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Substitutes or complements? Individual-focused and group-focused transformational leadership in different organizational structures in new firms

Xiumei Zhu (School of Management, Jilin University, Changchun, China)
Mingxu Bao (School of Management, Jilin University, Changchun, China)

Leadership & Organization Development Journal

ISSN: 0143-7739

Article publication date: 3 July 2017

Abstract

Purpose

The significant performance implications of individual-focused and group-focused transformational leadership have been documented for established firms, but the issue of whether they are complementary or substitutive still remains a puzzle, and whether their relationship differs in new firms remains unanswered. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the relationship between individual-focused and group-focused transformational leadership in different organizational structures in new firms.

Design/methodology/approach

The study draws on survey data of 209 questionnaires from 63 teams in 63 new firms in China.

Findings

The results suggest that individual-focused and group-focused transformational leadership are substitutive when the organizational structure is mechanistic, and are complementary when the structure is organic.

Originality/value

The study contributes to the debate on the relationship between individual-focused and group-focused transformational leadership by comparing organizational structure characteristics and offering a comprehensive understanding of the issue.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the (National Natural Science Foundation of China) under Grant (Number 71672073); (National Natural Science Foundation of China) under Grant (Number 71232011).

Citation

Zhu, X. and Bao, M. (2017), "Substitutes or complements? Individual-focused and group-focused transformational leadership in different organizational structures in new firms", Leadership & Organization Development Journal, Vol. 38 No. 5, pp. 699-718. https://doi.org/10.1108/LODJ-04-2016-0097

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited