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Leaders’ and followers’ information-processing styles, constructive thinking and their relationship to implicit followership and leadership theories and leader-member exchange

Walford, Matthew (2016) Leaders’ and followers’ information-processing styles, constructive thinking and their relationship to implicit followership and leadership theories and leader-member exchange. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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Abstract

Leadership theory and research has traditionally focused on leaders at the expense of followers. However, followers are highly active in the leadership process. Adopting a relationship based conceptualisation of leadership, four studies are presented that assess elements of a holistic leadership model incorporating Cognitive-Experiential Self Theory (CEST), Implicit Leadership Theory, Implicit Followership Theory, and Leader-Member Exchange (LMX). Using data from 352 followers, study one found that followers develop implicit ideal leadership theories (IILTs) that are congruent with their information processing style and constructive thinking as defined in CEST. Using data from 133 leaders, study two found that leaders develop implicit ideal followership theories (IIFTs) that are congruent with their information processing style and constructive thinking. Studies three and four are multi-level research designs, which assess whether leaders’ and followers’ information processing style and constructive thinking relate to followers’ and leaders’ LMX respectively. They also assess whether leaders’ IIFTs and followers’ IILTs moderate these relationships. Based on data from 106 followers and 26 direct-line managers, study three found that leaders’ information processing style and constructive thinking predict followers’ LMX ratings and that these relationships are moderated by followers’ IILTs. Using data from 77 followers and 18 direct-line managers, study four demonstrates that followers’ information processing style and constructive thinking predict followers’ LMX ratings and that these relationships are moderated by followers’ IILTs. Using data from 77 followers and 18 direct-line managers, study four demonstrates that followers’ information processing style and constructive thinking relates to leaders’ LMX ratings. However, the evidence that these relationships are moderated by leaders’ IIFTs is not as strong as study three. This is likely due to a low sample size. Generally, the proposed model is supported. The findings have important implications for leadership theory and practice including training/development, employee selection and team composition decisions. These are discussed in the relevant sections of the dissertation.

Publication Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Psychology and Exercise Science
Supervisor: Ditchburn, Graeme, Curtis, Guy and Brook, Libby
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/32167
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