Managers do things right
Leaders do the right things…
Value Based Leadership Theory
“Leaders are dealers in hope” Bonaparte Napoleon
“We will build a winning tradition” Vince Lombardi to the Green
Consider the above quotations. These statements of leaders reflect
commitment to a value position. In this paper I am going to describe a
brand new theory of leadership, developed by Professor House — the
Value Based Leadership Theory. I will also present a preliminary test of
several hypotheses derived from Value Based Theory. The tests of
hypotheses are based on data descriptive of 25 relationships between
chief executives and their immediate subordinates. As a concrete
example, I am going to present the results of the real interviews, which
took plase in Russia in 1999 among the CEOs. In the process of testing
these hypotheses I replicate the study of charismatic leadership in the
U. S. presidency conducted by House, Spangler & Woycke (1991) using a
sample of chief executive officers and different measurement methods.
What I am trying to prove in this paper is the following: It was
considered to think that managers are always the leadres in the
organization. This opinion was proved to be wrong. According to the
first research which appaered in press in the end of 70-s: manager is
the position, and leader is the person who leads others to the desired
result. According to the personal trends and characteristics, managers
should be leaders, and they are, but not always. The question of
leadership is a very interesting topic for me, personally.
I am deeply interested in the question of leadership, and I do think,
that this question and the existing theories have a long life to live.
Leadership is a real fact, which has already been proved. You can be a
born leader, but you also can create the leader in yourself. You can
manage to influence, motivate and enable others. You can succeed,
because there is nothing impossible for a human being. Especially, if he
is intelligent on the one hand and really wishes to achieve something on
A BRIEF HISTORICAL REVIEW
During the period between the mid-seventies and the present time a
number of theories have been introduced into the leadership literature.
These new theories and the empirical research findings constitute a
paradigm shift in the study of leadership. The theories to which I
refer are the 1976 Theory of Charismatic Leadership (House, 1977), the
Attributional Theory of Charisma (Conger & Kanungo, 1987), and the
Transformational Theory (Burns, 1978; Bass, 1985), and Visionary
Theories of Leadership (Bennis & Nanus, 1985; Sashkin, 1988; Kousnes &
I believe these theories are all of a common genre. They attempt to
explain how leaders are able to lead organizations to attain outstanding
accomplishments such as the founding and growing of successful
entrepreneurial firms, corporate turnarounds in the face of overwhelming
competition, military victories in the face of superior forces,
leadership of successful social movements and movements for independence
from colonial rule or political tyranny. They also attempt to explain
how certain leaders are able to achieve extraordinary levels of follower
motivation, admiration, respect, trust, commitment, dedication, loyalty,
The dependent variables of earlier theories are follower expectations,
satisfaction, and normal levels of performance. The dependent variables
of the more recent theories include a number of affective consequences
such as followers’ emotional attachment to leaders; followers’ emotional
and motivational arousal, and thus enhancement of follower valences and
values with respect to the missions articulated by leaders; followers’
trust and confidence in leaders; and values that are of major importance
to the followers. These more recent theories also address the effect of
leaders on several follower conditions not addressed in earlier
theories, such as followers’ self-worth and self-efficacy perceptions,
and identification with the leader’s vision.
Earlier theories describe leader behavior that are theoretically
instrumental to follower performance and satisfy follower needs for
support, generally referred to as task-and person-oriented leader
behaviors (Fleishman & Harris, 1962; Katz & Kahn, 1952; Likert, 1961;
Feidler, 1967; House, 1971, House, 1996). In contrast, the more recent
theories stress the infusion of values into organizations and work
through leader behaviors that are symbolic, inspirational and emotion
Earlier theories take follower attitudes, values, desires, and
preferences as given. The more recent theory claim that leaders can
have substantial, if not profound effects on these affective and
cognitive states of followers. Accordingly, leaders are claimed to
transform both individuals and total organizations by infusing them with
moral purpose, thus appealing to ideological values and emotions of
organizational members, rather than by offering material incentives and
the threat of punishment, or by appealing to pragmatic or instrumental
Also, McClelland (1975) introduced a theory intended to explain leader
effectiveness as a function of a specific combination of motives
referred to as the Leader Motive Profile (LMP). As will be shown below,
this theory complements the newer theories referred to above.
Since the early 1980s, more than fifty empirical studies have been
conducted to test the validity of the more recent theories of
leadership. Empirical evidence is discussed in more detail below.
First, however, the valued based leadership theory will be described.
VALUE BASED LEADERSHIP THEORY
The theory is intended to integrate the newer theories and the empirical
evidence alluded to above. Value based leadership is defined as a
relationship between an individual (leader) and one or more followers
based on shared strongly internalized ideological values espoused by the
leader and strong follwower identification with these values.
Ideological values are values concerning what is morally right and
wrong. Such values are expressed in terms of personal moral
responsibility, altruism, making significant social contributions to
others, concern for honesty, fairness, and meeting obligations to others
such as followers, customers, or organizational stakeholders. Value
based leadership is asserted to result in: a) exceptionally strong
identification of followers with the leader, the collective vision
espoused by the leader, and the collective; b) internalized commitment
to the vision of the leader and to the collective; c) arousal of
follower motives that are relevant to the accomplishment of the
collective vision; and d) follower willingness to make substantial self
sacrifices and extend effort above and beyond the call of duty.
The title Value Based Leadership Theory has been chosen to reflect the
essence of the genre of leadership described by the theory. The 1976
theory of charismatic leadership is a precursor to the value based
leadership theory. The title “charismatic leadership” has been chosen
because of its cavalier popular connotation. The term charisma is often
taken in the colloquial sense, rather than the somewhat technical sense
conceived by Max Weber. The word charisma commonly invokes impressions
of a person who is charming, attractive, and sometimes macho,
flamboyant, and sexually appealing. In contrast, Value Based Leadership
is intended to convey the notion of a leader who arouses follower latent
values or causes followers to internalize new values. Such value
communication can be enacted in a quiet, non-emotionally expressive
manner or in a more emotionally expressive manner. Examples of leaders
who have communicated values to followers in an emotionally expressive
manner are Winston Churchill, Lee Iacocca, Martin Luther King, and John
F. Kennedy. Examples of leaders who have communicated values to
followers in a less emotionally expressive manner are Mother Teresa,
Mahatma Ghandi, and Nelson Mandela.
A second reason for abandoning the term charisma is that in current
usage it implies that the collectivities led by charismatic leaders are
highly leader-centered and that the leader is the source of all, or
almost all, organizational strategy and inspiration of followers. One
popular conception of charismatic leadership is that it is necessarily
highly directive and disempowering of followers (Lindholm, 1990). In
this paper, I hope to demonstrate the huge potential for value based
leadership to be empowering and effective.
The Process and Effects of Value Based Leadership
In this section, an overview of what Value Based leadership is and how
it works is presented. There is both theory and empirical evidence to
suggest that value based leadership has a substantial effect on
organizational performance. Waldman and his associates reported two
studies of value based leader behavior as an antecedent to
organizational profitability (Waldman, Ramirez & House, 1996; Waldman,
Atwater & House, 1996). In these studies value based leadership
accounted for between fifteen and twenty five percent of firm
profitability over the three years following the time at which value
based leadership was assessed. The design of these studies controlled
for executive tenure, firm size, environmental turbulence, and prior
The theoretical process by which value-based leadership functions is
described in the following paragraphs. Evidence for this process is
presented in more detail in later sections in which the specific
theories contributing to value based leadership theory is discussed.
Value based leaders infuse collectives, organizations, and work with
ideological values by articulating an ideological vision, a vision of a
better future to which followers are claimed to have a moral right. By
claiming that followers have this right, the values articulated in the
vision are rendered ideological — expressions of what is morally right
and good. Ideological values are usually, if not always, end values
which are intrinsically satisfying in their own right. In contrast to
pragmatic values such as material gain, pay, and status, end values
cannot be exchanged for other values. Examples of end values are
independence, dignity, equality, the right to education and
self-determination, beauty, and a world of peace and order. Ideological
values theoretically resonate with the deeply held values and emotions
Acccording to value based leadership theory the visions articulated by
this genre of leaders are consistent with the collective identity of the
followers, and are emotionally and motivationally arousing. Emotional
and motivational arousal induces follower identification with the
collective vision and with the collective, results in enhncement of
follower self-efficacy and self-worth, and have powerful motivtional
effects on followers and on overall orgnizational performance.
Leaders of industrial and government organizations often articulate
visions for their organizations. Such visions need not be grandiose.
Visions of outstanding leaders in the normal work world can embrace such
ideological values as a challenging and rewarding work environment;
professional development opportunities; freedom from highly controlling
rules and supervision; a fair return to major constituencies; fairness,
craftsmanship and integrity; high quality services or products; or
respect for organizational members, clients or customers and for the
environment in which the organization functions. Whether conceived
solely by the leader, by prior members of the collective, or jointly
with followers, the articulation of a collective ideological vision by
leaders theoretically results in self-sacrifice and effort, above and
beyond the call of duty, by organizational members and exceptional
synergy among members of the collective.
Follower respect, trust, and self-sacrifice are stimulated by
identification with the values inherent in the leader’s vision and the
leader’s demonstration of courage, determination and self-sacrifice in
the interest of the organization and the vision. According to this
perspective, value based leaders use follower value identifiction, and
the respect and trust they earn to motivate high performance and a sense
of mission in quest of the collective vision, and to introduce major
organizational change. For some individuals, latent values are brought
to consciousness as a result of the vision articulated by value based
leaders. Also, some individuals change their values to be consistent
with those of the leader.
Visions articulated by value based leaders need not be formulated
exclusively by a single leader. The collective vision may have been
initially conceived by leaders and members of the collective who
preceded the current leader. In this case, the leader is one who
perpetuates the vision by continuing to communicate it and
institutionalizing it through the establishment and maintenance of
institutional means such as strategies, policies, norms, rituals,
ceremonies, and symbols. Alternatively, organizational visions can be
formulated by leaders in conjunction with organizational members.
The effects of the articulation of and emphasis on ideological values
are rather profound. Organizational members become aware of ideological
values that they share with the leader and as a collective. Members
identify with the collective vision and with the organization—thus a
high level of collective cohesion is developed. Collaborative
interactions among organizational members is enhanced. Individuals
experience a sense of collective efficacy and a heightened sense of
self-esteem as a result of their cohesion and the leader’s expressions
of confidence in their ability to attain the vision. Further, motives
relevant to the accomplishment of the vision are aroused and
organizational members come to judge their self-worth in terms of their
contribution to the collective and the attainment of the vision.
