A: 48 years LMX
in predicting follower performance under
Merenda Tenure: 25 years DV: Follower performance
close conditions
(1999) CV: Length of time direct
Relationships between transformational, con-
n2 = 317 (employ- reports reported to a
tingent reward, active and passive man-
ees) specific leader
agement-by-exception and follower per-
G: 52% male MV: Physical distance
formance are moderated by physical dis-
A: 44 years
Tenure: 20 years
Leadership effectiveness is mostly related to
IV: Leadership roles, per- mentoring abilities of leaders when acting
ceived role clarity, communi- in a virtual environment
Kayworth Europe, Mexico &
cation effectiveness, commu- Results indicate effective leadership to be
& Leidner USA
nication satisfaction, extent of related to team members’ perceptions of
(2002) n = 13 (student
communication technology effective communication, communication
use, team effectiveness satisfaction, and the capability of leaders to
DV: Leader effectiveness establish role clarity among virtual team
76 2 Literature Review

Variables and Operationali-

Author(s) Sample Results
Groups perform better quantitatively under
transactional leaders (in both face-to-face
IV: Transformational and
and virtual teams)
Groups perform better qualitatively under
USA leadership
Hoyt & transformational leadership (in both face-
n = 144 (students) DV: Qualitative performance,
Blascovich to-face and virtual teams)
G: 58% male self-efficacy, collective effi-
(2003) Relationship between leadership style and
A: 19.26 years cacy, trust in leaders, value
group cohesiveness and leadership satis-
congruence, leadership satis-
faction are moderated by trust in leaders
faction, cohesiveness
Followers express more trust in transforma-
tional leaders than in transactional leaders
Individuals are able to differentiate between
different leadership styles when e-mails
IV: Charisma, intellectual
are exchanged
Kelloway, Aspects of transformational leadership can
DV: Individual performance,
Barling, Canada have an influence on task or attitude out-
group performance,
Comtois & n = 105 (students) comes when electronic communication is
Gatien applied
CV: Charisma, intellectual
(2003) Individuals can detect and respond to different
leadership styles even if only electronic
communication is exercised
n1 = 188 (distribu-
tion services in- LMX is positively related to performance
dustry) ratings by supervisors
Gender: 77% IV: LMX Frequency of communication moderates the
female DV: Job-performance ratings relationship between LMX and job-
Kacmar, by managers performance ratings
Zivnuska, n2 = 59 (managers CV: Gender, age, minority In high LMX relationships, the more frequent-
Witt & of a tax collection status differences, organi- ly supervisor and subordinates communi-
Gully agency) zational tenure, tenure with cate with each other, the higher are job
(2003) G: 37% female supervisor performance ratings
A: 42 years MV: Communication fre- In low LMX quality relationships, the more
quency frequently the two parties communicate,
n3 = 203 the more the job performance ratings de-
G: 47% female crease
A: 46 years
n = 280 (35 teams
At the individual level of analysis empower-
in the travel indus-
ment is positively linked to managerial
IV: Team empowerment performance, innovation, job satisfaction,
G: 31% male
Kirkman, DV: Process improvement, and organizational commitment and nega-
A: 4% less than
Rosen, customer satisfaction tively linked to turnover intentions
25 years,
Tesluk & CV: Team size, task interde- To enhance virtual team process improvement
17% 26–35 years,
Gibson pendence and customer satisfaction managers should
45% 36–45 years,
(2004) MV: Number of face-to-face increase team empowerment
28% 46–55 years,
meetings Virtuality moderates the relationship between
6% over 55 years
team empowerment and process improve-
Team tenure: 2.4
2.2 Distance Leadership 77

Variables and Operationali-

Author(s) Sample Results
Transformational leadership positively pre-
dicts business unit performance
Contingent reward leadership is not related to
n1 = 101 (senior
IV: Transformational leader- business unit performance
ship, contingent reward Physical distance negatively moderates the
leadership effect of transformational leadership on
A: 48 years
Howell, DV: Business unit perfor- business unit performance
G: 97% male
Neufeld & mance -under close conditions transformational
Tenure: 24 years
Avolio CV: Leader-follower interac- leadership predicts business unit perfor-
(2005) tion, length of leader- mance
n2 = 308 branch
follower relationship, leaders’ -under distant conditions, transformational
job tenure leadership does not predict business unit
G: 52% male
MV: Physical distance performance
A: 44 years
Physical distance positively moderates the
Tenure: 24 years
effect of contingent reward leadership on
business unit performance
Transformational leadership correlates posi-
n1 = 81 (leaders)
tively with task performance and organiza-
G: 74% male IV: Transformational leader-
Wang, tional citizenship behavior
A: 36 years ship
Law, LMX shows similar results correlating with
Tenure: 10 years DV: Organizational citizen-
Hackett, task performance and organizational citi-
ship behavior (OCB), task
Wang & zenship behavior
n2 = 162 (follow- performance
Chen LMX fully mediates the effects of transforma-
ers) MedV: Leader-member ex-
(2005) tional leadership on performance (for both
Gender: 50% male change
task performance and organizational citi-
A: 32 years
zenship behavior)
Tenure: 8 years
LMX differentiation does neither predict indi-
vidual performance nor group performance
n = 834 (120
Individual LMX does positively predict indi-
teams and leaders) IV: Individual LMX, LMX
vidual performance
Individual LMX moderates the relationship
Leaders DV: Individual performance,
between LMX differentiation and individ-
Liden, G: 65.8% male group performance
ual performance
Erdogan, Tenure: 13 years CV: Employee organizational
For teams with high task interdependence,
Wayne & Position tenure: tenure, leaders’ organization-
LMX differentiation positively predicts
Sparrowe 3.34 years al tenure, organization, group
group performance
(2006) size, average individual per-
LMX median moderates the relation between
Group members formance
LMX differentiation and group perfor-
G: 56.1% male MV: Individual LMX, LMX
Tenure: 9.37 years median, task interdependence
For groups with a low median, LMX differen-
Position tenure:
tiation is positively and significantly relat-
3.38 years
ed to team performance
78 2 Literature Review

Variables and Operationali-

Author(s) Sample Results
The impact of leadership style on constructive
team interaction is not significantly depen-
dent on the type of communication media
Interaction between leadership style and
communication medium on team cohesion
IV: Transformational leader- does not result in significant outcomes
Canada ship, transactional leadership, Richer media has positive influence on con-
Hambley, structive team interaction
n = 228 (under- communication media
O’Neill & Face-to-face teams show higher constructive
graduate students) DV: Team constructive inter-
Kline interaction than chat teams
G: 87% female action, task performance,
(2007b) Teams do not interact defensively by using
A: 23.8 years team cohesion
less rich media
Face-to-face and videoconferencing result in
higher team cohesion than communication
through less rich media
Task performance is not predicted by the use
of different communication media
Spatial distance and cultural distance
show indirect effects on leadership
IV: Spatial distance, relation- Spatial distance influences relationship
n = 100
ship distance, cultural distance positively
G: 76% male
distance Cultural distance reveals positive ef-
A: 36 years
DV: Leadership effectiveness fects on relationship distance
Eichenberg Tenure: 7 years
MedV: Task orientation, team Relationship distance reports a strong
(2007) Tenure with lead-
member orientation, use of negative association with leadership
er: 25.05 months
incentivized compensation, effectiveness
Tenure with dis-
usage of rich communication Among the three distance components,
tant leader: 18.33
media relationship has the strongest ef-
fects and to act as essential tie in a
working distant leader-follower re-
Team members with high LMX relationships
show higher organizational commitment
when working frequently in virtual mode
compared to those whose virtual work is
Members with low quality LMX relationships
display less commitment when working
n = 375
IV: LMX frequently virtually compared to those with
(spend 25% of
DV: Organizational commit- less virtual work
their work virtual-
Golden & ment, job satisfaction, job Virtuality moderates the influence of LMX on
Veiga performance job satisfaction
G: 55% male
(2008) CV: Gender, dyad tenure, For high LMX members, job satisfaction is
A: 42 years
tenure as virtual worker highest when working frequently virtually
Virtual work exp.:
MV: Degree of virtual work For team members with low LMX relation-
20 months
ships, job satisfaction is lower when work-
ing more virtually
Degree of virtuality moderates the link be-
tween LMX and job performance
Job performance is higher when working at a
high degree of virtuality, irrespective of
LMX quality
2.2 Distance Leadership 79

Variables and Operationali-

Author(s) Sample Results
IV: Individual LMX Coworkers’ LMX moderates the relationship
DV: Job satisfaction, organi- between individual LMX and job satisfac-
Mayer, n1 = 185 employ-
zational commitment, compe- tion, organizational commitment, and per-
Keller, ees (38 groups)
tence perceptions, group ceptions of competence
Leslie &
identification, organiza- Relationships are stronger when coworkers’
Hanges n2 = 904 employ-
tional citizenship behavior, LMX is high
(2008) ees (195 depart-
deviance, performance Outcomes are more promising when individu-
MV: Coworkers’ LMX al and coworkers’ LMX are constant
By cultivating socialized relationships with
team members, inspirational leaders are
able to foster attitudes directed at the col-
lective team entity
USA, France,
Inspirational leaders are important in all con-
Germany, UK,
texts but are more important in highly dis-
The Netherlands, IV: Inspirational leadership,
persed contexts
Italy, Japan, Ko- team dispersion
In highly dispersed settings, leaders can be the
rea, Australia DV: Commitment to the
critical link for facilitating commitment
Joshi, n = 171 (41 teams team, trust in team members,
and trust
Lazarova of service em- team performance
Trust and commitment may be key mecha-
& Liao ployees of a For- CV: Employee tenure in the
nisms by which individuals can overcome
(2009) tune 500 multina- organization, tenure in the
physical distance and enhance team effec-
tional company) team, employee age, gender,
G: 73% male overall team size, level of
Inspirational leadership is found to be facilitat-
Tenure: 5 years face-to-face interaction
ing in dispersed work settings
Team tenure: 2
The importance of self-management in teams
is often emphasized, yet the results of this
study imply certain aspects of leadership to
have a pivotal role for influencing im-
portant outcomes in dispersed settings
LMX and interactional justice are found to be
distinct concepts reflecting elements of
IV: Transformational leader- leader-follower relationships
ship LMX and interactional justice form mutual
DV: Organizational citizen- relations
United States ship, task performance LMX and interactional justice explain vari-
n = 228 (alumni) CV: Dyad tenure, unit size, ances of each other accounting for being
kis, Field
supervisor tenure, follower aspects of the leader-follower relationship
tenure Transformational leadership stimulates leader-
MedV: Interactional justice, follower dyadic relationships
LMX Followers are able to interpret relationships
and the quality of their leader-follower re-
lationship does impact job performance
80 2 Literature Review

Variables and Operationali-

Author(s) Sample Results
Research center performance fully mediates
the relationship between LMX and satis-
USA faction with the research center
n1 = 52 (university Research center performance fully mediates
IV: LMX, Trust
administrators) the relation between trust and satisfaction
Davis & DV: Satisfaction, commit-
n2 = 96 (directors with the research center
Bryant ment to research center
of Industry/ Research center performance fully mediates
(2010) MedV: Research center per-
University Coop- the relationship between trust and satisfac-
erative Research tion with the research center
Centers Research center performance predicts satisfac-
tion and commitment to the research center
LMX and trust do not mediate any relationship
Results confirm a significant positive link
between transformational leadership be-
havior and perceived leadership perfor-
Canada The relationship between transactional contin-
n1 = 41 leaders gent reward leadership and performance is
IV: Transformational leader-
G: 85% male not supported
ship, transactional contin-
A: 35.9 years Physical distance has neither influence on
gent reward leadership, phys-
Tenure: 89.9 leadership performance nor communica-
ical distance
Neufeld, months tion effectiveness
DV: Leadership performance
Wan & Physical distance doesn’t have to be a barrier
CV: Length of leader–
Fang n2 = 138 followers to effective leadership
follower relationship, follow-
(2010) G: 55% male Leadership is positively linked to communica-
er job tenure, leader–follower
A: 35.8 years tion effectiveness for both transformational
interaction frequency
Tenure: 86.8 and transactional contingent reward leader-
MedV: Communication effec-
months ship
Tenure with lead- Communication effectiveness is linked to
er: 23.6 months perceived leadership performance
Communication effectiveness is a significant
mediator of transformational and transac-
tional contingent reward on leadership per-
Results suggest that self-leadership acts as a
process factor that determines motivation
IV: Transformational leader-
International Team leader virtuality has moderating effects
n = 116 team on the relation between transformational
Andressen, 1 DV: Self-leadership, motiva-
leaders leadership and self-leadership
Konradt & tion, affective commit-
Transformational leadership has a lower influ-
Neck ment items, job performance
n2 = 681 employ- ence on self-leadership in virtual team set-
(2012) MV: Virtuality (frequency of
ees (129 teams) tings, where the team leader works physi-
computer-mediated commu-
G: 59% male cally distant from the team members
nication and physical dis-
A: 36 years Self-leadership has a higher influence on mo-
tivation in virtual work structures than in
co-located work structures
2.2 Distance Leadership 81

Variables and Operationali-

Author(s) Sample Results
For the remote sample transformational lead-
ership predicts job satisfaction, organiza-
tional commitment, and manager trust
IV: Perceived control, regu-
Transformational leadership is predicted by
larly scheduled commu-
perceived control, regularly scheduled
nication, unplanned commu-
communication, unplanned communica-
n = 402 nication, prior knowledge
Kelley & tion, and prior knowledge
G: 48.8% male DV: Job satisfaction, organi-
Kelloway For the proximal group perceived control and
A: 67% between zational commitment, manag-
(2012) unplanned communication are associated
30 and 50 years er trust
with perceptions of transformational lead-
CV: Age, gender
MedV: Transformational
Correlations in the proximal and distant sam-
ple vary in strength indicating that contex-
tual factors are not as important in a close
IV: Hierarchical leadership
(transformational leadership,
International LMX, career mentoring),
n = 565 team structural support (reward
members (101 systems, communication and Influences of hierarchical leadership diminish
virtual R&D information), shared team when teamwork is conducted predominant-
teams) leadership (cognitive team ly virtual
learning, affective team sup- At increasing levels of virtuality, structural
Hoch & Followers port, behavioral member- supports such as reward systems and
Kozlowski G 77.1% male member exchange) communication and information are more
(2014) A: 37 years DV: Team performance strongly related to team performance than
Team tenure: 4.18 CV: Gender, age, task inter- hierarchical leadership
years dependence, number of pro- Shared team leadership predicts positive team
jects a team member was performance, regardless of the level of vir-
Leaders working on tuality
G: 89.1% male MV: Team virtuality (geo-
Tenure: 4.23 years graphic distribution, elec-
tronic communication, cultur-
al background)

Note. IV = independent variable, DV = dependent variable, CV = control variable, MV = moderating

variable, MedV = mediating variable; demographic variables reflect averages, G = gender, A = age

2.2.6 Distance Dimensions: Potential Influencers of the Leader-Follower Relation

Potential dimensions of leader-follower distance employed in leadership literature
have been the subject of this investigation. Napier and Ferris (1993) were among
the first to observe leader-follower distance to be “a multidimensional construct
that describes the psychological, structural, and functional separation, disparity, or
discord between a supervisor and a subordinate” (Napier & Ferris, 1993, p. 326). In
the early 1990s, the authors identified three elements influencing the overall con-
struct: (1) psychological distance, (2) structural distance, and (3) functional dis-
tance. In their conceptual work, Antonakis and Atwater (2002) underline the multi-
82 2 Literature Review

dimensional layout of the construct by encompassing (4) perceived social (or psy-
chological) distance, (5) physical distance, and (6) perceived frequency of leader-
follower interaction. The scholars establish the hypothesis that distances can coex-
ist and are not mutually exclusive. Wilson, O’Leary, Metiu and Jett (2008) discuss
(7) perceived proximity as a factor that might influence the dyadic relationship be-
tween leaders and followers. Liberman and Trope (2008) assert distance to be more
than the contextual factor that it was once applied as. For them, distance comprises
a feature of circumstances, such as (8) dissimilarities between leaders and followers.
The following section aims to clarify distance dimensions recently applied in or-
ganizational leadership research.

Psychological distance
Napier and Ferris (1993) build a broad foundation for subsequent research on lead-
er-follower distance with a conceptual publication. The scientists refer to psycho-
logical distance as differences or similarities in characteristics such as age, race,
socio-demographic variables, and perceived power distance. Research in all fields
has shown that these are rather applied as control variables. Measuring socio-
demographic differences is especially restricted as instrumental indicators of race
or perceived power distance are missing. In addition, differences in age do not nec-
essarily need to be associated with leader-subordinate distance (Avolio et al., 2004;
Joshi et al., 2009). Popper (2013) claims that psychological distance is a subjective
construct in which refers more to leaders’ traits than to their behavior. Followers
allocate organizational successes and failures largely to their leaders simply accord-
ing to the information they have (Jaquart & Antonakis, under rev.).

Structural distance
Structural distance refers to the actual physical distance between work spaces of
leaders and followers as well as to organizational characteristics (Napier & Ferris,
1993). The dimension further encompasses elements of hierarchical distance and
implies features of perceived frequency of leader-follower interaction (Antonakis &
Atwater, 2002). The dimension is characterized by little face-to-face interaction
and is known to create challenges that can severely affect the performance of dis-
tant teams. Quality of exchange is negatively affected by structural distance (Bass,
1990). Avolio and colleagues (2004) define structural distance as the variance in
direct and indirect contact between the parties.
2.2 Distance Leadership 83

Functional distance
Napier and Ferris (1993) express functional distance to be “the degree of closeness
and quality of the functional working relationship between the supervisor and sub-
ordinate; […] whether the subordinate is a member of the in-group or the out-group
of the supervisor” (p. 337). Comprising the four dimensions of affect, perceptual
congruence, latitude, and relationship quality, functional distance is rooted in LMX
theory (Graen, 1976). One popular influence on the leader-follower relationship is
trust, which the affect dimension entails. Today numerous independent studies are
concentrating on the development of trust in close and distant contexts (DeRosa et
al., 2004; Kanawattanachai & Yoo, 2002; Schaubroeck et al., 2011). Napier and
Ferris (1993) explain that single dimensions of functional distance are congruent
with similarity. Similarity, however, is associated with intrinsic values and might
therefore not refer to externalities, such as context (Shamir, 2013). This dimension
overlaps with Antonakis and Atwater’s (2002) perceived leader-follower interac-
tion frequency. According to these researchers, close leaders interact more fre-
quently with their subordinates than distant leaders do. High structural distance fur-
ther is expected to have negative effects on subordinate performance (Napier &
Ferris, 1993). Conversely, higher interaction frequency showed increased perfor-
mance and greater satisfaction of subordinates. Still, a high quantity of interaction
is not necessarily related to a high quality of communication (Antonakis & Atwater,
2002, p. 687).

Social distance
Human interaction refers to how people act and react with others surrounding them
within a specific environment (Wassenaar & Pearce, 2012, p. 363). The organiza-
tional context can be seen as dependent on continuous interaction between parties
establishing social bonds. Social roles further appear as a matter of identity that
team members need to determine by defining their role in the organization and rela-
tionships they wish to engage in (Schein, 2010). Social interaction is often a matter
of subjectivity, which makes universal definitions particularly difficult. Early con-
siderations by Park (1924) describe social distance as "the degree of understanding
and intimacy, which characterize personal and social relations” (p. 339). Shamir
(1995) refers to social distance as the degree of direct relationship between two par-
ties. Antonakis and Atwater (2002) characterize social distance as “perceived dif-
ferences in status, rank authority, social standing, and power, which affect the de-
gree of intimacy and social contact that develop between followers and their leader”
(p. 682), following early approaches by Napier and Ferris’s (1993) definition of
psychological distance and Bass’s (1990) portrayal of psychosocial distance. Prag-
84 2 Literature Review

matically, social distance is outlined as perceived closeness between individuals by

Dufwenberg and Muren (2006).
Distinctions between socially close and distant leaders have long been subject to
vague assumptions. Shamir (1995) was one of the first researchers to incorporate
social distance in empirical investigations. The researcher proposed socially-close
charismatic leaders to differ from socially-distant charismatic leaders. From an ef-
fectiveness point of view, socially distant leaders are often viewed as authoritarian
leaders, whereas the relationship between socially close leaders and followers is too
intimate to achieve that condition (Katz & Kahn, 1978). Being socially distant is
therefore assumed to be highly feasible, since greater respect between leaders and
followers is established (Antonakis & Atwater, 2002). Socially close leaders en-
gage in interpersonal interactions and discussions about their personal life, whereas
socially distant supervisors lay the focus on role-modeling and communication.
Empirical results by Gibson, Cooper and Conger (2009) counter this postulation.
Their findings reveal that for goal accomplishment and constructive conflict, team
performance is higher when leader and team have similar perceptions and operate
in an environment of little social distance. Social closeness is perceived as positive
by followers since it allows for custom-made building of confidence between the
parties (Yagil, 1998). Highlighting interpersonal interactions and examples from
personal life socially close leaders lay the focus on role modeling and might identi-
fy themselves more strongly with their followers (Antonakis & Atwater, 2002).
Social closeness is experienced as positive by followers as it allows for custom-
made building relationships and strengthening confidence between the parties (Ya-
gil, 1998, p. 172).
Research further suggests that social distance moderates the way trust is developed
between leaders and followers. Shamir (1995) observed that socially close leaders
are capable of engaging in transactional behavior. This was found to be beneficial
in establishing trusting relationships. Shared social values which focus on the mis-
sion and goal of teamwork might further lead to collective team unity (Bass, 1985;
Joshi et al., 2009). For goal accomplishment and constructive conflict, team per-
formance was found to be higher if leaders and team members have similar percep-
tions (Gibson et al., 2009). As transactional leadership focuses on goal-setting ac-
tivities where deadlines need to be met, social distance might turn out to be favora-
ble for the accomplishment of goals or achieving a set degree of performance (An-
tonakis & Atwater, 2002, p. 685).
Despite theoretical abstractions on the existence and impact of social distance on
the leader-follower relationship, only few empirical investigations have been exe-
2.2 Distance Leadership 85

cuted to date. This might be due to the variety of definitions of social distance as
well as lacking methods of operationalization. Emphasizing the potential of social
distance as an impact factor on leader-subordinate relationships, the first study to
confirm this postulation was conducted by Cole et al. (2009), investigating the ef-
fects of transformational leadership on follower outcomes by controlling for mod-
erating effects of social distance. Adapting Antonakis and Atwater’s (2002) sugges-
tion, the researchers operationalized social distance as the difference in hierarchy
level between top managers and respective followers using a hierarchy score. In
their investigation, transformational leaders were discovered to empower subordi-
nates by enhancing their sense of belonging and reinforcing positive beliefs (Cole
et al., 2009). Results show that social distance might function as reducer, neutral-
izer and/or enhancer of follower outcomes. Concretely, for the influence of trans-
formational leadership on followers’ outcomes, social distance acted as reducer or
neutralizer, whereas for positive emotional climate and collective efficacy beliefs,
it enhanced effects (Cole et al., 2009, p. 1720).

Psychic distance
Psychic distance encompasses the factors determining the flow of information be-
tween organization and market (Johanson & Wiedersheim-Paul, 1975). This ex-
change of information might be influenced by home and foreign culture or lan-
guage (Evans, Treadgold & Mavondo, 2000). Sousa and Lages (2011) define psy-
chic distance as “the individual’s perceived differences between the home and the
foreign country” (p. 203). Used equivalently to cultural distance, psychic distance
is measured according to Hofstede’s (2001) cultural dimensions in a research in-
strument developed by Kogut and Singh (1988). Sousa and Lages (2011) however,
differentiate between distance referring to country and people characteristics in the
Psychic Distance Scale. Country characteristics refer to differences such as infra-
structure, development and competitiveness, whereas people characteristics catego-
rize income, lifestyle, purchasing power, and language, among others.

Perceived proximity
Perceived proximity is “a dyadic and asymmetric construct which defines one per-
son’s perception of how close or how far another person is” (Wilson et al., 2008, p.
981). Perceived proximity differs from objective proximity since perceived proxim-
ity is only apparent to the individuals involved. It consists of a cognitive and an
affective element. Whereas the cognitive component is assessed in terms of the ra-
tional state of the focal person, the affective component takes emotional elements
into account.
86 2 Literature Review

Wilson and colleagues (2008) claim that working at a high level of distance does
not necessarily lead teams to a sensation of perceived distance by any of the in-
volved individuals. The researchers suggest physical proximity and perceived prox-
imity at best to be mediated, with communication and identification having even
bigger effects on perceived proximity. Communication as well as identification is
expected to lower the perceived distance between leaders and subordinates. The
more detail in which one is able to imagine the other, the less distant they perceive
themselves from their counterpart, due to a declining feeling of uncertainty. Com-
mon identities (Wilson et al., 2008, p. 986) can be established through creating a
common ground of understanding and stimulating a positive image of one another.
Social proximity may result in robust norms and intensified learning. Communica-
tion may thus reduce perceived distance and, conversely, amplify perceived prox-
imity. Gibson et al. (2009) investigate a similar construct which they refer to as
leader-follower perceptual distance. The authors define distance as “the degree to
which there are significant variations in perceptions of the same social stimulus"
(Gibson et al., 2009, p. 63). Perceived proximity and perceived distance both focus
on the individual’s mental state. Earlier work by Murphy and Ensher (1999) found
that followers with a high degree of self-efficacy were better liked and perceived as
more similar by supervisors. Those subordinates also received higher performance
ratings. Leaders also liked subordinates better, the more extensive job experience
they had.

Perceived similarity / dissimilarity

Perceived similarity was also a component of Napier and Ferris’s investigation
(1993). Comparable to Shamir’s (2013) findings, Napier and Ferris’s research as-
sumes that perceived similarity reinforces psychological distance, demographic
similarity, and value similarity simultaneously. The authors describe perceived sim-
ilarity as “the degree to which an individual believes that (s)he is similar to a target
individual” (Napier & Ferris, 1993, p. 331). Demographic similarity refers to dif-
ferences in socio-demographic variables (e.g., age, gender), whereas values similar-
ity is associated with similarities in values, beliefs, and attitudes between two par-
ties (Napier & Ferris, 1993, pp. 329-332). A longitudinal investigation revealed that
perceived similarity is essentially important in the dyadic leader-follower relation-
ship for the emergence of LMX (Liden, Wayne & Stilwell, 1993). Bauer and Green
(1996, p. 1560) noted that similarity in affectivity is important in early stages of a
leader-member dyad, whereas, in later stages, it is followers’ performance that mat-
2.2 Distance Leadership 87

Liberman and Trope (2008) agree that dissimilarity is an important aspect of dis-
tance although it might not be a dimension of leadership context (Shamir, 2013).
The findings suggest refraining from treating dissimilarity as a dimension of dis-
tance and rather applying its elements as control variables. For Shamir (2013) dis-
similarity however goes beyond perceived differences in age, gender, race, ethnici-
ty or culture, including socially manifested constructs. This becomes obvious when
observing leaders who try to lower the perceived social distance between them-
selves and their followers by deliberately emphasizing similarities.

Chapter summary
This chapter has reviewed modern theories of leadership, discussing and outlining
various definitions of leadership. The results of the literature review indicate that
traditional leadership behaviors that work in a proximate environment may encoun-
ter challenges in a virtual setting. Followers exposed to little face-to-face contact
require empowerment by supervisors and subsequently a higher degree of self-
leadership. Reviewing theory on distance leadership it became clear that no
grounded definition of distance leadership existed. In addition to a vague under-
standing, distance leadership links disciplines of leadership theory with communi-
cation theory and vertical dyad-linkage theory. In the course of the review, Full
Range Leadership has been identified as the most prominent theory in current lead-
ership research. According to the work of many researchers, three distance dimen-
sions have shown to be the potentially main influencers of the leader-follower rela-
tionship: physical distance, relationship quality, and interaction frequency. These
parameters serve as subjects of interest to the following hypotheses.
3.1 Direct Effects of Leadership Behavior on Follower Self-Leadership and Performance 89

3 Hypotheses

Chapter overview
Proceeding from the literature review in the previous chapter, leadership behaviors
and their effects on work-related outcomes will be the topic of investigation for this
work. In addition to direct effects, this research is characterized by the application
of contextual variables. In particular, focus is placed on analyzing influences of
physical distance, relationship quality, and interaction frequency on the leader-
follower relationship. The list of hypotheses is subsequently divided in two sections:
(1) direct effects of leadership behaviors on work-related outcomes, and (2) moder-
ating and mediating roles of physical distance, relationship quality, and interaction
frequency on the influence of leadership behavior on work-related outcomes.
3.1 Direct Effects of Leadership Behavior on Follower Self-Leadership and
Only a few attempts have yet been made to relate leadership behavior to facets of
self-leadership. Using the Self-Leadership Questionnaire by Anderson and Prussia
(1997), Brown and Fields (2011) linked leader self-leadership to perceived leader-
ship behavior. The strongest correlation was found with role-modeling. Practicing
behavior-focused strategies and demonstrating a high degree of self-discipline
might encourage subordinates to follow their leaders’ example. Relating supervi-
sors’ self-leadership behavior to the entire Full Range Leadership Model is first
attempted by Furtner et al. (2013). Leaders’ self-leadership behavior was found to
be positively correlated with perceptions of transformational and transactional
leadership and negatively correlated with perceptions of laissez-faire leadership.
Due to inevitable role-modeling behaviors of leaders (Braun & Fields, 2011) – also
in negative ways – it is expected that transformational and transactional leadership
trigger self-leadership in followers, whereas it is projected that passive leadership is
counterproductive in the emergence of self-leadership in subordinates.

Hypothesis 1.1:
Transformational leadership and transactional leadership behavior both predict
positive follower self-leadership, whereas passive leadership behavior predicts
negative follower self-leadership.

© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden 2017

N. Poser, Distance Leadership in International Corporations,
Advances in Information Systems and Business Engineering,
DOI 10.1007/978-3-658-15223-9_3
90 3 Hypotheses

Transformational and transactional leadership have often been linked to positive

organizational outcomes. Considered a multiple-level phenomenon (Chun, Yam-
marino, Dionne, Sosik & Moon, 2009, p. 689), leadership may occur on organiza-
tional, team, and individual level (Braun, Peus, Weisweiler & Frey, 2013, p. 271).
The researchers discovered a positive relationship between followers’ perceptions
of transformational leadership and job satisfaction on individual level. On team
level, positive correlations between team perceptions of transformational leadership
and team performance were found (Braun et al., 2013). A meta-analytic review by
Judge and Piccolo (2004) revealed that transformational leadership and active traits
of transactional leadership (contingent reward and active management-by-
exception) were significantly and positively related to followers’ satisfaction with
the leader, leader job performance, and leader effectiveness. Transformational
leadership is further expected to enhance identification with the leader (Bass &
Riggio, 2006) acting as role model, providing vision (Michel et al., 2011), and en-
couraging behaviors that foster creativity (Antonakis et al., 2003). Transformation-
al leaders display a high level of self-efficacy which is in turn known to be associ-
ated with higher levels of performance (Cavazotte et al., 2013; Kirkpatrick &
Locke, 1996; Walumbwa et al., 2008). Linking transformational leadership to busi-
ness unit performance, Howell and Avolio (1993) conclude that leaders require a
set of transformational leadership traits in order to execute their function success-
fully. As transformational leaders stimulate intrinsic motivation (Kahai & Avolio,
2008) and empower subordinates through optimism and integrity (Bass & Avolio,
1994), they are expected to generate enhanced follower performance. Team effec-
tiveness was further predicted more strongly by transformational leadership than by
transactional leadership (Howell et al., 2005; Lowe et al., 1996). Executing a ra-
tional exchange process, transactional leadership is considered effective (Judge &
Piccolo, 2004) especially in stable environments (Daft & Lengel, 1998). Encourag-
ing subordinates by emphasizing rewards in return for achievement, transactional
leadership was found to result in high degrees of participation (Kahai & Avolio,
2008). Contingent reward leadership is further associated with effective communi-
cation (Neufeld et al., 2010), performance (Bass & Avolio, 1990), and subordinates’
satisfaction (Mihalcea, 2014). Contradictory to transformational and transactional
leadership, laissez-faire leadership is passive and non-participative (Den Hartog et
al., 1997). The laissez-faire leader is best known to avoid making decisions and to
shrug responsibility (Antonakis et al., 2003). Followers of these leaders might often
feel alone and lack a reliable source of guidance. Predictably, laissez-faire leader-
ship was frequently related to negative and ineffective work-related outcomes (An-
tonakis et al., 2003). Passive management-by-exception (MBEp) showed signifi-
cant negative correlations with follower motivation and leader effectiveness and
3.1 Direct Effects of Leadership Behavior on Follower Self-Leadership and Performance 91

laissez-faire leadership further displayed significant negative correlations with fol-

lowers’ satisfaction with the leader, leader job performance, and leader effective-
ness. The behavior is viewed as counterproductive and may even result in interper-
sonal conflict (Skogstad et al., 2007).

