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Transformational leadership and follower risk behavior

University of Florida Institutional Repository
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TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADERSHIP AND FOLLOWER RISK BEHAVIOR: AN EXAMINATION OF FRAMING AND ISSUE INTERPRETATION By RONALD F. PICCOLO A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLOR IDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2005

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Copyright 2005 by Ronald F. Piccolo

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All of this work is dedicated to Dominique.

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iv ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I would like to thank Tim Judge for his leadership and support throughout my time at the University of Florida. I sincerel y valued his wisdom, creativity, and personal attention. I would also like to thank Jas on Colquitt for his feedback, guidance, and commitment to my professional development, and Amir Erez, whose help in the design of the studies in this dissertation proved invaluable. Thanks also go to John KammeyerMueller and James Algina, who each provided valuable advice and feedback during the course of my study. I would also like to expr ess special gratitude to Henry Tosi, who was gracious enough to grant me an opportunity to attend UF. I am forever grateful. Finally, Ill express my love and apprecia tion for Dominique, who continues to be supportive and inspir ational. She is an amazing woman.

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v TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS.................................................................................................iv LIST OF TABLES............................................................................................................vii LIST OF FIGURES.........................................................................................................viii ABSTRACT....................................................................................................................... ix CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION........................................................................................................1 2 REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE..............................................................................8 Transformational Leadership Theory...........................................................................8 Risk-taking Behavior..................................................................................................13 Framing and Issue Interpretation................................................................................21 3 STUDY ONE: TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADERSHIP AND RISK....................28 Method........................................................................................................................3 5 Manipulation of Transf ormational Leadership....................................................35 Sample and Research Design..............................................................................36 Procedure.............................................................................................................37 Measures..............................................................................................................38 Analysis...............................................................................................................40 Results........................................................................................................................ .40 Discussion...................................................................................................................44 4 STUDY TWO: LEADERSHIP AND FRAMING.....................................................50 Method........................................................................................................................6 1 Sample.................................................................................................................61 Procedure.............................................................................................................61 Experimental Conditions.....................................................................................62 Investment Scenario an d Framing Manipulation................................................63 Measures..............................................................................................................63 Analysis...............................................................................................................65

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vi Results........................................................................................................................ .65 Discussion...................................................................................................................69 5 GENERAL DISCUSSION.........................................................................................73 APPENDIX A SCRIPTS FOR LEADERSHIP MANIPULATION STUDY 1..............................81 B SCRIPTS FOR LEADERSHIP MANIPULATION STUDY 2..............................87 C FRAMING MANIPULATIONS..............................................................................100 D MEASURE OF TRANSFORM ATIONAL LEADERSHIP....................................103 E MEASURE OF RISK AVERSION..........................................................................104 F MEASURE OF FRAMING......................................................................................105 G MEASURE OF ISSUE INTERPRETATION..........................................................106 LIST OF REFERENCES.................................................................................................107 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH...........................................................................................120

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vii LIST OF TABLES Table page 3-1 Scale Means, Reliabilities, and Intercorrelations among Variables.........................42 3-2 Cross Classification of Leadership and Risky Choice.............................................43 3-3 Logistic Regression of Risky C hoice on Transformational Leadership..................44 4-1 Mean Level of Investment for Leadership and Framing..........................................66 4-2 Scale Means, Reliabilities, and Intercorrelations among Variables.........................68

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viii LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 3-1 Distribution of Project Choices across Leadership Condition.................................43 4-1 Model of Proposed Relationships among Variables................................................60 4-2 Pattern of Investment by Leadership and Framing..................................................68

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ix Abstract of Dissertation Pres ented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADERSHIP AND FOLLOWER RISK BEHAVIOR: AN EXAMINATION OF FRAMING AND ISSUE INTERPRETATION By Ronald F. Piccolo August 2005 Chair: Timothy A. Judge Major Department: Management Modern leadership theory asserts that followers of exceptional leaders are willing to take personal risk in support of stated organizational objectives. In that vein, two experimental studies were conducted to ev aluate the influence of transformational leadership behaviors on followers w illingness to take risk. In each study, transformational leadership was manipulated with a trained actor, and student participants were asked to indicate their willingness to assume a risky position. Drawing on assertions contained within transformati onal leadership theory, I hypot hesized that followers of transformational leaders would be more likely to put personal or company resources at risk. I further hypothesized that observed eff ects of leadership on risk behavior would depend on how aspects of the decision scenario were introduced. In Study 1, students who observed a highly transformational, highly charismatic project coordinator were more willing to participate in an uncertain assignment than students who watched a leader who exhibited fewer charismatic leadership behaviors. In

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x Study 2, participants were asked to assume the role of a di vision manager in a fictional company and to make an investment decisi on on behalf of a company. Managers who observed a transformational CEO reported higher levels of expectancy in the investments outcomes, and were less influe nced by how aspects of the decision scenario were introduced. Results of these studies make a contribution to transfor mational leadership theory by directly testing one of its main tenets that followers are willing to take risks on behalf of the organization. Further, transf ormational leadership theory is enhanced through the observation that effects are real ized through a cognitive mechanism, namely, issue interpretation.

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1 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Risk-taking behavior among l eaders and agents of an or ganization is an important component of organizational success. In near ly every major industry, successful business executives can easily identify a risky decision th at served as the platform for achievement of above average organizational results ( Setting a Direction, 2001). Observers of business trends often attribute an organizati ons success to the willingness of its leaders and employees to take risk in the face of competition and uncer tainty (Collins, 1994; 2001; Peters & Waterman, 1982), and many popular press leadership guides emphasize the importance of risk taking in the executive suites of major companies (Fiorina et al., 2003) and throughout the middle and lower leve ls of management (Collins, 1994). In their influential discussion on leadership a nd organizational success, Kouzes and Posner (1995) encourage leaders to experiment, take risks, and encourage others to do the same because showing others that youre willing to ri sk is essential to getting others to do the same (p. 85). Indeed, many managers consider risk taking to be a central and essential part of their jobs (March & Shapira, 1987) and risk taking has been described as an essential aspect of each industry leade rs strategy (Peters & Waterman, 1982). As an important aspect of organizational su ccess, risk behavior in an organizational setting has been explained from both economic and psychological perspectives (Lopes, 1987). Early examinations of risk behavior te nded to utilize economic models that relied on strict assumptions regardi ng the concentration of inform ation available to decision makers, and the manner in which decision make rs categorize, evaluate, and utilize that

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2 information. Studies of risk preference and risky choice regularly test economic models of decision-making under uncertainty with a ssumptions about the ra tionality of decisionmakers (Mellers, Schwartz, & Cooke, 1998), th e use of mental heuristics by decisionmakers (Slovic, 1987), and the nature of the decision-task (Mar ch & Shapira, 1987; Sitkin & Pablo, 1992). In the economic appro ach, risky choice is often predicted with rational, utility maximizing c ognitive models, which rely he avily on traditional economic assumptions. However, despite the compre hensive body of research dedicated to economic descriptions of risk, there exist regular variations in risk preference among decision makers that remain unexplained by traditional models. For one, economic models assume that decisi on makers are risk averse and prefer a sure choice to one with uncertainty in the outcomes (Laughhunn, Payne, & Crum, 1980). However, research in the personality literatur e has identified stable traits (e.g., sensation seeking) that are proposed to indicate an i ndividuals willingness to engage in risky behavior (e.g., Rolison & Sherman, 2002; 2003), such as the study by Sorrentino, Hewitt, and Raso-Knott (1992), which argued that risk preferences are substan tially shaped by an individuals tendency to avoi d uncertainty. Further, studies involving working business professionals have reported notable differences in tolera nce for risk and uncertainty between entrepreneurs and corporate managers (Stewart & Roth, 2001) and between male and female managers (Byrnes, Miller, & Scha fer, 1999). Thus, contrary to a fundamental economic assumption regarding human behavior (i.e., risk aversion), it appears that certain individuals may be predisposed to take risk. Second, economic models assert that decision-makers evaluate potential alternatives based on their stated probabiliti es, with little regard for the subjective

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3 assessment of value an individual may pl ace on a particular outcome. As noted by Starmer (2000), traditional approaches relied on two major assumptions: procedural invariance, which suggested that choices are made independently of the method used to elicit them, and description invariance which asserts that pr eferences do not depend on how probability distributions are described. A central tenet of prospect theory (Kahneman & Tversky, 1979), however, is that tolerance for risk is enhanced, suppressed, or reversed depending on which outcomes of the decisi on scenario (e.g., gains or losses) are emphasized (Bazerman, 1984). Finally, the economic approach assumes th at decision makers have access to complete information about all alternative c hoices and that decision makers use all that information when ultimately deciding on a course of action (Mellers et al., 1998). The reality of practical bus iness activity, however, is that th ese idealistic situations do not exist. Very often, managers are forced to make strategic decisions with incomplete information, and rely on intuition (rather th an expressed probabilities) when estimating prospects for a new ventures success (Eis enhardt, 1999). Unfortunately, while these economic assumptions provide for the development of parsimonious models of decision making under uncertainty, the re sulting models fail to account for individual choices that are inconsistent with calcul ated, self-maximizing thinking. Nor do these models account for changes in risk preference that take pl ace across context and decision task, a serious shortcoming in our understanding of d ecision-making under risk and uncertainty. More recently, research in social psychol ogy has begun to address these limitations with consideration of the psychological pr ocesses that underlie decision making under uncertainty (Kahneman & Tversky, 1979; L opes, 1987). Lopes (1987), for example,

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4 argued that risk-seeking behavi or could be justified by th e internal processes that decision-makers use to evaluate the values a nd probabilities of alternatives. According to Lopes (1987) summary, risk seeking behavi or may have a motivational source (Larrick, 1993; McClelland, 1954), such that those with a high need for achievement are willing to assume risk. In addition, risk behavior may be undertaken to support or enhance existing self-judgments, such that those with a high leve l of self-esteem pursue risky adventures in the presence of others (Cohen & Sheposh, 1977). Further, substantial evidence exists to support the notion that choice under uncertainty is strongly influenced by transient affective states (for a review see Isen, 1993), an assertion th at is consistent with the broader literature on the role of emoti on in cognitive processing (e.g., Forgas, 1995; 2002). As such, a psychological approach to ex plaining risk provides a valuable platform for explaining variations in decision ma king under uncertainty, and in understanding deviations in choice from existing economic models. Perhaps the most important contributi on of the psychological approach to explaining risk behavior is th e observation that preferences for risk are not always bound by rational, normative patterns, but are also influenced by social and organizational factors that shape the decision context. I ndeed, March and Shapira (1987) observed that managers consider the organizations relati on to aspiration level when evaluating risk, and made cogent arguments for the notion that risk-taking varies with the context (p. 1412). Among the many potential situational modi fiers, leader behavi or may be one that has a particularly important influence on how decision makers assess and ultimately choose among risky alternatives, as followers look to their leader for cues on how to interpret and respond to organiza tional stimuli (Levinson, 1965).

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5 Inherent in most modern theories of lead ership is the notion that effective leaders arouse a high level of functioning among their followers and influence the manner in which followers interpret important inform ation in the workplace (Conger, 1991; PirolaMerlo, Hartel, Mann, & Hirst, 2002; Yukl, 1989). Transformationa l leadership theory, in particular, asserts that leaders have a prof ound effect on the attitudes, behaviors, and perceptions of followers ( Bass, 1985 ), and inspire followers to perform beyond previous limits. Unlike trait (Ba ss & Stogdill, 1990) or exchange-oriented ( Maslyn & Uhl-Bien, 2001 ) approaches to understanding leadership, which tend to emphasize stable personal traits of the leader or predictable patterns of communication across organizational levels, the transformational approach specifically suggests that leadership is realized through fundamental changes in followers ( Bono & Judge, 2003 ). As such, a comprehensive body of research on transformational leadership theory supports the notion that effective leaders have an influence on how their follo wers feel about their work and how their followers ultimately perform. Further, the transformational approach emphasizes the need for a change in the status quo, and encourages behavior that suppor ts the overall mission of the organization, no matter how risky (Conger & Kanungo, 1994). Despite the expectation that aspects of the transformational approach influence followers assessment and perceptions of ris k, only one study to date has specifically tested such a link. By examining the reactions among equity analysts to charismatic appeals made by corporate CEOs, Flynn a nd Staw (2004) assessed the relationship between charismatic behaviors and third pa rty judgments about the companys future. Results of the study suggested that companies with especially charismatic CEOs were offered favorable stock ratings by third party analysts, in spit e of financial evidence that