The result is strongly internalized member commitment, and intrinsic
motivation to contribute to the organization and to the collective
vision. Members are more inclined to support changes in technology,
structure and strategies introduced by top management, which may result
in an organizational culture characterized by values oriented toward
teamwork and meeting customers’, clients’, constituents’ and competitive
needs. There ensues a marked reduction in intra-organizational conflict
and a high degree of team effort and effectiveness. As noted above,
members expend effort above and beyond the call of duty, and sacrifice
their self-interest in the interest of the organization. As a result,
individual motivation, organizational culture, strategy and structure
are likely to become aligned with the collective vision.
A reinforcing process may also occur whereby organizational members
increase their respect for and confidence in the leader and each other
based on the resulting organizational success. As a result, their
initial confidence and motivation is further reinforced. Such effects
are consistent with the notion of romanticized leadership (Meindl,
Ehrlich & Dukerich, 1985). The resulting increased confidence in the
leader in turn gives the leader more influence and thus contributes to
the leader’s ability to further influence organizational performance.
This is an “ideal type” theoretical scenario. Clearly all the aspects
of this scenario will not always come to fruition in response to value
based leadership. No such claim is made. Rather, it is argued that
organizational members will be motivated on the basis of shared
internalized values and identification with the leader and the
collective, which are far more motivational than alternative bases of
It is possible that value based leaders may introduce flawed strategies
and that the result may be organizational decline or failure rather than
improvement and success. It is also possible that the leader may stand
for socially undesirable values such as ethnocentrism, racism,
persecution, dishonesty, or unfair or illegal competitive practices
(Lindholm 1990). Regardless of the strategy or values expressed by the
leader, it is argued that a relationship based on value identification
between leader and organizational members will result in increased
member commitment and motivation, as well as increased organizational
There is extensive empirical evidence with respect to the effects of
behaviors specified by value based leadership theory. Charismatic,
visionary, and transformational theories of leadership are precursors of
the leader behaviors specified by value based leadership theory. Tests
of these theories have been based on various operationalizations that
qualify as measures of value based leadership including interviews
(Howell & Higgins, 1990), laboratory experimentation (Howell & Frost,
1989; Kirkpatrick & Locke, 1996), questionnaires (Lowe, Kroeck &
Sivasubramaniam, 1995), and quantified archival data (House, Spangler &
Woycke, 1991). In all of these tests, the leader behavior measured
consists of articulating an organizational vision and behaving in ways
that reinforce the values inherent in the vision, thus qualifying as
indirect evidence relevant to the effects of value based leadership.
Space limitations prevent a detailed review of the evidence. However,
Bass and Avolio (1993), House and Shamir (1993), Lowe et al,. (1995),
and Yukl (1994), present overviews of these studies. With surprising
consistency these empirical studies have demonstrated consistently that
value based leader behavior predicts unusual levels of leader
effectiveness directed toward enhancing organizational performance.
Support for the effects of value based leadership is illustrated by a
recent meta-analysis of the charisma subscale of the Bass and Avolio
(1989) Multifacet Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ). The MLQ charisma
subscale describes relationships between subordinates and superiors.
Superiors who receive high scores on this scale are described by
subordinates as having an exciting vision of the future for the
organization they lead, and being exceptionally motivational,
trustworthy, and deserving of respect.
Support for the theoretical main effects of value based leader behavior
has been demonstrated at several levels of analysis including dyads,
small informal groups, major departments of complex organizations,
overall performance of educational and profit making organizations, and
nation states. The evidence is derived from a wide variety of samples
including military officers, educational administrators, middle
managers, subjects in laboratory experiments and management simulations,
US presidents and chief executive officers of Fortune 500 firms (Bass &
Avolio, 1993; House & Shamir, 1993; Waldman, Ramirez & House, 1996).
The evidence shows that the effects of value based leader behavior are
rather widely generalizable in the United States and that they may well
generalize across cultures. For instance, studies based on the
charisma scale of the MLQ have demonstrated similar findings in India
(Periera, 1987), Singapore (Koh, Terborg & Steers, 1991), The
Netherlands (Koene, Pennings & Schreuder, 1991), China, Germany, and
Japan (Bass, 1997).
In summary, the studies based on various operationalizations of value
based leadership clearly show that this genre of leadership results in a
high level of follower motivation and commitment and well-above-average
organizational performance, especially under conditions of crises or
uncertainty (Pillai & Meindl, 1991; House, Spangler, & Woycke, 1995;
Waldman, Ramirez & House, 1996; Waldman, Atwater & House, 1996).
NEWLY INTEGRATED THEORIES
The value based theory of leadership integrates the precursor theories
discussed above with a number of assertions advanced in several
psychological theories of motivation and behavior. Following is a brief
review of the psychological theories that are integrated into the Value
Based Leadership Theory.
McClelland’s Theories of Non-conscious Motivation
According to this theory, the motivational aspects of human beings can
be understood in terms of four non-conscious motives in various
combinations (McClelland, 1985). These motives are the achievement,
power, affiliation, and social responsibility motives. McClelland has
developed a theory of entrepreneural effectiveness based on the role of
achievement motivation, and a more general theory of leader
effectiveness consisting of theoretical assertions concerning the
optimum combination of the above four motives for effective leadership.
