Leadership through love and fear: an effective combination
Journal of Managerial Psychology
Article publication date: 14 June 2019
Issue publication date: 30 July 2019
The purpose of this paper is to examine how employees’ sentiments of fear and companionate love toward their leaders relate to leader effectiveness and follower loyalty.
The analysis uses multi-level survey data (n=728) from a professional services firm. Proposed relationships are examined using multi-level modeling, polynomial regression and response surface analysis.
Companionate love moderates the relationship between fear of a leader and leader effectiveness and follower loyalty. At high levels of companionate love, leader effectiveness and loyalty increase with fear, but at low levels of companionate love, fear negatively relates to leader effectiveness and loyalty. There are diminishing returns at relatively high levels of love and fear or when love becomes relatively much greater than fear.
Findings suggest that employees may incorporate sentiments of love and fear into their implicit leadership theories (ILTs), though the authors do not measure ILTs.
Leaders may consider incorporating behaviors that elicit sentiments of both love and fear for greatest follower loyalty and effectiveness.
This study is the first to examine the combination of sentiments of love and fear. In contrast to the extant literature, which posits that fear has primarily negative effects, the results suggest that fear may have a more nuanced relationship with perceptions of the leader.
Dahm, P.C. and Greenbaum, B.E. (2019), "Leadership through love and fear: an effective combination", Journal of Managerial Psychology, Vol. 34 No. 5, pp. 326-338. https://doi.org/10.1108/JMP-08-2018-0346
Emerald Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited