A Chinese–Canadian Cross-Cultural Investigation of Transformational Leadership, Autonomous Motivation, and Collectivistic Value

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Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies
http://jlo.sagepub.com/ A Chinese−Canadian Cross-Cultural Investigation of Transformational Leadership, Autonomous Motivation, and Collectivistic Value Zheni Wang and Marylène Gagné Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies 2013 20: 134 originally published online 27 November 2012 DOI: 10.1177/1548051812465895 The online version of this article can be found at: http://jlo.sagepub.com/content/20/1/134

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iesWang and Gagné




A Chinese–Canadian Cross-Cultural Investigation of Transformational Leadership, Autonomous Motivation, and Collectivistic Value Zheni Wang1 and Marylène Gagné1

Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies 20(1) 134–142 © Baker College 2013 Reprints and permission: sagepub.com/journalsPermissions.nav DOI: 10.1177/1548051812465895 http://jlo.sagepub.com

Abstract Synthesizing theories of transformational leadership and self-determination, this research investigated whether transformational leaders (a) promote the autonomous motivation of their subordinates and whether (b) it results in higher autonomous motivation when subordinates hold high collectivistic values. Multilevel data were obtained from work samples in China and Canada.The results showed a positive relation between managers’ transformational leadership and subordinates’ autonomous motivation cross-culturally. Although higher collectivistic values were related to higher autonomous motivation, collectivist values did not significantly moderate the motivational effect of transformational leadership. Keywords transformational leadership, autonomous motivation, collectivistic value, cross-cultural analysis, self-determination theory

Businesses need management and leadership styles that promote employees’ proactive attitudes and behaviors, and transformational leadership is a way to obtain this objective (Bass, 1998). Transformational leadership is especially effective in turbulent environments (Bass & Avolio, 1994). Yet there is evidence suggesting that its effectiveness beyond the Western world is moderated by value orientations (Jung & Avolio, 1999). Transformational leadership theory was developed by Bass (1985) as an extension of Burns’s (1978) concept of “transforming” leadership. The extant research over the past three decades shows positive relations between transformational leadership and positive employee and organizational outcomes (e.g., Bass, Avolio, Jung, & Berson, 2003; Berson & Linton, 2005; Howell & Avolio, 1993; Jung & Avolio, 1999). Meta-analyses across different samples and industries also show the benefits of transformational leadership (DeGroot, Kiker, & Cross, 2000; Dumdum, Lowe, & Avolio, 2002; Judge & Piccolo, 2004; Lowe, Kroeck, & Sivasubramaniam, 1996). But there have been few studies that have systematically examined the motivational mechanism that explain these positive relationships (see Piccolo & Colquitt, 2006, for an exception), let alone investigating it across different cultures. The present study investigated the positive motivational outcomes resulting from transformational leadership behavior in two societal cultures, namely China and Canada.

Autonomous Motivation
Self-determination theory (Deci & Ryan, 1985, 2000) proposes a multidimensional conceptualization of motivation that includes intrinsic motivation, which is defined...
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