The purpose of this paper is to address the question of what motivates leaders to engage in effective leadership behaviours by integrating transformational leadership theory and self-determination theory. The authors propose that the type of enacted leadership behaviour is related to level of self-determined motivation.
This study presents validity evidence for an 18-item scale of motivation for transformational leadership based on Gagné and Deci’s (2005) six levels of internalization. A total of 310 employees (mean age=39, 64.5 per cent female, 46 per cent formal leaders) completed the scale, other measures of leadership, and job satisfaction.
Results supported the theorized six-factor structure of the scale and provided evidence for incremental validity in the prediction of job satisfaction and transformational leadership above and beyond another measure of motivation to lead.
The lack of amotivation and the presence of autonomously controlled extrinsic motivation are predictive of effective leadership behaviour, a key finding with implications for leadership selection. The study was limited by the use of self-report data. Future studies should examine additional predictors and outcomes of the construct (e.g. subordinate attitudes or performance and leader personality), and whether it is stable over time.
Leaders’ motivation for role effectiveness is an unexplored area of research. This study suggests that type of motivation can be important for effective leadership and provides a validated scale for use in future leadership research and selection.
The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada to all three authors.
Gilbert, S., Horsman, P. and Kelloway, E. (2016), "The motivation for transformational leadership scale: An examination of the factor structure and initial tests", Leadership & Organization Development Journal, Vol. 37 No. 2, pp. 158-180. https://doi.org/10.1108/LODJ-05-2014-0086Download as .RIS
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