This theory is entitled the Leader Motive Profile Theory (LMP). In the
following sections we discuss the four motives discussed by McClelland
and the LMP theory.
Achievement motivation is defined as a non-conscious concern for
achieving excellence in accomplishments through one’s individual efforts
(McClelland, Atkinson, Clark, & Lowell, 1958). Achievement motivated
individuals set challenging goals for themselves, assume personal
responsibility for goal accomplishment, are highly persistent in the
pursuit of goals, take calculated risks to achieve goals and actively
collect and use information for feedback purposes. Achievement
motivation is theoretically predicted to contribute to effective
entrepreneurship (McClelland, 1985) and effective leadership of small
task oriented groups (House et al., 1991). Litwin and Stringer (1968)
demonstrated experimentally that small groups led by managers who
enacted achievement oriented and arousing behaviors were more effective
than groups with managers who did not.
In management positions at higher levels in organizations, and
particularly in organizational settings where technical requirements are
few and impact on others is of fundamental importance, managerial
effectiveness depends on the extent to which managers delegate
effectively and motivate and co-ordinate others. Theoretically, high
achievement motivated managers are strongly inclined to be personally
involved in performing the work of their organization and are reluctant
to delegate authority and responsibility. Therefore, high achievement
motivation is expected to predict poor performance of high-level
executives in large organizations. House et al. (1991) found that
achievement motivation of U.S. presidents was significantly inversely
related to archival measures of U.S. presidential effectiveness.
Affiliative motivation is defined as a non-conscious concern for
establishing, maintaining, and restoring close personal relationships
with others. Individuals with high affiliative motivation tend to be
non-assertive, submissive, and dependent on others (McClelland, 1985).
Theoretically, highly affiliative motivated managers are reluctant to
monitor the behavior of subordinates, to convey negative feedback to
subordinates even when required, or to discipline subordinates for
ethical transgressions or violations of organizational policies. Highly
affiliative motivated managers are also theoretically expected to manage
on the basis of personal relationships with subordinates and therefore
show favoritism toward some. House et al. (1991) found that the
affiliative motive was significantly negatively correlated with U.S.
presidential charismatic leadership and archival measures of U.S.
Power motivation is defined as a non-conscious concern for acquiring
status and having an impact on others. Individuals with high power
motivation tend to enjoy asserting social influence, being persuasive,
drawing attention to themselves, and having an impact on their immediate
environment including the people with whom they interact. Theoretically,
if enacted in a socially constructive manner, high power motivation
should result in effective managerial performance in high level
positions (McClelland, 1975; 1985). However, unless constrained by a
responsibility disposition, power motivated managers will exercise power
in an impetuously aggressive manner for self aggrandizing purposes to
the detriment of their subordinates and organizations.
High power motivation induces highly competitive behavior. Therefore,
when unconstrained by moral inhibition, power motivation is
theoretically predictive of leader effectiveness when the role demands
of leaders require strong individual competitiveness, aggressiveness,
manipulative exploitive behavior, or the exercise of substantial
political influence. The power motive was found by House et al. (1991)
to significantly predict presidential charismatic behavior and archival
measures of presidential effectiveness.
According to McClelland, individuals who have a high concern for the
moral exercise of power will use power in an altruistic and
collectively-oriented manner. Indicators of high concern for
responsibility are expressions of concern about meeting moral standards
and obligations to others, concern for others, concern about
consequences of one’s own action, and critical self judgment.
Winter and Barenbaum (1985) developed and validated a measure of concern
for moral responsibility, which they label the responsibility
disposition1. The measure is based on quantitative content analysis of
narrative text material. Winter (1991) demonstrated that the
responsibility disposition, in combination with high power and low
affiliative motivation, was predictive of managerial success over a
The responsibility motive should be predictive of leader integrity and
leaders’ concern for the consequences of their own actions on others.
Leaders with high responsibility disposition are expected to stress the
importance of keeping one’s word, honesty, fairness, and socially
responsible behavior. Thus, we expect the responsibility disposition to
be associated with value based leader behavior, supportive leader
behavior, fairness, follower trust and respect for the leader and
commitment to the leader’s vision, and consequently organizational
Leader Motive Profile Theory
McClelland (1975) argued that the following combination of non-conscious
motives are generic to, and predictive of, leader effectiveness: high
power motivation, moderate achievement motivation, high concern for the
moral exercise of power, and power motivation greater than affiliative
motivation. This combination of motives is referred to by McClelland
(1975) as the Leader Motive Profile (LMP).
According to LMP theory, the power motive is necessary for leaders to be
effective because it induces them to engage in social influence
behavior, and such behavior is required for effective leadership.
Further, when the power motive is higher than the affiliative motive,
individuals do not engage in the dysfunctional behaviors usually
associated with high affiliation motivation — favoritism,
submissiveness, and reluctance to monitor and discipline subordinates.
Finally, when high power motivation is coupled with a high concern for
moral responsibility, individuals are predicted to engage in the
exercise of power in an effective and socially desirable manner. Earlier
research, also reviewed by McClelland (1985), suggests that the
achievement motive is a better predictor of leader effectiveness and
success in entrepreneurial organizations than LMP.
Theoretically the leader motive profile is predictive of managerial
effectiveness under conditions where leaders need to exercise social
influence in the process of making decisions and motivating others to
accept and implement decisions. In formal organizations these
conditions are found at higher levels and in non-technical functions.
By contrast, in smaller technologically based organizations, group
leaders can rely on direct contact with subordinates (rather than
delegation through multiple organizational levels), and technological
knowledge to make decisions. Thus LMP theory is limited to the boundary
conditions of moderate to large non-technologically oriented
organizations (McClelland, 1975; Winter, 1978; 1991), and to managers
who are separated from the work of the organization by at least one
Several studies have demonstrated support for the LMP theory. Winter
(1978) found that LMP was predictive of the career success of entry
level managers in non-technical positions in the US Navy over an
eight-year interval. Both McClelland and Boyatzis (1982), and Winter
(1991), in separate analyses of the same data but with different
operationalizations of LMP, found similar results at AT&T over a
sixteen-year interval. McClelland and Burnham (1976) found high-LMP
managers had more supportive and rewarding organizational climates, and
higher performing sales groups than low-LMP managers did in a large
sales organization. House, et al. (1991) found that the motive
components of the LMP predicted US presidential charisma and
presidential performance effectiveness.
Since high LMP leaders have greater power than affiliative motivation it
is expected that they will be assertive and at least moderately
directive. Further, since they have high responsibility motivation it
is expected that thay will have highly internalized idological values —
values concerning what is morally right and wrong — and that they will
thus stress ideological value orientation, integrity, and fairness, as
explained above, both verbally and through personal example.
The Path-Goal Theory of Leadership
The essence of path-goal theory is that leader behaviors will be
effective when such behaviors complement formal organizational practices
and the informal social system by providing direction, clarification,
support and motivational incentives to subordinates, which are not
otherwise provided (House, 1971; House & Mitchell, 1974; House, 1996).
According to the 1996 version of path-goal theory, leaders who give
approval and recognition of subordinates, contingent on performance and
in a fair manner, will clarify expectancies of subordinates concerning
work goals and rewards, and will effectively motivate subordinates.
This theory also predicts that leader consideration toward subordinates
provides the psychological support subordinates require, especially in
times of stress and frustration.
Path-goal theory suggests that either participative or directive leader
behavior can provide psychological structure and direction and therefore
clarify subordinates’ role demands. Theoretically, directive leader
behavior will be dysfunctional and participative leader behavior will be
functional when subordinates are highly involved in their work, perceive
themselves as having a high level of task related knowledge, and/or
prefer a high level of autonomy. Meta-analyses of 135 relationships
tested in prior studies provide support for these assertions (Wofford &
Dissonance Theory and Competing Values
According to cognitive dissonance theory, individuals experience
anxiety-inducing cognitive dissonance when their self-evaluative
cognitions, feelings and behavior are in conflict with each other
(Festinger, 1980). Under such conditions, individuals are strongly
motivated to reduce the dissonance by changing one or more of the
dissonant components—either their behavior, their cognitions, or their
feelings. It follows from dissonance theory that when leaders appeal to
ideological values of followers and also administer extrinsic material
rewards strictly contingent on follower performance, they will induce
cognitive dissonance in followers. Offering strong extrinsic incentives
for doing what is claimed to be morally correct will theoretically
induce dissonance, and is likely to undermine the effects of leaders’
appeals to ideological values. From dissonance theory, we would expect
that with the exception of social rewards such as approval and
recognition, contingent reward behavior on the part of leaders will
undermine the effects of value based leader behavior.
Equity theory asserts that when individuals perceive the ratio of their
contributions to their rewards (intrinsic or extrinsic) to be equal to
the ratio of contributions to rewards of others, they will believe that
they are treated fairly (Adams, 1963). We expect that under conditions
of perceived unfairness followers will feel resentment, be demotivated,
will not support and may even resist attempts by leaders to influence
Mischel (1973) has argued that the psychological strength of situations
influences the degree to which individual dispositions such as motives
or personality traits are expressed behaviorally. Strong situations are
situations in which there are strong behavioral norms, strong incentives
for specific types of behaviors, and clear expectations concerning what
behaviors are rewarded. According to this argument, in strong
situations, motivational or personality tendencies are constrained and
there will be little behavioral expression of individual dispositions.
Thus, in organizations that are highly formalized and governed by
well-established role expectations, norms, rules, policies and
procedures, there is less opportunity for organizational members to
behaviorally express their dispositional tendencies.
Theoretically, in strong psychological situations, leader motives have
less influence on leader behavior, and leader behavior has less
influence on subordinates and on organizational outcomes than in weak
psychological situations. Studies by Monson, Healy and Chernick (1982),
Lee, Ashford, and Bobko (1990), and Barrick and Mount (1993) have
demonstrated support for Mischel’s situational strength argument.
THE VALUE BASED LEADERSHIP THEORY
This theory consists of six axioms and twenty-seven propositions that
relate leader behavior, leader motives, and situational variables to
The Parsimonious Meta–Proposition of Value Based Leadership
Value based leadership theory is based on the meta–proposition that
non-conscious motives and motivation based on strongly internalized
values is stronger, more pervasive, and more enduring than motivation
based on instrumental calculations of anticipated rewards or motivation
based on threat and avoidance of punishment. The axioms and
propositions that follow are derived from and can all be explained in
terms of this parsimonious meta-proposition.
The Value Based Leader Behavior Syndrome
Behaviors that characterize value based leadership include a)
articulation of a challenging vision of a better future to which
followers are claimed to have a moral right; b) unusual leader
determination, persistence, and self-sacrifice in the interest of the
vision and the values inherent in the vision; c) communication of high
performance expectations of followers and confidence in their ability to
contribute to the collective; d) display of self-confidence, confidence
in followers, and confidence in the attainment of the vision; e) display
of integrity; f) expressions of concern for the interests of followers
and the collective; g) positive evaluation of followers and the
collective; h) instrumental and symbolic behaviors that emphasize and
reinforce the values inherent in the collective vision; i) role
modelling behaviors that set a personal example of the values inherent
in the collective vision; j) frame-alignment behaviors—behaviors
intended to align followers’ attitudes, schemata, and frames with the
values of the collective vision; and, k) behaviors that arouse follower
motives relevant to the pursuit of the vision. We refer to these
behaviors collectively as the value based leader behavior syndrome.
This specification of value based leader behaviors integrates the
behaviors specified in prior extensions of the 1976 theory of
charismatic leadership as well as behaviors specified in other theories
of charismatic, transformational and visionary leadership. House and
Shamir (1993) provide the rationale for inclusion of the above behaviors
in the theoretical leader behavior syndrome.
Axioms are statements, the validity of which are taken for granted,
either because the enjoy substantial empirical evidence or becuse they
cannot be tested. Axioms provide a foundation for more specific
statements, such as propositions. The axioms stated here provide the
foundation for the selection of leader behaviors from among all of the
leader behaviors specified in the various theories described above.
Axioms Concerning Human Motivation
1. Humans tend to be not only pragmatic and goal-oriented, but are also
self-expressive. It is assumed that behavior is not only
instrumental-calculative, but also expressive of feelings, aesthetic
values and self-concepts. We «do» things because of who we «are,»
because by doing them we establish and affirm an identity for ourselves,
at times even when our behavior does not serve our materialistic or
2. People are motivated to maintain and enhance their generalized
self-efficacy and self-worth. Generalized self-efficacy is based on a
sense of competence, power, or ability to cope with and control one’s
environment. Self-worth is based on a sense of virtue and moral worth
and is grounded in norms and values concerning conduct.
3. People are also motivated to retain and increase their sense of
self-consistency. Self-consistency refers to correspondence among
components of the self-concept at a given time, to continuity of the
self-concept over time, and to correspondence between the self-concept
and behavior. People derive a sense of «meaning» from continuity
between the past, the present and the projected future, and from the
correspondence between their behavior and self-concept.
4. Self-concepts are composed of values, perceptions of self-worth,
efficacy, and consistency, and also identities. Identities, sometimes
referred to as role-identities, link the self-concept to society.
Social identities locate the self in socially recognizable categories
such as nations, organizations and occupations, thus enabling people to
derive meaning from being linked to social collectives.
5. Humans can be strongly motivated by faith. When goals cannot be
clearly specified or the subjective probabilities of accomplishment and
rewards are not high, people may be motivated by faith because being
hopeful in the sense of having faith in a better future is an
intrinsically satisfying condition.
6. When individual motives are aroused in the interest of the
collective effort, and when individual identify with the values inherent
in the collective vision, they will evaluate themselves on the basis of
the degree to which they contribute to the collective effort. Under
conditions of motive arousal and value identiication individuals
experience intrinsic satisfaction from their contribution to the
collective effort and intrinsic dissatisfaction from failure to
contribute to collective efforts.
These axioms incorporate the extensions of the 1976 theory of
charismatic leadership offered by Shamir, House and Arthur (1993), and
House and Shamir (1995) and provide the integrative framework for the
Value Based Theory of Leadership.
The theory is expressed in the form of twenty-seven propositions which
assert specific ways in which leader motives and behaviors, in
conjunction with situational variables, affect follower motivation and
performance and organizational performance. These propositions are
based on the leadership and psychological theories reviewed above and
reflect the extensions of the 1976 Theory of Charismatic Leadership
contributed by House et al. (1991), Shamir et al. (1993), House and
Shamir (1993), and Waldman, Ramirez and House (1996).
Propositions Concerning Leader Behavior and Its Effects
1. The motivational effects of the behaviors of the value based leader
syndrome described above will be heightened follower recognition of
shared values between leaders and followers, heightened arousal of
follower motives, heightened follower self-confidence, generalized
self-efficacy and self-worth, strong follower self-engagement in the
pursuit of the collective vision and in contributing to the collective,
and strong follower identification with the collective and the
collective vision. We refer to these psychological reactions of
followers as the value based motive syndrome .
2. The behavioral effects of the value based motive syndrome will be
heightened commitment to the collective as manifested by follower
willingness to exert effort above and beyond normal position or role
requirements, follower self-sacrifice in the interest of the vision and
the collective, and increased collective social cohesion and
organizational collaboration. We refer to these effects as the value
based follower commitment syndrome. While the value based motive
syndrome described in proposition one is not directly observable, the
behaviors of the value based follower commitment syndrome are.
Propositions Concerning Leader Attributes
3. Self-confidence and a strong conviction in the moral correctness of
one’s beliefs will be predictive of proactive leadership. This
proposition is a slight modification of proposition three of the 1976
Theory of Charismatic Leadership. This proposition has been supported
by Smith (1982), House et al. (1991), and Howell and Higgins (1991).
4. Strong leader concern for the morally responsible exercise of power
will be predictive of constructive, collectively oriented exercise of
social influence by leaders and predictive of the value based motive and
follower commitment syndromes specified in propositions 1 and 2 above.
5. Power motivation coupled with a strong concern for the morally
responsible exercise of power will be predictive of the constructive,
collective-oriented exercise of social influence by leaders.
6. Power motivation, unconstrained by a strong concern for the moral
exercise of power, will be predictive of impetuously aggressive and
self-aggrandizing exercise of social influence.
7. Power motivation, in conjunction with a strong concern for the moral
exercise of power, will be predictive of effective leadership when the
role demands of leaders require substantial delegation of authority and
responsibility and the exercise of social influence.
8. Power motivation, unconstrained by a strong concern for the moral
exercise of power, will be predictive of effective leadership when the
role demands of leaders require strong individual competitiveness,
aggressiveness, manipulative and exploitive behavior, or the exercise of
substantial political influence.
9. Affiliative motivation will be predictive of non-assertive
leadership, close relationships with a small subgroup of followers,
partiality toward this subgroup, and ineffective leadership.
10. The leader motive profile will be predictive of proactive
leadership and leader effectiveness when the role demands of leaders
require substantial delegation of authority and responsibility and the
exercise of social influence.
11. Achievement motivation will be predictive of effective leader
performance in entrepreneurial contexts and for small task-oriented
groups in which members have direct interaction with the leader.
12. Achievement motivation will be predictive of ineffective leader
performance for the leadership of organizations in which the role
demands of leaders require substantial delegation of authority and
responsibility and the exercise of substantial social influence.
Propositions four through twelve are derived from the motivation
theories reviewed earlier.
Propositions Concerning Specific Leader Behaviors
13. Leader behaviors intended to enhance followers cognitive abilities
will increase follower and overall organizational performance when such
behaviors complement formal organizational practices and the informal
social system by providing direction, clarification, feedback,
encouragement, support, and motivational incentives to subordinates
which are not otherwise provided.
14. When leader behaviors intended to enhance followers cognitive
abilities are redundant with formal organizational practices and the
informal social system they will be viewed as excessively controlling,
will cause follower dissatisfaction, and will be resented and resisted.
15. To be accepted by followers, it is necessary for leaders to be
perceived by followers as acting in the interest of the collective and
the followers, to be perceived as fair and trustworthy in their
interactions with followers, and to be perceived as not
16. Leader support behavior will be predictive of low follower stress,
trust in by followers, and follower satisfaction with their
relationships with leaders.
17. Leader contingent recognition and approval will be predictive of
follower role clarity, follower perceptions of leaders as fair, and
heightened follower satisfaction and motivation.
18. Directive leader behavior will result in follower role
clarification but will be dysfunctional when followers prefer to
exercise independent actions and initiative, are highly involved in
their work, and/or perceive themselves as having requisite knowledge and
skills for effective task performance.
19. Participative leader behavior will result in follower role
clarification and will be functional when followers prefer to exercise
independent actions and initiative, are highly involved in their work,
and/or when followers perceive themselves as having requisite knowledge
and skills for effective task performance.
20. Leader fairness behavior will be predictive of follower acceptance
of leaders, and the leader’s vision and values.
21. Perceived lack of fairness will result in follower resentment and
resistance to the leaders vision and directions. These propositions are
based on equity theory of motivation.
Propositions 13 through 21 are based on the 1996 version of Path Goal
Theory of leadership (House, 1996).
22. Leaders arouse motives of followers by enacting specific motive
arousal behaviors relevant to each motive. For example, defining tasks
and goals as challenging arouses the achievement motive; invoking the
image of a threatening enemy, describing combative or highly competitive
situations or describing the exercise of power arouses the power motive;
making acceptance of the leader contingent on mutural acceptance of
followers, or stressing the importance of collaborative behavior arouses
the affiliative motive.
23. Leaders who engage in selective behaviors that arouse motives
specifically relevant to the accomplishment of the collective vision
will have positive effects on followers’ value based motive syndrome
described in Proposition 2.
24. The more leaders engage in the value based leader behavior syndrome
the more their followers will emulate (a) the values, preferences and
expectations of the leader, (b) the emotional responses of the leader to
work-related stimuli, and (c) the attitudes of the leader toward work
and the organization.
Propositions 22 through 24 are slight revisions of propositions advanced
in the 1976 Theory of Charismatic leadership (House, 1977).
25. The use of strong extrinsic material rewards contingent on
performance will conflict with appeals to ideological values and will
thus undermine the effects of the value based leader behavior syndrome.
This proposition is based on dissonance theory (Festinger, 1980) and
supported by the findings of Korman (1970), and Dubinsky and Spangler
(1995) described above.
Propositions Concerning Social Context
26. Two necessary conditions for leaders to have the effects specified
in proposition two are that leaders have the opportunity to communicate
the collective vision to potential followers and that the role of
followers be definable in ideological terms that appeal to them. This
is a modification of one of the propositions originally advanced by
27. The emergence and effectiveness of value based leaders will be
facilitated to the extent to which a) performance goals cannot be easily
specified and measured, b) extrinsic rewards cannot be made clearly
contingent on individual performance, c) there are few situational cues,
constraints and reinforcers to guide behavior and provide incentives for
specific performance, and d) exceptional effort, behavior and sacrifices
are required of both the leaders and followers. This proposition is
based on the earlier discussion of strength of situations and dissonance
theory and is a modest modification of one of the propositions
originally advanced by Shamir et al. (1993).