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6 would have suggested otherwise. In this way, charismatic CEOs appeared to shape judgments and behavior among equity analysts. In that vein, the current st udies were designed to exam ine the relationship between leader behavior and followers assessment of and willingness to engage in risky behavior. Of particular interest is a transformational leaders influence on follower judgments about characteristics in the workplace, and followers willing to engage in risky behavior on behalf of the organization. In study 1, I attempt to esta blish a direct link between transformational leadership and risk behavior among followers by having pa rticipants observe a leader that exhibits behavior that is either cons istent or inconsistent with the transformational approach. Participants then make a personally releva nt choice between two alternatives with different levels of uncertainty. In study 2, I examine the influence of problem framing to determine if observed effects of leadership on risk are subject to moderating influences. In addition, I estimate the impact of issue in terpretation among followers to determine if observed effects can be explained by a lead ers influence on how followers interpret problem specific information. Despite transfor mational leadership th eorys popularity in the business literature, only a handful of studies to date ha ve considered the processes by which leaders affect followers perc eptions and attitudes (Bono & Judge, 2003; Kirkpatrick & Locke, 1996; Pillai, Sc hreisheim, & Williams, 1999; Podsakoff, MacKenzie, & Bommer, 1996). As such, the cu rrent studies examin e a relatively unique dependent variable (risk behavior), and atte mpt to explain observed relations between leaders behavior and follower risk ta king through a cognitive mechanism (issue interpretation).

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7 In the following section, I provide an overview of transformational leadership theory, a description of theory and research on risk behavior in organizations, and an introduction of framing and issue interpretation.

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8 CHAPTER 2 REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE Transformational Leadership Theory Based in part on Burns (1978) conc eptualization, Bass (1985) introduced transformational leadership theory to capture the impact of exceptional leaders on followers behavior. Transformational leadership theory asserts that certain leader behaviors not only influence followers attitude s and behaviors, but also inspire them to perform beyond their previous personal lim itations. In contrast to more exchangeoriented models (e.g., leader-member exchange; Masyln & Uhl-Bien, 2001), transformational leadership theory descri bes the process by which leaders create a connection with followers, attend to their individual needs, a nd help followers reach their potential (Bass, 1985). By appealing to followers higher ideals and values, transformational leaders enhance the commitme nt of followers to a well-articulated vision and arouse followers to develop ne w ways of thinking about problems. During the last two decades, the positive eff ects of transformationa l leadership have been described in hundreds of empirical studi es and summarized in three separate metaanalytic reviews (Fuller, Patterson, Hester, & Stringer, 1996; Judge & Piccolo, 2004; Lowe, Kroeck, & Sivasubramaniam, 1996). Of particular interest, the transformational approach has been shown to be a reliable predictor of important organizational outcomes including task and citizenship aspects of job performance (Howell & Frost, 1989; Podsakoff, MacKenzie, & Bommer, 1996; P odsakoff, MacKenzie, Moorman, & Fetter, 1990). In studies that have considered the rela tive effects of popular leadership concepts,

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9 transformational behaviors have emerged as consistent predictors of organizational outcomes beyond other conceptualizations (Bycio, Hackett, & Allen, 1995; Howell & Avolio, 1993; Howell & Hall-Merenda, 1999; Judge & Piccolo, 2004; Jung, 2001). A search of the PsycINFO database indicates that more studies of transformational leadership have been published since 1990 than all other modern theories of leadership. Despite its popularity in the literature, howev er, only a few articles to date have explored intervening mechanis ms to explain transformational effects (e.g., McColl-Kennedy & Anderson, 2002; Pillai et al., 1999; Podsakoff et al., 1990; Shamir, House, & Arthur, 1993). Those studies have tended to focus on leader-referenced variables, such as trust in the leader, satis faction with the leader and perceived leader fairness (e.g., Pillai et al., 1999; Podsakoff et al., 1990). While such mechanisms are no doubt important, they represent a limited set of the potential mediators. Further, only one study to date has specifically examined the link between aspects of the transformational approach (i.e., charisma) and risk asse ssment among followers (Flynn & Staw, 2004). Transformational leadership theory is a broad, process-based approach to leadership that was develope d, in part, from research on prominent political leaders (Yukl, 1989). The theory suggests that certain leaders, through their charisma, vision, and intellect, can elevate follower frames of re ference, ideological values, and attitudes towards self, peers, and the nature of thei r work (Burns, 1978). In contrast to economic models which imply that followers tend to act to satisfy their own self-interest (Bono & Judge, 2003), transformational lead ership theory asserts that followers are inspired by leaders who articulate a comp elling vision, who help followers identify a higher purpose in their work, and who recognize contribu tions to organizational objectives.

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10 Since its original introduction by Burn s (1978) and Bass (1985), transformational leadership theory has evolved to describe f our dimensions of transformational behavior: idealized influence, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulati on, and individualized consideration. Idealized influence is the degree to which lead ers behave in admirable or charismatic ways that cause followers to identify with them. Inspirational motivation is the degree to which leaders articulate a vision th at is appealing and inspiring to followers. Intellectual stimulation is the degree to which leaders challenge assumptions, take risks, and solicit followers ideas. Individualized consideration is the degree to which leaders attend to followers needs, act as mentors or coaches, and listen to followers concerns and desires. Recent studies of transformational leader ship have involved a wide range of samples and settings, have examined a host of different organizational outcomes, and have utilized a variety of research met hodologies (Conger, 1999). Assertions of the transformational approach have received empirical support at the individualand organization-level (Howell & Avolio, 1993; Sosik, Avolio, & Kahai, 1997; Yammarino & Dubinsky, 1994; Yammarino, Dubinsky, Co mer, & Jolson, 1997), in educational (Shamir, 1992; Zacharatos, Barling, & Kelloway, 2000), military (Shamir, Zakay, Breinin, & Popper, 1998; Yammarino, Spangler & Bass, 1993), and business settings (Barling, Weber, & Kelloway, 1996; Baum, Lo cke, & Kirkpatrick, 1998; Bycio et al., 1995), and in several different international samples (Den Hartog, House, Hanges, RuizQuintanilla, Dorfman, 1999; Jung & Avoli o, 1998; Koh, Steers, & Terborg, 1995). These studies provide evidence of the theory s cross-cultural generalizability.

