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Relationship between leadership behaviors and performance: The moderating role of a work team's level of age, gender, and cultural heterogeneity

Jens Rowold (TU Dortmund University, Dortmund, Germany)

Leadership & Organization Development Journal

ISSN: 0143-7739

Article publication date: 30 August 2011

Abstract

Purpose

In today's organizations, the heterogeneity of work teams is increasing. For example, members of work teams have different ages, genders, and/or cultural backgrounds. As a consequence, team leaders have to face the challenge of taking into account the various needs, values, and motives of their followers. However, there has been very little empirical research to test whether the influence of leadership behaviors on performance is moderated by facets of team heterogeneity. This paper aims to address this issue.

Design/methodology/approach

The leadership behaviors of transactional and transformational leadership, laissez‐faire, consideration, and initiating structure, as well as three facets of heterogeneity (i.e. age, gender, and culture) were assessed in an empirical study based on a sample of n=283 members of German fire departments. These team members also provided self‐ratings for their performance.

Findings

The results revealed that the relationship between three leadership behaviors (i.e. transformational leadership, laissez‐faire, and consideration) and performance was being moderated by facets of team members' heterogeneity.

Practical implications

Both transformational leadership and consideration work best when the work team is heterogeneous with regard to gender.

Originality/value

The importance of the contextual influences of team members' heterogeneity for effective leadership processes was explored theoretically, and subsequently, demonstrated empirically for the first time.

Keywords

Citation

Rowold, J. (2011), "Relationship between leadership behaviors and performance: The moderating role of a work team's level of age, gender, and cultural heterogeneity", Leadership & Organization Development Journal, Vol. 32 No. 6, pp. 628-647. https://doi.org/10.1108/01437731111161094

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited