A Study of Implicit Leadership Theories among Business & Management Undergraduate Students

Curtis, Ryan J (2013) A Study of Implicit Leadership Theories among Business & Management Undergraduate Students. Masters thesis, University of Gloucestershire.

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Abstract

This qualitative study explores the subjective meaning of being led, through retrospective interpretations of the experience, using focus groups to elicit descriptions of the Implicit Leadership Theories (ILTs) held by forty final year undergraduate Business and Management students. The study further seeks to investigate the impact of these via an exploration of cognitive processes, affective responses and behavioural intentions towards leadership-claimants. Finally the study investigates how their affective responses influence the quality of such relationships using a framework based on Leader-Member Exchange (LMX) Theory. The research, informed by a critical realist stance, that takes an interpretative approach allowing an understanding of the meanings participants attach to their past experiences and future expectations. Data was elicited that explored perceptions, feelings and ideas, which were then manually transcribed, coded and analysed using an abductive process. The findings support previous research into the content and structure of Implicit Leadership Theories (Engle & Lord, 1997; Offerman et al., 1994; Epitropaki & Martin, 2004) but extends this by examining the affective component of the ILTs and their impact on behaviours in the workplace. Cognitive, affective and behaviour elements were linked to self-concept needs such as self-esteem, self-efficacy and social identity (Lord & Brown, 2004; Reicher, Haslam & Hopkins; 2005), which were further mapped onto concepts of Job Satisfaction, Organisational Commitment and Employee Well-being (Epitropaki & Martin, 2005). The findings show that where ILT needs were matched there were positive outcomes for the participants, their superiors and the organisations that they worked for. Conversely, where ILT needs were not matched, a wide variety of negative effects emerge ranging from poor performance and impaired well-being, through to withdrawal behaviours, and outright rebellion. The findings suggest reciprocal links between outcomes, behaviours, and LMX, and demonstrate an alignment of cognitive, emotional and behavioural responses that correspond to either high-LMX or low-LMX relationships, with major impacts on job satisfaction, commitment and well-being.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Implicit Leadership Theories (ILTs), Leader-Member Exchange (LMX) Theory, job satisfaction, workplace commitment
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > Business School > Business and Human Resource Management
Depositing User: Susan Turner
Date Deposited: 16 Mar 2015 17:04
Last Modified: 20 May 2016 13:09
URI: http://eprints.glos.ac.uk/id/eprint/2031

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