The hypotheses were tested within the context of a latent structure
casual model, using Partial Least Squares Analysis (PLS). This modelling
procedure requires that substantive hypotheses be modelled in the form
of paths connecting the hypothesized variables. The variables are
latent constructs composed of scores on manifest indicators. The The
slopes of these relationships are presented in Figure 3. This finding
supports the competitive hypothesis 5a which states that LMP will have
greater effects in non-entrepreneurial firms than in entrepreneurial
firms, and will be discussed below.
In this section we first discuss the implications of the findings with
respect to the value based leadership. Next we discuss the implications
of the findings for each of the five theories that were integrated in
the models tested. We then discuss the more general implications of the
study for the discipline of Organizational Behavior.
Value Based Leadership
Thomas (1988), House et al. (1991), and by Waldman, Ramirez and House
demonstrate longitudinally, and with adequate controls for spurious
relationships, that leaders have substantial effects on the performance
of the organizations they manage. However, there have been no studies,
other than the U.S. presidential study (House et al., 1991), that
investigate the leader motives and behavior that lead to such leader
effects. Thus there has been a «black box» concerning how leader
processes influence overall organizational performance that remains to
Collectively, the findings of the present study help to understand the
phenomena in the «black box.» More specifically, the findings show, in
some detail, important relationships between chief executives’ motives
and behavior and subordinates’ motivation and commitment to their
organization. Having shown how the components function, it is now
possible to test linkages between leader behavior, subordinate
responses, and organizational effectiveness using longitudinal quasi
Implications for Specific Theories
In this section we discuss the implications of the study findings for
each of the theories that are integrated to form the Value Based Theory
Achievement Motivation Theory
Achievement motivation has a more positive effect on CEMS and all leader
behaviors in entrepreneurial firms than in non-entrepreneurial firms.
This finding constitutes yet another confirmation of achievement
motivation theory concerning the specific conditions under which
achievement motivation is predicted to result in high performance.
Moral Responsibility Theory
The bivariate relationships between the moral responsibility disposition
and value based leader behavior, leader fairness and CEMS, and the
moderating effect of responsibility on the relationships between the
power motive, and CEMS, leader charisma, and support/reward behavior all
provide support for Moral Responsibility Theory. Moral responsibility
motivation is clearly an important disposition that deserves further
investigation and attention.
Leader Motive Profile Theory
The positive relationships between LMP and executive value based leader
behavior, support/recognition behavior, and directiveness provide
support for LMP Theory. These two relationships are consistent with the
interpretation that because high LMP leaders have low affiliative
motivation they enact social influence in an impersonal and more
proactive and assertive manner than low LMP leaders.
The findings are consistent with the propositions that LMP affects
leader behavior, and leader behavior in turn has a positive effect on
CEMS. These findings suggest a re-specification of the boundary
conditions for the role of LMP in organizational functioning. Contrary
to the initially specified boundary conditions, LMP has negligible
effects on leader behavior and CEMS in non- entrepreneurial firms and
positive effects in entrepreneurial firms. These findings imply that
LMP has its’ major impact on organizational outcomes through its’
influence on leader behavior under weak psychological conditions.
Path Goal Theory
As predicted by the Path-Goal Theory of Leadership (House, 1996), leader
recognition and supportive behaviors are predictive of CEMS, and leader
directiveness is more strongly negatively related to CEMS in
entrepreneurial firms. Thus Path-Goal theory is provided additional
support in the present study.
The major conclusions that can be drawn from the above findings and
discussion are: 1) the value based theory of leadership successfully
integrates five prominent theories of leadership (transformational,
charismatic, visionary, LMP, and path-goal theories) and assertions
drawn broadly from established psychological theories of motivation and
behavior; 2) the components of the value based theory of leadership
are rather strongly and quite consistently supported, although their
exact combinations remain to be established; 3) the psychological
theories integrated within the value based theory are largely supported;
4) the value based theory of leadership, with various kinds of
operationalizations, has rather broad generalizability; 5) the theory
supported by the U.S. presidential study holds for CEOs with respect to
effects of leader behaviors on subordinates’ cognitions and affective
responses; 6) a re-specification of the boundary conditions of LMP
should be further investigated; and 7) the motives that are most
appropriate for effective leadership are contingent on the orientation
of the collective being led.
Beginning with the 1976 theory of charismatic leadership (House, 1977),
a new leadership paradigm has emerged. This paradigm consists of
several theories of similar genre (House, 1977; Bass, 1985; Conger &
Kanungo; 1987; Bennis & Nanus, 1985; 1987; Sashkin, 1988) and concerns
the determinants of exceptionally effective or outstanding leadership.
According to this paradigm, value based leaders infuse organizations and
work with ideological values which are intrinsically and powerfully
motivational. Value oriented motivation is stronger, more pervasive,
and more endurable than pragmatic oriented motivation. The theories of
the new paradigm are now integrated and formalized as the Value Based
Theory of Leadership. Hopefully, this theory and the supporting
research will stimulate further leadership research and further
development of leadership and organizational behavior theory.
Ivanna Osipova — Department of Economic and Social Sciences ANE under
the Government of RF