Individually considerate transformational leadership behaviour and self sacriﬁce Kara A. Arnold
Faculty of Business Administration, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St John’s, Canada, and
Received October 2009 Revised May 2010 Accepted June 2010
Sobey School of Business, St Mary’s University, Halifax, Canada Abstract
Purpose – This study aims to investigate how leaders report enacting individually considerate transformational leadership behaviour. More speciﬁcally, the extent to which they report engaging in supportive, developmental or self-sacriﬁcial aspects of this behaviour. Design/methodology/approach – Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 51 senior leaders (21 female and 30 male) in the public and private sectors across ﬁve provinces in Canada. A blended grounded theory approach was utilised and suggestions for future research are presented. Findings – Leaders reported being more likely to engage in supportive (59 percent) than developmental (41 percent) individually considerate transformational leadership behaviour. Further, male leaders were less likely than female leaders to report engaging in development in self-sacriﬁcing ways (21 percent versus 62 percent). Research limitations/implications – This study extends the leadership literature to better understand the behavioural aspects of individual consideration and explore a new dimension of this behaviour (self-sacriﬁce). Sample size is a possible limitation. Practical implications – Developing employees has been identiﬁed globally as a pressing concern for leaders. However, in the study, leaders reported engaging in less developmental than supportive behaviours. Male leaders in particular were less likely to sacriﬁce their personal interests to develop employees. Originality/value – An in-depth examination of how leaders support and develop employees clariﬁes an important aspect of individual consideration and uncovers potential gender differences that previously have gone undetected. Keywords Transformational leadership, Gender Paper type Research paper
Introduction Transformational leadership has been hailed as highly effective, producing positive effects for individuals, groups and organisations (Bass and Riggio, 2006). This This research was supported by a Standard Research Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. A version of this paper was presented at the 2010 meeting of the Academy of Management, held in Montreal, QC, Canada; data from the private sector sample was presented at the 2007 meeting of the Academy of Management, held in Philadelphia, PA, USA. The authors would like to thank Jaime Enachescu, Eric Morris, Michelle Park, and Adrianna Hess for their assistance with data collection and the authors thank participants for taking time from their busy schedules to be part of this work.
Leadership & Organization Development Journal Vol. 31 No. 8, 2010 pp. 670-686 q Emerald Group Publishing Limited 0143-7739 DOI 10.1108/01437731011094748
leadership style (comprised of individual consideration, idealised inﬂuence/inspirational motivation and intellectual stimulation) has been the focus of a large amount of academic research (Judge and Bono, 2000). Bass and Riggio’s (2006) recent book highlights the signiﬁcant impact of this model on leadership research. One foundational component of transformational leadership is individual consideration. Individual consideration has been characterised as behaviour that allows the transformation of employees to occur (Avolio and Bass, 1995; Rafferty and Grifﬁn, 2006) and is deﬁned as paying “attention to each individual follower’s needs for achievement and growth by acting as a coach or mentor” (Bass and Riggio, 2006, p. 7). As discussed by Bass (1985), the original concept encompassed both development of, and...