Searching for a Needle in a Haystack: Trying to Identify the Illusive Moderators of Leadership Behaviors

Journal of Management, Vol. 21, No. 3, pp. 422-470, 1995

49 Pages Posted: 7 Apr 2010 Last revised: 13 May 2014

See all articles by Philip M. Podsakoff

Philip M. Podsakoff

Indiana University - Kelley School of Business - Management & Entrepreneurship

Scott B. MacKenzie

Indiana University - Kelley School of Business - Department of Marketing

Michael Ahearne

University of Houston - C.T. Bauer College of Business

William H. Bommer

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: April 5, 2010

Abstract

Because the notion that various individual, task, or organizational-level variables moderate the relationships between leader behaviors and subordinate criterion variables is a fundamental assumption of most situational approaches to leadership, it is not surprising that a number of studies have been conducted in order to test these effects. Unfortunately, no systematic assessment of this research has been conducted to determine: (a) the nature of the tests for moderation that have been used, or (b) the degree to which the findings actually support the hypothesis that the effects of leader behaviors are moderated by situational variables. For the purposes of this review, we identified studies designed to test the moderators specified by two related theories of leadership: House’s (1971) Path-Goal Approach, and Kerr and Jermier’s (1978) Substitutes for Leadership Model. We then examined the methods used by researchers who tested for the moderating effects predicted by these models, the percentage of moderating effects actually found, and the nature of the moderating effects identified, The results indicate that: (1) although the percentage of moderators identified is clearly better than chance; (2) many of the tests conducted to identify moderating effects in this leadership area are inappropriate; (3) most of the results reported in this domain have not been replicated; and (4) the information reported by many of the authors is incomplete. The implications of the results of the review for both researchers and practicing managers are then discussed.

Keywords: Leadership, Substitute, Moderation

JEL Classification: M30

Suggested Citation

Podsakoff, Philip M. and MacKenzie, Scott B. and Ahearne, Michael and Bommer, William H., Searching for a Needle in a Haystack: Trying to Identify the Illusive Moderators of Leadership Behaviors (April 5, 2010). Journal of Management, Vol. 21, No. 3, pp. 422-470, 1995, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1584814

Philip M. Podsakoff

Indiana University - Kelley School of Business - Management & Entrepreneurship ( email )

Bloomington, IN 47405
United States

Scott B. MacKenzie

Indiana University - Kelley School of Business - Department of Marketing ( email )

Kelley School of Business
Bloomington, IN 47405
United States

Michael Ahearne (Contact Author)

University of Houston - C.T. Bauer College of Business ( email )

334 Melcher Hall
Houston, TX 77204-6021
United States
713-743-4155 (Phone)
713-743-4572 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.bauer.uh.edu/Directory/profile.asp?firstname=Michael&lastname=Ahearne

William H. Bommer

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
74
Abstract Views
612
rank
363,462
PlumX Metrics