The purpose of this paper is to investigate the relationship between altruistic leader behaviors, organizational learning capability and organizational performance.
The sampling frame consists of several databases or listings of business that consider people as a key element of the organization and are considered by their employees to be good firms to work for or organizational environments where human resources management has high priority (n=251). The authors use structural equation modeling to test if the relationship between altruistic leader behaviors and organizational performance is mediated by organizational learning capability.
Results suggest that organizational learning capability fully mediates between altruistic leader behaviors and organizational performance. Thus, organizational learning capability plays a key role in explaining how altruistic leader behaviors affect organizational performance, essentially because it facilitates the creation of a creative, participatory and dialogue-based environment that promotes organizational learning.
The database used in the study is very heterogeneous. Future research might delimit the database by organization size or sector. Qualitative studies may also improve our understanding of the relationships studied and enable other concepts to be included.
This study provides evidence of the positive relationship between altruistic leaders and performance. However, recruiting and fomenting altruistic leaders is not sufficient on its own to improve performance, and should be accompanied by implementing other facilitating factors of organizational learning such as dialogue or experimentation.
In recent years some studies have linked leadership with organizational learning. However, this is one of the first studies to concentrate on altruistic leader behaviors as such, a concept that has received scant mention in the literature despite its importance in a number of leadership styles, and its relevance today as an alternative to the egotistic leader. The authors offer empirical evidence of the role of altruistic leader behavior as an antecedent of organizational learning capability and subjective measures of performance.
The authors thank the University Jaume I (Ref. P11B2008-13) and the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (Ref. ECO2011-26780) for its financial support for this research.
Mallén, F., Chiva, R., Alegre, J. and Guinot, J. (2015), "Are altruistic leaders worthy? The role of organizational learning capability", International Journal of Manpower, Vol. 36 No. 3, pp. 271-295. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJM-09-2013-0212Download as .RIS
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