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Leadership Introduction
Draft – Please Do Not Cite or Quote Without Permission
An Integrative Model of Leadership Behaviors
and Their Influence on Follower Responses
Sim B Sitkin
E Allan Lind
Duke University
Christopher P. Long
Washington University, St. Louis
Draft – Please Do Not Cite or Quote Without Permission
© 2005, 2006 Sim Sitkin, Allan Lind and Chris Long. All rights reserved
Leadership Introduction
Draft – Please Do Not Cite or Quote Without Permission
The Blind Men and the Elephant
It was six men of Indostan, to learning much inclined,
who went to see the elephant (Though all of them were blind),
that each by observation, might satisfy his mind.
The first approached the elephant, and, happening to fall,
against his broad and sturdy side, at once began to bawl:
"God bless me! but the elephant, is nothing but a wall!"
The second feeling of the tusk, cried: "Ho! what have we here,
so very round and smooth and sharp? To me tis mighty clear,
this wonder of an elephant, is very like a spear!"
The third approached the animal, and, happening to take,
the squirming trunk within his hands, "I see," quoth he,
the elephant is very like a snake!"
The fourth reached out his eager hand, and felt about the knee:
"What most this wondrous beast is like, is mighty plain," quoth he;
"Tis clear enough the elephant is very like a tree."
The fifth, who chanced to touch the ear, Said; "E'en the blindest man
can tell what this resembles most; Deny the fact who can,
This marvel of an elephant, is very like a fan!"
The sixth no sooner had begun, about the beast to grope,
than, seizing on the swinging tail, that fell within his scope,
"I see," quothe he, "the elephant is very like a rope!"
And so these men of Indostan, disputed loud and long,
each in his own opinion, exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right, and all were in the wrong!
So, oft in theologic wars, the disputants, I ween,
tread on in utter ignorance, of what each other mean,
and prate about the elephant, not one of them has seen!
John Godfrey Saxe
The model presented in this book grew from our attempts to survey, organize, and
integrate the research and theoretical literatures on leadership. As we examined the considerable
body of work on leadership, it became clear that different scholars often had quite different views
on what constituted leadership. Some of these differences were prompted by differences in
discipline—cognitive social psychologists tend to look at the construction of leadership in the
mind of the follower, for example, while organizational theorists tend to look at leadership as a
characteristic of the firm. But whatever the source, many of the differences seemed to involve the
scholar’s focus on one part or another of the overall function of the leader. Indeed, as we looked
© 2005, 2006 Sim Sitkin, Allan Lind and Chris Long. All rights reserved
Leadership Introduction
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at the overall leadership literature, we were reminded of the old story about the blind men and the
elephant: Authors were describing, it seemed to us, different parts of the set of phenomena that
contribute to leadership. In many instances, the author was doing a good job of describing and
even explaining the particular part of leadership that he or she was focusing upon, but each was
missing the larger picture.
With this “diagnosis” in mind, we decided at the outset to cast our own net broadly, both
in terms of the phenomena that we classify as leadership and in terms of the scholarly work that
we considered as relevant to understanding our topic. Thus, we looked not only to research and
theory on leadership, but also to research and theory in organizational behavior, social
psychology, sociology, and political science on phenomena that seemed to us to be closely tied to
leadership. We decided that we had to understand how these phenomena work to understand how
leadership works. For example, as we explored that part of leadership that we have come to call
“relational leadership,” it became apparent that the literatures on the sociology and social
psychology of trust and fairness had to be included if we were to understand how leaders build
solid relationships with those they lead and move them into psychological readiness to be lead.
To note one other example, as we sought to understand how leaders can build organizational
contexts to facilitate the instantiation of their vision and values—which we term “contextual
leadership—we saw that we would have to look at topics as diverse as the study of organizational
design in organizational studies and the study of social identity processes in social psychology.
We have devoted considerable effort to distinguishing leadership from more conventional
management activity, and we have linked our thinking here to some longstanding distinctions in
social psychology and related disciplines. Throughout our analysis, we have tried to return
frequently to behavioral aspects of leadership and the consequences of leaders’ actions on
followers’ behavior. Even when we have to venture very close to more esoteric or philosophical
topics, as is the case in our analysis of creativity in “personal leadership” or value-based action in
“ethical leadership,” we will always bring our analysis back to specific behaviors on the part of
leaders and specific, behavioral, responses on the part of followers.
Of course, it is possible that our own decisions about how to approach leadership have
led us too to see only part of the leadership elephant. If this is so, we can only hope that we do a
good job of describing the part of the beast that we have encountered, and we invite others to
explore other parts of the beast. If we can build on each others’ constructions of leadership,
rather than disputing their validity, perhaps we can do better than the six blind men in the story!
What is Leadership?
The essence of organizational leadership is the ability to influence and enable those who
are led to contribute toward organizational effectiveness and success (House, et,al., 1999: p. 184)
by building an understanding of, a commitment to, and the capacity to achieve (or surpass)
organizational goals. While Drucker’s assertion (1954, pg 158) that “leadership is of utmost
importance” is still valid today, effective leaders in modern organizations face an increasingly
complex and constantly changing set of challenges and opportunities. Often, organizational
leaders find that they must be “all things to all people” and are expected to fulfill a wide range of
roles and obligations. In addressing issues as diverse as internal production issues and external
institutional concerns in organizations that may span the globe or may include many cultures
within a small proximate group, effective leaders must work to ensure successful, current-state
organizational operations and chart a positive course for an organization’s future.
© 2005, 2006 Sim Sitkin, Allan Lind and Chris Long. All rights reserved
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The leadership literature, and our own developing research findings, shows that the key
factor that sets effective leaders apart from those who simply occupy leadership positions is the
quality of the relationships that they maintain between themselves and those whom they lead.
Effective leaders are able to imprint on their organizations and the individuals in them not only
task-related goals but also elements of the leader’s personality and values because they establish
and maintain rich, meaningful relationships through their interactions within dyadic, group, intraorganizational, and extra-organizational spheres. They are particularly good not only within the
curtains that surround particular social spheres, but their words and actions weave powerful
common threads across and through each of these levels and boundaries in ways that enable them
to make a lasting mark on all levels and domains associated with their organizations.
An emerging, and in our view a very exciting, trend in theorizing about leadership is
founded on what social psychologists call social identity processes—the idea that we humans can
respond to our social environment not in terms of individual self-interest but in terms of what
social connections tell us about our own identity and importance (see, e.g., the work of Henri
Tajfel and John Turner). This line of theory (and the research that supports it) views participation
in groups, teams, and organizations as a very natural part of human psychology, and it looks for
what the psychology of social identity can tell us about leadership. When viewed in terms of
social-identity processes, leadership is not a form of influence exerted on one person (the
follower) by another (the leader), it is natural intra-group relationship that follows from group
membership and the acceptance of group structure. The follower and the leader are both playing
their roles in the life of the group—the leader by giving direction, meaning, and encouragement,
and the follower by lending the support of his or her efforts, abilities, attitudes, and excitement.
Thus, as we try to understand leadership, we should focus not on leadership as some abstract set
of actions that leaders enact, but rather on a set of actions that have meaning within a particular
Leadership vs. Management
Our view is that the distinction between leadership and management, which has been a
point in the leadership literature since Max Weber’s work on charismatic leadership, maps well
on to two prominent social psychological theories—social identity theory and social exchange
theory. Social identity theory links much of social behavior to the search for meaning and
identity in one’s personal life through connection with groups and institutions; social exchange
theory links much of social behavior to the desire to obtain better material and social outcomes
via coordinated action with others. Recently social psychologists such as Michael Hogg and
Daan van Knippenberg and I/O psychologists such as Robert Lord and Douglas Brown have
pointed out that leadership is strongly connected with social identity and follower self-concept
processes. We build on this by linking it to Allan Lind’s contention that people are best
understood as responding to social identity and social exchange motivations simultaneously.
With these lines of theory and research in mind, we contend than management involves using
self-interest and social exchange processes to motivate and organize work behavior and that
leadership involves using group-interest and social identity processes to motivate and organize
work behavior. We argue that each of these approaches is needed in some circumstances, so both
good leadership (effective meeting of social identity needs) and good management (effective
meeting of social exchange needs) are hallmarks of effective organization.
Recognizing that the social identity and social exchange represent very different views of
the world is important because it provides a rationale for linking the various aspects of leadership
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together within a single coherent explanation. (They also allow us to link various aspects of
management together, but that is a topic for another book.) Before continuing on this path, we
want to explore how distinctions between the social identity perspective and the social-exchange
perspective inform the distinction between leadership and management.
Most of what we teach as management fits well within the social exchange theory view
of the world. This “social exchange” explanation of why people act the way they do in groups
and organizations assumes that social behavior is motivated by and directed by the exchange of
social rewards, where both the tangible and intangible benefits of actions are weighed against the
effort and costs, again tangible or intangible, involved in or flowing from those actions.