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11 In addition to studies that used participan ts in an organizatio nal setting, researchers have also tested the assertions of transformational leadership theory in experimental lab studies. In several lab studies of transformational leadership theory, video tapes of well known business and political leaders are used in an experimental transformational leadership condition (Flynn & Staw, 2004; Er ez et al., unpublished). In other cases, trained actors exhibit behavi ors that are proposed to char acterize the transformational pattern (Awamleh & Gardner, 1999; Howell & Frost, 1989; Kirkpatrick & Locke, 1996; Shea & Howell, 1999). Based most often on the suggestions of Bass and Avolio (1997), actors playing transformational leadership expr ess confidence, use language that includes symbolism and imagery, and appeal to followers higher order values. In addition to these verbal indicators of the transformational a pproach, the trained act ors use nonverbal cues such as dynamic voice inflection, animated f acial expressions, and energetic physical movement (Kirkpatrick & Locke, 1996). Taken together, the positive effects of transformational leadership have been tested and verified in studies conducted in the lab and in the field. Two meta-analytic summaries of the transformational leadership literature have been published in the last 10 years (Judge & Piccolo, 2004; Lowe et al., 1996). Lowe et al. (1996) provided a corrected estimate of char ismatic leaderships re lationship to leader effectiveness for (r=.71), whereas Judge and Piccolo (2004) summarized leaderships effect on 6 important organizational outcomes su ch as leader effectiveness, satisfaction with the leader, and motivation. In both studi es, transformational leadership emerged as a consistent and significant predictor of work related attitudes (e.g., satisfaction,

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12 motivation) and behaviors (e.g., contextual performance, group performance) across criteria and organization level. Beyond transformational leaderships impact on a set of traditional organizational outcomes, there is early evidence that tran sformational leaders also influence the way followers think about themselves and thei r working environment. To suggest that leadership is realized in part by the soci al-cognitive processing system of followers, Brown and Lord (2001) introduced a model of the leadership process that described how follower selfand context-relevant thought patter ns are influenced by a leaders ability to direct attention to critical bits of informa tion. According to the authors, transformational leaders create emotional arousal among fo llowers and make specific information regarding the work context more salient. A ssertions of Brown and Lords (2001) model were confirmed, in part, by Piccolo and Col quitts (in press) study of transformational leadership and follower job perceptions, in which followers of transformational leaders described their jobs as enhanced along th e five core job characteristics (Hackman & Oldham, 1976). This work by Lord and co lleagues (1999; 2001) and by Piccolo and Colquitt (in press) asserts that followers of transformational leaders tend to think differently about their own potential, about their job experiences, and about problems they face within the organization. One possible extension of the work by Lord and Brown (2001; 2004) is examination of a leaders influence on followers willingness to take risk. Risk represents a special kind of decision-making problem (Yates & Stone, 1992), one that deals with uncertainty in the outcomes of a decision (March & Shapira, 1992) or with potential losses for the decision-maker and his or he r organization (Fischhoff Watson, & Hope

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13 1984). It is possible that especially effectiv e leaders inspire followers to reach beyond previous limits and risk personal resources for the sake of the organization. It may also be possible that transformational leaders provide information about the work environment and about the organizations future that infl uence follower judgments regarding the risk associated with their actions and decisions. Despite transformational leaderships popularity in the management literature, very few studies to date have speci fically tested a leaders influence on followers willingness to take risk. Whereas the no tion that effective leaders en courage followers to innovate and reach beyond comfortable personal bounda ries is central to transformational leadership theory (Howell & Avolio, 1993), specific tests of this phenomenon are rare. Indeed, effective leaders are expected to influence risk behavior among followers, but only one study to date (Flynn & Staw, 2004) has specifically examined the conditions under which leadership infl uences risk behavior. In the next section of the paper, I introdu ce some of the most relevant literature on risk behavior and decision-making among ma nagers in an organizational setting. I provide an overview of economic and psyc hological approaches to explaining risk behavior and describe how each approach explains risk behavior among managers. Risk-taking Behavior As described in the introduc tion, risk-taking is often regarded as an important aspect of organizational succe ss, and many managers consider the evaluation of risk and management of uncertainty as essential co mponents of their jobs (March & Shapira, 1987). Despite its usefulness and popularity in the social sc iences, however, a consensus definition of risk in an organizational setting does not seem to exist. Some authors tend to equate risk with the uncertainty or variability of potential outcomes. Sitkin and Pablo

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14 (1992), for example, suggested that risk is the extent to which there is uncertainty about whether potential significan t and/or disappointing outcom es of decisions will be realized (p. 10), while March and Shapira (1992) noted, in a similar definition, that riskiness is associated with lack of certa inty about the precise outcome of a choice and the variation in the probabi lity distribution (p. 172). Thes e definitions describe risk in terms of the variability and uncertainty in potential outcomes. Of note, this approach does not necessarily suggest that risk is th e potential for negative outcomes, only that outcomes are uncertain. Other scholars have defined risk as the potential for meaningful loss. MacCrimmon, Wehrung, and Sta nbury (1986), for example, remarked that, a risky situation is one in which the magnitude a nd chance of exposure to an outcome [may] make a person worse off than some reference status quo (p. 15). In a similar vein, Yates and Stone (1992) suggested that the risk constr uct is comprised of (a ) potential losses, (b) the significance of those losses, and (c) the uncertainty of t hose losses. In the views of MacCrimmon et al. (1986) and of Yates and Stone (1992), risky situa tions are those that involve some potential for meaningful loss. T hus, while risk is an important and broadly studied concept in the social sciences, there appears to be some ambiguity regarding the constructs definition. Whereas risk is a constr uct that is expected to capture the dangers and uncertainties of life (Mellers et al., 1998), no single, objective defi nition of risk exists (Slovic, 1987). In the economics literature, there have been several attempts to explain the manner in which individuals approach decisions under uncertainty. Expected Utility Theory (EUT), the standard theory of individual choice in economics, is perhaps the most

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15 popular (Starmer, 2000: p. 332) First proposed by Daniel Bernoulli (1738/1954), expected utility theory asserts that indi viduals place subjective values on monetary outcomes (i.e., utilities). The value of any part icular gamble, therefore, is the expectation of these utilities (Starmer, 2000). The theory states that decision makers choose among risky alternatives by compari ng their expected utility valu es. Beyond EUT, there exist a host of non-expected utilities models of ris ky decision making and choice (for a review, see Starmer, 2000). While Starmer (2000) classifi ed theories of risk behavior into two broad categories, descriptive and normative, Lopes (1987) instead reviewed the risk literature and placed theories of risk into three descriptive categories. First, Lopes described theories that explain differences between people who regularly take risk and those who do not (e.g., Achievement Motivation, Atkinson, 1957; McClelland, 1961). These theori es tend to emphasize individu al differences in risk preference and suggest that wi llingness to engage in risky behavior remains constant across situations. Second, Lope s described theories that explain differences between situations that promote risk taking and those that promote risk aversion (e.g., Prospect Theory, Kahneman & Tversky, 1979). These theories describe the contextual factors that facilitate risky decision-making, and assume that people of all dispositions will engage in risk when the situation is right Finally, there are theories th at explain why certain people take risks in certain situa tions. Aspiration-level theory (Lopes, 1987), for example, evaluates how dispositional and situational factors interact to produce complex patterns of risk behavior. As Lopes (1987) remark ed, risk-averse choices and risk-seeking choices exist side-by-side in the same individuals behavior (p. 275).

