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The dynamic five-factor model of leadership : developing and testing a holistic approach to leadership behavior


Pfister, A. The dynamic five-factor model of leadership : developing and testing a holistic approach to leadership behavior. 2011, University of Zurich, Faculty of Arts.

Abstract

The aim of this dissertation project was to develop and test a new model of leadership, incorporating the key factors that influence leadership behavior.
Article 1 (Chapter 2) reviewed contemporary leadership models focusing on factors which influence leadership behavior, from a traditional as well as a modern perspective on leadership. This theoretical basis led to the development of the ‘Dynamic Five-Factor Model of Leadership’ (Seiler & Pfister, 2009). The five factors are: (1) the leader’s individual competence, (2) the group, (3) the organization, (4) the general context, and (5) the immediate situation. The article explains the model in detail and discusses different applications.
Study 1 and 2 (Chapter 3) tested the model’s reliability, validity, and applicability. Both studies showed that the model was a good tool to analyze, which factors within a specific situation were perceived as most important for one’s own leadership behavior. Two samples of Swiss university students (N1=104, N2=105) had to rate 24 different leadership situations using the ‘Dynamic Five- Factor Model of Leadership’. The findings showed, that the importance of each factor was rated independently of the other factors within a situation and each situation was rated independently of the other situations. Further findings indicated that the perceived importance of a factor was systematically influenced by three variables (time pressure, danger, formalization). Finally, a comparison of both studies revealed that when no changes were made to the structure of the situation, the situation was rated the same way. Both studies therefore demonstrated the validity, reliability, and applicability of the model for analyzing the influence of different factors on leadership behavior.
Study 3 (Chapter 4) primarily examined the impact of the five factors of the model on decision behavior. A second objective was to analyze if and how the five factors mediated the effects of the three variables: time pressure, danger, and formalization on decision behavior. These variables defined the structure of a situation. All three variables are known to systematically influence decision behavior and were employed to manipulate the situation structure in this and in the two earlier studies. Swiss university students (N=109) rated nine leadership situations using the factors of the ‘Dynamic Five-Factor Model of Leadership’. In addition, they had to rate four different decision behaviors in each situation. The results revealed that the five factors were systematic predictors for decision behavior and that they mediated the effects of the three variables on decision behavior. Further, the five factors were the prefered predictors for decision behavior. We additionally argued that the five factors can be used to measure the interpretation of a situation, as their perceived impact is influenced by an interpretation process. Hence, the interpretation of a situation, i.e. the holistic view of the situation, was most important for decision behavior and not the structure of a situation, i.e. specific situational variables.
Study 4 (Chapter 5) analyzed how culture, measured with the nine culture dimensions of the GLOBE study (House, Hanges, Javidan, Dorfman, & Gupta, 2004), and personality, measured with the ‘Big Five’ personality factors (Costa & McCrae, 1992), influenced the interpretation of a situation and decision behavior. Data from over 1400 participants of 14 different countries was collected in an online study. The results revealed that both culture and personality influenced the interpretation of a situation, i.e. the perceived impact of the five factors on leadership behavior. Further, the culture dimensions were systematic predictors for the five personality factors, showing the link already found between culture and personality (Hofstede & McCrae, 2004) on an individual level. Accordingly, personality partially mediated the effects of culture on the interpretation of a situation. Both, culture and personality, also systematically influenced decision behavior. As in the previous study the interpretation of a situation was the best predictor for decision behavior. Again, personality partially mediated the effects of culture on decision behavior. Additionally, interpretation of the situation partially mediated the effects of culture and personality on decision behavior. But the effects of culture and personality on the interpretation of a situation and decision behavior were small. The chapter proposes reasons why these influences were so small.
The results of the studies have important implications for leadership research. First, they undscore the applicability of a new holistic leadership model. Aside from showing that a holistic measurement of a situation provides a solid basis for explaining leadership behavior, the studies also support the importance of the interpretation process for leadership behavior. The holistic interpretation of the situation is the basis for decision behavior rather than specific situational variables. Situational circumstances, culture, and personality influence this interpretation. In different ways, the studies show that leadership behavior is not the result of the sum of all influencing factors, but the result of a dynamic interactive process of all factors, which together generate leadership behavior. Leadership behavior is more than the sum of its influences.

