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Alexandra (Sasha) Cook and Bertolt Meyer

Although most definitions of leadership acknowledge the act of leading itself as being an interactional behavior between at least two individuals, we know surprisingly little about what leaders actually do and in which ways the concrete and observable behavior of formal or informal leaders in organizations and teams is related to outcomes such as leadership success or subjective leadership impressions by employees or team members. This chapter aims at summarizing existing methods for observing leadership behavior and leadership behavior coding schemes. Additionally, the authors take a closer look at current empirical evidence from emergent leadership research on behavioral parameters and their automated measurement with wearable sensors. Based on this review, they discuss the prospective operational capability of measures such as automated movement and interaction analyses in observational studies on leadership behaviors and their possible contribution beyond the limits of existing behavioral coding systems.

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Edited by Birgit Schyns, Rosalie J. Hall and Pedro Neves

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Wen-Dong Li, Remus Ilies and Wei Wang

Behavioral genetics approaches to the study of individual differences have been widely applied in various disciplines in social sciences to investigate the “nature versus/and nurture” issue through disentangling influences from genetic factors (i.e., influences from nature) and environmental factors (i.e., influences from nurture). However, leadership research has only recently embraced such approaches. This is unfortunate considering the long-standing debate on whether leaders are born or made, and the more recent emphasis on person–environment interplay in leadership research. In this chapter, the authors first discuss the importance of the behavioral genetics approach to organizational research. They then introduce two types of behavioral genetics research that have been adopted so far: classic twin studies and molecular genetic research capitalizing on specific DNA information. Specifically, they explain how univariate biometric analyses, and bivariate biometric analyses based on twin studies can be applied to study important issues in leadership research. With respect to molecular genetic research, they discuss the candidate gene approach and genome-wide association studies, and how they can be useful in advancing leadership research. They also provide brief research examples based on previous research in which such approaches can be employed in addressing critical questions in leadership.

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Miguel Pina e Cunha, Marianne Lewis, Arménio Rego and Wendy K. Smith

The chapter discusses the role of biographical methods in leadership research. Biographical methods refer to a variety of approaches that include self-narratives, autobiographies, and historical biographies. The authors explore an individual’s life story to elucidate its dynamics over time. Biographical methods engage with the lived experience of leadership and aim to explore the richness of the experience of leading. They aim to generate deep-level and holistic insights into the behaviors, relationships, thoughts, and emotions of leaders, and help to make sense of how such behaviors, relationships, thoughts, and emotions dynamically unfold over time and in context. Biographical methods provide a rich combination of breadth (the dimensions across a leader’s life) and depth (the intimate details about the leader’s life and circumstances over time). Such combination of breadth and depth favors the creation of insight into factors often excluded from leadership research, namely the paradoxical tensions and inconsistencies inherent in leadership processes.

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Aurora J. Dixon, Jessica M. Webb and Chu-Hsiang (Daisy) Chang

Traditionally, leadership research relies on tools such as observations and surveys to characterize leaders’ traits and behaviors, followers’ reactions, and leader–follower interactions and coordination to understand the leadership process. Recent development in biological and physiological assessments has offered leadership scholars additional ways to measure processes in leaders and followers. These methods can be used to capture subtle processes of different biological systems, such as activities in the brain, cardiovascular, and endocrine systems of leaders and followers. Such processes may not only be outside individuals’ awareness, but also have limited outwardly visible signs. Despite this, they provide additional insights into understanding how leaders exercise effective influence; how followers perceive, share, and respond to messages from leaders; and how leaders and followers reciprocally affect each other. In this chapter, the authors first introduce biological and physiological sensors, and discuss their applications in the leadership research. Next, they discuss various biological and physiological measures and their advantages over the traditional measurement tools typically used in leadership research. Third, they review the extent to which these biological and physiological measures already have been adopted by leadership researchers. Finally, recommendations and future directions are presented for leadership scholars who are interested in utilizing these measures.

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Savvas Trichas

The aim of the literature discussed in the current chapter is to argue for the added value of using sophisticated facial expression coding to leadership research. A substantial number of empirical studies contributed to our knowledge of leaders’ emotional expressions. However, our awareness regarding the actual impact of leaders’ facial displays is still restricted, as the majority of research in the field of leadership has neglected the added contribution that can emerge from the integration of sophisticated facial action coding analysis. Specifically, both pronounced and subtle differences in muscle movement and intensity can produce quite different perceptual impacts. In addition to visual coding, the timing of expression and of sequential facial action units also needs to be considered, as it can also significantly influence observers’ perceptions. The leadership studies that have used detailed facial action coding methods highlight the significance of such methods in leadership research design. Based on the available leadership studies using sophisticated facial analysis, it is argued that the body of leadership research would benefit from incorporating detailed facial expression coding techniques into research designs. The outcomes of the integration of detail in terms of facial muscle movement, intensity, and timing could eventually expand the range of research exploration, depth of analysis, and magnitude of findings.

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Sandra Ohly and Viktoria Gochmann

Diary studies have increasingly been used in different areas of management research. They allow investigating leaders and followers in a naturalistic work setting using immediate assessment. In this chapter the authors review recent research using diary studies in leadership examining three types of research questions: (1) the occurrence of leader behaviors and their temporal patterns (e.g., how much time does a leader spend in interactions with followers?); (2) leader behaviors as predictors or outcomes of transient states (e.g., do interactions with leaders lead to lower positive affect?); (3) relationships of leadership styles to employee behavior (e.g., do followers of transformational leaders show more daily creativity?). Furthermore, they describe the adequate study design (sample size, frequency of daily entries, event-contingent vs interval-contingent responses) and describe the limitations of this method. Finally they discuss additional research topics that might benefit from this research methodology: they suggest using dairies to reveal the dynamics behind the development of leadership styles (e.g., LMX) over time and the temporal patterns of affective reactions, appraisal of events and behaviors.

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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.

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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.

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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.