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16 Each approach to understanding risk beha vior tends to have its own set of assumptions regarding the decision-maker, and each proposes a unique role for emotional, situational, and i ndividual factors. For example, very early observations of human decision-making (e.g., Bernoulli) tended to emphasize the utility of expected outcomes. That is, Bernoulli proposed a theo ry in which individuals place subjective values on potential outcomes, the subjective evaluation being regarded as the outcomes utility. These and other economic models emphasize rational thinking among decisionmakers. Modern approaches to decision-maki ng, on the other hand, have relaxed the hard assumptions of rationality among decision-make rs and have begun to recognize the hot affective influences on risky decision-m aking alongside cold cognitive processes (Brown & Lord, 2001). The Economic Approach to Risk Behavior In the social sciences, risk-taking an d risky decision-making have been most thoroughly covered in the economics literat ure (Lopes, 1987). Most approaches to understanding decision-making under risk uncer tainty depend on economic models rife with assumptions about the rationality of the decision-maker and the process by which decision-makers evaluate a set of potential alternatives. In an economics approach, the stereotype is an individual who could forgo the influence of emotion and intuition during the decision process and rely strictly on an objective ev aluation of the information presented. Decision theories presented in ec onomics tend to rely on the rational choice model, which suggested that a single correct answer existe d for every decision scenario (Mellers et al., 1998). Unfortunately, many of th ese early approaches failed to account for choices that were inconsistent with ra tional evaluation of expected outcomes.

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17 Worth noting, economic approaches to unde rstanding decision-making under risk rely heavily on cognitive explanations (Melle rs et al., 1998). That is, models of riskseeking and decision-making under uncertainty ma ke assumptions about the rationality of decision-makers and the manner in which co mplex decision scenarios are categorized, simplified, and deliberated. Decision models that emerged from early studies assumed that decision-makers have access to and use of full information on the possible alternatives, and make careful decision s based on objective evaluations of that information. With the expectation that deci sion makers utilize stri ctly rational decision processes, many early models ignored the emotion that decision-makers experience during the decision process or the emotional reactions that decision makers experience after outcomes are revealed. Only recently have more flexible models emerged that relax traditional assumptions (e.g., complete information, rationality) regarding the decision process (e.g., Isen, 1984a; 1984b). Beyond the above stated assumptions, the economics literature also assumes that decision makers are risk averse and rely on diminishing marginal utilities to justify choice (Larrick, 1993; Laughhunn et al., 1980). That said, expected utility models, which are at the heart of the economic approach to decision-making, fail to explain why people simultaneously engage in risk averse behavi or (buying life insurance) and risk seeking behavior (buying a lottery tic ket) (Wu, Zhang, & Gonzalez, 2004). Furthermore, models that assume rational thinking among decision make rs fail to explain variation in expected outcomes or deviations from a single, correct choice. The expected utility approach, in a sense, makes unreasonable assumptions about ho w most people engage in evaluations of risk, ignoring irrational and impulsive reac tions to environmental cues. Slovic (1987)

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18 remarked, whereas technologically sophisti cated analysts employ risk assessment to evaluate hazards, the majority of citizen s rely on intuitive ri sk judgments (p. 280). Individual Differences in Risk Behavior Authors in the risk and decision-making li terature tend to disagree on whether or not preference for risk behavior is a stable individual differe nce. On the one hand, Sitkin and Pablo (1992) developed a model of the ante cedents of risk beha vior and identified three individual characteristics that influence risk related decision-making: risk preference a stable preference for risky situations, risk perceptions a decisionmakers assessment of the riskiness in a situation, and risk propensity an individuals tendency to engage in risky behavior. These three characteristics are proposed to be stable individual differences that pred ict risk behavior across context. In support of risk propensity as a stable individual differen ce, one recent study reported differences in risk preference be tween entrepreneurs and corporate managers (Stewart & Roth, 2001). In part icular, Stewart and Roth (2001) argued that entrepreneurs tend to report, on average, highe r levels of risk propensity than corporate managers. In their meta-analytic review of 14 studies on risk propensity, the authors reported a corrected effect size of d =.36 (.30, .44), suggesting that en trepreneurs displayed a higher level of risk-seeking behavior across decisi on task than did corporate managers. In addition, there appear to be risk seeking differences by other st able characteristics including gender (Byrnes, Mi ller, & Schafer, 1999) and ag e (Sitkin & Pablo, 1992). In a meta-analysis of 150 studies on risk behavi or, Byrnes et al. (1999) examined the difference in risk behavior between men a nd women and reported a positive mean effect size ( d= .13, p<.05), suggesting that men tended to e xhibit slightly more risky behavior

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19 than women Studies of this kind relied on the noti on that decisions to engage in risky behavior do not rely exclusivel y on rational assessments of a gi ven set of alternatives, but also on stable individual predispositions towards risk (Bromiley & Curley, 1992). However, despite reported differences between men and women and between entrepreneurs and managers in terms of ri sk preference, the differences reported by Bromiley and Curley (1992) and by Byrnes et al. (1999) were mode rated by factors that shaped the working context. For example, the difference between men and women was significant when participants in a study were faced with a choice dilemma (men tended to exhibit more risk), but men and women tended to display equal levels of risk in studies that manipulated the frame of a decision out come (a gain or loss). Thus, despite the expectation that preference for risk remains stable across cont ext, it may be unlikely that risk propensity is the same in every situation. As MacCrimmon and Wehrung (1985) noted, the person who takes business risks ma y avoid risks in personal decisions (p. 3). That is, a persons willingness to take ri sk depends on contextual factors that shape the environment in which a decision is made (Miller & Chen, 2004). Whereas Bromiley and Curley (1992) argued that risky decisions depend on i ndividual predispositions to engage in risky behavior, d ecision-makers use information about the situation when choosing among risky alternatives. In that vein, risk behavior has ofte n been explained as a function of characteristics that shape the context within which decision-makers work. Contextual Influences on Risk Behavior In consideration of the possible contextual factors that influence decision-making under risk, a number of studies have emphasized the role of reference points or target performance levels in the ev aluation of risky alternatives (Fiegenbaum & Thomas, 1988;

