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The relationship between personal values, leadership behaviour and team functioning

Aitken, P. (2003) The relationship between personal values, leadership behaviour and team functioning. DBA thesis, University of Reading

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Abstract/Summary

This research attends to the re-emergence of values as important phenomena in organisational leadership and business team life (Lord & Brown, 2004). It has a particular focus on the influence of personal values on the collective team leadership perceived and evaluated by business team members. The study utilises the generic modelling framework provided in the Hackman and Morris (1975) Group Interaction Process model and theoretical parallels with House & Mitchell’s (1974) Path-Goal model of situational leadership behaviour. These models are employed to delineate the exploration of the key variable relationships namely; team member personal values, team member perceptions of leadership ‘by the team’ behaviour; and team member perceptions of team effectiveness and satisfaction with leadership ‘by the team’ abilities. In doing so, the investigation follows a recommendation by several authors to restrict the number and type of variables in order to promote clarity of understanding surrounding the interplay of potentially related concepts, constructs and measures. This is especially important when these relationships are evaluated in a study of business team members, as opposed to original research non-business populations. The study is based on data collected from 191 business team members, drawn from a variety of teams in mainly public sector organisations, operating for the most part in New Zealand and the United Kingdom. The measures employed were selected on the basis of possible theoretical associations discovered in the literature and because of their appropriateness for the demographic diversity of the subject population sample. The scales are established individual and team unit of analysis instruments, not used before with business team members. The former personal values questionnaire is the Schwartz Value Survey (SVS) and the latter scale the Team Multi-factor Leadership Questionnaire (TMLQ), which includes measures of leadership ‘by the team’ behaviour and two team outcomes: perceived team effectiveness and perceived satisfaction with leadership ‘by the team’ abilities. Prior research led to the development of four research questions and related hypotheses. The research questions, in order of their investigation were: Research Question One: Based on the subject population sample and original research, are the selected personal values, leadership ‘by the team’ behaviour and team outcome measures reliable and valid (construct and convergent validity, Churchill, 1979)? Research Question Two: Are there any theoretical associations between specific personal values and leadership ‘by the team’ behaviour concepts and constructs? Research Question Three: In the context of real business teams, what relationships exist between team members’ personal values and their perceptions of: leadership ‘by the team’ behaviour, team effectiveness and satisfaction with leadership ‘by the team’ abilities? Research Question Four: Are demographic differences (gender, four generations and ethnic culture – United Kingdom/New Zealand), reflected in specific team members’ personal values and perceptions of leadership ‘by the team’ behaviour? Results from Factor Analyses and Cronbach’s Alpha support the measurement qualities of the instruments, employed alone or in combination, for business team leadership research, albeit with recommendations for improvement in conceptual and construct clarity. New six factor models for both the TMLQ and the SVS are proposed, with reported increases in scale reliabilities when compared to the original measures. Such adjustments have facilitated and clarified the identification of theoretical associates between selected personal values and leadership ‘by the team’ behaviour concepts, constructs and measures for use in future assessments of their empirical linkages. In respect of relationships between team members’ personal values and their perceptions of: leadership ‘by the team’ behaviour, team effectiveness and satisfaction with leadership ‘by the team’ abilities; correlation analysis indicates support for different effects of the degree of alignment on the two latter team outcome measures, dependent on the pairings of and gap between specific personal values and leadership ‘by the team’ behaviour construct perceptions. Subsequent regression analysis established the relative importance of particular types of alignment between personal values and leadership ‘by the team’ behaviour on team outcome measures. This type of alignment, i.e. between values and team leadership behaviour, has import beyond organisational rhetoric concerning values alignment between leaders and followers. Finally, some demographic differences were found in scores on the personal values and leadership ‘by the team’ measures, using t-tests and ANOVA. Bearing in mind the study’s limitations, the results have important ramifications for how business teams might uncover and then consider the alignment and non-alignment effects of different business team member personal values on perceptions of team functioning. In addition, findings indicate that any related team process and output variables included and assessed in team leadership or team interaction process models, may be influenced by the personal values that team members’ hold. Some wider implications are drawn for future research concerning leadership ‘by the team’, business team functioning and any form of organisational evaluation that is based on behavioural perceptions focused through the lens of diverse personal values.

Item Type:Thesis (DBA)
Thesis Supervisor:
Thesis/Report Department:Henley Management College
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Henley Business School
ID Code:84595

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