The social network approach provides both the theory and methodology for a detailed examination of the characteristics of the social environment of leadership in an organizational context. This chapter presents the central characteristics of the social network approach and examines how they relate to leadership research. Thereafter, it considers the methodology of the social network approach, including the research design, sampling and data collection methods, and central measures of networks for use in data analysis. It also provides examples from leadership research that has capitalized on social network theory and methodology. Finally, it presents a detailed research example that includes the collection of network data and application of network analysis to understand the characteristics of social networks.
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While the vast majority of leadership studies employ classical quantitative designs, the last two decades have seen repeated calls for increasing the use of qualitative methods in leadership research. The present chapter strives to support this claim by giving a comprehensive overview on qualitative content analysis as a systematic, rule-based process of analysing verbal and textual data (e.g., interviews, group discussions, documents). The underlying principles as well as typical problems of qualitative research are addressed. With the help of examples, the process of qualitative content analysis is presented step by step, and guidelines for researchers’ decisions and actions are developed. While it is quite easy to find general introductions to theory, methodology and qualitative data collection, researchers new to this field may find it difficult to access specific know-how concerning the process of qualitative data analysis and interpretation. The present chapter aims at addressing these problems by giving a detailed overview on the steps and milestones in qualitative content analysis. These steps range from condensing and structuring the data to displaying data and results for concluding analyses and interpretation. Ideas for the combination of qualitative and quantitative analyses are also presented.
Eric F. Rietzschel, Barbara Wisse and Diana Rus
The use of experimental research methods can be of great benefit to researchers who want to gain more insight into causal relationships in leadership processes. In this chapter, the authors first explain which experimental paradigms and methods are often used by leadership researchers (e.g., vignette studies, laboratory experiments, field experiments, group experiments) and provide some examples. Subsequently, they address some unique strengths of these experimental methods. Some specific points they discuss are related to issues of internal validity/testing causal explanations, the opportunity of studying specific underlying processes in isolation, testing possible interventions, testing complex models, and the relatively low time investment needed to conduct some types of experimental research. Notably, experimental methods also have potential pitfalls and they discuss those as well by pointing to the pervasive use of student samples, a general lack of psychological realism/external validity, the use of low-impact manipulations of high-impact situations, and the use of short-term approaches to long-term phenomena. Finally, they present a look to the future of leadership research, highlighting recent developments in experimental leadership methods and pointing out opportunities for further development and refinement of these methods.
Roseanne J. Foti and Maureen E. McCusker
Although person-centered approaches are not new conceptually or within the field of industrial-organizational psychology, substantive questions remain. Traditionally, leadership researchers have used a variable-oriented approach, where emphasis has been on measuring specific leader or follower attributes (e.g., values, traits, beliefs, perceptions, behaviors) and then examining how these attributes vary in a population of interest, testing for antecedents and behavioral outcomes, as well as moderators and mediators. An emerging trend, however, has been to consider how leadership is experienced, as a whole, from the perspective of individual leaders and/or followers, and whether combinations, patterns, or profiles of attributes – within individuals – have implications for leadership outcomes. Unfortunately, researchers who attempt to conduct person-oriented research studies find themselves faced with an array of challenging theoretical and methodological questions. The overarching goals of the chapter are to address some of these challenging issues. The authors develop insights about (1) the theoretical considerations for deciding whether to conduct person-oriented research, (2) the variety of methods available, and (3) how the conclusions from person-oriented research are different from (and can complement) the information gleaned from more traditional variable-focused work.
Francis J. Yammarino and Janaki Gooty
Multi-level issues and multiple levels of analysis are important in leadership research. In this chapter, the authors identify and explain multi-level issues particularly relevant for leadership theory and methods, including the primary levels in organizations; alternative views of each level; level-specific, emergent, and cross-level relationships; and time, fallacies, and analytics for multiple levels of analysis. They then explore in greater depth the level of analysis that to date has been the most neglected and misunderstood in leadership research – dyads. In doing so, they highlight different dyadic conceptualizations, including dependencies within and between dyads, independent and dependent dyads, and nested and cross-classified dyads; and highlight three methodological approaches for dyadic leadership research – actor–partner interdependence model, random coefficient modeling, and within and between analysis – with discussion of their similarities and differences. Finally, some recommendations for multi-level theory and methods in general, and dyadic research specifically, in the leadership realm are offered.