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20 March & Shapira, 1992). These st udies tended to highlight the role of contextual factors and asserted a motivational com ponent to risky decision making As Heath, Larrick, and Wu (1999) noted, the traditional literature in economics assumed that risk aversion is the norm, but the decision literature has de monstrated that risk attitudes change depending on whether people are above or be low a reference point (p. 93). This idea was extended to organization-level refere nce points when Miller and Chen (2004) concluded that a managers preference for risk was shaped by the organizations current level of performance relative to expectati ons. These studies highlight the role of information provided by aspirati on levels or previous perfor mance levels in explaining risky behavior among manage rial decision-makers. The nature and availability of organizational resources al so appears to influence a managers willingness to take risk. Managers tend to consider the importance and concentration of resources in the risk-related decision proces s. March and Shapira (1992), for example, found that managers with slack organizational resources were willing to put those resources at risk, wh ile those same managers we re more willing to risk organizational resources than their own pers onal resources. Samuelson and Zeckhauser (1988) found that managers were more willi ng to risk newly acquired resources than resources that had been held for a long time, a result that was similar to what Thaler and Johnson (1990) labeled the house money eff ect. That is, in a laboratory study of students placing bets, Thaler and Johnson found that gamblers were more willing to risk money won from the house in early bets th an their own money. Taken together, these studies indicate that ri sk preferences depend in part on the nature of the resources at risk.

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21 In sum, risk taking behavior in organizat ions is a complex matter. There do appear to be some individual differences that shape risk preference. Adolescents and young adults, for example, tend to be exhibit more risky behavior than do senior citizens (Sitkin & Pablo, 1992). However, risk taking behavior in organizations may best be explained as a function of individual differences and soci al constructions of in formation provided in the working context (e.g., leadership). Framing and Issue Interpretation In the previous section, I in troduced some of the most prevalent research in the social sciences on risk behavior. Norma tive economic models laid the groundwork for early understanding of risk, but whereas th ese models assume rational thinking among decision makers, several studies revealed that individuals regularly and systematically make choices that violate traditional assumptions. For example, early economic models of decision-making under risk, including e xpected utility theory (Bernoulli, 1738/1954; von Neumann & Morgenstern, 1953), assumed that decision makers had access to complete information regarding the decision. These models further assumed that decision makers use fully rational thinking patterns dur ing the decision process such that decision makers rely strictly on information content when making choice and ignored the manner in which information was delivered. In a ddition, many conventional theories assume further that preferences are in dependent of the methods used to elicit them (procedural invariance) and that preferences do not de pend on how probability distributions are described (description invari ance) (Starmer, 2000). Assumpti ons of this kind, however, have been ardently disputed (Kahenman & Tversky, 1979). In the risk and decision literature, a se ries of classic studies by Kahneman and Tversky (1979; 1986) questioned assumptions of the economic approach and revealed

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22 weaknesses in expected utility theory. De spite the suggestion th at rational decision makers disregard the manner in which deci sion information is pr esented, Kahneman and Tversky (1979) observed that preferences for risk reversed with modifications to how a decision problem was introduced. In a study that introduced the Asian disease crisis to student decision makers (Tversky & Ka hneman, 1981), the authors noted that, inconsequential changes in the formula tion of choice problems caused significant shifts in preference (p. 457) The implication, of course, wa s that preferences depended not only on rational evaluation of information content, but also on perceived value of outcomes based in part on how the information is presented. Tversky and Kahneman (1981) called the obs erved shift in risk preference a framing effect, which occurs when decisions ch ange with minor adjustments in how decisions are introduced. As Khberger (1998) noted, framing [is] the fact that simple and unspectacular changes in the wording of decision problems can lead to preference reversals (p. 24). In a sense, framing invol ves making things l ook better or worse by making some aspects of the situation more salient than other aspects (Slattery & Ganster, 2002: p. 90), so that decision c hoices can be influenced by both content and delivery. The most influential series of experi ments conducted by Kahneman and Tversky (1979) involved a variation of the Asian di sease problem. The authors manipulated the framing of the decision problem as either a ga in or loss relative to the status quo. In one such study, Tversky and Kahneman (1981) pres ented their subjects with the following problem (p. 453): Problem 1:

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23 Imagine that the U.S. is preparing for the outbreak of an unusual Asian disease, which is expected to kill 60 0 people. Two alternative programs to combat the disease have been propose d. Assume that the exact scientific estimates of the consequences of the programs are as follows: If Program A is adopted, 200 people will be saved. If Program B is adopted, there is 1/ 3 probability that 600 people will be saved as 2/3 probability that no people will be saved. Which of the programs would you favor? Results of this particular problem i ndicated that a majority of respondents preferred saving 200 lives for sure (72%) (the risk averse choice) rather than a 1/3 probability of saving all 600 lives (28%). Thus, when the problem was framed as a gain (e.g., lives saved), study pa rticipants were risk averse. Tversky and Kahneman (1981) then test ed a loss frame condition with the following problem: Now consider this problem with a sli ghtly different verbal description of the outcomes: Problem 2: If Program C is adopted, 400 people will die. If Program D is adopted, there is 1/3 probability that nobody will die and 2/3 probability that 600 people will die. Which of the two programs would you favor? As the authors noted in summaries of their research, options C and D are equivalent to options A and B respec tively. When presented with Problem 2,

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24 however, a majority of respondents (78%) preferred Program D (the risk-seeking choice) to Program C (the risk-avers e choice). Tversky and Kahneman (1981) noted that when the decision problem wa s framed as a potential loss (i.e., lives lost), decision makers tended to prefer the risky alternative. Results of this and other similar stud ies (e.g., Tversky & Kahneman, 1974; 1981; 1986) served as the platform for prospect theory which suggested that decision preferences change with mild manipulations of the decision frame. According to prospect theory, individuals could be both risk seeking and risk av erse depending on how language in the decision problem is introduced. At the he art of prospect theory is the notion that decision makers, in general, tend to be risk averse in a gain frame, and risk seeking in a loss frame. That is, decision makers evalua te outcomes in comparison to a reference point, which shifts with changes in the phrasing of the problem (Khberger, 1995). Prospect theory has garnered favor am ong economists and psychologists alike, and the predictions of prospect theory have been replicated in a number of studies (Bazerman, 1984). In a recent meta-analysis of 136 studi es of the framing effect, for example, Khberger (1998) reported support, in genera l, for the assertions contained within prospect theory. As Khberger (1998) ultimately concluded, a framing effect, though moderate, does exist across rese arch designs in that emphasi s on the positive aspects of a problem (i.e., gain frame) leads to risk av ersion, while emphasis on the negative aspects (i.e., loss frame) encourages risk-seeking be havior. Khberger did note the roles of problem characteristics and response styl e in moderating the framing effect, but concluded that the main tenet of prospect theory was confirmed. In addition, basic premises of prospect theory have been ex tended and supported at the organizational-level

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25 of analysis in a study by Fiegenbaum a nd Thomas (1988), who noted that firms performing below target levels tended to impl ement risk seeking orga nizational strategies while firms above target level tended to choos e strategies that were more conservative (i.e., risk averse). Until recently, propositions contained within prospect theory were not disputed. Several recent studies of framing on ris ky decision-making, however, have yielded results that are directly o pposite to the predictions of Kahneman and Tversky (1979). Hollenbeck, Ilgen, Phillips, & Hedlund (1994), fo r example, tested the impact of framing on willingness to take risk and reported effects that were contrary to prospect theory predictions. In a lab study that manipulated framing, goal setting, and past performance level, Hollenbeck et al. (1994) found no dire ct effect of frami ng on risky choice, and suggested that observed intera ctions among framing and goal se tting were contrary to the main assertions of prospect theory. In a ddition, von Schie and vander Pligt (1995) argued that emphasis on positive features of a deci sion problem encouraged risk-seeking while emphasis on negative features encouraged ri sk aversion. Further, Highhouse and Yuce (1996), using Kahneman and Tverskys (1979) manipulation of the Asian disease problem, were able to distinguish gain a nd loss frames from perc eived opportunities and threats. Highhouse and Yuce (1996) argued that decision-makers in the lives saved frame regarded the risk averse choice as an opportunity, and the risk seeking choice as a threat. It was the decision-makers perception of opportunity or threat that shaped risk behavior, results that conflicted with assertions of prospect theory. Prospect theory has been a popular appr oach to understand ing choice under uncertainty and as Wu et al (2004) noted, Kahneman and Tv erskys (1979) influential

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26 article was the second most cited paper in economics during the period 1975 2000. That said, prospect theory has not closed th e book on decision making under uncertainty as enhancements to the prospect theory approach have been introduced and tested in the last two decades. Modern approaches, for example, now take fluctuating reference points, cognitive heuristics, and huma n emotion into consideration. Recent advancements have attempted to bridge the gap between economic and psychological expl anations of choice, and research on risk behavior following the su ccess of prospect theo ry has addressed the concerns of both economists and psychologi sts (Wu et al., 2004). Whereas economists longed for simple, parsimonious, and mathema tically sound predictions of risky choice, psychologists sought explanations of underlying evaluation processes. In modern studies of risk, researchers examine the role of e xperienced emotion in the decision process (e.g., Isen, 1987), the social construction of environmental cues (e.g., Ginsberg & Venkatraman, 1992; Mittal & Ross, 1998), and the interac tion of framing and task characteristics (Mano, 1994). In the current set of studie s, the roles of leadership and cognitive processes among followers are of particular interest. Indeed, issue interpretation and subsequent cognitive processing is of critical importance in the formation of judgments about decision problems. As Tversky and Kahneman noted (1981), when faced with a complex problem, people employ a variety of heuristic procedures to simplify the representation and evaluation of prospects (p. 317). That is an individuals eval uation of alternative choices may be shaped by the social constr uction of information provided in the work context. As such, I describe, in the following sections, two studies that were designed to

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27 estimate the influence of transformati onal leadership on cognitive patterns among followers, including their willingness to engage in risky behavior. Throughout the remained of this paper, I rely on definitions contained within traditional behavioral decision theory, in whic h the term risk is synonymous with and used interchangeably with the term uncertainty . Decision makers are said to be as risk averse if they prefer a sure thing to an option whose outco me is uncertain (i.e., a risky option) (Highhouse & Yce, 1996: p. 159), or as Sitkin and Pablo (1992) noted, risk is the extent to which there is uncertainty about whether potentially significant and/or disappointing outcomes of decisions will be realized (p. 10).

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28 CHAPTER 3 STUDY ONE: TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADERSHIP AND RISK Most examinations of decision-making under risk or uncertainty have noted that aspects of the decision context have an im portant and significant influence on risk preference and choice. Whereas several aut hors have explored risk preferences as having a dispositional source (e.g., Judge, Thoresen, Pucik, & Welbourne, 1999), factors that shape the working context and specific decision problems have an important influence on judgment and choice. The perceived level of organizational support for innovation (Sitkin & Pablo, 1992), for example, is regarded as a critical factor in risk preference, as is the perfor mance level of an orga nization relative to its aspiration level (Mille r & Chen, 2004). Indeed, a critical conclusion of the research conducted by Kahneman and Tversky (1979) was that preferences for risk change with relatively minor adjustments in the way outcomes are described (i.e., framing). Beyond framing, a number of other indi vidual and organizational aspects influence evaluation of risk and subsequent risk behavior. For example, managers tend to be risk seeking with newly acquired resources (Thaler & Johnson, 1990), when they are familiar with the decision problem (Slovi c, 1987), when they have had success on similar decisions problems in the past (Osborn & Jackson, 1988), and when slack resources are readily available (March & Sh apira, 1992). Thus, social and contextual factors that shape the decision scenario play an important role in the formulation of risk perceptions and subsequent reactions to risky scenarios (March & Shapira, 1987).

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29 Central in the observation th at framing and other cont extual factors influence choice under uncertainty is the recognition that decision-makers regularly violate traditional, economic assumptions regarding risk-oriented decisions (Mellers et al., 1998). Among the many contextual factors that shape risk pr eference, leader behaviors could be among the most influentia l (MacCrimmon, Wehrung, & Stanbury, 1986). Leaders are central elements in the work context and have a profound effect on how aspects of work are evaluated. Followers re ly on informational cues provided by the leader when making judgments about job char acteristics and work assignments (Ferris, 1983; Levinson, 1965; Piccolo & Colquitt, in press), and employees regularly look to their supervisors for guidance regarding acceptable behavior in the workplace, organizational preferences for innovation, a nd leader support for risk taking. Drawing on a social information processing perspe ctive (Salancik & Pfeffer, 1978), workoriented judgments depend not only on tangible characteris tics of the task and work environment, but also on social constructions of information available to workers when judgments are made, including the overt a nd implied preferences of the leader. The notion that judgments regarding work problems rely on interpretations of information in the working context is partic ularly relevant to th e relationship between leadership and risk behavior. Shamir et al (1993) suggested that leaders who exhibit transformational behaviors are able to infl uence the manner in which followers judge the work environment by using verbal pe rsuasion, by communicating the value of a clear mission, and by connecting followers to hi gher-order values (collective goals, for example). These ideas are similar to thos e proposed by Ferris and Rowland (1981), who argued that leadership effects are realized in part, through follower perceptions of job