In modern work on organizational behavior and organizational theory, we accept (almost
without question) the proposition that the principal motivation for action is the desire to obtain
reward and to avoid cost. Economists tend to define rewards and costs rather narrowly in terms
of material gains and losses, while those of us who work in the psychological or sociological
sciences are broader in our definition of rewards and costs, including such things as individual
status or individual embarrassment as important types of gains or losses. Whether the analysis is
economic or psychological, though, the focus is on what the individual receives or loses as a
result of his or her actions.
Organizations make use of the logic of social exchange when they motivate people by
controlling these rewards and costs, so that employees get outcomes they want in payment for
performance and other behavior that helps the organization. We recognize, in theory and research
in the area of behavioral decision making, that people may be less than rational in how they make
decisions motivated by rewards, and we recognize, in expectancy theory and related motivational
analyses, that some rewards will have greater impact than others as a function of the needs and
values of the recipient. But we always assume in (exchange-based) management theory and
research that individual rewards will motivate performance, provided the rewards chosen properly
and distributed according to the right contingencies.
Applications of this exchange-oriented approach to the design of organizational systems
work reasonably well. Because the reward-performance linkage is a strong and reliable aspect of
human psychology, it can be used in many different social contexts. (Indeed, in its most basic
form, operant conditioning has proven to be a powerful method of training and controlling
virtually every animal species to which it has been applied.) Because the exchange link is so
reliable, we can set up organizations as “machines” in which the performance-to-reward linkage
is the basic building unit and in which the reward of money, or things that money can buy, are the
energy supply.
The “upside” of exchange-based organizational processes is that they are reliable,
replicable, and applicable across a wide range of settings, cultures, and contexts. Working with
the basic psychological building block of exchange, we can design organizations so that they
show remarkable levels of dependable performance. We have to be careful, to be sure, to look
out for some things that can undermine the link between action and reward. Thus, we have to be
careful about the sort of “disconnects” that are surfaced in expectancy theory. We have to pay
attention to more subtle, but quite important, threats to the link between performance and
rewards. In addition, we have to be careful that those whose performance is controlled by the
management of their reward contingencies do not find ways to subvert that control. But if all is
managed right, we can build a very dependable organization—and indeed we have done so for
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There are some negative aspects to these uses of exchange processes to build
organizational systems, however. One “downside” of exchange-based organizations is that they
are in a sense too reliable; so reliable in fact that they are resistant to change. Many, if not most,
employees are risk-averse with respect to their outcomes; so they tend to stay with “tried-andtrue” ways of dealing with problems, rather than moving to newer, untried, but perhaps ultimately
more effective solutions. In fact, there is seldom immediate personal payoff from trying new
ways to solve problems, produce products, or deliver services, while there can be substantial costs
involved in innovation of this sort is tried. This phenomenon is sometimes referred to as the
“competency trap.” Thus, once one has a stable motivational system based on rewards, it is
difficult to alter that system without inviting either frustration (when expected rewards are not
forthcoming under the new system) or manipulation of the system (when the self-oriented actors
in the new system find new ways to “game” the system). All of these factors make organizational
processes that are founded on the “exchange engine” remarkably resistant to change, as Weber
(1948) observed a number of years ago.
A key limitation of the exchange perspective, however, is that it cannot sufficiently
explain how exceptional performance or creative action can be motivated. Creativity, by its very
nature, involves products, ideas, or actions that are not known. It is difficult, however, to know
how to structure rewards for behaviors or results that are not known at the time the reward
contingency is designed. Because both the employee and the organization do not know what will
or should be rewarded, there is a great temptation to make any change incremental, rather than
radical, because rewards for incremental change are more predictable, less risky. Thus, the
tendency to avoid risk, which seems to be part of most exchange-oriented thinking, not only
limits organizational innovation and change, it also limits individual acts of creativity.
Social identity processes have different strengths and weaknesses as a source of
motivation and organization, so they can be used to overcome some of the limitations that would
exist in an organization based solely on exchange processes. Because social identity processes
involve a search for meaning and for greater group prestige, regardless of the implications of the
action for short-term self-interest, creativity and exceptional effort are easier to motivate using
social identity processes. In addition, exchange traps of the sort often studied under the rubric of
social dilemmas can be bypassed when those whose interests are at stake are induced to focus on
social identity and attendant group interests issues. (Indeed, as Marilynn Brewer and Rod
Kramer’s work shows, one of the most reliable ways to induce cooperation in social dilemmas,
short of regulating away the dilemma, is to make social identity salient.) In addition, there is
evidence from work by Hogg and by Van den Bos and Lind that social identity processes can
calm people and enable them to cope with stress and crisis.