Hypothesis 1.2:
Transformational leadership and transactional leadership behavior both predict
positive follower performance, whereas passive leadership behavior predicts nega-
tive follower performance.

Rooted in self-management, self-leadership emerged in the early 1980s mainly un-

der the influence of work by Manz and Sims. By redesigning work processes, self-
leadership strategies potentially shift the focus from unpleasant to pleasant features.
Individuals who further devote their mental energy to pleasant tasks stimulate their
intrinsic motivation (Manz, 1986). Manz and Neck (2004) identified three major
strategies underlying the concept of self-leadership. Behavior-focused strategies
emphasize behavioral aspects of the self; i.e., reward is mainly the result of a cer-
tain behavior. Natural reward strategies focus on the intrinsic joy of a task; i.e., by
adding pleasant tasks or shifting the focal point from unpleasant to pleasant aspects,
the nature of the task itself might improve. Constructive thought patterns include
self-leadership strategies that are directed toward mental and cognitive actions one
can undertake; i.e., imagining a handshake after a successful presentation or self-
talk, to name just two examples. Despite the categorization, all self-leadership
strategies pursue the same goal: to enhance the motivation and improve the perfor-
mance of employees (Manz, 1986).
Uhl-Bien and Graen (1998) were among the first to test influences of self-
management in the public sector. The researchers discovered self-management to
be positively related to employee job satisfaction. Using a sample of 151 students
Prussia et al. (1998) confirmed self-leadership to predict perceptions of self-
efficacy which in turn led to improved individual performance. Team self-
leadership was found to be a predictor of team performance for teams occupied
with conceptual tasks, in an investigation by Stewart and Barrick (2000). Further-
more, individuals lacking self-leadership are more suspicious of the world and ex-
press fear (Dolbier et al. 2001). The researchers related self-leadership to perceived
well-being and discovered negative associations with perceived stress and illness.
In general, empirical outcomes of the study confirm the positive relationship be-
92 3 Hypotheses

tween self-leadership and a more satisfying and effective work environment. Study
outcomes by Politis (2006) show evidence that certain aspects of self-leadership are
indeed related to team member satisfaction. Self-observation, self-goal setting, self-
punishment, and self-reward all positively predicted intrinsic and extrinsic job sat-
isfaction. Those in turn were positively related to non-financial and overall team
performance. Furthermore, self-leadership is expected to promote innovative be-
havior at the work place (Carmeli et al., 2006).
Using an excerpt from the SLQ (Houghton & Neck, 2002), a study by Konradt et al.
(2009) tested for the relationship between self-leadership and performance and re-
trieved empirical evidence for a positive association. A series of studies in the field
of self-leadership was recently undertaken in the German-speaking region by au-
thors Hauschildt and Konradt (2012a; 2012b). Research outcomes showed, among
other things, that self-leadership positively predicted task and team member profi-
ciency. Self-leadership also revealed positive effects on adaptivity and proactivity
of followers on individual and team level.

Hypothesis 1.3:
Follower self-leadership strategies have a direct positive effect on follower perfor-

3.2 Moderation and Mediation Effects of Distance on the Leader-Follower

As the world rapidly changes due to globalization alongside technological trans-
formation, resulting in increased organizational geographic dispersion, transforma-
tional leadership seems to suit today’s requirements of effective leadership (Lowe
et al., 1996). Especially in an unstable and turbulent environment, transformational
leadership shows benefits of supplying confidence and optimism in followers by an
almost heroic leading figure (Furtner & Baldegger, 2013). In cases where charis-
matic leaders are suddenly separated from their subordinates and communication
becomes primarily available via AIT, it is unclear whether the leaders can still yield
the same level of subordinate performance. Empirical evidence shows that distance
can indeed moderate the impact of leadership behavior on follower performance
(e.g., Avolio et al., 2004; Howell et al., 2005) and thus, traditional leadership re-
quires further investigation in the context of a distant environment.
3.2 Moderation and Mediation Effects of Distance on the Leader-Follower Relationship 93

The influence of self-leadership in a physically distant environment has received

inadequate academic attention. Andressen and colleagues (2012) were the first, to
wit, to incorporate self-leadership into a recent investigation of a virtual work con-
text. The authors assessed the role of self-leadership in the leadership/work out-
come relationship, finding that self-leadership acted as a process factor for deter-
mining the motivation of followers. More importantly, virtuality was found to
moderate the relationship between transformational leadership and self-leadership.
The findings indicate that follower self-leadership is less strongly predicted by
transformational leadership when leader-follower distance is high.

Hypothesis 2.1:
Physical distance negatively moderates the influence of leadership behavior on fol-
lower self-leadership strategies.

Similar to its moderating effects on the leadership/self-leadership relationship,

physical distance is also expected to have a moderating effect on the influence of
leadership on followers’ performance. Indications for that assumption are provided
by Howell and Hall-Merenda (1999). It was found that relationships between lead-
ership behavior (transformational, contingent reward, MBEa, and MBEp) and fol-
lower performance were moderated by physical distance. Transformational leader-
ship was found to be more effective in predicting performance under close condi-
tions. Conversely, contingent reward leadership predicted follower performance
under distant conditions. Active management-by-exception led to lower perfor-
mance under distant conditions, whereas passive management-by-exception result-
ed in a decrease in performance under close conditions. Similar outcomes were
published by Howell et al. (2005). The researchers revealed that under distant con-
ditions, transformational leadership failed to predict business unit performance. For
contingent reward leadership the opposite occurred; under close conditions, contin-
gent reward leadership did not predict business unit performance. However, in dis-
tant leader-follower relationships, contingent reward predicted business unit per-

Hypothesis 2.2:
Physical distance negatively moderates the influence of leadership behavior on fol-
lower performance.
94 3 Hypotheses

Since one of the first investigations in this area by Howell and Hall-Merenda
(1999), research looked at distance leadership with more differentiated eyes. Rather
than focusing solely on the geographical aspect of leadership at a distance, academ-
ic work came to recognize the importance of establishing high quality relationships.
Research covering leader-member exchange theory while exploring a physically
distant leader-follower engagement has therefore recently gained attraction (e.g.,
Eichenberg, 2007; Kacmar et al., 2003). Schyns (2013, p. 140) proposes that it may
be more difficult to establish and maintain high quality relationships if leader-
follower physical distance is high.

Hypothesis 2.3:
Physical distance does show negative effects on the quality of relationship.

One of the first investigations on relationship quality to take virtuality into account
was pursued by Golden and Veiga (2008). Summarizing their work, the authors
discovered virtuality to be influential on the relationship between LMX and com-
mitment, job satisfaction, and job performance. Team members in high quality
LMX relationships revealed a high degree of commitment when working virtually.
Members in less-established relationships thus showed less commitment when they
were working in virtual mode. Similarly, job satisfaction was highest when subor-
dinates were working frequently virtually and had well-established relationships.
Limitations of high quality relationships resulted in a decrease of followers’ job
satisfaction. Testing for the influence of virtuality on the LMX/job performance
linkage, it was discovered that LMX - on all levels - was more positively associated
with individual performance when jobs were performed virtually. Assessing medi-
ating effects of LMX on the influence of leadership behavior on work-related out-
comes, Wang et al. (2005) discovered that LMX fully mediated the effects of trans-
formational leadership on performance. The researchers interpreted the outcome to
reveal that LMX makes transformational leadership meaningful to subordinates
(Wang et al., 2005, pp. 429). Carter et al. (2009) assumed LMX to be equally me-
diating the relationship between transformational leadership and follower job per-
formance. The results indicated that both, LMX and interactional justice mutually
mediated this relationship. When regarded alone, LMX still acted as mediator.
Transformational leadership stimulated LMX, while the quality of LMX positively
affected job performance.
3.2 Moderation and Mediation Effects of Distance on the Leader-Follower Relationship 95

Hypothesis 2.4:
Relationship quality mediates the influence of leadership behavior on follower per-

Working together at physical distance increases the need for interaction through
different media channels. Advances in technology have the potential to substitute
for missing face-to-face communication and enhance workplace collaboration even
in the context of dispersion (Duarte & Snyder, 1999). Yet, geographical dispersion
does not have to impede interaction. A study by Neufeld et al. (2010) found that
physical distance does not necessarily have a negative effect on leadership or
communication. The key to leadership effectiveness rather seemed to lie in com-
munication. The researchers discovered communication to have mediating effects
on both transformational and contingent reward leadership on leader performance.
Since both leader archetypes are perceived as good communicators, the combina-
tion of both behaviors positively influenced follower performance. The authors
conclude that without effective communication, leadership becomes irrelevant, par-
ticularly under conditions of physical distance (Neufeld et al., 2010).
The use of digital media facilitates communication although it does not make the
entire work process visual. Therefore, special attention has to be paid to loafing
team members, whereas communicating the quality of their work might be difficult
for others (Bradner & Mark, 2008, p. 67). Compared to face-to-face teams, com-
puter-mediated groups are also more likely to feel ignored, while face-to-face
teams consider themselves more influential than virtual teams (Thompson & Coo-
vert, 2002). If technological support is lacking, the feeling may arise that virtual
teamwork is too complicated (Horwitz et al., 2006).
Kacmar and colleagues (2003) studied the effect of LMX and communication fre-
quency on performance ratings by supervisors. The researchers found that commu-
nication frequency moderated the relationship between LMX and job performance
ratings. For followers who reported frequent interaction with their supervisors,
LMX was more strongly related to positive performance outcomes. For infrequent
communication, the relationship was found to be weak. When LMX quality was
low, frequent interaction led to unfavorable performance ratings, whereas infre-
quent leader-follower interaction led to higher performance ratings. Those follow-
ers who communicated frequently with their managers received the highest job per-
formance ratings while those communicating infrequently received unfavorable
ratings. Another investigation by Patrashkova and McComb (2004) found that per-
96 3 Hypotheses

formance improved with the degree of communication up to a certain level, after

which it remained stable.

Hypothesis 2.5:
Interaction frequency positively moderates the influence of transformational lead-
ership and transactional leadership behavior on follower performance.

Chapter summary
Eight hypotheses are analyzed in this work. The first section is concerned with
three propositions examining direct effects of Full Range Leadership behavior on
the work-related outcomes of self-leadership and performance. The second se-
quence, containing five hypotheses, studies moderation effects of physical distance
and interaction frequency as well as mediation effects of relationship quality. Re-
search methodology and test procedures are outlined in the following chapter.
4.1 Research Question 97

4 Methodology

Chapter overview
Chapter 4 is concerned with the methodological approach of this study. This work
is executed applying quantitative cross-sectional design, built around the central
research question. In order to address the question, the research model visualizes all
variables tested. In the course of this chapter, research instruments are outlined.
Measurement models of independent and dependent variables, moderating and me-
diating variables, and control variables are illustrated. The operationalization of the
research is outlined in the following paragraphs. Prior to execution of the study,
quality is ensured by testing content validity and conducting a preliminary analysis.
Characteristics of the population as well as the sample are described subsequently.
Followers of international corporations, headquartered in Liechtenstein and the
German-speaking region of Switzerland form the population for investigation. Par-
ticular attention is paid to involving a proportion of followers who are led by su-
pervisors at a certain degree of physical distance.

4.1 Research Question

The research question derives from the theoretical framework illustrated in the pre-
vious chapters. Addressing state-of-the-art research in modern leadership, this dis-
sertation takes on fundamental challenges in distance leadership research. Until to-
day, the impact of perceived leadership behaviors on follower self-leadership and
performance taking moderating and mediating effects into account, displays a lack
of sound research. This research follows the latest academic work in this field (e.g.,
Andressen et al., 2012; Chung & Luo, 2013; Hauschildt & Konradt, 2012a, 2012b),
addressing the following research question:
How do physical distance, relationship quality, and interaction frequency impact
the influence of leadership behavior on follower self-leadership and performance in
international corporations?

4.2 Research Design and Research Model

This research follows a quantitative design. Whereas the number of laboratory ex-
periments is rising (e.g., Hoyt & Blascovich, 2003; Kahai et al., 2004), longitudinal
studies are also present (e.g., Carte et al., 2006; Howell & Hall-Merenda, 1999;
Howell et al., 2005). Although the need for longitudinal studies is often understood
© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden 2017
N. Poser, Distance Leadership in International Corporations,
Advances in Information Systems and Business Engineering,
DOI 10.1007/978-3-658-15223-9_4
98 4 Methodology

to reduce the risks of common method bias and causal interferences, cross-sectional
study design is projected to be the most suitable research design for “concrete and
externally oriented constructs, [to] sample highly educated respondents, employ a
diverse array of measurement formats and scales, […] strongly rooted in theory”
(Rindfleisch, Malter, Ganesan & Moorman, 2008, p. 276). Assessing perceptions of
individuals in an under-researched field appears exploratory in nature, thus many
examples have shown that cross-sectional design is favorable in that case (e.g., Bis-
choff & Denhaerynck, 2010; Saju & Buchanan, 2013). Creswell (2013) recom-
mends this approach when theories are tested and variables form the objects of in-
vestigation. Cooper and Schindler (2008) describe quantitative analysis as a method
for responding to questions such as how much, how often, how many, when and
who. Cross-sectional or social survey design approaches (Bryman & Bell, 2011, p.
53) gather data at a fixed point in time (Creswell, 2013, p. 146). The authors sug-
gest using either an experimental approach or a survey to conduct the examination.
With quantitative analyses, variables may be identified and set in relation to each
other. As the problem is undoubtedly identifiable with contextual factors predomi-
nantly left unstudied, Salkind (2003) confirms the use of quantitative empirical
methodology. Figure 5 illustrates the research model underlying this work.
In investigating the stated propositions, the research model guides the empirical
section of this dissertation. Leadership behavior according to FRL serves as basic
theory. Three higher-order predictors can be identified: (1) transformational leader-
ship, (2) transactional leadership, and (3) passive leadership. Work-related out-
comes are determined as: (4) follower self-leadership and (5) follower performance.
The process is described in detail in subsequent sections. The emphasis of the study
lies on the moderating and mediating effects of the intervening variables: (6) physi-
cal distance, (7) relationship quality, and (8) leader-follower interaction frequency.
4.3 Operationalization 99

Figure 5. Research Model


 Relationship quality


 Physical distance
 Interaction frequency

Leadership behavior Follower work-related

 Transformational  Self-leadership
 Transactional  Performance
 Passive
Control variables

 Industry
 Size

 Gender
 Age
 Leadership experience
 Educational background
 Hierarchy level
 Functional area

 Gender
 Age
International corporations  Tenure with leader

4.3 Operationalization
Pursuing empirical goals of a cross-sectional study requires following recommen-
dations for specialized use of questionnaires (Creswell, 2013, p.146). Cross-
sectional design is used to discover variations and patterns in social research, thus a
high number of cases is favorable (Bryman & Bell, 2011, p. 54). A survey assists in
conducting quantitative cross-sectional research as it gathers information in a high-
ly structured way and saves costs and time (Cooper & Schindler, 2008, pp. 215,
226). Survey research can be completed by using different methods of data collec-
100 4 Methodology

tion. For the purpose of this work, online self-administered surveys were used as
they provide accessibility to audiences who otherwise would not have been availa-
ble. Furthermore, surveys received by e-mail are usually perceived as more anony-
mous. By selecting online self-administered questionnaires, interviewer errors such
as sampling errors or data entry errors may be reduced. Respondents may still
cause errors by failing to complete surveys or amending their answers to questions
to render them more socially favorable (Cooper & Schindler, 2008).
Validated English and German language versions of the questionnaires were em-
ployed as data collection took place in international corporations. Although head-
quarters of the companies are all located within the German-speaking part of Swit-
zerland or Liechtenstein, involving a proportion of distantly led followers would
undoubtedly result in a variance of nationalities of respondents. Participants could
select their language preference on the welcoming screen when clicking on the link
directing them to the online survey.
In order to maximize participation in the survey, some guidelines were followed,
especially in those phases when responses could drop. For example, correctness of
e-mail addresses was ensured as e-mails were forwarded by HR gatekeepers from
within the organizations. Furthermore, e-mail subject line and description were
concise to spark interest in the study. Special efforts have been made to ensure in-
structions are understood and participants know what to do at all time during the
The research instruments used in this work consist of multiple independent validat-
ed measurement tools that have been administered to large numbers of respondents
before. The targeted audience received a detailed description of the instrument cov-
ered in the following paragraphs. As described in the literature chapter of this work,
empirical investigations in leadership research have thus far been subject to heavy
criticism as most have focused on the leader as central figure, failing to take either
interactions between leaders and followers or perceptions of leadership into ac-
count (Crevani et al., 2010). The present study confronts this issue by focusing on
the followers because the way leadership is perceived, is essential (Bass, 1990).

4.3.1 Predictor Variables

Leadership behavior
In the first section of the survey followers were asked to provide ratings on their
perceptions of leaders’ leadership behavior according to the dimensions of the FRL
4.3 Operationalization 101

Model. The evolvement of measurements for leadership behaviors is closely related

to the development of Full Range Leadership. The Multifactor Leadership Ques-
tionnaire (Avolio & Bass, 1995) is to date the most widely applied instrument as-
sessing leadership in its subfacets (Lowe et al., 1996). It has, however, been subject
to criticism in various prior studies, as outlined in a meta-analysis by Antonakis et
al. (2003, p. 263). Findings indicate that the MLQ lacks discriminant validity for its
nine-factor structure. Results reveal that the number of discriminant factors range
from one to nine, with five being represented most frequently. Avolio et al. (1995)
claim this to be caused by the elimination of some subscales in most of the studies.
Highlighting this argument, most academic research focuses on the evaluation of
charismatic or transformational leadership, and/or transactional leadership. Results
by Antonakis et al. (2003) nevertheless provide support for the nine-factor-structure
of the MLQ. Particularly, the MLQ 5X short displayed good validity and internal
consistency repeatedly (Zäch, 2014, p. 123).
The current measure of the MLQ 5X comprises 45 items, of which 36 items evalu-
ate the nine sub-dimensions and nine items assess leadership outcomes. According
to the developers, the scale shows internal consistency and satisfactory factor load-
ings (Avolio, Bass & Jung, 1995; Bass & Avolio, 1997). A study by Den Hartog
and colleagues (1997) assessing reliability of the MLQ found transformational
leadership to achieve high Cronbach alpha scores (α = .95). For transactional and
laissez-faire leadership, alpha coefficients were below the suggested criterion of .70.
Transactional leadership showed a low coefficient of α = .60 while the laissez-faire
scale resulted in α = .49. The authors justify this outcome with the fact that the sub-
scale assessing for passive management-by-exception was included in the transac-
tional leadership dimension. When passive management-by-exception was left out
of transactional and included in the passive leadership1 dimension, coefficients in-
creased considerably to .79 for transactional and .72 for the higher-order factor of
passive leadership. The researchers see theoretical and empirical value in using the
three higher-order factor model differentiating between transformational, transac-
tional, and passive leadership. Findings also support the conclusion that there is no
reason to distinguish between passive management-by-exception and laissez-faire
leadership. Intra-dimension correlations were high, whereas correlations with all
other subscales of transformational and transactional leadership show negative ef-
fects (Den Hartog et al., 1997, pp. 32-33). Avolio, Bass and Jung (1999) also dis-
cussed a three-factor option, including one passive factor. This work follows the

1 From this point of the work passive leadership is referred to as consisting of the two subfacets
of passive management-by-exception and laissez-faire leadership.
102 4 Methodology

suggestion by the researchers treating passive management-by-exception as subfac-

et of passive leadership together with the original items for laissez-faire leadership.
Despite the criticism outlined in the literature review, this study builds on previous
work applying the MLQ 5X short as it is the most widely validated and accepted
instrument in academic leadership research resembling subfacets of FRL (Zäch,
2014). Table 3 shows the factor-structure of the MLQ 5X short with example items.
Responses were rated using a five-point Likert scale ranging from 1 = not at all to
5 = frequently, if not always. For participants speaking German, the language ver-
sion by Felfe (2006) was applied.
The higher-order factor of transformational leadership with its subscales (1) ideal-
ized influence (attributed), (2) idealized influence (behavior), (3) inspirational mo-
tivation, (4) intellectual stimulation, and (5) individualized consideration (Bass &
Avolio, 1995) are represented by four items each. Transactional leadership is
measured with also four items each determining (6) contingent reward, and (7) ac-
tive MBE. Eight items are rated on the passive leadership scale, four statements
each representing (8) passive MBE, and (9) laissez-faire leadership.

Table 3. Nine-Factor Structure of the MLQ 5X short with Sample Items

Dimension Sample Items
Transformational leadership
Idealized influence (attributed) I instill pride in others for being associated with me.
Idealized influence (behavior) I talk about my most important values and beliefs.
Inspirational motivation I talk optimistically about the future.
Intellectual stimulation I seek differing perspectives when solving problems.
Individualized consideration I spend time teaching and coaching.
Transactional leadership
Contingent reward I provide others with assistance in exchange for their efforts.
Management-by-exception - active I keep track of all mistakes.
Passive leadership
Management-by-exception - passive I fail to interfere until problems become serious.
Laissez-faire leadership I am absent when needed.

Source: Bass and Avolio (1995)

4.3 Operationalization 103

4.3.2 Outcome Variables

In the first section of the questionnaire, followers were asked to provide a self-
assessment of their self-leadership behavior. For this purpose, the recently created
SLSI by Furtner and Rauthmann (in prep.) was deployed. The SLSI serves as a fur-
ther improvement of the RSLQ. In comparison to the RSLQ, which also comprises
three higher-order factors and nine subscales with 27 items in total, two sub-
dimensions were removed and two others were added. The scales that were re-
moved are self-punishment with four items and evaluating beliefs and assumptions
with five items. These were substituted with group optimization (e.g., “I influence
other group members to optimally achieve our goal”) and performance referencing
(e.g., “I try to improve my performance compared with those of others”). Subscales
of the SLSI comprise three items each.
Based on a sample of 270 students, an exploratory factor analysis was conducted
by the authors. The SLSI demonstrated considerably enhanced reliability and factor
stability compared to the RSLQ by Houghton and Neck (2002) with the exception
of two subscales. For self-analysis and intrinsification, coefficients dropped
from .82 to .79 and .93 to .90 respectively. Cronbach alphas of the RSLQ are illus-
trated in parentheses for comparison. Responses on the SLSI were measured using
a five-point Likert scale ranging from 0 = completely disagree to 4 = completely
agree. Table 4 shows the factor structure of the SLSI along with sample items.

Table 4. Factor Structure of the SLSI with Sample Items

Dimension Sample Items
Cognition-based strategies
Self-analysis During the completion of a task I monitor my own actions.
Strategic planning I run through a task in my mind before I tackle it.
Self-verbalization I talk to myself to improve my performance in a task.
Self-reminding I keep track of my agenda with small reminders (e.g., notes).
Natural reward strategies
I try to block out negative aspects of a task so that I can nonetheless com-
Positive focus
plete it with fun and enjoyment.
Intrinsification I try to build rewarding aspects into my tasks.
Success envision I imagine how I will have successfully completed a task.
Social self-leadership strategies
Group optimization I influence others in groups to optimally achieve our goal.
Performance referencing I try to improve my performance compared with those of others.

Source: Furtner and Rauthmann (in prep.)

104 4 Methodology

Table 5 illustrates respective scale statistics by Furtner and Rauthmann (in prep.).
Table 5. Scale Statistics for the SLSI

Descriptives Scale statistics

Scales Skew Mean inter-
n M SD Kurtosis α (α RSLQ)
-ness item corr.
Global self-leadership 270 3.07 0.58 -0.35 -0.15 .88 .22
Cognition-based strategies 270 2.85 0.83 -0.42 -0.22 .86 .35
Self-analysis 270 3.00 1.02 -0.57 -0.33 .79 (.82) .56
Strategic planning 270 3.10 0.96 -0.41 -0.23 .84 (.84) .65
Self-verbalization 270 2.66 1.30 -0.28 -0.68 .93 (.92) .82
Self-reminding 270 2.64 1.39 -0.28 -0.86 .94 (.91) .84
Natural reward strategies 270 3.23 0.80 -0.58 0.19 .86 .41
Positive focus 270 3.12 0.91 -0.50 0.19 .84 (.74) .63
Intrinsification 270 3.11 1.14 -0.50 -0.24 .90 (.93) .76
Success envision 270 3.45 1.12 -0.79 0.31 .93 (.85) .82
Social self-leadership strategies 268 3.15 0.77 -0.65 0.94 .82 .44
Group optimization 268 2.85 0.98 -0.55 0.22 .93 .82
Performance referencing 268 3.44 0.95 -0.72 0.76 .88 .72

Note. Standard error of skewness = .15. Standard error of kurtosis = .30.

Source: Furtner and Rauthmann (in prep.)

Individual performance is probably one of the most frequently investigated work-
related outcomes and represents a significant amount of measurement activity with-
in an organizational context. Employee performance can strongly be influenced by
leadership style which is in turn a predictor for the use of performance measure-
ment systems (Abernathy, Bouwens & Van Lent, 2010). Evaluation is common at
various levels. The smallest level represents the individual performance of a single
employee as measured in studies by Hauschildt and Konradt (2012a, 2012b). Ahuja,
Galletta and Carley (2003) define individual performance as “the output of an indi-
vidual’s effort” (p. 30). The researchers declare performance to be largely depend-
ent on role, status, and communication role within the group. Also, the degree to
which information is circulated plays an important role as followers who contribute
more information were likely to perform better. To achieve a repeatedly good per-
formance, it is essential that managers provide timely and fair rewards, providing
value for employees (Cascio, 2000). It was found that leaders criticizing followers
4.3 Operationalization 105

without clarification might even hinder performance or leave negative traces

(Howell & Avolio, 1993).
Assessing individual performance objectively may be done using organizational
controlling tools. As performance is crucial to the success of a corporation, assess-
ment tools are expected to exist in most large international corporations. Difficul-
ties arose, however, when measurement tools were compared in order to find a
common ground for objective valuation. Rather than relying on existent organiza-
tional feedback tools, a 5-item measure was used to evaluate employee perfor-
mance in the different business units. Performance self-ratings are not free from
criticism but earlier work has shown high reliability of job performance self-ratings
(Luo & Cheng, 2014, p. 246). Two items were attained from Heilman, Block and
Lucas (1992), in whose research leaders rated followers on a nine-point Likert scale
from very competently to not at all competently (e.g., “How competently do you
expect this individual to perform this job?”). The authors combined two items into
one scale resulting in Cronbach’s alpha of .96. For the present work, statements
were reformulated to fit self-assessments. Two items were adapted from Walumb-
wa et al. (2008). A summarizing fifth item was added specifically for this study
determining the overall quality of work. Application of different instruments is not
unusual. For example, in a study by Pearce and Sims (2002) the researchers used a
combination of scales by Ancona and Caldwell (1992), Manz and Sims (1987), and
Cox (1994). However, due to potential criticism that could arise from using a com-
bination of measures, reliability of the instrument is assessed carefully in the pro-
cess of this work.
Respondents were asked to indicate their level of performance on a five-point scale
(Table 6). Responses were allowed to range from 1 = I consistently perform way
below expectation to 5 = I consistently perform way above expectation.

Table 6. Performance Measure

1 In your estimation, how effectively do you get the work done?
2 How well did you achieve your own job targets?
3 How well did you achieve the work targets you agreed upon with your leader?
4 How would you judge the overall quality of your work?
5 All in all, how competently do you perform the job?
106 4 Methodology

4.3.3 Moderating and Mediating Variables

Physical distance

The most comprehensive yet conceptual academic work on different forms of dis-
tance was published by Antonakis and Atwater in 2002. The present study adapts
suggestions by the researchers, understanding physical distance as how far geo-
graphically leader and follower are located from each other at work. As it repre-
sents a major element in this study, particular attention is paid to the accuracy of
specifying physical distance. For this reason, leaders and followers were asked to
state the location of their permanent office (country and city) while linear physical
distance would then be calculated using online software. An additional question
asked followers whether they were located in the same office as or in a different
office from their leaders.

Relationship quality

Debates are still ongoing with regard to fundamental questions, such as whether
LMX is unidimensional or multidimensional. Dienesch and Liden (1986, p. 624)
declare LMX to be multidimensional, with facets of perceived contribution, loyalty,
and affect. As the unidimensional construct however results in high coefficient al-
phas between .80 and .90, Graen and Uhl-Bien (1995) admit that LMX might be a
multidimensional construct with high degrees of correlations among dimensions,
making it possible to be measured using one factor only. The authors themselves
draw the conclusion that leader-member exchange constitutes three dimensions:
respect, trust, and obligation where the development of a relationship between par-
ties is based on work relationship and not on personal friendship.

In their review paper Graen and Uhl-Bien (1995, p. 237) recommend the usage of
the LMX-7 with answer options on a five-point response scale. Similar suggestions
are made in a review published recently by Erdogan and Bauer (2014, p. 409). The
researchers come to the conclusion that the seven-item scale LMX-7 by Graen and
Uhl-Bien (1995) is the most appropriate instrument currently existing to measure
the degree of relationship quality between leaders and subordinates. This measure
is used for the underlying study assessing relationship quality from subordinates’
perspectives. Table 7 outlines sample items of the LMX-7 formulated for follower
ratings. The German translation was adapted from Schyns (2002, p. 245).
4.3 Operationalization 107

Table 7. Sample Items of the LMX-7

Sample Items Response options

Do you know where you stand with your
Fairly Very
leader and do you usually know how satisfied Rarely Occasionally Sometimes
often often
your leader is with what you do?
How well does your leader understand your A fair Quite a A great
Not a bit A little
job problems and needs? amount bit deal

How well does your leader recognize your

Not at all A little Moderately Mostly Fully

Source: Graen and Uhl-Bien (1995, p. 237)

Interaction Frequency
Present study extends on previous research by adapting the strategy of Andressen
and colleagues (2012, p. 74) assessing frequency of computer-mediated communi-
cation. The present work also takes into account face-to-face meeting frequency
and the media channels used. Respondents were asked to rate communication fre-
quency on a 5x5 matrix (Table 8) containing a list of media channels and frequency
indicators. Participants could choose between (1) face-to-face, (2) e-mail, (3) tele-
phone/telephone conference, (4) videoconference, and (5) Skype/Lync or other chat
media. If a channel was not represented in the matrix but was used by respondents,
they had the chance to add up to two more media channels in open text fields. Re-
spondents could choose between the frequencies daily, weekly, monthly, annually,
and never.

