Multi-Level Issues in Organizational Behavior and Leadership: Volume 8


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(25 chapters)
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Francis J. Yammarino, Ph.D., is SUNY Distinguished Professor of Management and Director and Fellow of the Center for Leadership Studies at the State University of New York at Binghamton. He received his Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior (Management) from the State University of New York at Buffalo. Dr. Yammarino has extensive research experience in the areas of superior–subordinate relationships, leadership, self–other agreement processes, and multiple levels of analysis issues. He has served on the editorial review boards of eight scholarly journals, including the Academy of Management Journal, Journal of Applied Psychology, Journal of Organizational Behavior, Leadership Quarterly, Organizational Research Methods, and Personnel Psychology. Dr. Yammarino is a Fellow of the American Psychological Society and the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology. He is the author of 13 books and has published more than 100 articles. Dr. Yammarino has served as a consultant to numerous organizations, including IBM, Textron, TRW, Lockheed Martin, Medtronic, United Way, Skills Net, and the US Army, Navy, Air Force, and Department of Education.

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Multi-Level Issues in Organizational Behavior and Leadership is Volume 8 of Research in Multi-Level Issues, an annual series that provides an outlet for the discussion of multi-level problems and solutions across a variety of fields of study. Using a scientific debate format of a key scholarly essay followed by commentaries and a rebuttal, we present, in this series, theoretical work, significant empirical studies, methodological developments, analytical techniques, and philosophical treatments to advance the field of multi-level studies, regardless of disciplinary perspective.

Following from the cutting-edge work of Stephen Wolfram in A New Kind of Science (2002), in this chapter we propose “a new kind of OB” (organizational behavior) based on the varient approach to theory building and testing. In particular, we offer four simple, yet comprehensive theories to account for individual behavior, interpersonal relationships, group dynamics, and collectivized processes in organizations. In each case, two constructs, their association, and the levels of analysis of their operation are proposed. While the four theories proposed here are simple notions, they can explain a variety of complex phenomena and behavior in organizations.

In their essay, Yammarino and Dansereau (2009) present a new multilevel theory of organizational behavior (OB), based on the idea that simplest solutions are usually the best. This commentary discusses the strengths and shortcomings of their essay and suggests some alternative strategies. In particular, it identifies three core areas for discussion. The first is that the authors set out a “thin” theory, at odds with the idea that OB in real organizations is inherently complex and addressable only through “thick” descriptions. Second, while the theory covers four levels of analysis, the authors may have neglected the time dimension. Third, the theory is an example of “grand” theorizing, suggesting it may also share the disappointing fate of such theories in the past.

This reply to Ashkanasy's commentary (2009) on our chapter “A New Kind of OB” (Yammarino & Dansereau, 2009) offers some additional thoughts on theory building and theory testing in terms of our four simple theories about individual behavior, interpersonal relationships, group dynamics, and collectivized processes in organizations. We reiterate the key point that these simple notions can explain a variety of complex phenomena and behavior in organizations.

Theories of outstanding, historically notable, leadership have traditionally emphasized charisma. Recent research, however, suggests that charisma may represent only one pathway to outstanding leadership. Outstanding leadership may also emerge from ideological and pragmatic leadership. In this article, we examine the conditions influencing the emergence and performance of charismatic, ideological, and pragmatic leaders. It is argued that different conditions operating at the environmental, organizational, group, and individual levels influence the emergence and performance of each of these three types of leaders. Implications for understanding the origins and impact of charismatic, ideological, and pragmatic leaders are discussed.

Mumford, Hunter, Friedrich, and Caughron (2009) consider and evaluate conditions that may influence how charismatic, ideological, and pragmatic leaders emerge and perform. In particular, they look at differing conditions that operate at the individual, group, organizational, and environmental levels, and suggest how conditions at these multiple levels of observation may drive how each of the three types of outstanding leaders emerges and performs in society. This commentary considers how scholars might use their work to make predictions about outstanding leadership, and which conditions might be ideal for the emergence of each of the three types of outstanding leadership.

Mumford, Hunter, Friedrich, and Caughron (2009) discuss at length three generic types of extraordinary leadership: charismatic, ideological, and pragmatic. This commentary raises the question of whether this general framework applies to more focused domains of leadership. More specifically, the author discusses his own research on leadership styles in the U.S. presidency – interpersonal, charismatic, deliberative, creative, and neurotic – and then examines whether these five styles have some correspondence to the three broad types of extraordinary leadership.

Mumford, Friedrich, Hunter, and Caughron (2009) propose a multilevel theory of leadership intended to allow for the emergence and performance of charismatic, ideological, and pragmatic leaders. In their commentaries, Hunt and Davis (2009) and Simonton (2009) provide additional support for this model. Their observations also broach questions about how charismatic, ideological, and pragmatic leadership styles should be measured, and how hypotheses should be developed with regard to multilevel influence on leader emergence and performance. This commentary discusses the implications of these observations for future research on styles of outstanding leadership.

The social relations model (SRM; Kenny, 1994) explicitly proposes that leadership simultaneously operates at three levels of analysis: group, dyad, and individual (perceiver and target). With this model, researchers can empirically determine the amount of variance at each level as well as those factors that explain variance at these different levels. This chapter shows how the SRM can be used to address many theoretically important questions in the study of leadership and can be used to advance both the theory of and research in leadership. First, based on analysis of leadership ratings from seven studies, we find that there is substantial agreement (i.e., target variance) about who in the group is the leader and little or no reciprocity in the perceptions of leadership. We then consider correlations of leadership perceptions. In one analysis, we examine the correlations between task-oriented and socioemotional leadership. In another analysis, we examine the effect of gender and gender composition on the perception of leadership. We also explore how self-ratings of leadership differ from member perceptions of leadership. Finally, we discuss how the model can be estimated using conventional software.

This commentary on Kenny and Livi (2009) expands on aspects of leadership categorization theory that are consistent with the application of the social relations model (SRM). It critically considers limits to the generalization of the variance components analysis results described in Kenny and Livi's first example, and briefly summarizes results of an additional study that supports their findings. Finally, this commentary suggests interpretational issues of interest to researchers who wish to continue to apply the SRM to multi-level issues in the study of leadership.

Hall, Lord, and Foster (2009) have commented on whether variance partitioning in the social relations model would be the same in long-term groups and when groups have formal leaders. This reply follows their lead and speculates on how the variance partitioning would change. It considers the design and analysis issues in natural workgroups as well as the estimation of group effects.

Previous literature has compared the effectiveness of different styles of leadership, yet most of this research has not compared different levels of analyses regarding leader styles or behaviors. This shortcoming often limits our understanding of how leadership acts on a phenomenon of interest to a single level of analysis. This article develops a computational model and describes a levels-based comparison of four types of leadership that represent three different levels: individual, dyad, and group. When examined across a dynamic group decision-making optimization scenario, group-based leadership is found to produce decisions that are closer to optimal than dyadic-based and individual-based leadership. An alternative computational model varying individual cognitive and experience-based components among group members also indicates that group-based leadership produces more optimal decisions. First published in Leadership Quarterly (Dionne, S. D., & Dionne, P. J. (2008). Levels-based leadership and hierarchical group decision optimization: A simulation. Leadership Quarterly, 19, 212–234), this version offers an updated introduction discussing simulation as a theoretical development tool and supplies additional evidence regarding the growth of simulation methods in leadership research.

The clear specification of leadership efforts spanning levels of analysis has lagged behind leadership research in general. Simulation modeling, such as agent-based modeling, provides research platforms for exploring these interesting issues. This chapter uses agent-based models, along with Dionne and Dionne's (2009) choices of leadership styles, to examine the impact of those styles on the generation of an emergent group resource, context-for-learning (CFL), instead of the specific task outcome (group decision making) described by Dionne and Dionne. Consistent effectiveness is found across leadership styles for workgroups with high and slightly lower initial individual levels of a CFL. A second agent-based model includes the ability of agents to forget previous learned skills and reveals a reduced effectiveness of all leadership styles. However, the effectiveness of the leadership styles differs between the two outcomes (the specific group task model and the emergent group resource model). Reasons for these differences are explored, and implications from the comparisons of the two models are delineated.

There has been a lack of focus on multi-level issues within leadership research. Dionne and Dionne (2009) address this gap in the research by presenting a Monte Carlo simulation examining leadership at four levels of analysis within a group decision-making context. While their work makes a strong contribution to the sciences of leadership, group decision making, and team complexity, many aspects of the research demonstrate potential for great expansion and improvement. Toward this purpose, this commentary discusses and provides suggestions regarding the topics of computer simulation in team research, group decision-making theory, and the modeling of team complexity. It is intended to stimulate continued critical thinking and more innovative, practical, and carefully designed research efforts.

In critiquing our levels-based group decision simulation, Wilderman and Salas (2009) suggest that more descriptive decision models and more sophisticated simulation techniques would improve the practicality of our model. Black, Oliver, and Paris (2009) employ an agent-based model within an emergent task context to examine a leader's influence on group context for learning and discuss differences in key findings. Although we admit to sins of omission regarding contextual decision theory, we highlight the practicality of our model and contrast this quality with the generalizability of higher-fidelity simulations. Additionally, we admit to sins of envy in that both critiques offer an exciting glimpse into the future of group decision research.

Organizational studies fail to examine organizations in terms of the several environments in which they operate, both internally and externally. That is, studies tend to focus on climate, or time, or trust, or leadership. This chapter builds on academic research that discusses organizational environments in ways that show all of these environments are important for organizational understanding, especially for organizational leadership. In particular, this chapter offers a paradigm of understanding organizational leadership realities through multi-level understanding of the organizational environments of climate, knowledge, ethnos, and time.

The chapter first discusses five enviroscapes – climate, knowledge, ethos, time, and leadership. Each of these enviroscapes has two phenotypes – business and commerce. Each of these enviroscapes, with its concomitant phenotypes, is used differently at multiple levels of management and leadership by senior managers, middle managers, and entry-level managers. The scope of organizational reach, in terms of global, regional, and local levels of analysis, provides additional context for the use of enviroscapes. After a review of the theoretical bases for each enviroscape, the chapter applies appropriate theory and models to an extended time case study of land purchase in Indonesia.

Describing and explaining the interface between organizational culture and community culture necessitate an exploration into assumptions, expectations, beliefs, symbolism, and behaviors. This commentary examines the successful integration of an expanding US pharmaceutical firm into Indonesia's multicultural environment, a context marked by the interweaving of market exchange and reciprocity exchange. It directs attention to the interactions occurring among key leaders within the firm, and between those in the firm and those in the peasant and governmental communities. By focusing on the cultural processes of partnering, the contribution of cooperative, healthy relationships in achieving the firm's business goals is revealed.

Business and anthropological research create different constructions that frame the enviroscapes in which complex inter- and intra-organizational actors interface. This essay engages Briody's (2009) three major areas of comment: methodology, theoretical concepts, and leadership processes used in the Essex scenarios. Briody's is an anthropological construct, while Reeves-Ellington's is that of a business practitioner/researcher. Expanding his original thoughts for conceptual organization, choice of research methods, and models for interaction allows the author to address Briody's observations in ways that further an ongoing dialogue between academic research, practitioner, anthropology, and business, with the ultimate goal that others will join the conversation.

Neal M. Ashkanasy is a Professor of Management at the University of Queensland, Australia. His research interests lie in organizational and ethical behavior, leadership, culture, and emotions. He is Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Organizational Behavior and the book series Research on Emotion in Organizations.

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Research in Multi-Level Issues
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Emerald Publishing Limited
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