As noted above, leadership fits into this distinction as a role within the social identity
process. A good leader, we argue, uses social identity processes to foster creativity, motivate
change, and to cope with crisis, just as a good manager uses social exchange processes to
regularize and order more routine performance during more mundane contexts. For example, we
contend that while leaders “develop,” managers “maintain.” The distinction we draw here
matches up well with the more organic nature those aspects of organizational life that are fed by
social identity processes and the more mechanical nature of those aspects of organization fed by
social exchange processes. The development of individual members of the organization or team
to assume greater responsibilities is a natural part of the way groups perpetuate themselves, and
both leaders and followers tend to expect and facilitate it. The development of the group’s goals,
capacity, and direction is part of what leadership is all about, since it is the role of the leader to
develop the group. On the other hand, the maintenance of existing processes and capacities can
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be accomplished most easily, in many cases, by reinforcing the obligations and roles that group
membership brings with individual self-interest motivations, using social exchange processes.
Taking Stock
By taking stock of the differences between the social identity and social exchange
perspectives, one is struck with the way that the leadership/management distinction echoes this
longstanding competition between these theories. Each of these two theories is supported by
research on a different set of group processes and behaviors, so that social exchange theory tends
to work well when explaining individual decision making, expectancy-based motivation,
negotiation, and power relations in groups, while social identity theory works well when it comes
to explaining personal commitment, cooperation, or pride in groups. It is important to note that,
while social exchange explanations of behavior tend to dominate the literature, social-identity
processes are often as reliable as the social exchange processes. However, because social identity
is not as central as social exchange to lay understandings of business (see, for example, Dale
Miller’s work on overestimations of the impact of self-interest), human organization, or
individual motivation, we seldom think about how to build or lead organizations in terms of this
aspect of human psychology.
We believe that the lack of attention to the social identity foundation of leadership is a
critical problem that has had a pervasive impact on our capacity to distinguish between leadership
and management and to understand and respect the value of each. Because we have, in effect,
been forced to choose between an exchange-based world and an identity-based world, we have
been seduced into denying the reality that both co-exist and both have significant influence. For
researchers this has led to models of leadership that either fundamentally flawed or irrelevant.
For practitioners, it has meant that the good science and advice available concerning leadership is
hard to sort through and understand in a systematic, actionable way. It is like having an
assortment of beautiful clothes, none of which match each other in color or style or size – and
then being asked to draw on that clothing to actually put together an effective outfit.
What we hope to do by recognizing and distinguishing leadership from management is to
be able create outfits that can be worn effectively because we now understand how to match
colors and textures and sizes and styles – and how to ensure that the outfit we select reflect the
demands of the situation we are about to enter.
By and large, effective organizational action depends on both good leadership and good
management. An important part of our contribution to leadership (and management) scholarship
is, we believe, the recognition that both sets of psychological processes play out at the same time,
and our assertion that good business practices must draw on both psychologies, as it were. Good
management practice rests on the optimization of social exchange for all of the parties involved.
While there are some exchange-based activities that enhance leadership, more often effective
leadership relies on the leader’s ability to move followers away from social exchange assessments
of their situation and toward social identity assessments. In other words, the effectiveness of the
leader depends on how well the leader can build on and/or leverage individual and collective
goals, values, and identity to build support for the organization, and on how well the leader can
deliver to followers’ results that justify their emotional investment in the organization.
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The Six Domains of Leadership
Building from the premise that leadership involves the effective use of social identity
processes and effective fulfillment of the role that those in groups expect a leader to fill, we can
move on to a better appreciation of what leaders do. Leadership is made up of a number of
different domains--dimensions or realms of activity. Further, because each domain of leadership
behavior has its own consequences for followers or for the leader-follower relationship,
leadership is multifaceted also in its effects. The key task in building a successful, useful model
of leadership is, we believe, to categorize the various classes of leadership behavior and to
describe how each relates to the other. To begin that task, we need first to ask what leadership is
and what it is not.
While the most effective leaders must operate on multiple levels, “most leadership
theories are focused on processes at only one of these levels because it is very difficult to develop
a multilevel theory that is also parsimonious and easy to apply” (Yukl, 2002: pg. 13). Because
we feel that effective leadership necessitates a multi-faceted, comprehensive approach, we
present here a theory of Integrative Leadership. The theory explains how specific leadership
domains that represent identifiable and distinguishable behaviors can be applied in organizations
to produce six specific outcomes in terms of follower responses.
While each domain represents a key leadership component, our theory of Integrative
Leadership highlights how these leadership domains can be combined to produce various
outcomes, respond to particular situations and be leveraged by particular types of leaders.
We suggest that there are six essential domains to effective leadership, each of which has
a specific effect on followers (see Figure 1): personal leadership fosters loyalty, relational
leadership engenders a sense of trust and justice, contextual leadership helps to build community,
inspirational leadership encourages higher aspirations, supportive leadership forges an
internalized sense of self-discipline, and stewardship raises an internalized sense of responsibility.
Personal Leadership. Personal leadership refers to the idea that it matters that a leader
conveys to other organizational members who s/he is, including a sense of personal vision,
values, emotions, and beliefs. For leaders to have “credibility” (Kouzes & Posner, 1993), they
must be seen as having persona, character, identity – in other words, they must make palpable to
others the kind of person they are. For example, can others predict how an individual will react
when a particular value is violated? Do they have a sense of what that person really believes in
and what the person disagrees with? Some people anger easily, or always see the humor in a
situation. Some make a specific practice or value their ‘personal mission’ such that others can
anticipate how they will react to particular events. When effective and admired, we may hear ‘in
our mind’s ear’ a leader’s tone of voice, verbal expressions, or repeated messages voiced by
others within or outside the organization. When this occurs, the leader has developed personal
leadership. Others can see (even if they do not always understand or agree with) their vision,
values, beliefs and style – and feel they know the leader, even if they have never met face-to-face.
The material we present on personal leadership draws heavily on work on “mindfulness”
(see especially Langer’s work in social psychology), social identity (especially with respect to the
concepts of “prototypicality” and “leader self-sacrifice”; see the work of Hogg, Van
Knippenberg, and David de Cremer), self-concept (with respect to the importance of leaders as
the instantiation of values held by followers; see the work of Lord and Brown), political
psychology (with respect to the “language of personality” and the general importance of personal
authenticity and “real-ness;” see, e.g., the work of Caprara and Zimbaro). We view such things as
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authenticity, prototypicality (which we call “fit” in the classroom), self-sacrifice (“engagement”),
expertise, and vision as providing a personal foundation for leaders, which results in greater
credibility for the leader in the eyes of his or her followers.
Relational Leadership. Relational leadership emphasizes the important role of the leader in
forging strong ties with individuals in the organization. The idea of building the organization
through an endless series of dyadic interpersonal relationships is a daunting one when one
considers how huge and geographically dispersed many of today’s large organizations are. How
can a leader foster interpersonal connections, build a shared sense of understanding, or establish
an emotional connection and accessibility when they lead an organization of 100,000 employees
spread across scores of countries, speaking different languages? How can a leader create
emotional connection with individuals s/he has never met and may never meet? The key to
relational leadership is to convey that the leader cares about and understands the individual
organizational member, and that the individual member feels that they “know” the leader. This is
simultaneously extremely difficult and extremely simple to accomplish. It is difficult for obvious
reasons, but can be accomplished by fostering a sense of mutual understanding in which
followers feel they know their leader and the leader knows them. Relational leadership rests on a
sense of interpersonal ties that feel honest and accessible and human.
The material we bring in with respect to relational leadership includes our own work on
fairness (especially process fairness; see also work by Tyler, Greenberg, Folger, and Brockner)
and trust (there is a huge literature on this, of course), two key elements in building successful
relationships between leaders and followers, as well as work on respect, concern for others, and
demonstrated understanding, all of which are strongly linked to relationship building (e.g.,
Sheppard). In general, we see the effective demonstration of respect, concern, and understanding,
together with careful attention to process fairness, as building a firm relational foundation for
leadership, which results in trust in the leader.
Contextual Leadership. Contextual leadership involves creating the situational conditions
that enable organizational members to focus and be effective. We live in a world that is complex,
confusing and changing. A key function of leadership to help those they lead to create sense, or
coherence, out of the natural confusion. By creating and explaining “enabling” structures and
norms, leaders provide the contextual infrastructure that allows individuals and subgroups in the
organization to be successful. This is the leader as architect (Greenhalgh, 2001) – not only in the
sense of physical structure, but also in the sense of that good architects help people better
understand how they should act within a setting and help people to be more effective. Leaders
engage in specific behaviors, discussed later, that simplify the complexity, help those they lead to
know where to focus, and foster an understanding of how the pieces fit together a sense that the
rules, practices and people fit.