Table 8. Interaction Frequency Matrix

Media Daily Weekly Monthly Annually Never

1 Face-to-face     
2 E-Mail     
3 Telephone/Telephone conference     
4 Videoconference     
5 Skype/Lync or other chat media     

4.3.4 Control Variables

To deliver a sound description of the sample, a set of demographic information was
gathered. Demographic indices are known to potentially account for variance when
108 4 Methodology

rating performance. Those details are especially valuable if the study is conducted
in a specific context (Johns, 2001, p. 39).
General information was retrieved for industry and size of the corporation. Leaders
were further requested to indicate the business unit they were operating in. Leaders
were asked for gender, age, leadership experience, educational background, hier-
archy level, and functional area. Besides, this study controlled for gender, age, and
tenure with leader by direct reports since those are typically expected to be influen-
tial in behavioral research (Johnson et al., 2009). Leadership experience was recog-
nized as determinant of leader behavior in previous investigations (e.g., Brown &
Fields, 2011). Tenure with leader was often deployed in prior distance leadership
research as it might account for variance in work-related follower outcomes
(Avolio et al., 2004; Kacmar et al., 2003; Neufeld et al., 2010). Potentially account-
ing for significant effects, those variables have been frequently incorporated into
recent studies (e.g., Avolio et al., 2004; Furtner et al., 2013; Joshi et al., 2009;
Kacmar et al., 2003; Mayer et al., 2008; Schaubroeck et al., 2011). Leaders were
furthermore asked to indicate their educational background. Here, individuals
pointed out if they had either received education in (1) technical/engineering, (2)
business administration/economic, (3) both, technical and economic or (4) other
disciplines. When the last option was checked, study participants could insert their
area of study in an open text field.
Hierarchy level was mentioned to be contributing to structural distance (Antonakis
& Atwater, 2002). Avolio and team (2004) operationalized hierarchy level by ask-
ing respondents to indicate their level of hierarchy within the organization on a
five-point Likert scale ranging from low, low-medium, medium, medium-high to
high. Predicting a hierarchy score by calculating the difference between the hierar-
chy level of leader and follower, Cole and colleagues (2009) declared this to con-
tribute to social distance. This measure could not be estimated in the present re-
search as leaders had the instruction to forward the survey link to their direct re-
ports only. Thus, each hierarchy score would have been equal to one. Instead, hier-
archy was analyzed from leaders’ perspectives. When assessing hierarchy in vari-
ous international corporations, particular attention was paid to differences in level
descriptions. Various answer options were given to reply to the question “Which
functional area are you working in?”.
4.3 Operationalization 109

4.3.5 Survey Design

For the purpose of this investigation, the survey design for organizational leaders
consisted of socio-demographic questions. Assessing physical distance, one ques-
tion was included to retrieve leaders’ permanent work location.
The survey for followers consisted of six sections, covering self-ratings of self-
leadership behavior, other-assessment of perceptions of FRL dimensions of super-
visors, LMX, interaction frequency, performance assessment, and socio-
demographic data. Additionally, permanent office location was assessed. With a
total number of 84 items, the completion time was estimated at 20 minutes. Sec-
tions of the survey are outlined in Table 9. Excerpts of the questionnaire are illus-
trated in Appendix A.

Table 9. Composition of the Survey Instrument

Number of
Section Instrument Author(s)
A Leading myself SLSI Furtner & Rauthmann (in prep.) 27
B My leader and me MLQ 5X short Bass & Avolio (1995) 36
C Myself and my leader LMX-7 Graen & Uhl-Bien (1995) 7
D Interaction frequency Andressen et al. (2012) 5
Walumbwa et al. (2008); Heilman,
E Performance 5
Block & Lucas (1992)
Descriptive infor-
F 4
Total number of items 84

Content validity and preliminary analysis

Prior to data collection, the content of the research instrument was examined in a
first step to test and, if necessary, enhance validity. Augmenting validity aims at
ensuring that measures do assess what they are supposed to (Balnaves & Caputi,
2001). As various survey instruments with multi-dimensional factors were de-
ployed, a method developed by Lawshe (1975) was utilized. Content validity tests
for relevance of each item to represent a certain construct (Haynes, Richard & Ku-
bany, 1995, p. 239). The researchers define content validation as “a multimethod,
quantitative and qualitative process that is applicable to all elements of an assess-
ment instrument” (Haynes et al., 1995, p. 247). The purpose of content validity is to
narrow down potential errors associated with the research instrument. Weiber and
Mühlhaus (2014, p. 157) consider content validity to exist when indicators capture
110 4 Methodology

the entire semantic meaning of a construct. The analysis was conducted through a
panel of experts who were asked to rate each construct item in terms of necessity,
assessing the relation between variables. If more than 50% of the judges rate the
items as essential, content validity is confirmed. Particular criticism has been ex-
pressed that the MLQ 5X suffered from low content validity (Schriesheim, Wu &
Scandura, 2009). Findings propose careful application of the MLQ on various lev-
els. The authors recommend the revision of the MLQ to make it a valid instrument
applicable to more levels.
The panel consisted of five research experts, organizational leaders, and market
research experts who were otherwise not involved in the study. The specialists were
provided with hard copies of the MLQ 5X short, SLSI, LMX-7, performance and
interaction frequency scale, as well as all demographic measures.
Individuals who tested the instrument for content validity stated slight skepticism
with items of the SLSI. Repetitive, similarly sounding items were increasingly frus-
trating to the participants. One participant stated “I am confused and a little frus-
trated. It sounds to me like the essence of the questionnaire has been on interpreta-
tion of wording in the questions than the real behavioral aspects of me”. Yet, most
of the respondents regarded the items as relevant and recommended to keep them.
Following the tests on content validity, a preliminary test was conducted to analyze
the research instrument for possible limitations in design (Cooper & Schindler,
2008). Prior to distribution to participants, the survey instrument was handed out to
25 students enrolled in a Master’s program. In addition to understanding the formu-
lation of the items, the survey instrument was tested and Cronbach alpha coeffi-
cients were computed. Reliability scores for MLQ 5X short, SLSI, LMX-7, and
performance scale were lying in a range between .71 and .94 except for the first-
order factor of laissez-faire leadership which resulted in a fairly low value of .54.
Consequently, the four items of the laissez faire scale were recoded to ensure a
straightforward positivistic embodiment of wording.

4.4 Population and Sample

Identification of the right sample size is essential for a study. Samples are used to
decrease costs, raise accuracy, and enhance the speed of the data-gathering process
(Cooper & Schindler, 2008). A nonprobability convenience sample was used for
the purposes of this study. With a nonprobability sample, costs and planning time
are moderate (Zikmund, 2003). In this work, the population is represented by lead-
ers and employees of international corporations.
4.4 Population and Sample 111

The targeted population for this research consisted of subordinates from interna-
tional organizations. A particular interest was placed on attracting a fair proportion
of followers working physically apart from their leaders. In many virtual teams the
leading person is a project leader rather than a formal supervisor. Previous research
has shown that even if leaders are not disciplinarily superior to subordinates, lead-
er-follower research may still be undertaken (Cole et al., 2009) as the leader may
be someone who “acknowledges the focal leader as a continuing source of guid-
ance and inspiration, regardless of whether there is any formal reporting relation-
ship” (Howell & Shamir, 2005, pp. 98-99). For the present research, followers were
asked to describe how they perceive the leadership behavior of their direct discipli-
nary supervisors as it is a potential bias if respondents would have to indicate lead-
ership behaviors of someone other than their formal supervisor.
For this research, business units of international corporations (operating in at least
three different countries) formed the context of investigation. All participating units
operate headquarters in Switzerland or Liechtenstein. Access to the corporations
was established through personal or fellow researchers’ contacts to organizations.
In all cases, the HR departments of the entities were approached personally. The
study was explained and the HR gatekeepers agreed to contact the targeted group
by e-mail. The e-mails contained a brief description of the survey, a link to the
online survey, and a sample feedback description as attachment, as well as a pre-
formulated e-mail which could be sent out to participants directly as part of a mul-
tistage procedure (Creswell, 2013, p. 148). HR agents asked each leader to random-
ly select three or more followers, including (if applicable) those working physically
apart from them. The pre-formulated e-mail contained a deadline to fill in the sur-
vey within seven days. An e-mail reminder was sent to participants after two weeks.
Data collection took place from March until June 2014.
Since research includes gathering data from individuals about individuals, ethical
issues were addressed prior to the execution of the study (Creswell, 2013). To en-
sure ethical behavior at all steps throughout the research process, several precau-
tions were taken. Empirical data collection was conducted solely with prior permis-
sion of each participating business unit. Consent to pursue the research attempt was
provided by the relevant HR gatekeepers. Normal working hours of the business
units were considered when sending out the e-mails and they were exclusively sent
to candidates that had agreed to participate in the study. No material incentives
were promised or given to respondents. It was assured that empirical data is treated
confidentially and revealed to the researcher only. The use of codes instead of
names to allocate leaders to followers allowed for a high degree of participant con-
fidentiality. Participation was optional and could be discontinued at any time dur-
112 4 Methodology

ing the survey. No anticipated risks were involved and participation was voluntary
for leaders and followers. Furthermore, discomforts or any inconveniences related
to the research were not expected at any time.
Leaders were offered feedback about their leadership behavior and perceptions by
followers as an incentive if they were willing to provide their e-mail address at the
end of the survey. Feedback has been applied as an incentive in earlier studies (e.g.,
Hauschildt & Konradt, 2012a). Leaders received feedback only if at least three fol-
lowers responded to the questionnaire.

Sample demography
The link to the online survey was sent to leaders working in international enterpris-
es. Out of 156 surveys that were sent out to organizational leaders, 134 were re-
turned. Due to extensive missing data, 12 responses were omitted from the data set.
The remaining nonprobability sample consisted of 122 leaders, representing a re-
sponse rate of 78.21%. A meta-analysis on response rates, analyzing 175 studies in
the fields of organizational and social studies, revealed an average response rate of
56% (SD = 19.50), varying between 10% and 96% (Baruch, 1999, p. 429). Looking
at the present study, the response rate is high which may be due to the personal
contacts established with gatekeepers prior to distributing the survey links.
With regard to the follower sample, 441 surveys were returned. Due to missing
values, 69 observations were excluded from analysis. The final sample of followers
contained 372 valid observations, resulting in an average of three followers per
leader (3.05). The high number of incomplete cases might be due to the length of
the survey and workload of followers. Work conducted by Fenton-O’Creevy (1996)
has found that the most common reason for non-completion of surveys (28%) is
that respondents are too busy.

Descriptive demographic characteristics of leaders

For the purpose of present research, frequencies were computed as descriptive sta-
tistics. Rather than explaining data or allowing for interferences, descriptive data
defines underlying basic conditions of the sample such as age, gender or nationality
(Creswell, 2013).
4.4 Population and Sample 113

Organizational leaders were asked to respond to questions on socio-demographic

information. 2 Gender, age, nationality, leadership experience, and educational
background were assessed. Information for description of the work environment
included “Which industry does your company operate in?” and “How many em-
ployees are currently working in your company worldwide?”. Participants were
further asked to specify the business unit they are working in. Respondents were
required to explain their function and hierarchy level in the organization. One item
questioned for the location (country and city) of their permanent office. This was of
utmost importance as calculations of geographical distance between leaders’ and
followers’ permanent offices constituted the physical distance measurement.
In total, respondents of 19 different business units participated in the study. All 122
participants indicated working in international corporations within the technology
industry. All worked in companies with more than 10,000 employees in total.
Gender was distributed with the majority of respondents (n = 101) being male
(82.79%) and 21 participants being female (17.21%).
The youngest respondent was 20 years old; the oldest, 61. The average age of the
sample was calculated to be 40 years (39.77). The median for age was 40.50 years
and the mode was 42.00 years. Standard deviation for age was computed to be 7.92
Participants were further asked to indicate how many years of leadership experi-
ence they have had throughout their career. Answers varied between 1 and 22 years.
The mean general leadership experience was indicated at 7.65 years with a standard
deviation of 5.76 years and a mode of 2.00 years.
Educational background was assessed using the question whether the individuals
possessed technical, business administration, both, technical and business admin-
istration, or other backgrounds. The largest proportion of organizational leaders
indicated to have technical/engineering background (31.97%). Another large share
of respondents (26.23%) reported a background in business administration. Both,
technical and business administration education was testified by 25.41%. The re-
maining share of respondents (16.39%) indicated to have “other” educational back-
The sample consisted of 12 (9.84%) top managers, 48 (39.34%) middle manage-
ment leaders, and 62 (50.82%) lower management with team lead function. Team

2 Furthermore, leaders were asked to fill in the MLQ 5X short and LMX-7 as part of a larger re-
search project. For the present study, research focuses on perceptions by followers.
114 4 Methodology

leaders were further asked to specify the functional area they are currently working
in. Sixty-five leaders (53.28%) indicated to work in manufacturing, logistics, or
supply chain, while the other 57 supervisors (46.72%) belonged to indirect and ad-
ministrative areas3.
Essential for the underlying work is to determine the extent of physical distance
between leaders and followers. Hence, leaders were asked to indicate country and
city of their permanent office. More than two-thirds of the sample had their perma-
nent office located in Switzerland (36.89%) and Liechtenstein (31.97%). Nine re-
spondents (7.38%) had a permanent office in Italy, seven (5.74%) in Portugal, five
individuals worked permanently in India (4.10%), four individuals (3.28%) each
mainly in Austria, China, and Thailand. Three participants (2.46%) had their per-
manent offices in the Philippines and two (1.64%) in Germany.
The majority of respondents were Austrian (18.03%) and German (18.03%) fol-
lowed by participants from Switzerland (17.21%) and Liechtenstein (11.48%).
Other nationalities included Italian (7.38%), Portuguese (5.74%), Indian (4.92%),
Thai and Chinese (3.28% each). There was one citizen (0.82%) each of Croatian,
Filipino, Brazilian, and American nationality. Seven respondents did not report
their nationality (5.74%).

Descriptive demographic characteristics of followers

As with leaders, direct followers were asked to respond to questions on socio-
demographic topics. Investigations of gender, age, and tenure with leader are de-
scribed in this section. One question on location (country, city) of their permanent
office was included as this is essential for determining the physical distance, in ad-
dition to a question on whether leader and follower have permanent office spaces in
the same building.
Out of the sample of total 372 respondents, 81 individuals (21.78%) were female
and 291 (78.23%) were male. The mean age of participants was noted with 37
years (36.66). The age distribution ranged from the youngest candidate being 19
years old and the oldest being 63 (SD = 9.72). Tenure with leader was examined by
the question “How many years have you been on this leader’s team?” The average
tenure was 2.60 years, varying from 0.5 years to 16.00 years (SD = 2.20). Nearly
90% of followers (n = 334) confirmed being on their leader’s team five years or

3 Indirect and administrative areas include Sales/Customers Service (18.0%), Finance/ Account-
ing (8.2%), Human Resources (6.6%), Research and Development (5.7%), Market-
ing/Communication (5.7%), and Information Technology (2.5%).
4.4 Population and Sample 115

More than half of the participants indicated having their permanent desk located in
either Liechtenstein (37.63%) or Switzerland (24.19%). Other workplaces were
specified as being located in India (9.41%), Germany (8.60%), Austria (7.52%),
Italy (3.49%), Taiwan (3.23%), and China (2.69%). A low percentage of locations
was accounted for by Singapore (1.34%), Russia (0.81%), Portugal (0.54%), Thai-
land (0.32%), and the United States (0.32%).

Chapter summary
This chapter described the methodological approach taken by this research. It
aimed at defining the research question: How do physical distance, relationship
quality, and interaction frequency impact the influence of leadership behavior on
follower self-leadership and performance in international corporations? The re-
search model illustrated the variables that assist in addressing the research question.
Perceptions of leadership behaviors according to the FRL served as predictor varia-
bles, assessing transformational, transactional, and passive leadership. On the other
hand, self-leadership and performance were recognized as work-related outcome
variables. The focus of analysis was still placed on the assessment of potential in-
fluences of physical distance, relationship quality, and interaction frequency. The
study took place following a cross-sectional design in the context of 19 business
units of international corporations in the technology industry with at least 10,000
5.1 Descriptive Statistics and Reliability 117

5 Data Analysis

Chapter overview
Chapter 5 is concerned with the analysis of the gathered data. Reliability measures
and inter-item correlation indices are outlined for each scale. A confirmatory factor
analysis is pursued for the new self-leadership scale, the Self-Leadership Skills In-
ventory (Furtner & Rauthmann, in prep.). Descriptive statistics provide insight in
structure of followers’ response behavior of perceptions of leadership behavior and
leader-member exchange. Finally, data is examined for heteroskedasticity, multi-
collinearity, and common method variance.

5.1 Descriptive Statistics and Reliability

In the following section, descriptive characteristics of the follower sample regard-
ing questions on perceived leadership behavior are outlined. For analysis, the re-
sponse scheme ranged from 1 to 5 (1= not at all, 2 = once in a while, 3 = some-
times, 4 = fairly often, 5 = frequently, if not always). For all responses by followers
(n = 372) means, standard deviations, skewness, and kurtosis were computed. Fur-
thermore, scales were tested for reliability indicated by Cronbach alpha scores and
mean inter-item correlations. Literature suggests this procedure if multiple-
indicator measures are used (Bryman & Bell, 2011, p. 160).
Cronbach’s alpha is commonly used as a statistical method to test an instrument for
reliability. Alpha coefficients are interpreted as functions of interrelatedness of
items, so-called internal consistency (Cortina, 1993). Reliability is said to be high if
a scale (or a set of items) produces similar results under consistent conditions (Field,
2013, p. 708). Interpretation of Cronbach alpha scores has yet often been subject to
discussion. Whereas Kline (1999) argues that values of .80 are acceptable for cog-
nitive measures, psychological scales can result in values even lower than .70 and
may still be regarded as satisfactory. Nunnally (1978) even states that alpha values
of .50 may be regarded sufficient. Cortina (1993) points out that internal consisten-
cy is often confused with homogeneity. Homogeneity yet explains the degree of
unidimensionality (Green, Lissitz & Mulaik, 1977). In order to provide a clear dis-
tinction Cortina (1993) defines alpha as following:
It is a function of the extent to which items in a test have high communali-
ties and thus low uniqueness. It is also a function of interrelatedness, alt-
hough one must remember that this does not imply unidimensionality or
homogeneity. (Cortina, 1993, p. 100)
© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden 2017
N. Poser, Distance Leadership in International Corporations,
Advances in Information Systems and Business Engineering,
DOI 10.1007/978-3-658-15223-9_5
118 5 Data Analysis

Literature on mean inter-item-correlation is divided on interpretation of correlation

values. Clark and Watson (1995, p. 114) recommend inter-item correlations to
range between .15 and .50, whereas an earlier study proposes values between .20
and .40 (Briggs & Cheek, 1986). The researchers explain that narrower constructs
might be subject to higher inter-item correlation than others. High item correlations
usually claim that a construct possesses a high degree of internal consistency. On
the other hand, extendedly high correlations among measures may indicate that
items are describing the construct too narrowly by causing redundancy of the re-
maining items (Briggs & Cheek, 1986, p. 114).

5.2 Full Range Leadership

The sample of 372 followers was asked to evaluate the leadership behavior of their
direct supervisors. Perceptions of Full Range Leadership were examined using the
dimensions of transformational, transactional, and passive leadership behavior. The
MLQ 5X short containing 36 items was applied. Means, standard deviations, skew-
ness and kurtosis were computed. Scale statistics are specified with Cronbach’s
alpha reliability scores and mean inter-item correlations.
Transformational leadership was the behavior perceived as most distinctive by fol-
lowers in business units of international corporations (M = 3.65, SD = 0.65). Vari-
ances between first-order factors were rather small. Inspirational motivation (M =
3.75, SD = 0.69) was the predominant behavior, whereas attributed idealized influ-
ence was observed the least distinctive out of the five subfacets (M = 3.61, SD =
0.78). Descriptive information and scale statistics are depicted in Table 10. Follow-
ers allocated their leaders’ transactional leadership behavior with a mean score of
3.47 (SD = 0.57). Comparing contingent reward leadership (M = 3.68, SD = 0.69)
with active MBE (M = 3.25, SD = 0.70), estimates revealed that contingent reward
leadership was the predominant transactional leadership behavior perceived by
In general, mean values of facets of passive leadership scored rather low in ratings,
whereas attributes of transformational and transactional leadership were rated rela-
tively high. The lowest values, again, were retrieved for the higher-order factor of
passive leadership. Resulting in a mean value of 2.21 (SD = 0.59) followers as-
cribed their leaders this behavioral aspect the least. The subfacet of laissez-faire
leadership illustrated the lowest mean score of the entire scale (M = 2.14, SD =
0.66), followed by passive MBE producing a mean score of 2.40 (SD = 0.66).
5.2 Full Range Leadership 119

Table 10. Scale Statistics for Full Range Leadership

Descriptives Scale statistics

Scales Skew- Mean inter-
n M SD Kurtosis α
ness item corr.
Transformational leadership 372 3.65 0.65 -0.49 0.23 .95 .49
Idealized influence (attributed) 372 3.61 0.78 -0.52 0.11 .83 .55
Idealized influence (behavior) 372 3.67 0.70 -0.53 0.62 .78 .47
Inspirational motivation 372 3.75 0.69 -0.42 0.39 .80 .51
Intellectual stimulation 372 3.62 0.68 -0.31 -0.11 .82 .53
Individualized consideration 372 3.63 0.76 -0.49 -0.05 .81 .53
Transactional leadership 372 3.47 0.57 -0.11 0.13 .77 .30
Contingent reward 372 3.68 0.69 -0.42 0.19 .79 .47
Management-by-exception - active 372 3.25 0.70 -0.10 0.04 .70 .38
Passive leadership 372 2.27 0.50 0.52 0.89 .64 .24
Management-by-exception - passive 372 2.40 0.66 0.42 -0.04 .72 .56
Laissez-faire leadership 372 2.14 0.66 0.62 0.69 .68 .35
Note. Standard error of skewness = .126. Standard error of kurtosis = .252.

The assessment of FRL dimensions by followers showed reasonably stable reliabil-

ity throughout the facets. Except for the higher-order factor of passive leadership,
alpha values were within a range of .70 and .83. Passive management-by-exception
illustrated profound evidence for reliability of this subfacet after deletion of items 3
(“My leader fails to interfere until problems become serious”) and 12 (“My leader
waits for things to go wrong before he/she takes action”) which led to an increase
of Cronbach’s alpha from .45 to .72. When passive management-by-exception was
left out of transactional and included into the passive dimension, coefficients in-
creased considerably. Den Hartog and colleagues (1997, p. 32) previously found
that there is no need to distinguish between passive MBE and laissez-faire leader-
ship. As a result, passive MBE was included in the passive leadership factor. With
this setup, higher-order factors displayed acceptable reliability scores for transfor-
mational leadership (α = .95), transactional leadership (α = .77), and passive leader-
ship (α = .64). Looking at mean inter-item correlations, subfacets of idealized in-
fluence (attributed) (.55), inspirational motivation (.51), intellectual stimulation
(.53), and individualized consideration exceed the suggested value of .50.
In the next step, it was determined if leadership behavior varied with the extent of
physical distance. The file was therefore split in different categories resembling
physical distance and the three higher-order factors of Full Range Leadership. Ta-
ble 11 shows the outcomes of the analysis. The follower sample located at no dis-
tance (0 km) to the leader shows a comparatively high degree of transformational
leadership (M = 3.71, SD = .66). A similar finding can be reported for those follow-
ers who are located 11 – 100 km (M = 3.71, SD = .51) and 101 – 1,000 km (M =
120 5 Data Analysis

3.80, SD = .50) away from their direct leaders. For those who were 1 – 10 km (M =
3.49, SD = .70) and more than 1000 km (M = 3.51, SD = .64) separated, the mean
scores were remarkably lower.
For transactional leadership, mean scores did not vary that extensively. The highest
extent of transactional leadership could be reported for followers 101 – 1,000 km
(M = 3.56, SD = .47) apart from their direct leaders. All others lied within a range
between 3.45 and 3.51.
Passive leadership was reported least frequently for those subordinates located at
11 – 100 km (M = 2.10, SD = .47) from their leaders. The highest extent of passive
leadership was perceived by followers 1 – 10 km (M = 2.41, SD = .46) and more
than 1,000 km (M = 2.41, SD = .51) away.

Table 11. T-Tests for Variations in Leadership Behavior with Physical Distance
Sample n M SD
0 km 223 3.71 .66
1 - 10 km 29 3.49 .70
Transformational leadership 11 - 100 km 9 3.71 .51
101 – 1000 km 24 3.80 .50
> 1000 km 87 3.51 .64
0 km 223 3.46 .59
1 - 10 km 29 3.45 .67
Transactional leadership 11 - 100 km 9 3.51 .47
101 – 1000 km 24 3.56 .47
> 1000 km 87 3.45 .53
0 km 223 2.21 .51
1 - 10 km 29 2.41 .46
Passive leadership 11 - 100 km 9 2.10 .47
101 – 1000 km 24 2.29 .36
> 1000 km 87 2.41 .51

5.3 Relationship Quality

Relationship quality was assessed with seven items of the LMX-7 scale by Graen
and Uhl-Bien (1995). Response schemes varied from item to item, yet all items
were poled left-negative to fit the structure of the continuing questionnaire. Partici-
pants were able to rate statements on a scale ranging from 1 to 5.
Means, standard deviations, skewness, and kurtosis were computed. Follower rat-
ings indicated a rather high mean score with a low variance (M = 3.70, SD = 0.70).
The lowest mean was retrieved by item 5 (“Again, regardless of the amount of for-
mal authority your leader has, what are the chances that he/she would ‘bail you out’
at his/her expense?”) which accounted for a mean value of 3.38 (SD = 0.97). The
5.4 Self-Leadership 121

highest mean (M = 3.87, SD = 0.89) was achieved in response to statement number

6 (“I have enough confidence in my leader that I would defend and justify his/her
decision if he/she were not present to do so”).
Cronbach’s alpha for the LMX-7 revealed a score of α = .90, which is regarded as a
very good indicator for internal consistency. Mean inter-item correlations resided
between .54 and .68, slightly above the suggested range by Clark and Watson
(1995). A summary of descriptive statistics of followers’ assessment of LMX is
displayed in Table 12.

Table 12. Scale Statistics for Relationship Quality

Descriptives Scale statistics
Scale Kurto-
n M SD Skewness α Mean inter-item correlation
LMX-7 372 3.70 0.70 -0.61 0.09 .90 .56
Item 1 372 3.69 0.94 -0.67 0.29 .54
Item 2 372 3.73 0.91 -0.47 -0.14 .68
Item 3 372 3.63 0.87 -0.71 0.27 .62
Item 4 372 3.76 0.86 -0.69 0.58 .65
Item 5 372 3.38 0.97 -0.40 -0.22 .58
Item 6 372 3.87 0.89 -0.68 0.30 .66
Item 7 372 3.81 0.84 -0.57 0.55 .62
Note. Standard error of skewness = .126. Standard error of kurtosis = .252.

5.4 Self-Leadership
Followers were asked to express their level of self-leadership behavior (n = 372).
Data was gathered using the Self-Leadership Skills Inventory. The SLSI is a fairly
new instrument developed by Furtner and Rauthmann (in prep.). The present study
expands upon existing research on self-leadership by providing a surround valida-
tion of the SLSI. Prior to using the collected data for analysis, a confirmatory factor
analysis is anticipated. Factor analysis of confirmatory nature should be pursued in
order to develop and/or validate an instrument (Janssen & Laatz, 2013, p. 547). In
the current work, items of the SLSI were clustered in nine blocks of each three
statements, representing items belonging to different factors, in order to minimize
the risk of bias due to response patterns. To test whether the data was suitable to
proceed with factor analysis, two prior tests are carried out.
One test for sample data adequacy is the Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin (KMO) measure
(Kaiser, 1970). The KMO provides the ratio of squared partial correlations and
squared correlations between all variables in the model (Field, 2013, p. 684). Val-
122 5 Data Analysis

ues may vary between 0 and 1, where values close to 1 indicate appropriateness to
carry out factor analysis. Values below 0.5 are deemed inacceptable (Janssen &
Laatz, 2013, pp. 573-574). The second test applied is Bartlett's test of sphericity. It
assesses whether correlation coefficients are significantly different from zero. The
result of Bartlett’s test indicates whether the data is suitable for structure detection
(Janssen & Laatz, 2013).
KMO and Bartlett’s test of sphericity were executed for 372 followers’ responses
to the SLSI. Both indicators display satisfactory outcomes. KMO with a value of
.87 is regarded as meritorious by Hutcheson and Sofroniou (1999). Bartlett’s test
indicates significance of the correlation matrix being different to the identity matrix
with χ2 = 8048.18 at 351 degrees of freedom (p ≤ .001). Due to the excellent ade-
quacy measures of the data, a confirmatory factor analysis was pursued.
For the analysis of the SLSI, promax rotation with Kaiser-normalization and κ = 4
was applied similar to earlier procedures by Furtner and Rauthmann (in prep.).
Promax is an oblique rotation method, taking intercorrelation of factors into ac-
count (Janssen & Laatz, 2013, p. 568). Factor scores are reasonably high, reflecting
values between 0.66 (item 7) and 0.97 (item 1). Furthermore, none of the items
shows factor loadings equal or above 0.20 on other factors. The nine-factor struc-
ture proposed by Furtner & Rauthmann (in prep.) could thus be confirmed. The 27-
item solution of the SLSI explains 83.59% of the variance of the measure. Outlined
by Field (2013), the variance of the total-item solution should explain at least 50%.
Psychometric properties of the SLSI were computed using structural equation mod-
eling. With a sample size of 372 followers indicating their self-leadership behavior,
conditions for calculating a structural equation model are met (Weiber & Mühl-
haus, 2014). The model was created using IBM SPSS AMOS 21 (Arbuckle, 2011).
Various fit indices that are often used to explain model fit are determined. Calculat-
ing the relative chi-square (χ2/df) by Wheaton, Muthen, Alwin, and Summers
(1977), the ratio should not exceed a value of 5.0. For root mean square error of
approximation (RMSEA), indices of 0.01 show excellent, 0.05 good, and 0.08 me-
diocre model fit (MacCallum, Browne & Sugawara, 1996). Normed Fit Index
(NFI), Goodness of Fit Index (GFI), Comparative Fit Index (CFI) should be greater
than .90 (Byrne, 1994). For the Tucker-Lewis Index (TLI) results should exceed a
value of .95 (Sharma, Mukherjee, Kumar & Dillon, 2005).
For followers’ self-assessment of self-leadership, model fit indices revealed ac-
ceptable estimates. The relative chi-square indicates good results with χ2/df = 3.00.
Goodness of Fit Index (GFI = .85) and Normed Fit Index (NFI = .89) are slightly
below the recommended amplitude of .90. Comparative Fit Index (.92), Tucker
5.4 Self-Leadership 123

Lewis Index (TLI = .91) as well as Root Mean Square Error of Approximation
(RMSEA = .074) show satisfactory scores. These estimates declare the structural
model to fit the data well.
Assessing highest-order factor structures, cognition-based strategies display the
highest factor loading, (.96) compared to natural-reward strategies (.95) and social
self-leadership strategies (.82). Single-item factor loadings of the SLSI range from
.73 (item 7) to .95 (item 17). All first-order factors display stable factor loadings.
Table 13 displays factor loadings of the SLSI calculated with IBM AMOS 21 (Ar-
buckle, 2011).