Rosalie J. Hall
Growth curve modeling is a flexible analytic approach that can be used for estimating the parameters describing patterns of change in a dependent variable measured at multiple points in time from multiple persons (or other entities). This makes it a useful technique for those studying leadership development and other leader- or follower-related processes that potentially involve systematic (e.g., linear, curvilinear) patterns of change over time. The technique allows the determination of the “average’”pattern of change as captured in a set of estimated growth parameters, as well as the extent to which individuals in the dataset vary around this typical pattern. Variability in the growth parameters can in turn be modeled as an outcome of other antecedent variables of interest. This chapter provides an overview of the growth curve modeling approach as it is implemented from a multilevel modeling perspective and a structural equation modeling perspective.
Rex B. Kline
In empirical studies of leadership, mediation analysis involves estimating presumed indirect causal effects of distal characteristics of leaders, such as emotional temperament, on more proximate, or intervening, variables, such as human resource policies, which in turn affect outcomes of interest for a particular organization. But there is more to mediation analysis than testing estimates of hypothesized indirect effects for statistical significance and then declaring that the hypothesis of mediation is supported if those tests yield significant results. Without proper research designs, attention to assumptions, careful measurement, and use of modern statistical methods, it is unlikely that mediation will actually be estimated. Described in this chapter are requirements and analytical methods for a more scientifically rigorous approach to mediation analysis. Emphasized is the technique of causal mediation analysis, where distal causal variables and proximal mediators are routinely assumed to interact, which gives a more realistic sense to the analysis. The application of this technique is demonstrated using results from an actual study of expected mediation effects in leadership.
Robert G. Lord
This chapter addresses ways to improve leadership theory, methodology, and practice both in the near term, which could be expected to be reasonably similar to the present, and in the long term, which may be radically different from the present. Within its tripartite focus on theory, methods, and practice, this chapter attempts to assess several fundamental assumptions that have guided thinking regarding leadership, while also considering issues related to aggregation across levels of analysis and across time. The critical issue underlying this analysis is that we typically ask subordinates to describe their leader without first checking to see whether the leadership construct makes sense to them as a category applied to the target being rated. When prior experience with a leader has not been encoded in leadership terms, ratings necessarily reflect more general types of information, which though sensible, does not accurately describe the behavior of the person being rated. Ways to address the consequences of this problem are addressed.
Birgit Schyns, Pedro Neves and Rosalie J. Hall
This volume provides an overview of a variety of established and newer methods for leadership research. It is intended for any individuals wanting to undertake research on leadership, whether they are academics or practitioners, undergraduates, graduate students working on a dissertation, or new or established professionals. It will be particularly useful for academics who want to try a new method and graduate students working on a dissertation who want an overview of what is out there. This book covers quantitative as well as qualitative methods but with a stronger focus on the former than the latter. Included are chapters focusing on measurement and design as well as analytical methods. All chapters outline a method and provide examples of how to apply the method to leadership research. It concludes with an overview of the future of leadership research.
SinHui Chong, Emilija Djurdjevic and Russell E. Johnson
Despite being useful and practical, explicit measures that assess deliberative or controlled work attitudes and behaviors are frequently associated with response biases that may undermine the validity of research findings. These concerns have prompted organizational researchers to turn to implicit measures in hopes of more accurately capturing work attitudes and behaviors, especially those driven by automatic processes that reside outside people’s awareness and control. As a result, implicit measures have become more popular in the organizational sciences in recent years. However, scholars in the leadership field have been comparatively slower to jump on the implicit measurement bandwagon despite this field being one of the earliest to acknowledge the role of implicit traits and theories in explaining how people define and classify individuals as leaders. This lag in the adoption of implicit measures is likely due in part to uncertainty about what implicit measures are, when it is appropriate to use them, and how to administer them. In this chapter the authors address these issues and provide guidelines for leadership scholars who are interested in utilizing implicit measurement.