The aim of this dissertation project was to develop and test a new model of leadership, incorporating the key factors that influence leadership behavior.
Article 1 (Chapter 2) reviewed contemporary leadership models focusing on factors which influence leadership behavior, from a traditional as well as a modern perspective on leadership. This theoretical basis led to the development of the ‘Dynamic Five-Factor Model of Leadership’ (Seiler & Pfister, 2009). The five factors are: (1) the leader’s individual competence, (2) the group, (3) the organization, (4) the general context, and (5) the immediate situation. The article explains the model in detail and discusses different applications.
Study 1 and 2 (Chapter 3) tested the model’s reliability, validity, and applicability. Both studies showed that the model was a good tool to analyze, which factors within a specific situation were perceived as most important for one’s own leadership behavior. Two samples of Swiss university students (N1=104, N2=105) had to rate 24 different leadership situations using the ‘Dynamic Five- Factor Model of Leadership’. The findings showed, that the importance of each factor was rated independently of the other factors within a situation and each situation was rated independently of the other situations. Further findings indicated that the perceived importance of a factor was systematically influenced by three variables (time pressure, danger, formalization). Finally, a comparison of both studies revealed that when no changes were made to the structure of the situation, the situation was rated the same way. Both studies therefore demonstrated the validity, reliability, and applicability of the model for analyzing the influence of different factors on leadership behavior.
Study 3 (Chapter 4) primarily examined the impact of the five factors of the model on decision behavior. A second objective was to analyze if and how the five factors mediated the effects of the three variables: time pressure, danger, and formalization on decision behavior. These variables defined the structure of a situation. All three variables are known to systematically influence decision behavior and were employed to manipulate the situation structure in this and in the two earlier studies. Swiss university students (N=109) rated nine leadership situations using the factors of the ‘Dynamic Five-Factor Model of Leadership’. In addition, they had to rate four different decision behaviors in each situation. The results revealed that the five factors were systematic predictors for decision behavior and that they mediated the effects of the three variables on decision behavior. Further, the five factors were the prefered predictors for decision behavior. We additionally argued that the five factors can be used to measure the interpretation of a situation, as their perceived impact is influenced by an interpretation process. Hence, the interpretation of a situation, i.e. the holistic view of the situation, was most important for decision behavior and not the structure of a situation, i.e. specific situational variables.
Study 4 (Chapter 5) analyzed how culture, measured with the nine culture dimensions of the GLOBE study (House, Hanges, Javidan, Dorfman, & Gupta, 2004), and personality, measured with the ‘Big Five’ personality factors (Costa & McCrae, 1992), influenced the interpretation of a situation and decision behavior. Data from over 1400 participants of 14 different countries was collected in an online study. The results revealed that both culture and personality influenced the interpretation of a situation, i.e. the perceived impact of the five factors on leadership behavior. Further, the culture dimensions were systematic predictors for the five personality factors, showing the link already found between culture and personality (Hofstede & McCrae, 2004) on an individual level. Accordingly, personality partially mediated the effects of culture on the interpretation of a situation. Both, culture and personality, also systematically influenced decision behavior. As in the previous study the interpretation of a situation was the best predictor for decision behavior. Again, personality partially mediated the effects of culture on decision behavior. Additionally, interpretation of the situation partially mediated the effects of culture and personality on decision behavior. But the effects of culture and personality on the interpretation of a situation and decision behavior were small. The chapter proposes reasons why these influences were so small.
The results of the studies have important implications for leadership research. First, they undscore the applicability of a new holistic leadership model. Aside from showing that a holistic measurement of a situation provides a solid basis for explaining leadership behavior, the studies also support the importance of the interpretation process for leadership behavior. The holistic interpretation of the situation is the basis for decision behavior rather than specific situational variables. Situational circumstances, culture, and personality influence this interpretation. In different ways, the studies show that leadership behavior is not the result of the sum of all influencing factors, but the result of a dynamic interactive process of all factors, which together generate leadership behavior. Leadership behavior is more than the sum of its influences.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Dissertation
Referees:Jonas K, Staffelbach B
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Date:2011
Deposited On:24 Jan 2012 15:15
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 15:29
Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-57035

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