Table 13. Factor Analysis of the SLSI with Promax Rotation

20 PF .90
23 PF .93
26 PF .84
10 GO .88
13 GO .85
16 GO .80
2 SV .90
5 SV .94
8 SV .85
1 SR .78
4 SR .83
7 SR .73
12 PR .79
15 PR .90
18 PR .81
3 SE .83
6 SE .91
9 SE .91
11 IN .83
14 IN .87
17 IN .95
19 SP .84
22 SP .87
25 SP .86
21 SA .85
24 SA .83
27 SA .88

Note. n = 372, PF = positive focus, GO = group optimization, SV = self-verbalization, SR = self-

reminding, PR = performance referencing, SE = success envision, In = intrinsification, SP = strategic
planning, SA = self-analysis. Rotation method: promax (κ = 4) with Kaiser-normalization.
124 5 Data Analysis

High Cronbach alpha values (Table 14) and reasonably high factor loadings pro-
vide support for the development of the scale.
The global self-leadership mean score is reported at 3.33 (SD = 0.67). Higher-order
factors of cognition-based strategies (M = 3.20, SD = 0.73), natural reward strate-
gies (M = 3.19, SD = 0.81), and social self-leadership strategies (M = 3.82, SD =
0.73) result in moderate to high values for all self-leadership dimensions. Mean
values of first-order factors range from 2.67 to 3.86. Out of all subfacets, self-
verbalization (M = 2.67, SD = 1.16) revealed the lowest, whereas performance ref-
erencing (M = 3.86, SD = 0.86) displayed the highest mean value.
Cronbach’s alpha scores were computed for all factors contributing to the SLSI.
The global scale projected a coefficient alpha of .94 which indicates excellent fit of
internal consistency. Cognition-based strategies (α = .89), natural reward strategies
(α = .90), and social self-leadership strategies (α = .88) further provide good results.
The entire set of first-order factors produced good internal consistency ranging
from α = .82 for self-reminding to α = .93 for self-verbalization.

Table 14. Scale Statistics for Self-Leadership

Descriptives Scale statistics
Scales Skew- Kurto- Mean inter-item
n M SD α
ness sis correlation
Global self-leadership 372 3.33 0.67 -0.33 0.28 .94 .38
Cognition-based strategies 372 3.20 0.73 -0.11 -0.15 .89 .41
Self-analysis 372 3.28 0.92 -0.34 -0.27 .89 .73
Strategic planning 372 3.67 0.82 -0.72 0.70 .89 .73
Self-verbalization 372 2.67 1.16 0.19 -0.96 .93 .81
Self-reminding 372 3.18 1.00 -0.11 -0.75 .82 .61
Natural reward strategies 372 3.19 0.81 -0.21 -0.21 .90 .51
Positive focus 372 3.30 0.92 -0.37 -0.03 .92 .79
Intrinsification 372 3.15 0.94 -0.28 -0.41 .91 .77
Success envision 372 3.12 1.10 -0.23 -0.73 .92 .78
Social self-leadership strate-
372 3.82 0.73 -0.80 1.05 .88 .54
Group optimization 372 3.78 0.79 -0.69 0.59 .88 .71
Performance referencing 372 3.86 0.86 -0.84 0.96 .87 .64
Note. Standard error of skewness = .126. Standard error of kurtosis = .252.

Despite high reliability values, one point of criticism is that the SLSI may suffer
from low content validity as mean inter-item correlations are higher than recom-
mended. All subscales outline values between .61 and .81. Mean inter-item correla-
tions for the higher-order factors of natural reward strategies (.51) and social self-
leadership strategies (.54) are further slightly greater than the suggested value
5.5 Performance 125

of .50. Medium interrelatedness may be discovered on the global scale (.38). Table
14 illustrates descriptive statistics, reliability, as well as item-interrelatedness.

5.5 Performance
To measure performance of followers, a combination of previously deployed re-
search tools was applied (Heilman et al., 1992; Walumbwa et al., 2008). In order to
test whether the measure is internally consistent to assess individuals’ performance
adequately, special attention was paid to scale statistics. Table 15 outlines the re-
sults for reliability and mean intercorrelatedness. The scale reveals good reliability
with α = .88. It is therefore regarded as an adequate measure for performance self-
assessment. Inter-item correlation turns out moderately higher than requested by
Clark and Watson (1995).
Respondents were requested to indicate performance rating, responding to five
questions on a five-point Likert scale. The mean value of 3.53 indicates a medium
to high specification of performance, considering the possibility to give responses
ranging from 1 (“I consistently perform way below expectation”) to 5 (“I consist-
ently perform way above expectation”). Response scores are close, as all items
have means ranging from 3.42 to 3.64. The lowest rating of performance is report-
ed for item 3 (M = 3.42, SD = .73) asking “How well did you achieve your own job
targets?”. The highest performance indication in responses of participants could be
found with the last question, item number 5 (M = 3.64, SD = 0.66). Whereas the
first four items refer to specific questions on job targets and time periods, the last
item calls for an overall judgment of work quality (“How would you judge the
overall quality of your work?”). Table 15 further highlights descriptive statistics for
the five-item scale of individual follower job performance.

Table 15. Scale Statistics for Individual Performance

Descriptives Scale statistics
Scale Mean inter-item
n M SD Skewness Kurtosis α
Performance 372 3.53 0.57 -0.15 0.38 .88 .61
Item 1 372 3.55 0.72 -0.45 1.35 .70
Item 2 372 3.52 0.65 0.06 -0.24 .70
Item 3 372 3.42 0.73 -0.09 -0.09 .65
Item 4 372 3.53 0.70 0.21 -0.26 .69
Item 5 372 3.64 0.66 -0.20 0.29 .68

Note. Standard error of skewness = .126. Standard error of kurtosis = .252.

126 5 Data Analysis

5.6 Physical Distance

Physical distance is one key variable assessed in this work. The aim is to test for
moderating influences of physical distance on the relationship between leaders and
followers. Physical distance was measured by asking leaders and followers to indi-
cate the location of their permanent office. With the help of online software, the
objective physical distance (in km) could then be calculated for each pairing.4
Mean physical distance between leaders and followers was revealed with 1319.72
km (SD = 2870.68). The distance ranged from 0 km for those being located in the
same city and office building to 10,210 km, working on different continents. The
majority of followers was located in the same office building as their leaders (n =
223; 59.9%). The remaining individuals (n = 149; 40.1%). If individuals indicated
they were situated in the same city, yet in different office buildings, distances were
determined with 1 km. Details on the leader-follower physical distance distribution
are illustrated in Table 16.

Table 16. Physical Distance Distribution

Physical distance between leaders
n Percentage Accumulated percentage
and followers in km
0 (“very close”) 223 59.9 59.9
1 – 10 (“close”) 29 7.8 67.7
11 – 100 (“fairly close”) 9 2.4 70.2
101 – 1000 (“distant”) 24 6.5 76.6
> 1000 (“very distant”) 87 23.4 100.0

5.7 Interaction Frequency

Frequency of face-to-face encounters between leaders and followers was assessed
asking respondents “How often do you communicate with your leader face-to-
face?”. This figure was applied in a previous study by Kirkman et al. (2004). In
present research, more than half of the respondents had face-to-face interactions
with their leaders on a daily basis (53.22%). More than a quarter of study partici-

4 For 11.00% of cases, data was recorded missing. In order to impute missing data, the MCAR
test (Little, 1998) is recommended to test whether data is missing at complete randomness. The
test proves whether any variable missing is either dependent on any other value or on any other
missing variable (Allison, 2009, p. 73). The null hypothesis assumes that data is missing com-
pletely at random. Using an expectation maximization procedure, missing ordinal data was test-
ed for randomness. The test revealed no significance (x2 = 223.648, df = 317, n.s.), thus con-
firmed that data is missing completely at random. Missing data was imputed using AMOS 21
(Arbuckle, 2011).
5.7 Interaction Frequency 127

pants said they would interact face-to-face with their leaders weekly (26.34%).
Thirty-seven followers responded that they would see their leaders on a monthly
basis (9.95%) and equally many participants interacted face-to-face with leaders
annually (9.95%). Two respondents indicated that there is no face-to-face interac-
tion with their leader at all (0.54%).
For the use of e-mail, 347 respondents declared to interact with their leaders either
daily (48.90%) or weekly (44.40%) which makes e-mail – beside face-to-face – the
dominant leader-follower interaction channel. Nearly 5% indicated they exchanged
e-mails with their supervisors monthly (4.80%). Three participants said they would
exchange e-mails with their leader annually (0.80%) and four answered that they
would not exchange e-mails at all (1.10%).
Almost one quarter of followers announced to use the telephone to communicate
with their supervisors on a daily basis (24.20%). A larger percentage stated to use
the telephone weekly (46.80%). A small portion of study participants used the tele-
phone for interaction monthly (16.90%), or annually (4.30%), while 29 followers
did not use the telephone for interaction with the supervisor (7.80%).
Videoconferences are the least-applied medium in international corporations, ac-
cording to the responses of this study. Only four participants made daily use of vid-
eoconferencing (1.10%). A very small percentage (4.00%) used the medium week-
ly or monthly (7.30%). The majority of study respondents either used videoconfer-
encing only annually (15.10%) or never (72.60%).
Already more than half of the subordinates use chat software to communicate with
their leaders. Some do that daily (10.50%), weekly (13.70%), or monthly (10.50%).
The majority of those individuals using chat use it on an annual frequency
(19.40%). Still, a large portion of study participants did not use chat software for
interaction with their leaders (46.00%).
To receive a meaningful indicator, taking the frequency of all channels into ac-
count, an Interaction Frequency Index (IFI) was calculated for each leader-follower
pairing. Therefore, frequencies for all media types were assigned weights (e.g., dai-
ly = 4; annually = 1; never = 0), summed, and divided by the number of channels
assessed. Frequency indices could vary between 0 and 4; with 0 accounting for no
interaction at all and 4 accounting for daily interaction on five channels.
Scores of frequency indices were rounded in order to retrieve categories of re-
sponses. The categories were tested with Welch’s (1951) test of equality of means
in order to assess for significant differences between the groups. The Welch’s t-test
is a robust test, examining variances in means even if the assumption of equal vari-
128 5 Data Analysis

ances and sample sizes are violated (Kohr & Games, 1974). As a result, the test did
not reveal any statistically significant differences in interaction behavior.

5.8 Heteroskedasticity, Multicollinearity, and Common Method Variance

In order to compute regressions, residuals need to be tested for heteroskedasticity
(Backhaus, Erichson, Plinke & Weiber, 2008, p. 100). Heteroskedasticity is present
if “at each point along the predictor variable, the spread of residuals is different”
(Field, 2013, p. 876). In other words, heteroskedasticity accounts for the relation-
ship between residuals and independent variables. The Glejser (1969) test is a pre-
dictable measure as it detects multiple presences of heteroskedasticity (Ayoola &
Olubusoye, 2012). The Glejser test has been computed for all effects of residuals of
predictor variables in the model. The generated plots showed no indication of any
pattern which indicates a minimized threat of heteroskedasticity.
To test if predicting variables’ correlation might cause issues for interpretation,
tests for multicollinearity are executed. Multicollinearity exists if independent vari-
ables correlate in a linear manner with each other. In that case, a redundancy of
predictor variables is assumed which would result in unreliableness of the regres-
sion calculation (Backhaus et al., 2008, pp. 87-88). Multicollinearity is usually ex-
istent to a certain degree without violating assumptions of the model. For this pur-
pose, regression calculations are controlled for the Variance Inflation Factor (VIF).
Literature suggests that the VIF should not exceed the value of 10 (Myers, 1990).
For the underlying model, the VIF showed values below 2 for few cases, predomi-
nantly values were below 1.
Responses for this study were mainly gathered by followers, therefore common
method variance could be a potential bias. Harmann’s One-Factor-Test has been
described as an examination to detect common method variance in response behav-
ior (Söhnchen, 2009, p. 141). Using exploratory factor analysis, the test measures
whether all items load to one factor. Rather than a profound test, the analysis pro-
vides an indication for common method bias. The exploratory factor analysis (Pro-
max rotation with Kaiser Normalization) revealed that items for the MLQ 5X short,
SLSI, LMX-7, and performance scale load to 16 factors accounting for 70.26% of
variance. Results indicate that the data is not subject to common method variance
and the risk of single source bias is thus reduced.
5.8 Heteroskedasticity, Multicollinearity, and Common Method Variance 129

Chapter summary
This chapter outlined descriptive statistics of respondents. Scale statistics are pro-
vided for the MLQ 5X short, SLSI, LMX-7, and performance measure. Ratings of
perceptions by followers for both, MLQ 5X short and LMX-7 presented stable
Cronbach alpha scores. In the course of the present study, the SLSI has been ap-
plied to a larger organizational sample for the first time. The instrument showed
high factor loadings and adequate reliability. Particular attention has been paid to
the scale structure of the performance measure. Internal consistency turned out to
be adequate for the research instrument.
6.1 Statistical Analysis 131

6 Results

Chapter overview
Chapter 6 concentrates on the outcomes computed by the hypothesis tests. Results
are outlined for each hypothesis consequently. Supporting a comprehensive struc-
ture, hypotheses are clustered in two blocks. The first block concerns direct effects
of perceived leadership behavior on follower self-leadership and performance,
whereas the second block concerns moderation and mediation effects of distance

6.1 Statistical Analysis

For testing hypotheses, differentiated statistical procedures were applied. Hypothe-
ses 1.1 to 1.3 assess direct effects of perceived leadership behavior on followers’
self-leadership and performance. Results are calculated with multiple linear regres-
sion modelling. This statistical procedure has been applied successfully in prior
studies investigating the field of leadership (Davis & Bryant, 2010; Luo & Cheng,
2014). Hypotheses of the second sequence (2.1, 2.2, 2.5) are tested using modera-
tion analysis. Hypothesis 2.3 is again tested with linear regression modeling and
finally, hypothesis 2.4 is investigated using mediation procedures according to
Baron and Kenny (1986), Hayes (2009), and Sobel (1982). Bootstrapping was per-
formed throughout the entire analysis as it assumes the sample to be representative
for the population. Bootstrapping can be seen as a robust method to test for signifi-
cant relations that are relatively vigorous to violations of assumptions as it esti-
mates the characteristics of the sampling distribution from the actual sample (Field,
2013, pp. 198ff, 871).

6.1.1 Direct Effects of Leadership Behavior on Follower Self-Leadership and

The first sequence of hypotheses is concerned with the effects of facets of Full Range Leader-
ship on work-related outcomes. Work-related outcomes are specified as self-leadership and
individual performance. The research framework is displayed in Figure 6.
Prior to computing regression coefficients, the intercorrelation matrix was used to
illustrate potential relations between variables. Interpretation of intercorrelatedness
and magnitude of coefficients have long been subject to discussion. A widely used
framework is provided by Cohen (1988, pp. 79-80) who suggests that coefficients
© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden 2017
N. Poser, Distance Leadership in International Corporations,
Advances in Information Systems and Business Engineering,
DOI 10.1007/978-3-658-15223-9_6
132 6 Results

at .10 are small, whereas .30 are medium, and .50 and above are large. According
to a study by Hemphill (2003), the magnitude of correlation coefficients in psy-
chology research must be differentiated as the assumption of what is perceived as
high is estimated upon different sets of empirical guidelines. The framework is
based upon a review of 380 meta-analytic studies, disclosing that one third of the
studies show correlation magnitudes below .20, one third between .20 and .30, and
one third above .30 (Hemphill, 2003, p. 78).

Figure 6. Influences of Leadership Behavior on Work-Related Outcomes

Follower work-related
Leadership behavior

 Transformational  Self-leadership
 Transactional  Performance
 Passive
Control variables

 Gender
 Age
 Leadership experience
 Educational background
 Hierarchy level
 Functional area

 Gender
 Age
 Tenure with leader
International corporations

Looking at the intercorrelation matrix in Table 17, relations between perceptions of

Full Range Leadership, self-leadership, and performance reveal high inter-
dimension correlations5. Transactional leadership demonstrates a strong and signif-
icant correlation (r = .71, p ≤ .001) with transformational leadership. Detailed re-
views produce strong positive correlations with contingent reward (r = .87, p ≤
.001) and moderate correlations with MBEa (r = .30, p ≤ .001). As expected, pas-
sive leadership (r = -.64, p ≤ .001) together with MBEp (r = -.25, p ≤ .001), and
laissez-faire (r = -.73, p ≤ .001) show strong significant negative correlations with
transformational leadership.

5 Only statistically significant results are discussed.

6.1 Statistical Analysis 133

Similarly, transactional leadership reports significant negative correlation with the

higher-order factor of passive leadership (r = -.34, p ≤ .001). The decision to as-
sume passive MBE to be serving as subfacet of passive leadership rather than
transactional leadership is reassured, as passive MBE does not show intercorrela-
tions with transactional leadership (r = .04, n.s.) but shows a strong interrelation to
the higher-order factor of passive leadership (r = .76, p ≤ .001). Laissez-faire lead-
ership confirms assumptions to result in a statistically significant negative associa-
tion when related to transactional behavior (r = -.56, p ≤ .001).
Observing the relations between self-leadership and dimensions of the FRL, all
facets but for one display statistically significant results. The correlation between
transformational leadership and self-leadership indicates significant positive direc-
tion at a high significance level (r = .24, p ≤ .001). All subfacets of FRL – attribut-
ed idealized influence (r = .18, p ≤ .001), idealized influence (behavior) (r = .29, p
≤ .001), inspirational motivation (r = .25, p ≤ .001), intellectual stimulation (r = .21,
p ≤ .001), and individualized consideration (r = .15, p < .01) – show positive corre-
lations with self-leadership of low to moderate strength. For transactional leader-
ship, a similar picture is illustrated. The higher-order factor of transactional leader-
ship expresses positive relationship with self-leadership (r = .29, p ≤ .001). Exam-
ining the subfacets more closely, contingent reward (r = .20, p ≤ .001) and active
management-by-exception (r = .27, p ≤ .001) both correlate significantly with self-
leadership. Passive leadership is found to be the only higher-order factor that does
not directly relate to self-leadership (r = -.06, n.s.). However, the subfacet passive
MBE (r = .17, p ≤ .001) reveals positive correlation, whereas laissez-faire leader-
ship (r = -.26, p ≤ .001) results in negative association with self-leadership.
For correlations of leadership behavior with individual follower performance, the
higher-order factor of transformational leadership shows weak positive relation (r
= .16, p < .01). Idealized influence (attributed; behavior) (r = .20, p ≤ .001; r = .12,
p < .05), inspirational motivation (r = .19, p ≤ .001), and individualized considera-
tion (r = .11, p < .05) show weak to medium statistically significances in relation to
follower performance. For facets of transactional leadership, only contingent re-
ward leadership (r = .12, p < .01) shows significant positive correlation with fol-
lower performance. Passive leadership as higher-order factor correlates negatively
with follower performance (r = -.17, p ≤ .001), with a marginally greater influence
indicated by the subfacet of laissez-faire (r = -.14, p < .01) than passive MBE (r = -
.12, p < .05). Assessing the correlation between self-leadership and individual fol-
lower performance, the matrix points out that there might be indications for direct
positive relation of medium strength (r = .24, p ≤ .001).

Table 17. Intercorrelations of FRL Subfacets, Self-Leadership, and Performance

M SD 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14
1 TF 3.65 0.65 1
2 IIa 3.61 0.78 .89*** 1
3 IIb 3.67 0.70 .90*** .73*** 1
4 IM 3.75 0.69 .91*** .81*** .79*** 1
5 IS 3.62 0.68 .89*** .67*** .78*** .75*** 1
6 IC 3.63 0.76 .91*** .76*** .76*** .77*** .81*** 1
7 TK 3.47 0.57 .71*** .62*** .68*** .68*** .64*** .60*** 1
8 CR 3.68 0.69 .87*** .77*** .77*** .83*** .78*** .79*** .82*** 1
9 MBEa 3.25 0.70 .30*** .25*** .35*** .30*** .28*** .21*** .83*** .35*** 1
10 PL 2.27 0.50 -.64*** -.59*** -.54*** -.59*** -.55*** -.61*** -.34*** -.57*** .00 1
11 MBEp 2.40 0.66 -.25*** -.26*** -.16** -.24*** -.20*** -.26*** .04 -.20*** .25*** .76*** 1
12 LF 2.14 0.66 -.73*** -.64*** -.66*** -.65*** -.65*** -.66*** -.56*** -.66*** -.25*** .76*** .16** 1
13 SL 3.33 0.67 .24*** .18*** .29*** .25*** .21*** .15** .29*** .20*** .27*** -.06 .17*** -.26*** 1
14 Perf 3.53 0.57 .16** .20*** .12* .19*** .08 .11* .08 .12* .01 -.17*** -.12* -.14** .24*** 1
Note. n = 372. * p < .05. ** p < .01, *** p ≤ .001, TF = transformational leadership, IIa = idealized influence (attributed), IIb = idealized influence (be-
havior), IM = inspirational motivation, IS = intellectual stimulation, IC = individualized consideration, TK = transactional leadership, CR = contingent
reward, MBEa = active management-by-exception, PL = passive leadership, MBEp = passive management-by-exception, LF = laissez-faire, SL = global
self-leadership, Perf = performance
6 Results
6.1 Statistical Analysis 135

Table 18 outlines correlations between perceptions of FRL higher-order factors,

self-leadership, performance, and control variables. Leader gender, age, and educa-
tional background do not display any significant correlations. Leadership experi-
ence and age (r = .67, p ≤ .001) show high interrelatedness as older organizational
members tend to have gained more leadership experience. Transformational leader-
ship is related to leaders’ level of hierarchy (r = .22, p < .05). Higher levels of
hierarchy accompany an increase in transformational leadership behavior. Also,
hierarchy level and leadership experience are positively correlated (r = .25, p < .01).
Functional area displays positive correlations with transformational (r = .39, p
≤ .001) and transactional leadership (r = .25, p < .01), self-leadership (r = .31, p
≤ .001), and negative correlation with passive leadership (r = -.27, p < .05). The
positive linkages explain that, in indirect/administrative areas, transformational
leadership, transactional leadership, and self-leadership are more distinctive. Pas-
sive leadership is yet lower in these departments. Furthermore, male followers rated
their leaders’ behavior as more transactional (r = .12, p < .05).
Tenure with leader shows weak positive correlation with transformational leader-
ship (r = .11, p < .05) and transactional leadership (r = .15, p < .01). The table also
reveals that tenure with leader is more likely to be higher in indirect/administrative
areas (r = .19, p < .05), and older employees tend to stay longer with one leader (r
= .24, p ≤ .001).

Table 18. Intercorrelations of FRL, Self-Leadership, Performance, and Control Variables

M SD 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14
1 TF 3.65 0.65 1
2 TK 3.47 0.57 .71*** 1
3 PL 2.27 0.50 -.64*** -.34*** 1
4 SL 3.33 0.67 .24*** .29*** -.06 1
5 Perf 3.53 0.57 .16*** .08 -.17*** .24*** 1
6 L Gen 1.83 0.38 .01 .01 -.04 -.03 .11 1
7 L Age 39.77 7.92 -.13 -.10 .04 -.06 .03 .16 1
8 L Exp 7.65 5.76 -.07 -.05 -.02 -.05 -.02 .17 .67*** 1
9 L Edu 2.26 1.08 .02 -.03 -.05 .15 .12 -.13 .08 -.15 1
10 L Hier 1.59 0.67 .22* .14 -.23* .13 .05 .013 .16 .25** .01 1
11 Area 1.47 0.50 .39*** .25** -.27** .31*** .17 -.01 -.09 -.11 -.08 .11 1
12 F Gen 1.78 0.41 .02 .12* .07 .09 -.01 .19* .06 .08 -.17 -.12 -.08 1
13 F Age 36.66 9.72 .04 .04 .08 -.01 .05 .13 .13 .19* -.01 -.06 .04 .22*** 1
14 F Ten 2.60 2.20 .11* .15** -.04 .09 -.01 -.07 -.02 .01 .06 -.07 .19* .04 .24*** 1

Note. n = 372. * p < .05. ** p < .01, *** p ≤ .001, TF = transformational leadership, TK = transactional leadership, PL = passive leadership, SL =
global self-leadership, Perf = performance, L Gen = leader gender, L Age = leader age, L Exp = leadership experience, L Edu = leader education, L
Hier = leader hierarchy level, Area = functional area, F Gen = follower gender, F Age = follower age, F Ten = follower tenure.
6 Results
6.1 Statistical Analysis 137

Hypothesis 1.1:
Transformational leadership and transactional leadership behavior both predict
positive follower self-leadership, whereas passive leadership behavior predicts
negative follower self-leadership.

Multiple linear regressions are computed to examine effects of each individual di-
mension on follower self-leadership. The calculated model reveals R2 = .092. In
other words, 9.2% of follower self-leadership is explained by perceived FRL be-
haviors. Bühner and Ziegler (2009, p. 663) consider these to be low to medium ef-
fects. Standardized beta values of regressions are reported in Figure 7.

Figure 7. Influences of Leadership Behavior on Self-Leadership

L L Ex- L Edu- L Hier- Funct. F F F

L Age peri-
Gender cation archy area Gender Age Tenure

-.08 .07 -.15 .08 .12 .29* -.10 -.04 .10

Transactional leadership Self-leadership

Passive leadership .12

Note. L = leader, F = follower

Analyzing the impact of transformational, transactional, and passive leadership on

follower self-leadership, regressions reveal positive effects only for transactional
leadership (β = .21, p < .01). Higher-order factors of transformational and passive
leadership do not provide a significant indication of direct relation to self-
leadership. Looking at the nine subfacets of FRL, the results show a more differen-
tiated picture. Idealized influence (behavior) (β = .25, p < .01), inspirational moti-
vation (β = .21, p < .05), MBEa (β = .13, p < .05), and MBEp (β = .17, p ≤ .001)
show significant positive effects, whereas laissez-faire leadership (β = -.17, p < .05)
demonstrates negative influence on follower self-leadership. Hypothesis 1.1 should
138 6 Results

thus be partially rejected as transformational leadership was projected to influence

self-leadership positively and passive leadership to influence self-leadership nega-
tively. Standardized beta weights of FRL subfacets and their effects are displayed
in Table 19.
Table 19. Predicting Self-Leadership by FRL Subfacets
Full Range Leadership subfacets β p
L Gender -.08 .524
L Age .07 .688
Leadership experience -.15 .435
L Educational background .08 .524
L Hierarchy .12 .349
Functional area .29* .020
F Gender -.10 .433
F Age -.04 .774
F Tenure with leader .10 .436
Transformational leadership .16 .067
Idealized influence (attributed) -.06 .534
Idealized influence (behavior) .25** .009
Inspirational motivation .21* .045
Intellectual stimulation .04 .681
Individualized consideration -.17 .093
Transactional leadership .21** .004
Contingent reward -.15 .147
Management-by-exception - active .13* .021
Passive leadership .12 .076
Management-by-exception - passive .17*** .001
Laissez-faire -.17* .013
Note. n = 372. * p < .05, ** p < .01, *** p ≤ .001; L = leader, F = follower

Effects of control variables

Significances could be detected for none of the regressed control variables, except
for functional area (β = .29, p < .05). This result raises the assumption that whether
one works in supply chain or in indirect/administrative areas influences the effect
of perceived leadership behavior on follower self-leadership. The next step thus
includes a t-test to determine whether the differences between groups are signifi-
cant. The t-test compares mean scores of followers working in manufactur-
ing/logistics/supply chain (M = 3.13, SD = 0.66) with those working in indirect ar-
eas/administration (M = 3.52, SD = 0.54). The outcome of the t-test suggests that
followers working in indirect/administration areas ascribe themselves a considera-
bly higher level of self-leadership compared to those working in manufactur-
6.1 Statistical Analysis 139

ing/logistics or supply chain (t = -3.54, df = 120, p ≤ .001). Influence of the dichot-

omous variable is further tested being split in (1) all cases indicating to be working
in supply chain, and (2) all cases working in indirect/administrative areas. Compu-
tations reveal that transactional leadership does not predict self-leadership for indi-
viduals working in indirect/administrative areas (β = .16, t = 1.17, n.s.). For subor-
dinates working in supply chain, transactional leadership predicts follower self-
leadership (β = .52, t = 2.06, p < .05).
Hypothesis 1.2:
Transformational leadership and transactional leadership behavior both predict
positive follower performance, whereas passive leadership behavior predicts nega-
tive follower performance.

The second hypothesis concerns the effects of leadership behavior on individual

follower performance. According to the minimal values outlined in the correlation
matrix, direct effects of perceived leadership behavior on follower performance are
expected to be low. Multiple linear regression modeling reveals that neither trans-
formational, nor transactional, nor passive leadership show any significant direct
effects on individual performance. Nor does any control variable significantly in-
fluence this relationship. Hypothesis 1.2 is hence rejected. Standardized beta
weights of regressions are displayed in Figure 8.

Figure 8. Influences of Leadership Behavior on Performance

L L Expe- L Edu- L Hier- Funct. F F

L Age F Age
Gender rience cation archy area Gender Tenure

.01 .34 -.21 .09 .07 .15 -.13 .06 -.02


Transactional leadership Performance


Passive leadership -.16

Note. L = leader, F = follower

140 6 Results

Similar to in the prior procedure, subfacets of FRL are regressed to see whether any
of the nine behaviors predicts individual performance in particular. Creating the
model with subfacets, the value of R squared (R2 = .065) indicates that only 6.5%
of individual performance is explained directly by perceptions of leadership behav-
ior. Computing standardized beta coefficients, only one subfacet (attributed ideal-
ized influence) returns significant, albeit limited, results. Table 20 releases stand-
ardized beta weights and p-values of the regressions.

Table 20. Predicting Performance by FRL Subfacets

Full Range Leadership subfacets β p
L Gender .01 .960
L Age .34 .075
Leadership experience -.21 .272
L Educational background .09 .485
L Hierarchy .07 .584
Functional area .15 .242
F Gender -.13 .312
F Age .06 .663
F Tenure with leader -.02 .872
Transformational leadership .11 .215
Idealized influence (attributed) .20* .038
Idealized influence (behavior) -.04 .663
Inspirational motivation .21 .059
Intellectual stimulation -.10 .302
Individualized consideration -.07 .492
Transactional leadership -.56 .578
Contingent reward -.10 .375
Management-by-exception - active -.01 .876
Passive leadership -.16 .106
Management-by-exception - passive -.07 .216
Laissez-faire -.07 .353
Note. n = 372. * p < .05, ** p <. 01, *** p ≤ .001; L = leader, F = follower

Augmentation Effect
The present study examined additional variance that is explained by transforma-
tional leadership over the effects of transactional leadership on (1) performance and
(2) self-leadership. The first problem occurred when transactional leadership was
not found to be significantly directly related to followers’ individual performance
(R2 = .006, n.s.). However, when transformational leadership was added to the re-
6.1 Statistical Analysis 141

gression, a direct positive effect was reported and the explanation of variance be-
came significant (R2 = .026, F = 4.97, p < .01). This finding could be confirmed by
numerous previous studies (Elenkov, 2002; Howell & Avolio, 1993; Waldman,
Bass & Yammarino, 1990). Although transactional leadership explained a signifi-
cant variance of the contribution to followers’ self-leadership, the increase of vari-
ance that is added by transformational leadership is marginal (∆ R2 = .002).

Hypothesis 1.3:
Follower self-leadership strategies have a direct positive effect on follower perfor-

To retain insights on which strategies in particular influence follower performance,

higher-order factors of self-leadership are analyzed. Standardized beta weights and
p-values are provided in Table 21. The examination of self-leadership higher-order
factors reveals that cognition-based strategies do not contribute to predict individu-
als’ performance (β = .00, n.s.). Yet natural reward strategies (β = .15, p < .05) as
well as social self-leadership strategies (β = .14, p < .05) indicate weak statistically
significant effects on performance.
As influences of leadership behavior on performance show weak direct effects only
for attributed idealized influence, yet direct effects of self-leadership on perfor-
mance indicate significant increases of natural-reward strategies and social self-
leadership strategies, self-leadership is controlled for as moderator in the relation
between leadership behavior and follower performance.
Three different models are calculated, one for each higher-order leadership behav-
ior. For testing moderation effects, predictor variables are centralized. Predictor and
potential moderator are subsequently expressed as product term and regressed, to-
gether with the original predictor on the outcome variable. If the product of predic-
tor and potential moderator becomes statistically significant, a moderation effect
occurs (Bühner & Ziegler, 2009, pp. 725ff).
For the first model, assessing the potential of self-leadership to moderate the rela-
tion between transformational leadership and follower performance (R2 = .068),
the result of the regression (β = .01, n.s.) does not support the existence of modera-
tion effects. The second model aims at testing moderating influences of self-
leadership on the relation between transactional leadership and performance. Pre-
dictors are transformed and consequently multiplied. Linear regression computa-
142 6 Results

tions of the second model (R2 = .06) do not reveal any significant moderation ef-
fects (β = .00, n.s.). Testing potential moderation effects of self-leadership on the
relationship between passive leadership and performance (R2 = .082), no statisti-
cally significant beta-coefficients are retrieved (β = .01, n.s.). To summarize the
findings outlined in this paragraph: self-leadership does not act as moderator in the
relationship between perceptions of FRL and follower performance.

Table 21. Predicting Performance by Higher-Order Factors of Self-Leadership

Self-leadership higher-order factors β p
Global self-leadership .24*** .000
Cognition-based strategies -.00 .973
Natural reward strategies .15* .050
Social self-leadership strategies .14* .030
Note. n = 372. * p < .05, ** p < .01, *** p ≤ .001

To test the direct linear relation between follower self-leadership and performance
standardized beta coefficients are calculated. The model fit index indicates that
5.8% of variance is explained by self-leadership (R2 = .058). Results of the
regression function reveal that self-leadership strategies do have a direct statistically
significant effect on performance (β = .24, p ≤ .001). Hypothesis 1.3 is thus accepted.

6.1.2 Moderation and Mediation Effects of Distance on the Leader-Follower

Situations in which research looks at the effects of leader characteristics resulting
in specific work-related outcomes are often moderated (Yukl, 2013). The second
sequence of hypotheses is thus concerned with moderating and mediating effects of
physical distance, relationship quality, and interaction frequency on the influence
of leadership behavior on follower self-leadership and performance. The research
framework is illustrated in Figure 9.
6.1 Statistical Analysis 143

Figure 9. Moderating and Mediating Influences of Distance


 Relationship quality

Follower work-related
Leadership behavior
 Transformational  Self-leadership
 Transactional  Performance
 Passive

 Physical distance
International corporations  Interaction frequency

In the first step, the correlation matrix outlining the interrelatedness of variables in
the model is presented. The correlations between leadership behavior, self-
leadership, and performance have already been discussed. Table 22 now displays
interrelatedness of FRL, self-leadership, performance and distance dimensions.
Transformational leadership and physical distance show a weak negative but highly
significant correlation (r = -.17, p ≤ .001). Physical distance further indicates weak
but significant positive relation with passive leadership (r = .15, p < .01). Correla-
tions specify that physical distance might have the potential to influence leadership
behavior in more than one direction. Transformational leadership and LMX reveal
strong positive correlation (r = .81, p ≤ .001). The relation with transactional lead-
ership is smaller, yet interpreted as high according to Cohen (1988) with r = .54 (p
≤ .001). Correlations with passive leadership are expectedly negative (r = -.63, p
≤ .001). The matrix furthermore reveals positive interrelations of LMX with fol-
lower self-leadership (r = .21, p ≤ .001) and individual performance (r = .19, p
≤ .001). Probably the most noteworthy piece appearing in the matrix is the negative
significant correlation between LMX and physical distance (r = -.22, p ≤ .001).
This outcome indicates that the degree of LMX varies with leader-follower physi-
cal distance. Interaction frequency as index supported neither relationships with
predictors, nor outcome variables.
Even if the interaction frequency index did not reveal any significant correlations
with any other variables, it could be interesting to look at the usage of the different
media channels. Table 23 displays the relevant intercorrelations of face-to-face, e-
144 6 Results

mail, telephone conference, videoconference, and chat interaction. Frequency of

face-to-face interaction indicates significant correlation with follower gender (r = -
.14, p < .01). The result suggests that leaders tend to have face-to-face meetings
with female followers more frequently. The negative weak but significant correla-
tion with follower tenure (r = -.10, p < .05) indicates that followers with less tenure
reporting to a leader tend to see their supervisors more frequently face-to-face than
those who have been reporting to a supervisor for a longer period. Followers who
meet regularly with their leaders face-to-face do tend to use videoconferencing (r =
-.15, p < .01) and chat (r = -.10, p < .05) less often. Expectedly, the frequency of
face-to-face meetings correlates strongly negative with physical distance (r = -.61,
p ≤ .001). This is not surprising as large leader-follower physical distance makes
personal face-to-face encounters challenging. Face-to-face interaction furthermore
does correlate negatively with passive leadership (r = -.15, p < .01). Additionally,
face-to-face encounters do negatively relate to ratings of self-leadership (r = -.14, p
< .01). A central revelation is that the number of face-to-face meetings does not
correlate significantly with performance. This could indicate that the importance of
face-to-face meetings is overrated and in turn this bears high potential for virtual
interaction instead. In addition, face-to-face meeting frequency does relate positive-
ly to LMX (r = .20, p ≤ .001). The frequency of e-mail exchanges between leader
and subordinates does not show any significant correlations except with the usage
of other communication channels. Respondents writing e-mails also tend to use the
telephone (r = .32, p ≤ .001), videoconferences (r = .12, p < .05), and chat software
(r = .23, p ≤ .001) frequently. Individuals using telephone calls or telephone confer-
ences for interaction with their leaders do also tend to use videoconferencing (r
= .19, p ≤ .001) and chat software (r = .22, p ≤ .001). While videoconferencing is
mostly used when geographical distance is involved, it is not surprising that the
frequency of videoconference interaction correlates positively and statistically sig-
nificant with physical distance (r = .26, p < .01). Usage of chat is similarly related
to physical distance (r = .23, p < .01). Those followers using chat are also more
likely to communicate through videoconferences with their leaders (r = .47, p
≤ .001). Chat interaction is further negatively correlated with transactional leader-
ship (r = -.15, p < .01).
Table 22. Intercorrelations of FRL, Self-Leadership, Performance, and Distance
M SD 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
1 TF 3.65 0.65 1
2 TK 3.47 0.57 .71*** 1
6.1 Statistical Analysis

3 PL 2.27 0.50 -.64*** -.34*** 1

4 SL 3.33 0.67 .24*** .29*** -.06 1
5 Perf 3.53 0.57 .16*** .077 -.17*** .24*** 1
6 PhyD 1319.72 2870.68 -.17*** -.10 .15** .00 -.01 1
7 LMX 3.70 0.70 .81*** .54*** -.63*** .21*** .19*** -.22*** 1
8 IntF 2.21 0.57 .04 -.08 -.03 -.02 .04 .09 .09 1
Note. n = 372. * p < .05, ** p < .01, *** p ≤ .001, TF = transformational leadership, TK = transactional leadership, PL = passive leadership, SL = global self-leadership, Perf = per-
formance, PhyD = physical distance, LMX = leader-member exchange, IntF = leader-follower interaction frequency

Table 23. Intercorrelations of Full Range Leadership and Media Channels

Mean SD 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14
1 F Gen 1.78 0.41 1
2 F Ten 2.60 2.20 .04 1
3 PhD 1319.72 2870.68 .13* .02 1
4 F2F 3.22 1.02 -.14** -.10* -.61*** 1
5 E-mail 3.39 0.72 -.05 .03 .07 -.06 1
6 Tele 2.75 1.11 -.04 .01 .06 -.10 .32*** 1
7 VidCo 0.46 0.88 -.04 .06 .26** -.15** .12* .19*** 1
8 Chat 1.23 1.42 -.08 -.08 .23** -.10* .23*** .22*** .47*** 1
9 TF 3.65 0.65 .02 .11* -.17*** .10 .06 -.02 -.03 -.03 1
10 TK 3.47 0.57 .12* .15** -.10 -.01 .02 -.04 -.08 -.15** .71*** 1
11 PL 2.27 0.50 .07 -.04 .15** -.15** -.03 .01 .00 -.05 -.64*** -.34*** 1
12 SL 3.33 0.67 .089 .08 .00 -.14** -.01 .07 .01 -.04 .24** .29** -.26** 1
13 Perf 3.53 0.57 -.01 -.01 -.01 .07 -.04 .01 -.09 .03 .16** .08 -.14** .24** 1
14 LMX 3.70 0.70 .01 .14** -.22*** .20*** .03 -.06 -.04 -.03 .81*** .54*** -.63*** .21*** .19*** 1
Note. n = 372. * p < .05, ** p < .01, *** p ≤ .001, F Gen = follower gender, F Ten = follower tenure, PhD = physical distance, F2F = frequency of face-
to-face interaction, E-mail = frequency of e-mail interaction, Tele = frequency of telephone interaction, VidCo = frequency of videoconference interac-
tion, Chat = frequency of chat interaction, TF = transformational leadership, TK = transactional leadership, PL = passive leadership, SL = global self-
leadership, Perf = performance, LMX = leader-member exchange. Significant correlations are marked in bold.
6 Results
6.1 Statistical Analysis 147

Hypothesis 2.1:
Physical distance negatively moderates the influence of leadership behavior on fol-
lower self-leadership strategies.

Moderation occurs when the relationship between two variables changes with the
change of another independent variable (Field, 2013, pp. 398-407; Hair, Black, Ba-
bin & Anderson, 2010). The regression calculation includes running an analysis
where original predictor, moderator, and interaction term of predictor and modera-
tor are expected to predict the outcome variable. Prior to computation, predictors
need to be centralized. Significance of the interaction term indicates whether mod-
eration is present. Moderation effects in this work are tested applying physical dis-
tance as potential moderating variable on the relationship between leadership be-
havior and follower self-leadership. Testing for moderation involves assessing a
directed relationship, thus one-tailed p-values are calculated (Field, 2013, pp. 65-
To test the first moderation hypothesis, the centralized value of transformational
leadership is multiplied by the centralized variable of physical distance. Transfor-
mational leadership, physical distance, and the product term are then regressed on
follower self-leadership. The same procedure is repeated for transactional and pas-
sive leadership behavior.
Calculations reveal that physical distance shows moderating effects for the influ-
ence of transformational leadership on follower self-leadership and it might play a
role in the passive leadership/performance relation. However, physical distance
shows no significant moderation for the influence of transactional leadership on
follower self-leadership.
The analysis in Table 24 displays transformational leadership to have significant
positive influence on followers’ self-leadership strategies (β = .24, t = 4.70, p
≤ .001). With the interaction term of transformational leadership and physical dis-
tance taken into account, physical distance appears as moderator (β = .09, t = 1.67,
p < .05). Therefore, cases are split into distance categories. Category one comprises
all cases with leader-follower physical distance equal to 0 km. For those individuals
very close to each other, transformational leadership predicts follower self-
leadership (β = .19, t = 2.87, p < .01).
Concerning the more distant leader-follower pairings, when leaders and followers
were working 1 to 10 km away from each other (β = .13, t = .68, n.s.), 11 – 100 km
148 6 Results

from each other (β = .22, t = 0.61, n.s.), and 101 – 1,000 km from each other (β
= .12, t = .56, n.s.), transformational leadership did not predict follower self-
leadership. Notably, for the very distant group indicating leader-follower physical
distance of 1,000 km or more, statistics do again reveal significance (β = .49, t =
5.15, p ≤ .001). For followers far away from leaders, transformational leadership
even predicts follower self-leadership more strongly than when they are close.

Table 24. Influence of FRL on Self-Leadership: Moderating Effects of Physical Distance

Model Standardized β t p
Model 1
Transformational leadership .24*** 4.70 .000
Physical distance .08 1.46 .073
Transformational*physical distance .09* 1.67 .048
Model 2
Transactional leadership .29*** 5.73 .000
Physical distance .06 1.07 .285
Transactional*physical distance .08 1.59 .112
Model 3
Passive leadership -.06 -1.11 .267
Physical distance .04 .73 .465
Passive*physical distance -.12* -2.17 .031
Note. Dependent variable: Follower self-leadership strategies

Despite the fact that there was only a limited signal of a direct relationship between
passive leadership and self-leadership in this model, the effect is still influenced by
physical distance, indicated by the significance of the interaction term. Examining
this effect more closely, direction and extent of influence are investigated. The data
set is therefore split into categories, analogue to the prior procedure. For respond-
ents who were very close to their leaders (0 km), passive leadership had no effects
on follower self-leadership strategies (β = -.03, t = -.41, n.s.).
Self-leadership strategies of the follower groups working 1-10 km (β = .16, t = .86,
n.s.), 11-100 km (β = -.52, t = -1.60, n.s.), and 101-1,000 km (β = .17, t = .89, n.s.)
away from their leaders still appeared not to be influenced by passive leadership
behavior. For those followers who were very distant from leaders (more than 1000
km), passive leadership suddenly predicted follower self-leadership negatively (β =
-.24, t = -2.26, p < .05). Perceptions of passive leadership behaviors might even
increase in physically distant leader-follower relationships. In other words, the neg-
6.1 Statistical Analysis 149

ative effect of passive leadership was even stronger in a distance work setting. For
the diversity in findings for moderation effects of physical distance on the influence
of FRL behavior on follower self-leadership, hypothesis 2.1 is partially accepted.

Hypothesis 2.2:
Physical distance negatively moderates the influence of leadership behavior on fol-
lower performance.

Similarly to the previous approach, physical distance was tested as a potential mod-
erator influencing the effect of perceived leadership behavior on follower perfor-
mance. Although transformational leadership appears to have significant influence
on follower performance in this model, the product term of transformational leader-
ship and physical distance reveals no statistically significant results. The outcome
indicates that physical distance does not affect the influence of transformational
leadership behavior on individual performance. For transactional and passive lead-
ership moderation analyses show no statistical differences of physical distance ei-
ther. Table 25 outlines findings of the moderation analysis for hypothesis 2.2.
Table 25. Influence of FRL on Performance: Moderating Effects of Physical Distance
Model Standardized β t p
Model 1
Transformational leadership .16** 3.01 .002
Physical distance .04 .62 .269
Transformational*physical distance .05 .95 .171
Model 2
Transactional leadership .08 1.49 .069
Physical distance -.00 -.04 .483
Transactional*physical distance .01 .21 .416
Model 3
Passive leadership -.17*** -3.30 .001
Physical distance .03 .47 .321
Passive*physical distance -.05 -1.03 .153

Note. Dependent variable: Follower performance

The previous model shows direct effects of perceptions of transformational, trans-

actional, and passive leadership on individual follower performance. Whereas
transformational leadership expresses weak positive effects (β = .16, t = 3.01, p
< .01), transactional leadership does not indicate significant influence (β = .08, t =
150 6 Results

1.49, n.s.), and passive leadership reveals negative effects of low effect size (β = -
.17, t = -3.30, p ≤ .001). This outcome led to more in-depth analysis of the effects
of leadership behavior at certain physical distances as it was assumed that the influ-
ence (even if it was small) of transformational and passive leadership could vary
with physical distance. Therefore, correlations were computed for the different
physical distance stages. At very close condition, transformational leadership pre-
dicted follower performance (r = .17, p < .05). This was also true for the very dis-
tant group when transformational leadership predicted follower performance even
more strongly (r = .33, p < .01). Transactional leadership did not predict perfor-
mance at any physical distance. Passive leadership did project negative perfor-
mance at very close (r = -.17, p < .05) and very distant level (r = -.29, p < .01).
Despite the different effects of transformational and passive leadership on follower
performance at very close and very distant condition, the effects are either too
small or occur in a different manner when the contingent measure of physical dis-
tance is used (and not the five distance categories) to reveal moderation. For this
reason, it can be concluded that physical distance appears to be not as relevant in
the leader-follower relationship as presumed and hypothesis 2.2 must be rejected.

Hypothesis 2.3:
Physical distance does show negative effects on the quality of relationship.

The following hypothesis is concerned with the direct influence of physical dis-
tance on followers’ perceptions of relationship quality. Linear regression was car-
ried out to determine the effect size of physical distance on relationship quality.
Results reveal that leader-follower physical distance is a moderate negative predic-
tor of relationship quality. In other words, if physical distance between leader and
followers increases, relationship quality most likely decreases (β = -.22, t = -4.31, p
≤ .001). The relation between the two variables is reflected in Figure 10.

Figure 10. The Influence of Physical Distance on Relationship Quality

Leader-follower physical distance Relationship quality

β = -.22***
6.1 Statistical Analysis 151

Regression computations show that leader-follower physical distance does entail

negative influence on followers’ perceptions of leader-member exchange and hence
hypothesis 2.3 is accepted.

Hypothesis 2.4:
Relationship quality mediates the influence of leadership behavior on follower per-

Studying the literature on Full Range Leadership and relationship quality the as-
sumption arises that LMX acts as mediating variable affecting relationships to
work-related outcomes (e.g., Davis & Bryant, 2010). To test mediating influences
of LMX on FRL behaviors and their effect sizes, three different models are calcu-
In contrast to moderation, mediation expresses the relationship between two varia-
bles due to the relationship to a third variable (Field, 2013, p. 408). Accordingly,
mediation occurs if the strength of direct relationship is reduced by including a
third variable. Mediation effects are investigated using the procedure suggested by
Baron and Kenny (1986). It is a frequently used practice to conduct mediation in
social science (Birasnav, 2014; Fritz & MacKinnon, 2007; Wang et al., 2010). Four
steps are required to confirm mediation. As a prerequisite, (1) the predicting varia-
ble should be significantly related to the outcome variable, (2) and to the mediator.
At the same time, (3) the mediator must predict the outcome variable significantly.
Once the mediator is controlled for, (4) the relationship between the predictor and
outcome variable should approach zero (Baron & Kenny, 1986). In order to test the
significance of the mediation effect, researchers recommend the Sobel test (1982).
The three-step regression analysis to test mediation proposed by Baron and Kenny
(1986) was carried out for each of the three higher-order factors of Full Range
Leadership and unstandardized regression coefficients were added to the respective
paths in the model (Field, 2013, p. 409). For explanation, a represents the direct
relationship between predictor and mediator, b describes the direct effect of the
mediator, c stands for the isolated relationship between predictor and outcome vari-
able, and c’ indicates the direct effect of predictor on the outcome variable if the
mediator is included in the model (Field, 2013, p. 408). The indirect effect of ab is
simply the difference of the total and the direct effect c - c’ (Hayes, 2009, p. 409).
In contrast to Baron and Kenny (1986), who suggest monitoring the reduction of
152 6 Results

effect sizes to determine mediation, Field (2013, p. 410) explains that mediation
occurs if the direct relationship between the predictor and outcome variable is sig-
nificant, yet approaches zero if a third variable is entered in the model.
Bootstrapping is recommended by Hayes (2009) and Williams and MacKinnon
(2008) as it is not only more valid but also more powerful in testing intervening
effects. Figure 11 visualizes the mediation for Model 1, assessing impending medi-
ating effects of relationship quality.
Figure 11. Model 1: Transformational Leadership and Mediating Effects of Relationship

Relationship quality

a = .81*** b = .18*

Transformational leadership Follower performance

c = .16**
c’= .01

Model 1 shows paths indicating the relationship between predictor, mediator, and
outcome variable. The linear effect (a) of transformational leadership on relation-
ship quality is highly significant (b = .81, t = 26.69, p ≤ .001). The second path b
directing from mediating to output variable also reveals a significant effect (b = .18,
t = 2.06, p < .05). In addition, the third path c indicating the isolated relationship of
predictor on outcome variable shows statistical significance (b = .16, t = 3.01, p
< .01). Hence, all preconditions for mediation according to Baron and Kenny (1986)
are fulfilled. Represented by path c’ the prospective mediator is now added to the
model. In order for a mediation to occur, the effect of the predictor on the outcome
variable should be reduced when the mediator is introduced in the model and at
best, path c’ should become insignificant (Field, 2013). Visualized in Figure 11,
path c’ is no longer statistically significant (b = .01, t = .10, n.s.). To test whether
the outcome is statistically significant, the Sobel test is applied, which reveals
whether the indirect effect of the predictor on the outcome variable via the mediat-
ing variable significantly differs from zero (Preacher & Hayes, 2004, p. 718). Out-
comes of the Sobel test affirm the statistical significance of the mediation (z = 2.05,
p < .05). The findings show that relationship quality fully mediates the relationship
between transformational leadership and follower performance.
For the first mediation model, the indirect effect is computed with bab = .146,
whereas the direct effect is specified with bc = .155. Interpretations according to
6.1 Statistical Analysis 153

Urban and Mayerl (2006, p. 3) quantify the total effect at bab+c = .301. In other
words, relationship quality accounts for 30.1% of the effect of transformational
leadership on follower performance.
The second model is calculated using a similar approach. Three regressions were
calculated and unstandardized coefficients were retrieved. Figure 12 shows the vis-
ualization of Model 2 with respective coefficients for paths a, b, c, and c’.
Figure 12. Model 2: Transactional Leadership and Mediating Effects of Relationship Quality

Relationship quality

a = .54*** b = .21***

Transactional leadership Follower performance

c = .08
c’= -.03

Path a shows a highly significant result of direct relation between transactional

leadership and relationship quality (b = .54, t = 12.25, p ≤ .001). A smaller but still
highly significant effect is retrieved for path b (b = .21, t = 3.38, p ≤ .001). The iso-
lated relationship between transactional leadership and follower performance c re-
veals no statistical significance (b = .08, t = 1.49, n.s.). With c not being statistical-
ly significant a vital precondition for mediation is violated (Field, 2013, pp. 409-
410). Yet, Hayes (2009, pp. 413-415) outlines the heavy criticism on the causal
steps approach by Baron and Kenny (1986), arguing that indirect effects should still
be taken into consideration for analyses if a and b are significantly different from
zero, even if c is not. The researchers attest that in this case, the term indirect effect
should be used rather than mediation. For mediation effects of relationship quality
on the influence of transactional leadership on follower performance, the Sobel test
revealed statistically significance for prior model (z = 3.25, p < .01). This indicates
the indirect effect to be significant with the product of ab: bab = .110, and the direct
effect bc = .077. The total effect is thus calculated at bab+c = .008, which may be
interpreted that relationship quality accounts for only 0.8% of the influence of
transactional leadership on follower performance.
Aiming to test for potential mediating effects of relationship quality on the influ-
ence of passive leadership on follower performance, the third model was calculated
154 6 Results

and unstandardized coefficients were computed as illustrated in Model 3 in Figure

The effect of passive leadership on relationship quality is indicated in path a with a
highly negative statistically significant outcome (b = -.63, t = -15.68, p ≤ .001).
Path b aims at explaining the influence of relationship quality on follower perfor-
mance which results in a weak but positive direct effect (b = .13 t = 2.03, p < .05).
The initial direct relationship between passive leadership and follower performance
c is confirmed by a highly significant negative result hence of rather low strength
(b = -.17, t = -3.30, p ≤ .001). Described as the best way to detect mediation (Field,
2013), adding the mediator to the model, the initial relation between passive leader-
ship and follower performance c’ becomes insignificant (b = -.09, t = -1.29, n.s.).
Figure 13. Model 3: Passive Leadership and Mediating Effects of Relationship Quality

Relationship quality

a = -.63*** b = .13*

Passive leadership Follower performance

c = -.17***
c’= -.09

Testing for statistical significance of the mediation model, the Sobel test is signifi-
cantly different from zero (z = -2.01, p < .05). Yet, mediation does occur. The indi-
rect effect, taking relationship quality into account, reveals a value of bab = .0084;
the direct effect is computed with bc = -.169. The total effect accounts for bab+c =
-.161. As the result turns out to be negative, interpretation includes that relationship
quality accounts for 16.1% hindering the negative influence of passive leadership
on follower performance. A numeric summary of the mediation tests is provided in
Table 26.
Reviewing prior mediation analyses and in response to hypothesis 2.4 it can be
concluded that followers’ perceptions of relationship quality have the potential to
mediate effects of leadership behavior on follower performance.
6.1 Statistical Analysis 155

Table 26. Influence of FRL on Performance: Mediating Effects of Relationship Quality

Model Unstandardized b t p
Model 1
a .81*** 26.69 .000
b .18* 2.06 .040
c .16** 3.01 .003
c’ .01 .10 .929
Model 2
a .54*** 12.25 .000
b .21*** 3.38 .001
c .08 1.49 .137
c’ -.03 -.54 .590
Model 3
a -.63*** -15.68 .000
b .13* 2.03 .043
c -.17*** -3.30 .001
c’ -.09 -1.29 .198
Note. Dependent variable: Follower performance

Hypothesis 2.5:
Interaction frequency positively moderates the influence of transformational lead-
ership and transactional leadership behavior on follower performance.

For the third distance dimension assessed in this work, it was hypothesized that in-
teraction frequency has positive moderating effects on the influence of leadership
behavior on follower performance.
To respond to the stated hypothesis, moderating effects are tested. For this reason,
different models are calculated for transformational and transactional leadership.
As passive leadership is identified as non-leadership and those leaders are known to
interact with their workforce infrequently by nature, passive leadership is ignored
at this stage of analysis. Table 27 presents a summary of the computations.
Table 27. Influence of FRL on Performance: Moderating Effects of Interaction Frequency
Model Standardized β t p
Model 1
Transformational leadership .16** 3.01 .002
Interaction frequency .06 1.24 .107
Transformational*interaction frequency .62*** 3.06 .001
Model 2
Transactional leadership .08 1.49 .069
Interaction frequency .05 1.02 .155
Transactional*interaction frequency .02 .30 .384
Note. Dependent variable: Follower performance
156 6 Results

Findings of the analysis reveal moderation effects of interaction frequency on the

influence of transformational leadership on follower performance. Transformation-
al leadership reports significant but weak direct effects on follower performance (β
= .16, t = 3.01, p < .01). Including the product term of transformational leadership
and interaction frequency (β = .62, t = 3.06, p < .001) the moderator appears signif-
icant. To assess how the effect influences the relationship, the data file is split at a
value of -.013, representing the standardized mean score. The first data set repre-
sents low interaction frequency. For this set of responses transformational leader-
ship does not show significant effects on follower performance (β = .07, t = 1.01,
n.s.). For the second data set, representing candidates interacting frequently with
their leaders, transformational leadership suddenly reveals highly significant effects
of low to medium strength (β = .23, t = 3.25, p ≤ .001). Moderation of interaction
frequency on the relationship between transformational leadership and follower
performance is thus confirmed.
For effects of transactional leadership on follower performance, interaction fre-
quency does not intervene. For this reason, the last hypothesis 2.5 is partially ac-

6.2 Summary of statistical analyses

The following paragraph provides a thorough summary of all hypotheses tested in
this work. A graphical summary of hypotheses is illustrated in Figure 14.

Figure 14. Summary of Hypotheses


H 2.4 H 2.3 H 2.4

Physical Interaction fre-

distance quency

H 2.1 H 2.2 H 2.5 H 1.1
H 1.3

H 1.2

Note. The solid lines represent direct relations, dashed lines represent moderation or mediation influences
6.2 Summary of statistical analyses 157

Hypotheses were separated into two sequences. The first sequence was concerned
with direct effects of perceived leadership behavior on follower self-leadership and
performance. First, transformational and transactional leadership were projected to
predict positive follower self-leadership, whereas passive leadership was expected
to result in negative self-leadership. Calculations revealed that transactional leader-
ship had a direct positive influence on self-leadership as the only predictor of FRL.
Neither transformational nor passive leadership gave indications for any direct ef-
fect. Transformational and transactional leadership were further projected to lead to
positive follower performance yet it was expected that passive leadership would
result in a decrease in follower performance. This hypothesis was completely re-
jected as none of the three FRL dimensions showed any direct effect on follower
individual performance. It was later hypothesized that follower self-leadership
strategies have a direct positive influence on individual follower performance.
Findings revealed that this was true, especially for individuals pursuing natural re-
ward and social self-leadership strategies.
The second and imperative sequence of hypotheses for this work was concerned
with the effects of distance dimensions on the influence of Full Range Leadership
on follower self-leadership and performance. In particular, the leader-follower rela-
tionship was uncovered in terms of three distance dimensions: (1) physical distance,
(2) relationship quality, and (3) interaction frequency. All three distance dimen-
sions were projected to have some influence on the effects of leadership behavior
on work-related outcomes. Physical distance, for example, was predicted to nega-
tively moderate the influence of perceptions of transformational, transactional, and
passive leadership on follower self-leadership and performance. For follower self-
leadership strategies, transformational and passive leadership behavior were mod-
erated by physical distance. For very close and very distant followers, transforma-
tional leadership predicted self-leadership positively. For the group that was mod-
erately distant, physical distance revealed no influence. Effects of passive leader-
ship on follower self-leadership were further moderated by physical distance. For
close and moderately distant followers, physical distance showed no effects,
whereas for very distant followers, physical distance negatively moderated the in-
fluence. Testing moderating effects of physical distance on performance outcomes,
hypotheses had to be rejected as physical distance failed to intervene. For direct
effects on relationship quality, physical distance did seem to matter. In other words,
followers who were more physically distant from their leaders perceived the rela-
tionship with their leader to be lower in quality. In the following, perceptions of
relationship quality were assumed to mediate the effects of leadership behavior on
follower performance. Outcomes revealed that the influence of transformational
158 6 Results

leadership on follower performance was mediated by followers’ perceptions of re-

lationship quality. In other words, the relationship between transformational leader-
ship and follower performance may be explained by the quality of relationship be-
tween leader and follower. Similar findings were retrieved for influences of trans-
actional and passive leadership. For all three FRL behaviors, relationship quality
did mediate the impact of leadership on follower performance. Finally, the third
distance dimension, interaction frequency, was tested for moderation. Transforma-
tional leadership provided evidence that interaction frequency might play a moder-
ating role affecting the extent of follower individual performance. Particularly, for
those followers interacting frequently with their leaders, transformational leader-
ship revealed significant influence on follower performance. With less interaction,
the influence of transformational leadership on performance diminished. Outcomes
of hypotheses tests are illustrated in Table 28.

Chapter summary
Multiple linear regression, moderation, and mediation analyses were conducted to
test hypotheses. In total, eight hypotheses have been subject to analysis of which
three were accepted (H1.3, H2.3, H2.4), three partially accepted (H1.1, H2.1, H2.5),
and two rejected (H1.2, H2.2). Looking at direct effects of perceived leadership
behavior on follower self-leadership, only transactional leadership revealed statisti-
cally significant influences. None of the three dimensions of FRL showed further
direct effects on follower performance. Yet, self-leadership revealed some positive
direct effects on follower performance. For assessment of moderating and mediat-
ing influences of distance dimensions, physical distance was found to be moderat-
ing the relationship between transformational and passive leadership, and follower
self-leadership strategies. Furthermore, negative direct effects on followers’ per-
ceptions of relationship quality could be detected. Testing mediating effects of rela-
tionship quality, the influences of transformational and passive leadership were
found to be fully mediated by the degree of relationship quality. Transactional
leadership still revealed indirect effects on relationship quality. For the last distance
dimension, leader-follower interaction frequency, regression analysis discovered
moderating effects on the influence of transformational leadership on follower per-
formance. If leader and followers communicated frequently, transformational lead-
ership predicted follower performance.
6.2 Summary of statistical analyses 159

Table 28. Summary of Hypotheses

# Hypotheses Accepted accepted Rejected

1 Direct effects of leadership behavior on follower self-leadership and performance

Transformational leadership and transactional

leadership behavior both predict positive follower
1.1 
self-leadership, whereas passive leadership behavior
predicts negative follower self-leadership.
Transformational leadership and transactional
leadership behavior both predict positive follower
1.2 
performance, whereas passive leadership behavior
predicts negative follower performance.

Follower self-leadership strategies have a direct

1.3 
positive effect on follower performance.

2 Moderation and mediation effects of distance on the leader-follower relationship

Physical distance negatively moderates the influence

2.1 of leadership behavior on follower self-leadership 

Physical distance negatively moderates the influence

2.2 
of leadership behavior on follower performance.

Physical distance does show negative effects on the

2.3 
quality of relationship.

Relationship quality mediates the influence of

2.4 
leadership behavior on follower performance.

Interaction frequency positively moderates the influ-

2.5 ence of transformational leadership and transactional 
leadership behavior on follower performance.
7.1 Leadership Behavior 161

7 Discussion

Chapter overview
The first aim of this study was to broaden the general understanding of potential
influences of leadership behavior on followers’ self-leadership and individual per-
formance. Self-leadership has long been a vague conceptualization, yet with studies
like the present, it gains momentum in organizational research. The second objec-
tive of this work included the investigation of distance leadership which has long
been overlooked (Antonakis & Atwater, 2002), despite distance leadership being
already heavily practiced within international corporations (Eichenberg, 2007). The
study provides a firm foundation of recent theory on distance leadership literature.
Furthermore, emphasis is placed on empirically exploring the influences physical
distance, relationship quality, and interaction frequency exert over the leader-
follower relationship. Outcomes of the data analysis revealed that the previously
summarized theoretical constructs are present in the data sample and some have
shown to be critical influence factors within distance leadership.

7.1 Leadership Behavior

Many studies have failed to include the entire Full Range Leadership Model (Bass
& Avolio, 1995) into investigations and hence a holistic reflection of all facets of
leadership behavior has often been impossible. The present research differentiates
itself by the accommodation of all elements of the leadership spectrum and by its
clear focus on the incorporation of distance dimensions. In addition, underlying
work takes into account the post-heroic concept of self-leadership, which has been
applied sparsely in organizational research thus far (Furtner & Baldegger, 2013).
Indeed, only one prior study has applied self-leadership to a context of physical
distance (Andressen et al., 2012).

Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire

A summary on leadership measures identified seven validated scales to assess lead-
ership behavior (Zäch, 2014). The MLQ (Bass & Avolio, 1995) was found to bear
advantages over other measures. The revised scale, the MLQ 5X short (Bass &
Avolio, 1997) showed acceptable reliability in previous research attempts (e.g., An-
tonakis et al., 2003). The scale is, however, criticized for neglecting task and stra-
tegic facets of leadership. Mumford (2006) argues that considerations should in-
clude environmental aspects when leadership behavior is studied.
© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden 2017
N. Poser, Distance Leadership in International Corporations,
Advances in Information Systems and Business Engineering,
DOI 10.1007/978-3-658-15223-9_7
162 7 Discussion

Full Range Leadership dimensions showed proper reliability (alpha scores ranged
between .70 and .83), except for the higher-order factor of passive leadership. This
work followed the advice of recent research and integrated passive management-
by-exception with laissez-faire leadership to the higher-order factor of passive
leadership (Den Hartog et al., 1997; Felfe & Goihl, 2002). This was done for two
reasons: first, taking passive MBE up to the transactional dimension seemed far
away from what theory on active and passive leadership recommended. Transac-
tional leadership is characterized by the active involvement of a leader, using the
effort-reward relationship to improve performance-related outcomes of followers
(Pearce & Sims, 2002, p. 174). Passive management-by-exception would therefore
appear in the wrong position (already indicated by the name). Also the negative
intercorrelation between passive MBE and contingent reward (r = -.20, p ≤ .001)
and the missing correlation with the transactional scale (r = .04, n.s.) confirm the
assumption. Typically, passive management-by-exception correlated significantly
with laissez-faire leadership (Bass & Yammarino, 1991), which is confirmed in the
present work (r = .16, p < .01). Second, when passive management-by-exception
was left out of the transactional scale, and added to the passive scale, Cronbach al-
pha scores increased considerably.
The data showed high intercorrelations between the single facets and lacked dis-
criminant validity especially for higher-order factors of transactional and transfor-
mational leadership. Intercorrelations between dimensions of the FRL and the sub-
scales have often been criticized by researchers (Den Hartog et al., 1997; Tepper &
Percy, 1994). Transformational leadership revealed high intercorrelations with
transactional leadership (r = .71, p ≤ .001), attributed mainly to the high correlation
between contingent reward and transformational leadership (r = .87, p ≤ .001). Be-
cause of the consistent honoring of contracts over time, Avolio et al. (1999) declare
transactional leadership as the foundation for developmental expectations and
therefore high intercorrelation is to be expected. As opposed to the two active high-
er-order factors, passive leadership displays high negative correlations with the

Dominating leadership behaviors in large international corporations of the tech-

nology industry
This study assessed leadership from followers’ perspectives using 36 items of the
MLQ 5X short on a scale ranging from 1 (not at all) to 5 (frequently, if not always).
The results indicate that for the present sample, transformational leadership is per-
ceived as the dominant leadership style (M = 3.65). In comparison to prior research
(e.g., Howell & Avolio, 1993; Walumbwa et al., 2008), transformational leadership
7.1 Leadership Behavior 163

was perceived as more distinctive in the present investigation (∆ M = 0.27 - 0.44).

Concerning those studies that assessed leadership including one of the three dis-
tance components (physical distance, relationship quality, or interaction frequency),
a similar picture can be drawn regarding the dominant behaviors in organizations.
The incorporated studies reported transformational leadership assessed from fol-
lowers’ perspectives to be comparatively high, regardless of whether distance was
involved as a study subject or not. Investigations by Howell and Hall-Merenda
(1999) and Howell et al. (2005) found mean values for perceptions of transforma-
tional leadership of M = 2.776 and M = 2.69 respectively. Studies by Andressen et
al. (2012), Hoyt and Blascovich (2003), Neufeld et al. (2010), and Walumbwa et al.
(2008) reported lower mean scores for perceived transformational leadership than
the present study. Except for the study by Neufeld et al. (2010), transformational
leadership still represented the style perceived as most characteristic by subordi-
Scores for perceptions of transactional leadership seem to match findings by previ-
ous researchers who report transactional leadership to be fairly high, yet lower than
for transformational leadership. Howell and Hall-Merenda and Howell et al. (2005)
confirm contingent reward leadership at a mean level of 2.486, and 2.526 respective-
ly. The present work found transactional leadership to be within a comparable
range, residing at 3.47 for the higher-order factor. For laissez-faire leadership, the
value of the present study (M = 2.14) is found to be comparable to prior research
outcomes, located at 2.00 in a recent study by Zäch (2014) and 1.466 reported by
Tartler, Goihl, Kroeger and Felfe (2003).
In observing the variances in leadership behavior at different stages of physical dis-
tance, it was discovered that transformational leadership was the dominating behav-
ior for all followers, regardless of the level of distance. However, respondents who
were close to their leaders (1 – 10 km; M = 3.49) and those who were very distant
(more than 1,000 km; M = 3.51) from each other in location presented remarkably
lower mean scores. The lower mean values for followers who are more than 1,000
km away can be explained by the challenges in transferring transformational lead-
ership if face-to-face interaction is rare. Communication in that case is done pri-
marily over digital media devices and facets like attributed or behavioral idealized
influence are more difficult to transmit. Role-modeling and providing vision can
hardly be done over the telephone, via chat or e-mail. The low mean score for the
close group can be potentially due to a state of negligence. Those, for example, lo-
cated in another building, but still somehow near can be found in a dichotomy or

6 Rated on a 5-point scale ranging from 0 (not at all) to 4 (frequently, if not always)
164 7 Discussion

interval state where the leader is equally near but far. The followers at that specific
distance indicate one of the lowest scores for interaction frequency (M = 2.08)
compared to the other groups. Yet, together with the very distant group (M = 2.16),
the close group (M = 3.17) reports a significantly lower extent of face-to-face inter-
action. This particular group – neither near nor far – exhibits specific variations.
Leaders might not plan face-to-face interaction with these group members as they
are anyway not far away. However, leaders of these followers could then devote
their time to other activities, simply “forgetting” about these followers. Even if they
seem near, they can be out-of-reach.
Transactional behavior shows no significant differences for members of particular
distance groups. It has to be mentioned, however, that transactional behavior is
high and varies little from the overall mean score, which may indicate that transac-
tional leadership is a prerequisite of transformational leadership and therefore
needs to be present to a certain extent (Furtner & Baldegger, 2013).
Comparing the different distant groups with regards to passive leadership, the out-
comes confirm that the close group reports the highest ratings of passive leadership
(M = 2.41) together with the very distant group (M = 2.41). Evidence is further
provided as passive leadership is negatively correlated with the number of face-to
face interactions (r = -.15, p < .01).
Concluding the findings of more and less dominant leadership behaviors within the
sample, the most surprising outcome included the similarities between the groups
who were close and those who were very distant. The outcome can be explained by
the fact that that close followers are in a hybrid state of closeness and distance. The
leader is likely to disregard these followers as they seem near and easy to reach, yet
are distant.

Leadership behavior and control variables

With the examination of leadership behaviors, numerous control variables were
tested to see whether any explained significant variance of an interrelation between
variables. Leader gender, age, and educational background did not show correla-
tions with any of the leadership variables. Despite the fact that leadership experi-
ence is often observed as an indicator for certain leadership characteristics, the pre-
sent analysis did not result in any evidence of that relationship. A potential reason
is that most of the respondents had leadership experience of two years only. During
that time, leadership behavior might still be transitioning and fresh leaders are in
the process of developing their own style.
7.2 Self-Leadership 165

Transformational leadership was related to leaders’ hierarchy level (r = .22, p <

0.5). In other words, the higher leaders are in the organizational hierarchy, the more
followers perceive that they execute transformational leadership. Accordingly, top
managers practice transformational aspects of leadership more extensively than do
middle or lower management staff. Passive leadership was yet negatively related to
hierarchy level. Fuller, Patterson, Hester and Stringer (1996) presented results in
which the correlation between charismatic leadership and effectiveness indicators
seemed to be stronger at higher hierarchical levels. They explain the findings by the
fact that leaders at higher hierarchy levels enjoy greater freedom and autonomy to
act and question the status quo.
Transformational leadership further correlated positively with functional area. In
indirect/administrative areas the dominant perceived leadership behavior was trans-
formational leadership (M = 3.80). Transactional leadership was perceived remark-
ably lower at a mean level of 3.50. Passive leadership is perceived as less devel-
oped (M = 2.23). In areas of manufacturing, logistics and supply chain, transforma-
tional leadership is still perceived the strongest behavior (M = 3.26), ahead of
transactional leadership (M = 3.21), and passive leadership (M = 2.52). Yet the
comparatively lower mean scores indicate that in those areas particularly transfor-
mational and transactional leadership are not that distinct from each other and are
more often executed simultaneously.
Finally, followers’ tenure correlated positively with transformational (r = .11, p <
.05) and transactional behavior (r = .15, p < .01). The longer followers were on one
leader’s team, the stronger they perceived transformational and transactional char-
acteristics. This might owe to the knowledge followers have about their leader.
Subordinates with little leader tenure might not have experienced many facets of
transformational or transactional behaviors, whereas those who are with a leader
for a longer time might ascribe more of these facets to him or her. In addition, male
followers rated their leaders’ behavior as more transactional (r = .12, p < .05).

7.2 Self-Leadership
Grounded in self-management theory, self-leadership first appeared in a publication
directed to practitioners (Manz, 1983). Self-leadership can be described as a pro-
cess of self-influence to pursue tasks that are not naturally motivating (Manz, 1986,
p. 589) by combining “behavior-focused strategies of self-management and self-
control with concepts of intrinsic motivation and constructive thinking” (Furtner et
al., 2011, p. 370). Recent publications value self-leadership as a means of enhanc-
166 7 Discussion

ing followers’ work-related outcomes (e.g., DiLiello & Houghton, 2006;

Hauschildt & Konradt, 2012a, 2012b). The present research adds to modern self-
leadership theory as it recognizes the latest empirical investigations in the field and,
with the SLSI (Furtner & Rauthmann, in prep.), proposes a new measurement tool,
tested for the first time in an organizational context.

Validation of the Self-Leadership Skills Inventory

The Self-Leadership Skills Inventory developed by Furtner and Rauthmann (in
prep.) serves as a further improvement over the RSLQ by Houghton and Neck
(2002). Furtner and Baldegger (2013) suggested the development of a revised
measure as some factors of the RSLQ still lack reliability (Furtner & Rauthmann,
2011; Konradt et al., 2009). Applied in an academic setting, the SLSI produced sat-
isfactory reliability (α ≥ .79; n = 270). Except for two subfacets, the SLSI reported
considerably enhanced reliability and factor stability over the RSLQ. With the pre-
sent study, the SLSI is deployed in an organizational context for the first time.
Followers were asked to rate their level of self-leadership with 27 items on a 5-
point scale. A sample of 372 respondents completed the survey. For the purpose of
a sound validation of the SLSI, a confirmatory factor analysis was conducted
(Janssen & Laatz, 2013). The analysis confirmed the nine-factor structure of the
instrument, explaining 83.59% of variance. Factor scores reflected values between
0.66 and 0.97. None of the items showed factor loadings above 0.20 on other di-
Followers’ self-assessment of self-leadership revealed acceptable fit indices. Com-
paring scale statistics of present study with those by Furtner and Rauthmann (in
prep.) the SLSI again showed good to excellent Cronbach alpha scores. The sub-
scales that dropped in reliability compared to the RSLQ displayed an increase in
reliability over the first application of the SLSI. They improved considerably in the
organizational sample from .79 to .89 for self-analysis and slightly from .90 to .91
for intrinsification. Reliability for all highest-order factors increased. A comparison
of reliability scores of the first academic application of the SLSI by Furtner and
Rauthmann (in prep.) and the present work is illustrated in Appendix B.

Correlations of self-leadership
Global self-leadership showed a significant correlation with one of the control vari-
ables, namely functional area (r = .31, p ≤ .001). This positive interrelation ex-
presses that self-leadership is more evolved in indirect/administrative areas. This
finding can be interpreted as indirect/administrative areas provide more freedom to
7.3 Relationship Quality 167

execute self-leadership as their tasks tend to be more strategic compared to those in

direct productive areas. Targets are usually set long-term and autonomy is provided
to complete work according to the nature of the task. Functional areas closer to the
supply chain tend to have operational goals that conclude a clear target, e.g., to
manufacture a lot of one million pieces by the end of a day, or close two contracts
by the end of a month.
When interrelations between self-leadership and communication media were as-
sessed, it was discovered that self-leadership was negatively related to the frequen-
cy of leader-follower face-to-face interactions (r = -.14, p < .05). This finding indi-
cates that followers practicing self-leadership are opposed to direct control and fre-
quent personal interaction. Yun, Cox and Sims (2006b) support this assumption as
followers exhibiting self-leadership are described by their strong need for autono-

7.3 Relationship Quality

Conceptually, relationship quality has been best addressed in leader-member ex-
change theory by Graen and Uhl-Bien (1995). LMX was the first theory to focus
entirely on the dyadic leader-follower relationship stating that leaders and direct
reports are able to form mature relationships (Graen & Uhl-Bien, 1991a). It is thus
considered the vital part to understanding effects of dyadic relationships (Erdogan
& Bauer, 2014).

Leader-follower relationship quality was assessed using the LMX-7 by Graen and
Uhl-Bien (1995). The instrument represents the most frequently used measure in
today’s LMX theory assessing the quality of dyadic relationships. Yet, there have
been several discussions ongoing whether the theoretical construct of LMX is uni-
dimensional or multidimensional. The developers claim LMX to consist of respect,
trust, and obligation (Graen & Uhl-Bien, 1995). As all three subfacets are highly
intercorrelated, it is nevertheless recommended to apply the LMX-7 as a unidimen-
sional measure. Reliability for the LMX-7 scale in the present work revealed a
Cronbach alpha score of .90. This value is in line with repeatedly retrieved stable
reliabilities between .80 and .90 (e.g., Davis & Bryant, 2010; Lee et al., 2014;
Zhang et al., 2012). Lying at the upper end of what has previously been reported;
the good value can be explained by the fact that reliability of LMX is suggested to
be better when measured on the followers’ side (Gerstner & Day, 1997).
168 7 Discussion

Correlations of relationship quality

The present study analyzed correlations of followers’ perceptions of relationship
quality with different variables which will be discussed in the next sequences. As
expected, relationship quality correlated positively with followers’ performance (r
= .19, p ≤ .001). Gerstner and Day (1997) confirmed a consistent correlation be-
tween relationship quality and performance, which were higher when rated by the
same source. Yet, the authors conclude that the consistency in correlations cannot
be entirely explained by same-source bias. Moreover, expectations by the leader are
mainly shaped by their quality of relationship which can in turn influence perfor-
mance ratings. Similar explanations can be given for members’ ratings. Most likely,
followers determine the effort they would like to invest in a task depending on the
relationship quality they experience with their supervisor. Those subordinates expe-
riencing high quality relationships are more likely willing to “go the extra mile” for
their supervisor.
Relationship quality was further related to followers’ tenure with the leader (r = .14,
p < .01). As relationship quality builds over time (Graen & Uhl-Bien, 1995), fol-
lowers with longer tenure have more opportunities to develop a high quality rela-
tionship with their leader. The same might be true for the frequency of face-to-face
encounters. Relationship quality was found to correlate positively with frequency
of face-to-face interaction (r = .20, p ≤ .001) between leader and followers. High
quality relationships with facets of respect, trust, and obligation are easier to estab-
lish with personal contact. Lower quality relations, however, are characterized by
limited personal interaction (Graen & Uhl-Bien, 1995).
Further attesting to the novelty of the present research, the relationship quality was
correlated to self-leadership for the first time. A positive and significant correlation
could be detected (r = .21, p ≤ .001). No investigations thus far have empirically
examined the link between the quality of relationship and the degree of self-
leadership in followers. In one of their primary publications, Graen and Uhl-Bien
(1991b) described a potential association between self-managing subordinates and
a high quality relationship. The researchers argued that the leader-follower relation
determines leadership effectiveness and if this relationship would lead to increased
incremental influence, the relation can foster self-management (Graen & Uhl-Bien,
1991b, pp. 34-36). Followers experiencing mature relationships receive resources,
support, and guidance that are needed to actively employ self-management activi-
7.4 Direct Effects of Leadership Behavior on Follower Self-Leadership and Performance 169

7.4 Direct Effects of Leadership Behavior on Follower Self-Leadership and


Hypothesis 1.1:
Transformational leadership and transactional leadership behavior both predict
positive follower self-leadership, whereas passive leadership behavior predicts
negative follower self-leadership.

Self-leadership was projected to be positively related to the active leadership di-

mensions, and negatively to passive leadership (Furtner et al., 2012). Self-
leadership was found to correlate moderately positive with transformational (r
= .24, p ≤ .001) and transactional leadership (r = .29, p ≤ .001). In particular, the
first relation can be attributed to the fact that self-leadership often results from em-
powerment due to transformational attributes, especially working well with those
followers having a strong need for autonomy (Yun et al., 2006b). Attributes like
formulating a compelling vision are key in transformational leadership, in turn re-
quiring better self-goal setting and self-observation, which reflect vital self-
leadership features (Bass & Bass, 2008). Inspirational leaders further exhibit higher
intrinsic motivation (Brown & Fields, 2011) which is expected to relate to natural
reward strategies. Furtner et al. (2013) revealed that natural reward strategies were
those strategic dimensions which led to an attribution of active and dynamic behav-
ior perceived by followers, arguing that transformational leadership sets the ground
for effective self-leadership in followers (Furtner, 2010). Previously mentioned
studies investigated self-leadership and attributed leadership behaviors of the same
individuals, whereas the present study found interrelations between perceptions of
leadership behavior of leaders and self-leadership of followers.
Looking at the outcomes of the analysis, positive effects on follower self-leadership
are confirmed by the higher-order factor of transactional leadership (r = .21, p
< .01). Neither transformational, nor passive leadership reveal significant correla-
tions. Beta values for significant effects of subfacets of transformational leadership
are rather small. This could explain why the higher-order factor in total does not
show any significant influences.
Examining the subfacets of FRL more closely, positive significant outcomes can be
reported for idealized influence (behavior), (β = .25, p < .01), inspirational motiva-
tion (β = .21, p < .05), MBEa (β = .13, p < .05), and MBEp (β = .17, p ≤ .001).
170 7 Discussion

Furtner et al. (2013) reported correlations between facets of active leadership be-
haviors (transformational and transactional), and self-leadership.
The first-order factor of laissez-faire leadership (β = -.17, p < .05) snegative influ-
ence on followers’ self-leadership. An indication for that outcome was provided in
prior research when leaders’ passive leadership was negatively related to their self-
leadership behavior. In fact, this constitutes the first empirical evidence for super-
leadership, as perceptions of leaders’ behavior are detected to influence followers’
An explanation for the positive relation of transformational subfacets with self-
leadership can be found in the fact that the inspirational aspect of leadership is
strongly reflected in charismatic leadership which in turn was found to relate to
self-leadership behaviors such as self-goal setting, visualizing successful perfor-
mance, and self-observation (Chung, Chen, Yun-Ping Lee, Chun Chen & Lin,
2011). If leaders then exhibited their role-modeling behavior, this attribute could be
one indicator triggering self-leadership in followers.
The positive association of active and passive management-by-exception with fol-
lowers’ self-leadership indicates that self-leadership indeed requires a state of inde-
pendence to unfold. The negative correlation of self-leadership and frequency of
face-to-face interaction support this assumption. Laissez-faire leadership, however,
is too passive to trigger any kind of self-leadership behavior in followers. It can
thus be concluded that in order to foster self-leadership in followers, active leader-
ship is needed, yet with a strong setting encouraging autonomy and not overly exe-
cuted face-to-face interaction.

Hypothesis 1.2:
Transformational leadership and transactional leadership behavior both predict
positive follower performance, whereas passive leadership behavior predicts nega-
tive follower performance.
To address the second hypothesis, a closer look was taken at the direct influences
of leadership behavior on follower performance. Primary considerations included
the interpretation of the correlation matrix. Correlation of transformational leader-
ship behavior with followers’ performance indicated weak positive relation (r = .16,
p < .01). When multiple linear regressions were calculated, taking a range of con-
trol variables into account, only attributed idealized influence revealed a positive
direct effect on follower performance. This outcome could be due to a large propor-
7.4 Direct Effects of Leadership Behavior on Follower Self-Leadership and Performance 171

tion of followers being led at physical distance which will be discussed in the
course of hypothesis 2.2.
It is not surprising that a subfacet of transformational leadership predicts follower
performance. Transformational leadership is not only the most researched dimen-
sion of Full Range Leadership, it is also described as the most effective form of the
three facets (Bass & Avolio, 1995; Judge & Piccolo, 2004). Those leaders are de-
scribed as the relationship builders, augmenting the relationship between followers
and their team (Bass, 1985; Neufeld et al., 2010). Transformational leaders encour-
age subordinates to alter their performance and are perceived as effective leaders
whom followers can trust (House & Shamir, 1993; Hoyt & Blascovich, 2003). In
particular, identification with the leader appeared to be a potential enhancer of the
influence of transformational leadership on work performance (Cavazotte et al.,
2013). Results of the GLOBE study revealed that outstanding leaders inherited at-
tributes of transformational leadership (Den Hartog et al., 1999). Many other stud-
ies, among them numerous meta-analytic publications, found transformational
leadership to lead to improved performance (Fuller et al., 1996). Another investiga-
tion by Lowe et al. (1996) reveals thoroughly positive effects of transformational
behavior on leadership effectiveness. A study by DeGroot, Kiker and Cross (2000)
found that correlations between charismatic leadership and individual follower ef-
fectiveness outcomes were weaker than in the studies by Fuller et al. (1996) and
Lowe et al. (1996). The researchers conclude that charismatic leadership impacts
behaviors and performance of groups rather than individuals. A second indication
for the outcome is mentioned with the issue of common source variance which
might explain the minor validity and decreased correlation.
For transactional leadership, correlations of the higher-order factor did not reveal
statistically significant outcomes. Looking at the sub-dimensions, only contingent
reward leadership (r = .12, p < .01) reported weak positive correlation with follow-
er performance. Together with transformational leadership transactional leadership
builds one of the active dimensions of FRL. It can be seen as very effective using
rational exchange process to set clear goals and control for achievement (Avolio,
2011). Other studies highlighted similarly positive effects of transformational lead-
ership and contingent reward on performance outcomes (Dumdum, Lowe &
Avolio, 2002; Judge & Piccolo, 2004; Wang et al., 2011a). Practicing an effort-
reward relationship, followers usually know what leaders expect and they strive to
deliver accordingly (Pearce & Sims, 2002). Whereas transformational leadership
usually triggers followers’ intrinsic motivation to outgrow, transactional leadership
encourages them to deliver on a negotiated performance level needed to receive a
certain reward. Another reason for the significance of correlation between contin-
172 7 Discussion

gent-reward leadership and follower performance could be the strong intercorrela-

tion of contingent-reward (r = .87, p ≤ .001) with transformational leadership. In
fact, this is a frequently reported scenario. Felfe and Goihl (2002) discovered that
contingent reward loaded strongly on the transformational scale. The reason for the
interrelation is that for transformational leadership to occur, a stable foundation of
reasonable exchange (transactions) needs to be set up (Bass, 1993). The influence
of contingent reward on performance diminished, however, once control variables
were taken into the model.
Passive leadership was found to stipulate a slight decrease in follower performance
(r = -.17, p ≤ .001). This is to be expected, as active and passive management-by-
exception, and laissez-faire leadership revealed negative correlations with perfor-
mance measures in previous studies (e.g., Dumdum et al., 2002). Placing most of
the responsibility in the hand of followers, passive leadership is regarded as inef-
fective and counter-productive (Furtner & Baldegger, 2013; Skogstad et al., 2007).
The influence decreased, however, when control variables were taken into account.
Although effects are relatively small, the present study could replicate the addition-
al positive effect of transformational leadership on top of transactional leadership.
This finding could be established by numerous previous studies (Elenkov, 2002;
Howell & Avolio, 1993; Waldman, Bass & Yammarino, 1990). Although the foun-
dation of an effective work relationship lies in the social exchange processes inher-
ent to transactional behavior, transformational leadership adds to this relationship
as it inspires followers and provides a vision, in that sense, to bring out the best in

Hypothesis 1.3:
Follower self-leadership strategies have a direct positive effect on follower perfor-

Looking at the interaction between self-leadership and individual follower perfor-

mance the correlation matrix points out that there might be a direct positive effect
of medium strength (r = .24, p ≤ .001). In fact, positive interactions between global
self-leadership and followers’ performance were reported, displaying 5.8% of the
variance. With an exception of cognition-based strategies, both other self-
leadership strategies showed relevant outcomes. Natural-reward strategies (r = .15,
7.4 Direct Effects of Leadership Behavior on Follower Self-Leadership and Performance 173

p < .05) seem to have a slightly bigger impact on follower performance than social
self-leadership strategies (r = .14, p < .05).
As expected, self-leadership as a goal-focused strategy (Furtner & Rauthmann,
2011) predicted successful performance. In particular, natural reward strategies
(e.g., success envision) and social self-leadership strategies (e.g., performance ref-
erencing) are characterized by a clear focus on the successful completion of tasks
and the improvement of performance aspects. Findings of the present study follow
the outcomes of prior investigations. Many studies confirmed a positive relation
between self-leadership and work-related outcomes. Uhl-Bien and Graen (1998)
discovered self-management to be positively related to effectiveness in functional
units. Self-leadership was further reported to contribute to innovative behavior
(Carmeli et al., 2006), team performance (Stewart & Barrick, 2000), and percep-
tions of a more effective and satisfying work-relationship (Dolbier et al., 2001).
This outcome is supported by Politis (2006) as self-observation, self-goal setting,
self-punishment, and self-reward were positively linked to intrinsic and extrinsic
job satisfaction. Furthermore, job satisfaction mediated the relationship between
self-leadership and team performance. Studies by Hauschildt and Konradt (2012a,
2012b) revealed self-leadership to be positively related to task and team member
proficiency as well as adaptivity and proactivity on individual and team level.
The question remains open, whether self-leadership is distinct from constructs such
as self-regulation, need for achievement or self-efficacy (Furtner et al., 2015). In-
terrelations were found in studies by Konradt et al. (2009) and Prussia et al. (1998).
Outcomes of both investigations found that the influence of self-leadership on indi-
vidual follower performance was fully mediated by self-efficacy. Furtner et al.
(2015) could not confirm these results, as they found self-leadership to be predict-
ing performance regardless of need for achievement, self-regulation, or self-
The concept of self-leadership is still in its early development and not many empir-
ical investigations have been published to date. However, the recognition of self-
leadership as a distinct concept has made considerable progress thanks to extensive
work in the field by academics particularly in the German-speaking region (e.g.,
Furtner, 2010; Furtner & Rauthmann, 2010, 2011, in prep.; Furtner et al., 2010,
2011, 2015; Hauschildt & Konradt, 2012a, 2012b; Konradt et al., 2009).
174 7 Discussion

7.5 Moderation and Mediation Effects of Distance on the Leader-Follower


Hypothesis 2.1:
Physical distance negatively moderates the influence of leadership behavior on fol-
lower self-leadership strategies.

Distance leadership has recently attracted the attention of researchers as early in-
vestigations provided evidence of effects of distance on the leader-follower rela-
tionship. Leadership at distance changed work in organizations and traditional
leadership behaviors are becoming inadequate (Bradner & Mark, 2008; Hertel,
Geister & Konradt, 2005). In early stages, physical distance was expected to neu-
tralize leadership behaviors (Kerr & Jermier, 1978, p. 396). Antonakis and Atwater
(2002, p. 685) postulated that physical distance may be linked to negative work-
related outcomes. Various research attempts discovered repeatedly that physical
distance impacted the leader-follower relationship (e.g., Howell & Hall-Merenda,
1999; Howell et al., 2005).
Correlations of physical distance with other variables are discussed prior to the
analysis of the hypothesis. An indication of negative relation between active lead-
ership behavior and physical distance is visible in the correlation matrix. Transfor-
mational leadership showed significant negative interrelation with physical distance
(r = -.17, p ≤ .001). The more leader and follower were geographically separated,
the lower were perceptions of transformational leadership. This finding could be an
indicator of how difficult it is to transmit transformational aspects while not being
physically present. Physically distant leaders could practice other leadership behav-
iors instead, based on what they know about the challenges of being inspiring, mo-
tivational, and visionary while using technology media. No correlation could be
detected for transactional leadership and physical distance. For passive leadership,
the correlation showed significant positive effects with physical distance (r = .15, p
< .01). Followers who were led from a large physical distance perceived passive
leadership characteristics more distinctly. The reason for this could be that physical
distance by nature brings elements of laissez-faire and suggests a “free rein.” Phys-
ical distance was further found to correlate weak but significantly positive with fol-
lowers’ gender. Hence the majority of followers led at a distance were male. Inter-
pretation of this is vague as no evidence of causality can be drawn. As seen in the
7.5 Moderation and Mediation Effects of Distance on the Leader-Follower Relationship 175

descriptive statistics, nearly 80% of followers that work in large international cor-
porations in the technology industry were males.
The subject of the hypothesis was to determine statistically whether physical dis-
tance moderated the influence of leadership behavior on follower self-leadership
strategies. Calculations display that physical distance indeed has moderating effects
for the influence of transformational leadership on follower self-leadership (β = .09,
t = 1.67, p < .05). Looking at the correlations at various physical distances, trans-
formational leadership was only correlated to self-leadership at either no distance
(0 km; very close) (β = .19, t = 2.87, p < .01) or at very large distance (> 1,000 km;
very distant) (β = .49, t = 5.15, p ≤ .001). For all other distance categories, trans-
formational leadership did not predict self-leadership. For followers who were very
distant from leaders, transformational leadership even predicted follower self-
leadership more strongly than when they were very close. An explanation for trans-
formational leadership better leading to self-leadership at no distance could be that
transformational leaders can execute their role and act as role-model right in front
of their followers. This behavior can be found particularly in the idealized influence
(behavior) subfacet. Supporting this explanation, idealized influence (behavior)
reports the strongest correlation with self-leadership (r = .29, p ≤ .001). This is val-
id for both, the very close (r = .25, p ≤ .001) and the very distant (r = .53, p ≤ .001)
group. An explanation why this could be true for the close group was provided, but
why does idealized influence (behavior) predict self-leadership in followers, even
when they are far away most of the time? Recalling the interaction patterns in very
distant leader-follower relationships, face-to-face encounters are relatively rare.
When meeting only sporadically, leaders are likely to exhibit their best behavior,
striving to seem determined, dynamic, and equipped with extraordinary capabilities.
This picture would then remain in the minds of the followers.
In general, the findings indicate that only leadership at no distance or at very large
distance allow for the development of self-leadership. Those followers – neither
very close nor very distant – are located in an interval state, where leaders are una-
ble to permanently role model yet they cannot grant full autonomy either. For the
other two dimensions of Full Range Leadership, effects were differentiated.
Whereas no moderation effect of physical distance could be detected for the influ-
ence of transactional leadership on follower self-leadership, moderation occurred
for passive leadership. A direct effect of passive leadership on follower self-
leadership could not be verified, yet the significance of the interaction term bears
potential for contemplation. Splitting the file into distance categories, physical dis-
tance did not have an influence on the relation between passive leadership and self-
leadership for any of the groups, except for the very distant one. For this group,
176 7 Discussion

passive leadership suddenly predicted follower self-leadership negatively (β = -.24,

t = -2.26, p < .05). This finding leads to the conclusion that passive leadership in
combination with large physical distance might even enhance the negative effects
of this counterproductive leadership behavior on the development of followers’

Hypothesis 2.2:
Physical distance negatively moderates the influence of leadership behavior on fol-
lower performance.

Correlations of physical distance with other parameters have been discussed in pre-
vious sections. The second hypothesis concerning potential moderating influences
of physical distance on the leader-follower relationship was investigated next.
Physical distance was expected to negatively influence effects of active leadership
behaviors on followers’ performance, and to positively impact the influence of pas-
sive leadership on follower performance. Moderation tests revealed that physical
distance did not moderate any of those relationships. It was assumed that the ef-
fects were too small to display, hence this outcome led to more in-depth analysis of
the effects of leadership behavior at certain physical distances. The reason for this
procedure is found in the outcomes of the previous hypothesis. It was presumed
that the influence of transformational and passive leadership (even if very small)
could vary with physical distance. Therefore, correlations were computed for the
different distance groups. At very close condition, transformational leadership pre-
dicted follower performance (r = .17, p < .05). This was also true for the very dis-
tant group when transformational leadership predicted follower performance even
more strongly (r = .33, p < .01). Transactional leadership did not predict perfor-
mance at any physical distance. Passive leadership did project negative perfor-
mance at very close (r = -.17, p < .05) and very distant levels (r = -.29, p < .01).
The outcomes are comparable with those of the prior hypothesis. Again, the very
close and very distant groups seem to benefit from transformational leadership,
whereas large physical distance increases the counterproductive impact of passive
leadership. In fact, Kayworth and Leidner (2002) found that effective leadership in
a virtual environment was mostly related to mentoring abilities of leaders, which in
turn are an indication for transformational leadership behavior (Bass, 1985, 1990)
and high quality relationships (Erdogan & Bauer, 2014; Law et al., 2000). Howell
and Hall-Merenda (1999) revealed transformational leadership to be in particular
7.5 Moderation and Mediation Effects of Distance on the Leader-Follower Relationship 177

effective under close conditions. More support for this outcome is provided by
Howell et al. (2005). Yet, at that time, the researchers found that transformational
leadership did not predict business unit performance under distant conditions.
Returning to the original hypothesis and the question whether moderation through
physical distance occurs, it can be concluded that the effects are too small to dis-
cern meaningful effects. Summarizing these findings, the role of physical distance
in the leader-follower relationship has long been exaggerated (at least considering
effects on individual follower performance). Hence this implies that physical dis-
tance does not have to be a barrier for effective leadership (Neufeld et al., 2010) as
other parameters in the leader-follower relationship seem far more influential
(Eichenberg, 2007).

Hypothesis 2.3:
Physical distance does show negative effects on the quality of relationship.

The roles of physical distance and the quality of relationship have gained interest in
recent organizational research (e.g., Eichenberg, 2007; Howell & Hall-Merenda,
1999). According to Graen and Uhl-Bien (1995) relationship quality can be ex-
pressed by the extent of leader-member exchange. The intercorrelation matrix illus-
trated various significant relations between LMX and other variables. Some have
been already explained in previous paragraphs (e.g., self-leadership).
The underlying research found leader-member exchange to be positively related to
transactional (r = .54, p ≤ .001) and transformational leadership (r = .81, p ≤ .001).
This finding can be explained as LMX can be considered both, transactional and
transformational. Meanwhile the relation with transformational leadership is re-
markably stronger. This is consequently due to the development of the
LMX/leadership relation as, to begin with, LMX is more or less understood as so-
cial exchange process, whereas effective LMX relationships quite often result in
transformational leadership (Graen & Uhl-Bien, 1995, p. 239). The strong positive
association with the active leadership styles expresses, in turn, a strong negative
correlation with passive leadership (r = -.63, p ≤ .001). Leaders that are not present
when needed, who fail to coach and to provide feedback, certainly have difficulties
developing functioning relationships with their subordinates.
LMX further correlated significantly positively with individual follower perfor-
mance (r = .19, p ≤ .001). This finding supports prior research that found LMX and
178 7 Discussion

performance to be positively associated (Carter et al., 2009; Howell & Hall-

Merenda, 1999; Kacmar et al., 2003; Wang et al., 2005). This correlation indicates
that the quality of exchange between leader and followers does impact how leaders
rate followers’ performance, and – confirmed by the positive correlation in this
study – how followers rate themselves. LMX also showed a positive link to follow-
ers’ tenure, acknowledging Graen and Uhl-Bien’s (1995) postulation that relation-
ship-building takes time. Investigating the relationship between LMX and commu-
nication channels, the only significant correlation was detected with face-to-face
contact (r = .20, p ≤ .001). The positive relation demonstrates that a higher degree
of face-to-face contact is required in order to foster high quality relationships.
The underlying hypothesis articulated a negative link between physical distance
and the quality of relationship. Results revealed that physical distance predicts rela-
tionship quality moderately but significantly negatively (r = -.22, p ≤ .001). In other
words, when the physical distance between leaders and followers expands, the
quality of relationship decreases or is more difficult to establish. The findings sup-
port prior outcomes by Bass (1990) who declared that distance is likely to have
negative effects on the quality of exchange between leaders and followers. Later,
this was confirmed by Eichenberg (2007) who found relationship quality to dimin-
ish with spatial distance. In organizations where work is carried out regardless of
location, establishing high quality relationships with the leader over physical dis-
tance is challenging. As the findings show, this is even more the case, the further
the two parties are geographically separated and the less they meet face-to-face.
This is not the only problem, however. If relationships are established, they need to
be sustained.

Hypothesis 2.4:
Relationship quality mediates the influence of leadership behavior on follower per-

Examining the leader-follower relationship more closely, the question was posed
how active leadership behavior can achieve its full potential in close and distant
environments. After it was learned that physical distance and relationship quality
exhibited a negative correlation, it was tested whether relationship quality had me-
diating effects on the influence of leadership behavior on followers’ performance.
The first tested model revealed the relationship between transformational leader-
ship and follower performance to be fully mediated by relationship quality. For
7.5 Moderation and Mediation Effects of Distance on the Leader-Follower Relationship 179

transactional leadership, an indirect effect was found, whereas for passive leader-
ship the mediation turned out to be negative.
The findings can be interpreted as showing that high quality relationships are the
bond between transformational leadership and followers’ performance. Relation-
ship quality makes this link become relevant. Comparable results were detected by
Wang et al. (2005). The researchers discovered LMX to be mediating the effects of
transformational leadership on follower performance (task and organizational citi-
zenship behavior). The finding reveals that transformational leadership cultivates
high quality relationships (Wang et al., 2005) and followers are able to interpret
relationships (Carter et al., 2009). Team members with a high quality LMX showed
further higher organizational commitment when working virtually (Golden &
Veiga, 2008). For the transactional leadership/performance relationship, the indi-
rect effect expresses that the quality of relationship is an intensifier of the associa-
tion, though limited. Relationship quality is less important for transactional leader-
ship than it is for transformational leadership. This can be explained by the fact that
the effort-reward relationship of transactional behavior might not fully allow for the
development of high quality LMX. Transactional leadership depends on behaviors
of awarding employees for exchange and thus followers would know what to
achieve for a certain performance (Pearce & Sims, 2002), regardless of a low or
high quality relationship. The negative outcomes for the influence of relationship
quality on effects of passive leadership on follower performance can be understood
to mean that relationship quality has the potential to reduce negative effects of pas-
sive leadership. Followers exposed to passive leadership could yet perform ade-
quately as long as the relationship between leader and follower is established and
they have the appropriate competences to perform the job.
Summarizing these findings, relationship quality seems to be the tying knot be-
tween leaders and followers. Relationship quality not only allows for the influence
of transformational leadership on follower performance; with a working relation-
ship between the two, even negative effects of passive leadership can be reduced.
The study thus agrees with Eichenberg (2007) who manifested that relationship
quality has the strongest effects among distance dimensions on the leader-follower
relationship and may act as the bond between the two, especially in a distance work

Hypothesis 2.5:
Interaction frequency positively moderates the influence of transformational lead-
ership and transactional leadership behavior on follower performance.
180 7 Discussion

The present investigation examined moderation effects of leader-follower interac-

tion frequency on the influence of leadership behavior on followers’ performance.
Taking this component into consideration is essential when studying distance lead-
ership as the interrelation between virtual communication and distance can be ex-
plained by the fact that technology constitutes a necessary aspect and a prerequisite
to executing distance leadership effectively (Eichenberg, 2007, p. 43).
The computed interaction frequency index had no interrelations with other varia-
bles. This could be due to the focus on frequency of interaction, neglecting media
richness of the numerous channels. (In that sense, it was disregarded whether fol-
lowers communicated, e.g., five times per week face-to-face or twice per chat and
three times via e-mail. The frequency of interaction would, in that case, have been
five.) Although prior research has shown that communication frequency can indeed
be assessed only by the number of leader-follower interactions (e.g., Kacmar et al,
2003), the present study addressed the obstacles encountered with the measure, and
it was soon decided to control for interaction channels. In the next paragraphs, re-
sults of the intercorrelation matrix are illustrated and described; afterwards, the
outcomes of the hypothesis test are discussed.
Outcomes of the correlation reflect a poor picture with regards to the interaction
frequency index and its interrelatedness. The missing correlation with other varia-
bles raised questions as to the adequacy of the computed interaction frequency
score. Therefore, interaction frequency, together with specifications of certain me-
dia channels, was taken into consideration as deployed in prior studies (e.g., Kirk-
man et al., 2004; Hambley et al., 2007b). Approximately 20% of respondents in the
present research had face-to-face interaction with their leaders on a monthly basis
or less. Predictably, the amount of face-to-face encounters decreased significantly
with increased physical distance (r = -.61, p ≤ .001). The further apart leader and
follower were, the less they met personally. Face-to-face interaction was further
discovered to correlate negatively with followers’ tenure (r = -.10, p < .05). In other
words, followers that had a longer work relationship with their leader met him or
her less frequently in person. This might be due to the fact that when leaders and
followers know each other (for a longer period of time), personal encounters are
not needed as frequently as in the early stages, as both parties know what makes the
other person “tick.” In addition, female followers seemed to meet more often with
their leaders than did their male counterparts (r = -.14, p < .01). However, no con-
clusion can be provided as to whether this was initiated by the leaders or female
followers. E-mail was the second most dominant channel for leader-follower inter-
action. More than 90% of study participants exchanged e-mails with supervisors at
least once a week. Those followers using e-mails for interaction, communicated
7.5 Moderation and Mediation Effects of Distance on the Leader-Follower Relationship 181

also frequently per telephone (r = .32, p ≤ .001). More than 70% indicated talking
to their leaders on the telephone.
A statistically significant positive intercorrelation was found between the usage of
videoconferences and physical distance (r = .26, p < .01). Hence, the relation to the
number of face-to-face meetings was negative (r = -.15, p < .01). Videoconferenc-
ing is most likely the communication device reflecting the highest degree of a real
encounter. Other researchers reported that videoconferencing helped bridge large
physical distances between leaders and followers (McGrath & Hollingshead, 1994).
It is viewed as a potential alternative to face-to-face meetings (Baker, 2002; Brad-
ner & Mark, 2008; Duarte & Snyder, 1999). The use of videoconferencing also re-
ported positive relations with frequency of e-mail (r = .12, p < .05) and telephone
interaction (r = .19, p ≤ .001). Videoconferencing was still the communication
mode least frequently applied in organizational settings. Interaction scores of vide-
oconferencing and chat were found to be equally cohesive in a study by Hambley et
al. (2007b). Yet, tasks were fulfilled more quickly using videoconferencing. Those
study participants who used videoconferencing, also made use of chat software fre-
quently (r = .47, p ≤ .001). It was not surprising that the frequency of chat commu-
nication was higher in distance work settings (r = .23, p ≤ .01). Chat occupies low
boundaries and is applied rather informally. Similar to the application of videocon-
ferencing, chat was more frequently used when face-to-face interaction is low (r = -
.10, p < .05). Chat was further discovered to correlate positively with telephone (r
= .22, p ≤ .001) and e-mail conversations (r = .23, p ≤ .001).
Findings of the study show that – although distance leadership is not a rare practice
– communication habits do not yet fulfill the potential they actually offer. Those
leader-follower pairings where interaction is dependent on telephone, will most
likely exchange e-mails frequently as well. Those using chat will most likely use
videoconferencing too, and vice versa. In any text-only interaction, leaders and fol-
lowers use additional audio or audio-visual media. The findings show that leader-
ship requires a personal touch which in turn can be supported by text-only software
(e.g., for documentation).
Examining the correlations between leadership behavior and the use of media
channels, a direct correlation of transformational leadership and communication
device could not be detected. A negative relation was found between transactional
leadership and the use of chat software (r = -.15, p < .01). This was unexpected, as
text-only technology was projected to be better suited in situations where standard-
ized routines are demanded (Huang et al., 2010). Where predominantly quantitative
tasks need to be fulfilled, transactional leadership was found, in prior research, to
182 7 Discussion

be more appropriate (Hoyt & Blascovich, 2003). A potential explanation could be

that chat – opposed to other text-only media – is less used for documentation pur-
poses. With its limited input space, it might be used more often for informal talks
or quick enquiries as opposed to setting goals and defining rewards for achieve-
ments. For passive leadership, the negative correlation with face-to-face interaction
was expected (r = -.15, p < .01). At any rate, passive behaviors are characterized by
limited interaction with followers and the negligence of leadership (Furtner &
Baldegger, 2013).
In order to test the hypothesis whether interaction frequency intervened on the rela-
tion between leadership behavior and followers’ performance, two models were
calculated and analyzed. Tests revealed that interaction frequency moderated the
influence of transformational leadership on follower performance; it acted as a
strong enhancer (r = .62, p ≤ .001) of this relationship. Recent research did not pro-
duce concordant outcomes. Hambley et al. (2007b) argued that the type of media
employed did not impact the influence of leadership behavior on team outcomes.
Later findings, however, support the assumption that leadership effectiveness is
related to communication media (Kahai et al., 2012) and media richness (Huang et
al., 2010). Whereas quantitative performance was encouraged by transactional
leadership (in both face-to-face teams and virtual teams), qualitative performance
was determined by transformational leadership (Hoyt & Blascovich, 2003). For the
frequency of interaction, research confirms that high levels of interaction lead to
improved team performance (Weisband, 2002). Neufeld et al. (2010) argued that
the key to leadership effectiveness might lie in communication. The researchers
found communication effectiveness to play a mediating role in the relationship be-
tween transformational and contingent reward leadership and leaders’ performance.
Communication frequency was further discovered to moderate the relationship be-
tween LMX and job performance ratings (Kacmar et al., 2003). LMX was more
strongly related to positive performance outcomes when communication frequency
was intense. As leader-member exchange inherits both, transformational and trans-
actional elements Graen and Uhl-Bien (1995) provide support for the findings of
present study; yet only for transformational leadership. Moderation was not con-
firmed for effects of transactional leadership on follower performance.
The findings suggest that leader-follower interaction frequency bears potential, in
particular for transformational leadership, to enhance its positive effects on follow-
er performance. Remembering that transformational leadership showed its best ef-
fects in very close and very distant settings, it is hypothesized that, especially at
very large physical distance, transformational leadership in combination with ex-
7.5 Moderation and Mediation Effects of Distance on the Leader-Follower Relationship 183

tensive interaction could bridge the geographical gap and lead to a clear improve-
ment of followers’ performance.

Chapter summary
This chapter combined results of present study and compared them with findings of
previous research. After a general discussion of leadership behavior, self-leadership,
and relationship quality outcomes of the hypotheses were discussed and argumenta-
tion was provided to explain and justify outcomes of the present work. The first
part of the discussion of the hypotheses concentrated on interpreting direct effects
of leadership behaviors on follower work-related outcomes, while the second part
was directed at explaining results of the moderation and mediation analyses of dis-
tance dimensions.
8.1 Summary 185

8 Conclusion and Outlook

Chapter overview
The last chapter displays a comprehensive review of the entire work. At first, a
summary of the study and potential limitations are provided. In the following, rea-
sons are given why this work reflects a contribution to science, on the one hand,
and for practice, on the other. Finally, an outlook for distance leadership research is

8.1 Summary
The motivation for this research arose from a practical viewpoint. As members of
large international corporations, many individuals today face a new level of collab-
oration across physical boundaries. Advanced information technologies revolution-
ized the way organizations interact internally. Large corporations today invest
heavily in leadership trainings, which often neglect the synchronization of behav-
iors and tools. Particularly, when collaboration involves geographical distance
many leaders face challenges leading individuals as traditional modes of control
diminish. As a pioneer in the field, Bogardus (1927) brought early attention to the
topic of distance when considering contexts for leadership. As numbers of distrib-
uted team members are rising almost a century later, still little attention has been
given to the topic (Cole et al., 2009), although researchers affirm that virtual lead-
ership involves a different skill set than traditional leadership does (Criswell &
Martin, 2007).
The present research contributes to the fields of both leadership and distance. First,
this study provides a sound conceptualization of modern leadership theories. The
first part of the literature review takes on one of the most widely used and accepted
leadership theories of the last two decades – the Full-Range Leadership Model
(Bass & Avolio, 1995) and describes it with its subfacets, followed by an outline of
post-heroic leadership theories developed in the recent years. In particular, self-
leadership and adjacent concepts of superleadership, empowering, and shared lead-
ership are outlined. The second part of the literature review delineates conceptuali-
zations of e-leadership, virtual leadership, and distance leadership and discusses
recent findings comprehensively. This work views distance leadership as a con-
struct defining the physical separation, quality of relationship, and extent of inter-
action frequency between leader and follower, following earlier considerations by
Antonakis and Atwater (2002) as well as Napier and Ferris (1993). The literature
© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden 2017
N. Poser, Distance Leadership in International Corporations,
Advances in Information Systems and Business Engineering,
DOI 10.1007/978-3-658-15223-9_8
186 8 Conclusion and Outlook

review closes with a derivation of hypotheses. Hypotheses are divided into two se-
quences; the first proposing direct effects of leadership behavior on follower per-
formance; the second determining influences of distance dimensions on the leader-
follower relationship.
Acting as an exploratory attempt to discover influences of distance on the leader-
follower relationship, the study follows a cross-sectional design. The purpose is to
answer the research question: How do physical distance, relationship quality, and
interaction frequency impact the influence of leadership behavior on follower self-
leadership and performance in international corporations? Followers within large
international corporations were therefore surveyed with the help of self-
administered online surveys. Subordinates were asked to respond to questions on
their leaders’ leadership behavior, the relationship with their leader, and their own
self-leadership and performance behavior. Respondents were also asked to indicate
the physical distance between permanent office locations and the degree of interac-
tion between followers and leaders.
In total, data from 372 followers were part of the analysis. Data analysis is de-
scribed for each set of variables separately. A confirmatory factor analysis was pur-
sued for testing the validity of the recently developed Self-Leadership Skills Inven-
tory by Furtner and Rauthmann (in prep.). The SLSI serves as a further develop-
ment of the RSLQ by Houghton and Neck (2002). Model fit indices reflect good
data appropriateness. Factor loadings range between .73 and .95 and do not demon-
strate any double loadings. The measure furthermore provides excellent fit of inter-
nal consistency.
Transformational leadership is the leadership behavior perceived as most distinc-
tive in large international organizations. In addition, most followers view the rela-
tionship with their leaders as well established. Social self-leadership skills are rated
highest among all three self-leadership strategies. Physical distance distribution
between leaders and followers varied. The majority of respondents were located
close to their leaders, yet for those who reported to be working physically apart,
situations ranged from working in separate buildings to working on separate conti-
nents. Followers were also asked to specify the level of interaction with their lead-
ers. Face-to-face contact was regularly used in close leader-follower relations,
whereas the degree of face-to-face interaction declined, the further they were sepa-
rated. E-mail contact was the second most-used interaction method. Almost every
second follower uses chat software, yet videoconferencing is still applied sparingly.
For testing hypotheses, various statistical methods were applied. Multiple linear
modeling was used to detect direct effects of leadership behavior on follower out-
8.1 Summary 187

comes. Subsequently, moderation and mediation analyses were used to investigate

interferences of distance dimensions on the leader-follower relationship. Testing for
the effects of leadership behavior on follower work-related outcomes, only transac-
tional leadership had a direct effect on follower self-leadership. Incorporating con-
trol variables into the model, this was true especially for individuals working in
manufacturing/logistics/supply chain. No direct effects were found for influences
of leadership behavior on follower performance. Effects on performance were sig-
nificant, however, for self-leadership. Natural reward strategies as well as social
self-leadership strategies both predicted follower performance positively. Testing
the first moderation, it was hypothesized that physical distance would influence the
effect of leadership behavior on follower self-leadership. Calculations revealed that
for very close (0 km) and very distant (>1000 km) leader-follower pairs, transfor-
mational leadership predicted follower self-leadership. For the group of pairs work-
ing 1-1,000 km from each other, transformational leadership did not predict follow-
er self-leadership. Self-leadership further provided indications for passive leader-
ship to be negatively moderated by physical distance. This was true for the very
distant sample which indicates that negative effects of passive leadership even in-
crease with physical distance. Testing influences of physical distance on the leader-
ship behavior/performance relationship, physical distance had no significant ef-
fects. For perceptions of relationship quality, physical distance revealed direct neg-
ative effects. This indicates that if physical distance between leader and follower
increases, the quality of relationship most likely decreases. To determine which
role relationship quality plays in the leadership/performance relationship, mediation
was tested. Calculations pointed out that the quality of relationship fully mediated
the influence of transformational leadership on follower performance. Regarding
transactional leadership effects, analyses still revealed indirect effects. Relationship
quality further mediated (in reverse direction) the effect of passive leadership on
follower performance. The outcome illustrates that the relationship formed by lead-
er and follower has the potential to decrease negative effects of passive leadership.
Finally, it was assessed whether the frequency of interaction between leader and
follower has an effect. Findings include moderating influences of interaction fre-
quency on the influence of transformational leadership on follower performance.
The subsequent calculations showed that for the sample with high leader-follower
interaction frequency, transformational leadership predicted follower performance.
The aim of this work was to expand leadership research by investigating the role of
physical distance, relationship quality, and self-leadership on work-related out-
comes in the leader-follower relationship. For the first time, the relation between
leadership behavior and follower outcomes is tested using all dimensions of the
188 8 Conclusion and Outlook

Full Range Leadership Model within the context of large international corporations.
Study findings include moderating influences of physical distance on follower self-
leadership. Yet, no influence was detected for the effect on follower performance.
Thus, the impact of physical distance on the leader-follower relationship appears
limited. A more substantial impact is observed by quality of relationship and inter-
action frequency. While leader-follower interaction frequency is a potential en-
hancer for the transmission of transformational leadership, the foundation for a
working relationship between leader and follower is rooted in the quality of the
leader-follower relationship.

8.2 Limitations
Finally, this study is subject to several limitations. A critique of research instru-
ments is provided along with theoretical and methodological limitations.

Full Range Leadership

Although the MLQ is one of a few empirical measures capable of assessing trans-
formational leadership in a quantitative way (Avolio & Gibbons, 1988), and it is
the instrument most widely applied for this purpose (Antonakis et al., 2003, p. 271),
accuracy of the measure is questioned by acknowledging the potential of mono-
method bias and hence limited generalizability (Lowe et al., 1996). The MLQ fur-
ther suffers from ambiguity with regard to level of analysis. Content validity is
equivocal as items show mixed indications reflecting individual, group, and organi-
zational references (Schriesheim et al., 2009). Discussions arose during the execu-
tion of the study whether the four-item factor of laissez-faire leadership should be
combined with passive management-by-exception to the higher-order factor of pas-
sive leadership as suggested by prior research that these two dimensions are not
clearly separable (Den Hartog et al., 1997). This study followed the suggestion as
reliability scores improved considerably by holding both dimensions closely to-
gether. Yet, criticism is not only directed at the fact that discriminant validity and
reliability might produce dissatisfactory results. Bycio, Hackett and Allen (1995)
state that a sample pooled from different hierarchy levels and leader gender could
also have affected the inter-factor correlations of the MLQ and thus it shows only
little discriminant validity. Michel et al. (2011, pp. 501-502) found certain behav-
iors missing in the MLQ that are held accountable for variances in supervisor- and
follower-rated effectiveness outcomes. Particularly, external monitoring and
change-related leadership behavior are missing. Another factor that could potential-
ly have impacted reliability of passive management-by-exception is that, prior to
8.2 Limitations 189

sending out the questionnaire, the four items of laissez-faire leadership were recod-
ed to better fit the tonality of the survey instrument. Yet, this procedure was not
followed for the four passive management-by-exception items which could be
cause for confusion among respondents as some items were formulated negatively
and others positively. Findings by Tejeda, Scandura and Pillai (2001) explored the
psychometric properties of the MLQ and did not support the original factor struc-
ture of the instrument. Instead, they proposed a 27-item measure which would still
fully capture FRL behavior. Antonakis et al. (2003) provide strong evidence for the
nine-factor model of the MLQ Form 5X. The authors acknowledge the measure as
a comprehensive instrument for capturing the entire range of leadership.

Self-leadership has often been subject to criticism that it is not sufficiently differen-
tiated from other concepts. The theory is repeatedly compared to self-management
and self-regulation (Godwin, Neck & Houghton, 1999). Another source of critique
derives from the fact that, to date, most self-leadership research has been conceptu-
al in nature (Andressen et al., 2012). As such, only a limited number of research
instruments has yet been applied to empirical investigations. All previously used
measures are grounded on a prototype developed by Charles Manz and Henry Sims
(1987, 1991). In English and German literature, the scale most frequently used to-
day is the Revised Self-Leadership Questionnaire by Houghton and Neck (2002).
Showing potential for bias, the RSLQ still lacks satisfactory reliability (Furtner,
2012; Furtner & Rauthmann, 2011; Konradt et al., 2009). Furtner and Baldegger
(2013) hence recommended the development of an enhanced instrument. The effort
has since been undertaken by Furtner and Rauthmann (in prep.) who developed the
Self-Leadership Skills Inventory. The measure produced satisfactory reliability in a
first academic application, yet it has not been previously deployed in organizational
context up to this point. Applying the measure for the first time, the factor analysis
for the SLSI suggests excluding the first-order factor of self-reminding as two items
produced considerably lower factor loadings than others. Reliability of self-
reminding also reported a smaller value compared to other first-order factors, yet of
good quality (α = .82). An expert panel tested the SLSI further for content validity.
Skepticism was predominantly targeted at the fact that items were perceived to be
too similar-sounding or lacking proper differentiation. Items of the SLSI were clus-
tered to three statements, each belonging to different constructs. As tests of item
order are not available yet for the measure, a different order could have changed
perceptions of followers. A last point of consideration is the assessment method of
self-ratings done by followers. Self-ratings are criticized for causing potential bias
190 8 Conclusion and Outlook

based on social desirability (Podsakoff, MacKenzie, Lee & Podsakoff, 2003, p.

881). Crowne and Marlow (1964) define social desirability as referring “to the need
for social approval and acceptance and the belief that it can be attained by means of
culturally acceptable and appropriate behaviors” (p. 109). Yet, reflecting a cogni-
tive construct, other-ratings would be just as subjective.

A potential limitation is the self-rated measure of individual performance. Early
research on performance self-ratings determined that self-ratings tend to be higher
than supervisor ratings (Yu & Murphy, 1993). Although performance self-ratings
are often criticized for being unrepresentative due to social self-rating bias (Con-
way & Huffcutt, 1997), this study applies a self-assessment instrument in order to
measure individual performance as leader ratings of individual follower perfor-
mance are not without bias either. Erdogan and Bauer (2014, p. 418) report that
supervisors’ ratings may inherit affect they feel towards their team members where
they tend to see employees in a positive light. Fleenor (1996) even reported self-
ratings to be more valid than supervisor ratings. As it was a combination of differ-
ent previously applied items particular attention was paid on the performance
measure. The five-item scale was tested for internal consistency. The Cronbach al-
pha of .88 indicates that the instrument exhibits proper reliability.

Physical distance and distance leadership

A problem arose when definitions of distance were compared. It was found that, to
date, no generalizable definition of distance existed. Conversely, distance often
consists of multiple dimensions. Antonakis and Atwater (2002) define distance to
be produced by the effects of “leader-follower physical distance, perceived social
distance, and perceived interaction frequency” (p. 674). As research has shown, in
some cases, distance dimensions might even overlap with demographic variables.
This work understands distance leadership as a goal-oriented influence executed
over physical distance, determined by the quality of relationship, and the extent of
interaction frequency between leader and follower. Yet, there is more to distance
than included in the present work; for example, cultural distance (Eichenberg,
2007), or social distance (Cole et al., 2009) have been omitted. The study further
excluded organizational culture, which was found to impact virtual team perfor-
mance in various studies (e.g., Denison et al., 1995; Gray & Densten, 2005).
Another limitation arises with regard to the measurement of physical distance. An-
tonakis and Atwater (2002, p. 684) define physical distance as how close a leader
8.2 Limitations 191

and follower are to each other. Adapting this definition, the present work attempted
to evaluate leader-follower distance as objectively as possible. Geographical dis-
persion was investigated asking leaders and followers for their permanent office
locations. Country and city were later entered into online software to compute the
actual physical distance in kilometers. Physical distance measures, e.g., by Klauss
and Bass (1982) were refused, as terminologies such as very close and fairly close
appeared too vague and would have led to subjectivity of the variable. Although the
sample was collected in business units of international corporations and requests
have been made to send the survey to a fair proportion of distantly led followers, a
large proportion of the sample contained followers led by leaders who were physi-
cally close (59.9%). This resulted in an uneven distribution of 223 closely and 149
distantly led followers. Whether leaders in this case are authentic distance leaders
having only parts of their followers at a distance, is questionable. Howell et al.
(2005) decided to identify a distance leader as one who leads the majority of his or
her workforce from a physical distance.

Relationship quality
The present work assessed relationship quality with the LMX-7 by Graen and Uhl-
Bien (1995) using relationship quality as a synonym for leader-member exchange.
Davis and Bryant (2010, p. 522) argue that the LMX-7 most widely addresses the
facets of dyadic leader-member exchange but it might exclude other important ele-
ments of the construct. Furthermore, LMX is considered multidimensional, entail-
ing elements of respect, trust, and obligation (Graen & Uhl-Bien, 1995, p. 237). A
different publication claims LMX to consist of affect, loyalty, contribution, and
professional respect as displayed in the LMX-MDM Scale (Liden & Maslyn, 1998).
Besides lacking a unique description of dimensions, LMX significantly varies if
rated by leaders or followers, according to Gerstner and Day (1997). It is argued
that different outcomes might be retrieved when testing for leader LMX; effects are
even suspected to be stronger. The researchers further suggest taking leader-
member agreement into consideration. Similarly to the study by Howell and Hall-
Merenda (1999) the present work takes member LMX into account. In addition, the
study controlled for effects of team members’ tenure with their leader as length of
relationship might impact the relationship both individuals form (Graen & Uhl-
Bien, 1995). Analyses revealed that tenure with leader did not impact the quality of
relationship in this study. Besides, it is unclear how long relationships between
leaders and followers existed prior to direct reporting. Correlates of LMX with oth-
er variables might also suffer from single-source bias in the present work (Gerstner
& Day, 1997).
192 8 Conclusion and Outlook

Interaction frequency
Antonakis and Atwater (2002) define perceived leader-follower interaction as the
“degree to which leaders interact with their followers” (p. 686). Leader-follower
interaction frequency does not imply a well-established quality of relationship
among both, it rather relates to followers seeking guidance and feedback. Despite
taking different media channels into account when assessing correlations, the use of
an overall interaction frequency index, summarizing all channels, potentially intro-
duces biases. Media richness has not been evaluated in depth and therefore assign-
ing different weights to face-to-face interaction and chat could have been more ac-

Problems with generalizability arise with the data collection taking place in only
one industry. Cases were gathered in business units of international corporations in
the technology industry with more than 10,000 employees. The study followed a
cross-sectional design as, in this fairly new field of interest, the design is rather ex-
ploratory. As a result of cross-sectional research, ambiguity of causal direction
might be an issue (Cole et al., 2009). Yet, fundamental theory suggests building on
given directions, following empirical publications. Due to this research design, par-
ticipants were asked for perceptions of leadership behavior and organizational out-
comes in the same survey. This procedure raises issues of common-method vari-
ance which can yield in inflation of observations (Cole et al., 2009, p. 1723; Davis
& Bryant, 2010, p. 523¸ Podsakoff & Organ, 1986; Podsakoff et al., 2003). Method
biases may cause measurement errors in different ways. Podsakoff et al. (2003, p.
881) report various sources for the existence of method biases. Relevant for the
present study, same source or rater bias might apply as respondents answering to
different variables would likely be consistent in their answers. Referring to previ-
ous distance leadership research, Howell and Hall-Merenda (1999) still followed
this procedure. The design of the research would have been appropriate for struc-
tural equation modeling (SEM), yet the model revealed to be too complex for the
number of observations. For this reason, only the confirmatory factor analysis was
pursued using SEM. Interpretation of mediation analysis is further subject to bias as
there is, to date, no accepted form of interpretation (Hayes, 2009, p. 417).
8.3 Research Implications 193

8.3 Research Implications

From a theoretical point of view, the outcomes of this study have several implica-
tions. During the analysis of literature, it became evident that, to date, no common
definition of distance leadership existed as definitions often overlapped. Recogniz-
ing distinct dimensions of distance remains challenging and requires further evalua-
tion. Future research could implicitly follow up on the definition provided in this
paper. Empirical contributions still constitute the exception and thus, validated re-
search instruments assessing objectively for distance are scarce. Therefore, aca-
demic literature should focus on the application of empirical studies in future inves-
tigations. In contrast to prior research, this work treated distance not solely as a
contextual factor. Next to examining physical distance it also took relational ele-
ments from leader-member exchange theory into account. Future investigations
might consider and elaborate on emotional, affective and/or cognitive aspects of
Research should further emerge in the area of examining self-leadership and its in-
fluences on leadership behavior and follower work-related outcomes. This study
provides evidence that self-leadership and leadership behavior are related. Self-
leadership has furthermore been shown to impact the relationship between leaders
and followers. Expanding on the present work, researchers may want to examine
different work outcomes related to leadership and self-leadership behavior. Em-
ployee satisfaction has been often linked to transformational leadership (Judge &
Piccolo, 2004), now it would be useful to test whether self-leadership would pro-
duce similar results. Andressen and colleagues (2012) recently observed that, in a
virtual setting, self-leadership has a higher impact on employee motivation than in
a co-located setting. Even if Full Range Leadership constitutes the most profound
theory in current leadership research, there are more leadership facets that find only
limited attention in organizational science thus far. Research on the impact of dis-
tance on effects of shared or empowering leadership lack empirical foundation.
In addition, the present work utilizes and tests a new scale for the evaluation of
self-leadership. The SLSI has been applied to a larger organizational sample for the
first time since its development by Furtner and Rauthmann (in prep.). High reliabil-
ity values between .82 and .93 attest good internal consistency. Factor loadings
varying between .79 and .95 suggest further good quality of the constructs, except
for the first-order factor of self-reminding which shows considerably lower values.
As similar results were retrieved in a principal analysis done by Furtner and Rau-
thmann (in prep.) it is recommended to exclude the first-order dimension in future
194 8 Conclusion and Outlook

At one step, the influence of leaders’ self-leadership on employee satisfaction could

be tested, and in a second step one could test for the impact of employees’ self-
leadership behavior on satisfaction. Other work-related outcomes to test for might
be related to creativity or innovativeness. DiLiello and Houghton (2006) hypothe-
size that strong self-leaders have more potential for creativity, creative problem-
solving, and innovation than weak self-leaders. Carmeli et al. (2006) even claim
self-leadership to play the critical role of enhancing the innovation process and the
exhibition of innovative behavior. Hauschildt and Konradt (2012b) emphasize that
self-leadership has thus far been applied sparsely in organizational contexts. Partic-
ularly, evaluating the effect of self-leadership on performance has potential. This
could be assessed using a different measure, preferably one where follower perfor-
mance is rated by a different source (e.g., leaders).
Graen and Uhl-Bien (1995) criticize approaches in leadership research that have
often disregarded the levels of dyadic relationship between individuals. Research
has formerly acknowledged one part of the model exclusively; either leaders’ or the
followers’ perspective. The authors argue that leadership largely depends on three
domains which are the follower, the leader, and their relationship (Graen & Uhl-
Bien, 1995, p. 221). As such, they contemplate the leader-follower relationship as a
multi-domain construct that may provide useful insights and practical implications
for organizational research. The researchers postulate that research should ideally
focus on all of these facets. A recent investigation by Erdogan and Bauer (2014)
revealed that 83% of all studies assess LMX from followers’ perspective. The stud-
ies further showed low levels of convergence between leaders’ and followers’ rat-
ings of LMX which might be caused by the reluctance of leaders to admit that they
do not have a good relationship with their team members (Hiller, DeChurch, Mu-
rase & Doty, 2011; Sin, Nahrgang & Morgeson, 2009).
This research contributes to the organizational literature in the field of leader-
member exchange theory. In early work, Graen and Uhl-Bien (1995) suggest to
further test LMX and its influence on organizational outcome variables. Particular-
ly, LMX is recommended to be applied as a moderator. Discovering that physical
distance did not moderate the relationship between LMX and performance in a
study by Howell and Hall-Merenda (1999, p. 690) the finding highlights the great
potential of LMX quality where leadership from a distance can still be executed
effectively as long as a qualitative relationship is established.
Although followers’ tenure with the leader did not reveal any interference, a longi-
tudinal investigation of dyadic relationships would be feasible to highlight the stage
and the evolution of relationship quality over time. Graen and Uhl-Bien (1995)
8.4 Managerial Implications 195

suggested that LMX quality traverses different stages during its development. In
distance leadership research, the stages might differ as they probably depend on the
timing of the first physical contact. If leader-follower contact is rare at the begin-
ning, research could then answer if and how a working relationship with high quali-
ty LMX could be built up.
Despite the fact that the importance of AIT rises in organizational contexts, the re-
sults of this study demonstrate that communication frequency is not as important as
previously outlined (Cummings, 2008, p. 46). This could be due to the measure-
ment of frequency instead of looking more deeply into the power of different media
channels that are applied in firms. Future studies may emphasize differences in
channel usage such as communication using lean or rich media. This may help to
identify the appropriate channels for each state of the leader-follower or project
life-cycle, proposing rich media for the introductory phase and less rich media for a
relationship that is established. Also little is known about the interaction between
leadership styles and AIT usage (Avolio et al., 2014, p. 126).
Research projects in which leaders and followers are asked to provide ratings are
complex. For this study, only followers’ cases were evaluated and calculations
done accordingly. In that sense, making assumptions on the variance of responses
is not feasible as dyadic relationships were not considered. Multi-source data
should be gathered in future investigations, resulting in a multi-level analysis.

8.4 Managerial Implications

Focus on relationship-building for distant leaders and followers
The present study contributes to distance leadership practice in several ways. The
outcomes suggest that an efficient work-relationship entails more than just the exer-
tion of goal-oriented influence of one individual over another. Human relationships
are characterized by numerous dimensions, yet distance is a critical context incor-
porating various forms of interaction (Lewandowski & Lisk, 2013). Although
probably most large international organizations already practice distance leadership
to some extent, relatively little research has yet been undertaken, and even less ac-
tion has been taken in organizations concerning this matter.
Perhaps, the most significant practical implication of this work concerns the finding
that physical distance ultimately impacts the leader-follower relationship less than
primarily assumed. Instead, the quality of relationship proved much more vital to
this relationship. With the detection of mediation, relationship quality represents
196 8 Conclusion and Outlook

the tie that binds leaders and followers in organizations (Eichenberg, 2007). With-
out an established relationship, the positive influence of leadership diminishes and,
with it, the performance of subordinates loses its direction. Fostering high quality
relationships with followers thus enables leaders to rely on followers and, for the
followers themselves, promotes a sense of caring which can lead to more trusting
The focus on distance leadership trainings should thus be placed on relationship-
building initiatives by stimulating an “optimistic, hopeful, growth oriented motiva-
tional state” (Sue-Chan et al., 2012, p. 465). Priority should be given to activities
demonstrating how to establish trust, and equally important, how to maintain it
(Eichenberg, 2007, pp. 198ff). As part of leadership development programs, trans-
formational leadership strategies enhancing the quality of relationship with follow-
ers should be added. Insensitivity or failure to respond to followers’ expectations of
reciprocity and the requirements of a high-quality relationship may otherwise result
in a decrease in effectivity (Wang et al., 2005). Recognizing the finding that a high-
quality relationship is ideally accomplished through face-to-face interaction, it is of
utmost importance that personal meetings are conducted early when working at a
distance. Individuals in trusting relationships with others readily reveal their per-
sonal background at the beginning of a collaboration. They set clear roles and have
an optimistic perspective about their work (Cascio, 2000). Social communication is
expected to facilitate trusting relationships in an early stage as team members might
exchange private information, talking about hobbies and weekend activities.
Whereas fostering trust works potentially well at the beginning of a collaboration,
maintaining trust is difficult. Members working in a physically distributed setting
should therefore be encouraged to develop cognition-based trust at an early point
(Kanawattanachai & Yoo, 2002). In that sense, early interdisciplinary work can be
an effective way of encouraging the development of high-quality relationships even
before the actual distance team work begins. Additionally, the first impression is
anticipated to be significant and might be the critical factor in a distant context. En-
thusiastic individuals and those who take initiative are projected to maintain high
levels of trust (Jarvenpaa & Leidner, 1999).

Trainings for all members involved in a physically distant leadership context

Physical distance should still receive recognition as perceptions of relationship
quality decrease, the more leader and follower are separated. One reason could be
that the lack of face-to-face interaction makes the transmission of inspirational, vi-
sionary, and charismatic leadership challenging. In a context of distance, direct
control is difficult to execute (Horwitz et al., 2006) and conflicts are more likely to
8.4 Managerial Implications 197

escalate when individuals do not see each other (Avolio & Kahai, 2003). Although
physical distance is less vital than other elements, it was discovered that followers
who are neither very close nor very distant seem to have the most difficulties find-
ing their place in the leader-follower relationship. The reason for this is that fol-
lowers who are very close or very distant from their leaders know about the situa-
tion and what to expect. Particularly, those followers who are in between the range
of being situated only in a separate building up to those with 1,000 km of distance
from their leader are located in an interval state where leadership behavior predict-
ed neither self-leadership nor performance.
Distance leadership trainings should ideally incorporate a holistic view of distance,
describing challenges and benefits of distance collaboration. Yet, those trainings
might also include role-plays that simulate how conflicts can be resolved in the
context of distance. Particular trainings should furthermore incorporate all mem-
bers of large international corporations as eventually everyone is likely to interact
with leaders or team members who are physically distributed at some point in time.
Distance leadership trainings unfold their potential in a physically distant environ-
ment; yet they are also valuable under close conditions as relationship quality is
important in any leader-follower context (Erdogan & Bauer, 2014).

Create an environment characterized by autonomy and self-responsibility

Self-leadership as a goal-focused strategy (Furtner & Rauthmann, 2011) revealed
its positive impact on followers’ performance. Therefore, it is essential that organi-
zations and leaders create an environment where followers can practice self-
leadership strategies. A positive and performance-oriented organizational culture
may enhance such an environment (Manz & Sims, 1991). Leaders have to place a
large share of the responsibility in the hands of followers (Antonakis & Atwater,
2002). As shown in the present study, less face-to-face interaction can sometimes
contribute to a setting that encourages self-leadership behavior.
Self-leadership and active leadership behaviors (transformational and transactional)
are furthermore positively related which demonstrates that visionary and goal-
oriented behaviors encourage self-leadership behaviors of followers. Positive corre-
lations with self-leadership were found for transformational leadership subfacets.
Formulating a compelling vision is key in transformational behavior which in turn
can lead to better self-goal setting and self-observation (Bass & Bass, 2008). The
inspirational aspect of leadership is strongly reflected in charismatic aspects of
leadership. In particular, role-modeling behaviors of transformational leaders have
the potential to trigger self-leadership in followers. Especially, the development of
198 8 Conclusion and Outlook

natural reward strategies (e.g., intrinsification) and performance referencing (e.g.,

group optimization) should be highlighted when creating the trainings.
In addition, transactional leadership drives subordinates to leverage self-leadership
capabilities. This has several implications for the design of performance reviews
and management trainings in international corporations. Establishing performance
management procedures, such as setting clear goals, performing regular reviews,
and conducting an objective evaluation together with subordinates, is a prerequisite
for exercising transactional leadership. Yet, instead of controlling them, followers
should experience an environment of self-responsibility and independence in order
to support the achievement of their objectives. The power of self-leadership fre-
quently resides within the empowerment of followers and a progressive scope for
development. Having direct implications for workers’ individual performance, ex-
ercising self-leadership not only reflects personal cognitive evolvement but also
directly impacts individual level outcomes. It might also teach distant followers
how to cope better with the situation and could reduce perceptions of isolation.
Panagopoulos and Ogilvie (2015, in press) recently discovered that self-leadership
helps to self-evaluate and react appropriately in situations facing customers.
The present study finds self-leadership to be less established closer to the value-
added chain and in lower hierarchy levels. Functions in manufacturing and supply
chain often lack the freedom to execute self-leadership as processes are strictly de-
fined. Especially direct productive areas could benefit from an elevation of self-
leadership behaviors as continuous improvement often results from self-
responsibility and a change in mindset. Trainings directed to this target group can
both limit the effects of indifference and enhance participation and appreciation.
Furthermore, self-leadership can easily be trained and developed in individuals
(Manz, 1986) and it heightens employees’ mental performance (Neck & Manz,
1996). Within the narrow frame of the job, strategies such as self-analysis, positive
focus or success envision can be incorporated into work contexts with less job au-
tonomy. Although only natural reward and social self-leadership strategies showed
significant positive impact on followers’ performance, it is recommended to train
all self-leadership skills holistically (Marques-Quinteiro & Curral, 2012).
Self-leadership can furthermore be integrated as part of lean management trainings.
Kaizen and continuous improvement processes (CIP) have been on the rise since
the innovative Toyota Production System invented by Taiichi Ohno has become a
philosophy adapted by many large manufacturing corporations also in Europe and
the United States. A fundamental piece of lean management has since become the
effort to continuously improve processes in all functional areas of an organization.
8.4 Managerial Implications 199

The focus on the individual’s mindset in combination with CIP has yet not received
much attention. A recent publication provides evidence that self-leadership can
however be a driver to perform CIP cognitively. Pearce and Manz (2014) state that
self-leadership entails the duty of “managing one’s behavior to meet existing stand-
ards and objectives; evaluating the standards and setting or modifying them; and
addressing what should be done and why it should be done, in addition to how to
do it” (p. 218). The authors describe a mental state of cognitive continuous im-
provement processes. Good (self)leaders learn more about themselves and integrate
the learned information into their cognitive and behavioral systems – an important
prerequisite in becoming better and better (Bennis & Nanus, 1985).

Trainings designed for the effective usage of AIT

The present research found that the positive effects of transformational leadership
behavior can be enhanced by frequent interaction between leader and followers.
Executing transformational behavior using AIT is therefore auspicious and com-
munication trainings need to be conducted. Transformational and transactional
leaders are known to be good communicators (Neufeld et al., 2010), yet results re-
vealed that, e.g., videoconferencing and chat media are not yet used to their full
potential. Recently conducted research testifies that leaders in a distance work envi-
ronment require technology- and media competence to make this collaboration ef-
fective (Hertel, 2013; Raabe & Schmitz, 2004). How leadership is perceived also
depends on the qualification to send messages (Yoo & Alavi, 2004) and how fre-
quently communication is pursued (Carte et al., 2006). In particular, informal ex-
change is often executed during coffee or lunch breaks. As these are not likely to
happen frequently in distance work environments there is a need to let followers
enjoy informal conversations (Caulat, 2006). For instance, this could be done by
planning chat time before, during and/or after a virtual meeting in order to get to
know the person on the other side or by planning regular virtual coffee chats.
Cummings (2008) suggests that, in addition to scheduled virtual meetings, a leader
should use informal face-to-face meetings, phone calls or e-mails as a medium for
better collaboration, since these facilitate communication and can have a positive
impact on performance of the remotely located followers. Rules of Netiquette
should be in place at the organizational level, defining how co-workers interact
with each other and the leader (Hertel et al., 2005).
Teams are formed according to their competences rather than their local availability
(Weisband, 2008) and leaders are assigned who sometimes have little experience
with virtual work. Often support from the organization is lacking as many firms do
not yet recognize the value of leading at a distance, ignore the challenges of com-
200 8 Conclusion and Outlook

munication using AIT, and fail to provide psychological assistance (Caulat, 2006).
This should be taken into account when designing trainings as communication is a
basic element of collaboration that can be vital in a distant leader-follower relation-

Summary of implications for effective distance leadership

Figure 15 summarizes the managerial implications described in the previous para-
graphs. The key to effective distance leadership lies in the combination of the ap-
plication of active leadership behavior, the potential to develop high quality rela-
tionships, and the maintenance of frequent interaction with followers. In order to
get to this stage, three phases can be denoted.
(1) Initiation. The initial phase describes the first contact between leader and fol-
lower as a work team. The individuals get to know each other and exchange their
first informal information. To establish a functioning work setting, high input is
required by the leader with moderate coordination efforts, as meetings are more
likely to be unstructured at the very beginning of their working relationship. Proba-
bly the most effective leadership style is of transactional nature, as the leader needs
to give direction in terms of what needs to be done and achieved. Yet, elements of
transformational leadership should not be missing as the distant individual needs to
know the larger vision underlying his or her work and requires guidance in the
form of mentorship. The relationship is most likely just about to grow which can be
supported by frequent interaction, ideally with rich media, such as face-to-face in-
teraction or videoconferences.
(2) Regulation. The second phase is characterized by the definition of roles and
tasks and, if required, adjustments. Leader and follower have clarified expectations
and the follower knows what needs to be done. Proactive development can take
place in this phase as leaders and followers will define how to deal with conflicts
and emphasize the maintenance of their established structures. The input for leaders
at this stage increases for coordination efforts. The follower already knows his du-
ties and the leader functions as a feedback channel and a guide. The most effective
leadership style at this stage is suggested to be transformational with transactional
elements. As the relationship between leader and follower evolves, facets such as
inspirational motivation or intellectual stimulation can foster intrinsic motivation.
In terms of communication, leader and follower have established routines, also tak-
ing opportunities for informal exchange into account. Examples of those routines
can be virtual coffee breaks (informal) and virtual shop-floor meetings (formal)
8.4 Managerial Implications 201

where leader and follower (or team) meet at a defined time regularly to discuss cur-
rent issues and provide status updates. At best, this is done using a mix of AIT

Figure 15. Implications for Effective Distance Leadership

Phases Initiation Regulation Optimization

Features Get to know each other Role definition Standardized processes

Informal exchange Adjustment Mentoring/Coaching

High content input, Moderate content Low-moderate content

Input / effort moderate coordination input, high input, low coordina-
efforts coordination efforts tion efforts

Effective distance leadership

Leadership- Transactional Transformational Transformational
style Transformational Transactional Superleadership



Releationship Mature relationship

Relationship building
development “Friendship“


Establish routines,
Frequent interaction e.g. virtual coffee breaks, Interaction
virtual shopfloor meetings when needed

Media face-to-face, telephone Telephone (conferences), videoconferences, chat

(conferences) e-mail, videoconferences


(3) Optimization. The third phase describes the stage, when leader and follower
have established processes of collaboration that have become standardized. Yet,
202 8 Conclusion and Outlook

those underlie a process of continuous improvement as, for instance, virtual shop-
floor meetings are an established tool to improve and further develop procedures.
At this point in time, leaders should be concerned with the development of the em-
ployee and provide coaching and mentoring. The task-related input is now rather
low, and coordination efforts decrease as follower and leader have established a
relationship of mutual trust and support. The leadership behavior with the highest
impact can now be described as entailing elements of transformational leadership,
superleadership, and self-leadership. Followers at this stage require an environment
of autonomy and self-responsibility. The duty of the leader now shifts from leading
to encouraging self-leadership of the employee. Both individuals have managed to
build a mature relationship that needs to be maintained. Maintenance of relation-
ships is often underestimated. Therefore, it is suggested that at this stage leader and
follower maintain a stable level of interaction, using a combination of rich and lean

Chapter summary
The last chapter of this work presents a summary of the study. This research is sub-
ject to several limitations that are addressed subsequently and are outlined accord-
ing to the different parameters used in this work. Implications for research and
practice follow as one major purpose of this work was to assist future researchers
and organizational leaders concerned with distance leadership in either a theoretical
or practical way.
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Figures 233


Figure 1. Structural Design of the Dissertation ...................................................................... 8 

Figure 2. The Full Range Leadership Model ........................................................................ 13 
Figure 3. The Life Cycle of Leadership Making .................................................................. 23 
Figure 4. Contextual Interactions of Distance Leadership ................................................... 53 
Figure 5. Research Model ..................................................................................................... 99 
Figure 6. Influences of Leadership Behavior on Work-Related Outcomes ........................ 132 
Figure 7. Influences of Leadership Behavior on Self-Leadership ...................................... 137 
Figure 8. Influences of Leadership Behavior on Performance ........................................... 139 
Figure 9. Moderating and Mediating Influences of Distance ............................................. 143 
Figure 10. The Influence of Physical Distance on Relationship Quality.............................. 150 
Figure 11. Model 1: Transformational Leadership and Mediating Effects of
Relationship Quality ............................................................................................ 152 
Figure 12. Model 2: Transactional Leadership and Mediating Effects of Relationship
Quality ................................................................................................................. 153 
Figure 13. Model 3: Passive Leadership and Mediating Effects of Relationship Quality.... 154 
Figure 14. Summary of Hypotheses ..................................................................................... 156 
Figure 15. Implications for Effective Distance Leadership .................................................. 201 

© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden 2017

N. Poser, Distance Leadership in International Corporations,
Advances in Information Systems and Business Engineering,
DOI 10.1007/978-3-658-15223-9
Tables 235


Table 1. Effects of Self-Leadership on Work-Related Outcomes ......................................... 48

Table 2. Leadership Behavior and Work-Related Outcomes: Effects of Physical
Distance, Relationship Quality, and Interaction Frequency .................................... 75
Table 3. Nine-Factor Structure of the MLQ 5X short with Sample Items .......................... 102
Table 4. Factor Structure of the SLSI with Sample Items ................................................... 103
Table 5. Scale Statistics for the SLSI .................................................................................. 104
Table 6. Performance Measure ............................................................................................ 105
Table 7. Sample Items of the LMX-7 .................................................................................. 107
Table 8. Interaction Frequency Matrix ................................................................................ 107
Table 9. Composition of the Survey Instrument .................................................................. 109
Table 10. Scale Statistics for Full Range Leadership ............................................................ 119
Table 11. T-Tests for Variations in Leadership Behavior with Physical Distance................ 120
Table 12. Scale Statistics for Relationship Quality ............................................................... 121
Table 13. Factor Analysis of the SLSI with Promax Rotation .............................................. 123
Table 14. Scale Statistics for Self-Leadership ....................................................................... 124
Table 15. Scale Statistics for Individual Performance ........................................................... 125
Table 16. Physical Distance Distribution ............................................................................. 126
Table 17. Intercorrelations of FRL Subfacets, Self-Leadership, and Performance ............... 134
Table 18. Intercorrelations of FRL, Self-Leadership, Performance, and Control Variables 136
Table 19. Predicting Self-Leadership by FRL Subfacets ...................................................... 138
Table 20. Predicting Performance by FRL Subfacets............................................................ 140
Table 21. Predicting Performance by Higher-Order Factors of Self-Leadership .................. 142
Table 22. Intercorrelations of FRL, Self-Leadership, Performance, and Distance ............... 145
Table 23. Intercorrelations of Full Range Leadership and Media Channels ......................... 146
Table 24. Influence of FRL on Self-Leadership: Moderating Effects of Physical Distance . 148
Table 25. Influence of FRL on Performance: Moderating Effects of Physical Distance ...... 149
Table 26. Influence of FRL on Performance: Mediating Effects of Relationship Quality .... 155
Table 27. Influence of FRL on Performance: Moderating Effects of Interaction
Frequency .............................................................................................................. 155
Table 28. Summary of Hypotheses ..................................................................................... 159

© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden 2017

N. Poser, Distance Leadership in International Corporations,
Advances in Information Systems and Business Engineering,
DOI 10.1007/978-3-658-15223-9
Abbreviations 237


AIT Advanced information technology

CV Control variable

CIP Continuous improvement process

DV Dependent variable

FRL Full Range Leadership

GLOBE Global Leadership and Organizational Behavior Effectiveness

HLM Hierarchical linear modeling

HR Human Resources

IFI Interaction frequency index

IT Information technology

I/UCRC Industry/university cooperative research centers

IV Independent variable

KMO Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin

LMX Leader-Member Exchange

MBE Management-by-exception

MBEa Active management-by-exception

MBEp Passive management-by-exception

MCAR Missing completely at random

MedV Mediating variable

MLQ Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire

MV Moderating variable

OCB Organizational citizenship behavior

R&D Research and development

RSLQ Revised Self-Leadership Questionnaire

SEM Structural equation modeling

© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden 2017

N. Poser, Distance Leadership in International Corporations,
Advances in Information Systems and Business Engineering,
DOI 10.1007/978-3-658-15223-9
238 Abbreviations

SLQ Self-Leadership Questionnaire

SLSI Self-Leadership Skills Inventory

TSL Thought self-leadership

VFI Variance Inflation Factor

VIST Valence, instrumentality, self-efficacy, trust


Appendix A

© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden 2017

N. Poser, Distance Leadership in International Corporations,
Advances in Information Systems and Business Engineering,
DOI 10.1007/978-3-658-15223-9
240 Appendices
Appendices 241

Appendix B

Scale Statistics for Self-Leadership: A Comparison

Descriptives Scale statistics

Scales Mean inter-item

Skew- Kurto-
n M SD α (α SLSI*)
ness sis correlation

Global self-leadership 372 3.33 0.67 -0.33 0.28 .94 (.88) .38

Cognition-based strategies 372 3.20 0.73 -0.11 -0.15 .89 (.86) .41

Self-analysis 372 3.28 0.92 -0.34 -0.27 .89 (.79) .73

Strategic planning 372 3.67 0.82 -0.72 0.70 .89 (.84) .73

Self-verbalization 372 2.67 1.16 0.19 -0.96 .93 (.93) .81

Self-reminding 372 3.18 1.00 -0.11 -0.75 .82 (.94) .61

Natural reward strategies 372 3.19 0.81 -0.21 -0.21 .90 (.86) .51

Positive focus 372 3.30 0.92 -0.37 -0.03 .92 (.84) .79

Intrinsification 372 3.15 0.94 -0.28 -0.41 .91 (.90) .77

Success envision 372 3.12 1.10 -0.23 -0.73 .92 (.93) .78

Social self-leadership strat-

372 3.82 0.73 -0.80 1.05 .88 (.82) .54

Group optimization 372 3.78 0.79 -0.69 0.59 .88 (.93) .71

Performance referencing 372 3.86 0.86 -0.84 0.96 .87 (.88) .64

Note. *Reliability scores when applied in academic setting (n = 270) by Furtner and Rauthmann (in
preparation), standard error of skewness = .126. Standard error of kurtosis = .252.