In addition, contextual leadership involves building the social identity basis that feeds the
leadership process: Setting up a social entity that people are proud to be a part of and providing
successful outcomes to that entity. Thus, the basic social identity literature (theoretical work by
Tajfel and Turner, and more recently Hogg; as well as many empirical studies) provides us with
some of the material we teach here, as does the applied literature on what makes for effective
team building and team maintenance. Work on the social identity-enhancing properties of fair
procedures are also included (Lind and Tyler). The sense of order and belonging that comes with
good contextual leadership gives rise, we predict, to a sense of community on the part of
Inspirational Leadership. Inspirational leadership involves building the desire for greatness
or excellence by raising expectations and the acceptance of challenges, enthusiasm and
confidence. Leadership is often described in terms of how charismatic leaders (Conger &
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Kanungo, 1998) can inspire others to admire or emulate them. But inspirational leadership is not
based on the image of charisma or charm, but on the effect of a leader in engendering greater
aspirations among those who follow. Inspirational leaders, in this sense, see things as they could
be when others do not, and articulate persuasively how the seemingly unrealistic and unattainable
is, in fact, possible and worth pursuing. Inspirational leadership involves raising the bar and
creating a sense of enthusiasm for reaching, for embracing the challenge and for taking the risk,
for winning.
As noted, we draw on the literature on charismatic leadership for this part of our model,
as well as on the related material on transformational leadership. We also use research and theory
from psychology on social comparison (Festinger, Schachter), goal-setting (Locke) and on selfconcept (Lord and Brown). If high expectations, enthusiasm, and confidence are provided by the
leader, we argue, followers will show high aspirations, setting and accepting high goals for their
own performance.
Supportive Leadership. Supportive leadership involves making others aware of pressing
organizational problems and secure enough in their own capacity to take appropriate corrective
action. Supportive leaders provide the resources and feedback necessary to foster a sense of
acceptance, security, and efficacy – both in one’s own ability and in the organization as a
collective. Supportive leadership does not imply ‘sugar-coating’ tough feedback or failure, but
necessitates the provision of the financial, procedural, developmental and emotional support for
the organization and its members to succeed. Whereas inspirational leaders ‘raise the ceiling,’
supportive leaders ‘raise the floor’ (or provide a ladder or springboard). Specifically, supportive
leadership involves ensuring that employees have the training, resources and encouragement
needed to make reaching that new and higher ceiling possible.
Our material on supportive leadership draws heavily on the negative consequences of
shame and scapegoating (Berkowitz), on the political protection function of leadership, and on
social identity work on the importance of perceptions of group efficacy for continued personal
identification with groups (Hogg and Van Knippenberg). We teach that effective supportive
leadership complements effective inspirational leadership by making appropriate risk-taking
“safe,” and we teach that supportive leadership in itself leads to initiative on the part of followers.
Ethical Leadership Firms are institutional ships and require symbolic leadership at the
helm, with the leader acting as steward of the institution. As Selznick (1957) and Gardner (1968)
noted, leadership involves a personal acceptance of the idea that an institution involves deeply
held, even treasured, community values and that the highest calling of the leader is to honor and
protect those values. The stewardship role of leadership also involves two other functions:
balance and personification. The multifaceted nature of organizational life and leadership makes
it important for leaders to play the role of chief integrator and balancer, insuring that the multiple
elements of leadership described here are drawn together and effectively balanced for a particular
situation. Thus, for organizations to achieve work/life balance, or to appropriately balance the
community’s interests and the firm’s, it is essential that the stewardship function is effectively
performed. It is also important for the leader to imbue in others a sense of personal responsibility
(ethics, values, and commitment to the broader community good) to the whole and a level of
actionable understanding for what is needed, so that each member has the ability and desire to act
in a way that advances a greater good. Sometimes stewardship involves representing one of two
firm’s core values and history. Sometimes it involves forging an entirely new, shared sense of
institutional values. Stewardship is especially significant given the challenges that today’s firms
and leaders face.
The ethical leadership material draws on work on the “contagion” of poor ethics in
organizations and on the importance of organizational values for worker engagement (Cialdini).
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It also draws on social learning theory to reinforce the importance of leaders modeling ethics and
effective balance (Bandura). We teach that if leaders take responsibility for ethics and balance,
their followers with take on their own stewardship responsibilities and act as responsible
representatives of the organization.
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Figure 1: The Leadership Pyramid
© 2005, 2006 Sim Sitkin, Allan Lind and Chris Long. All rights reserved