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30 characteristics. Transformational behaviors, su ch as intellectual stimulation, are related to perceptions of job autonomy, which places control for task engagement in the hands of the employee. That is, when a leader offers an employee some control over organizational decisions, the employee rega rds their job as having more autonomy, which can translated to risk taking beha vior among managers (Liverant & Scodel, 1960; March & Shapira, 1987). Beyond job characteristics, effective leader s are capable of shaping the manner in which followers perceive aspects and lik ely outcomes of orga nizational problems. Effective leaders can make decision scen arios look better (or worse) by emphasizing certain aspects of the situation more than other aspects (Slattery & Ganster, 2002; Smircich & Morgan, 1982), and can make sa lient the reward aspect of the riskreward evaluation associated with decision-making under uncertainty. Transformational leaders have the ability to crystallize the organizations mission and direct attention among followers to the most critical features of the current assignment. As Bass ( 1985 ) noted, transformational leader s attempt and succeed in raising colleagues, subordinates, followers, clients or constituencies to a greater awareness about the issues of consequence (p. 17). Tr ansformational leaders encourage change in the status quo and heighten sensitivit y to opportunities in the environment ( Conger & Kanungo, 1994 ), and as Highhouse and Yuce (2002) noted, emphasizing opportunities [has] the effect of highlighting the positive outcomes associated with risk taking (p. 161). In addition, leaders can influence foll ower preferences in the work place by providing a model of the kind of behavior that is expected from followers ( Levinson,

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31 1965 ). This may be especially true for a leaders influence on followers risk preferences, which is often shaped by the leaders orientation towards risk (Sitkin & Pablo, 1992) and the leaders support for innovation (Howe ll & Avolio, 1993). Transformational leaders, in particular, tend to exhibit behaviors that are regarded as bold and courageous (idealized influence), a nd charismatic leaders engage in behaviors that subordinates interpret as invol ving great personal risk (Conger and Kanungo, 1994 ). These types of leaders, by example, indi cate to followers that risk-taking is an activity worth emulating, and when making judgments about risk, followers tend to look at the behavior and preference s for risk displayed by leaders. Further, transformational leaders stimul ate followers to seek alternative and innovative solutions to organi zational problems (intellectual stimulation), and in doing so, followers may develop and ultimately c hoose more risky solutions. Leaders who use persuasive language draw on symbolism and ideology to inspire action (inspirational motivation) such that followers feel empowered and willing to act on behalf of the leader. Followers feel a sense of empowerm ent about their work (Thomas & Velthouse, 1990) which encourages innova tion and risk taking beha vior (Sitkin & Pablo, 1992). Lastly, by connecting followers to the or ganizations mission and by emphasizing each participants contribution to organizationa l objectives (inspirational motivation), the transformational leader motivates followers to assume more risk. Effective leaders tend to arouse positive attitudes and positive emotions from followers, which are often associated with risk-seeking behavior. That is, transformational leaders have the potential facilitate a desire for achievement of extraordinary results (Bass, 1985), a positiv e self-concept (Lord & Brown, 2001; Lord,

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32 Brown, & Freiberg, 1999), a nd situationally-induced se lf-esteem (Cohen & Sheposh, 1977). Each of these attitudes has been identifi ed as a predictor of innovative and riskseeking behavior (Cohen & Sheposh, 1977; Sorrentino et al., 1997). Further, transformational leaders have the ability to arouse positive emotions among followers ( McColl-Kennedy, 2002 ), and high levels of arousal tend to facilitate risk-seeking behavior ( Mano, 1991 ). Consistent with the inspirational motivati on aspect of transfor mational leadership theory, transformational leaders tend to speak optimistically about the organization and articulate a clear and compelling vision fo r future success. These leaders emphasize positive expected results of organizati onal effort and by doing so, reduce the uncertainty and perceived variability of future outcomes. Hollenbeck et al. ( 1994 ) argued that decision alternatives depend not only on past performance levels or on gain/loss framing of potential outcomes, but on th e specificity of future aspirations (i.e., goals and vision). Transformational leaders ar e able to convince followers to buy-in to their vision, even if the objectives seem extraordinary and the outcomes uncertain. As Flynn and Staw ( 2004 ) remarked, Charismatic leaders often ask followers to accept their vision of the future, based more on faith in the leader than upon th e critical analysis, their communications may influence followers willingness to engage in risky behavior. The charismatic leader may lead followers to frame investment decisions in a less skeptical manner, resulting in a greater acc eptance of risk, not only in regard to the leaders own organizati on but relative to other i nvestment opportunities as well. (p. 313) It is therefore likely that transf ormational leaders will have a positive influence on followers willingness to take risk. Hypothesis 1 : Followers of transformational leaders will be more willing to take risk than followers of non-transformational leaders.

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33 In the explanation of risky choice am ong decision-makers, researchers have attempted to examine preference for risk as a stable, individual trait (e.g., MacCrimmon & Wehrung, 1990; Williams & Narendan, 1999). Similar to other enduring personality traits (e.g., extraversion), a dispositional preference for risk is proposed to shape attitudes and risk seeking be havior across situations. Risk -averse decision-makers, for example, avoid taking chances in business a nd in their personal lives, and prefer outcome alternatives with known probabilities to those that are variable. Trait measures of risk aversion are associated with ac hievement motivation (Atkinson, 1957), an orientation towards safety (Lopes, 1994), reports of unhappiness in situations that involve risk (Maehr & Videbeck, 1968), and negative views of risk-oriented assignments (Cable & Judge, 1994). In their model of the antecedents of risk-seeking behavior, Williams and Narendon (1999) cons idered culture, locus of control, and gender as predictors of risk propensity and choice, and though modest, Stewart and Roth (2001) reported a difference in risk preference among entrepre neurs and corporate managers. Thus, despite the strong influence of situational factor s, there is some evidence for a dispositional source of risk preference. That said, while risky choice may have a dispositional source, leaders have the potential to move followers beyond existi ng personal preferences for the sake of organizational objectives. Sitkin and Pablo ( 1992) argued that decision makers maintain inertia in response to risky d ecision scenarios, such that individuals often prefer to maintain the status quo and th e routine nature of organi zational response. However, transformational leaders may be especially effective in shaping personal preferences regarding uncertainty and risk, and in encouraging behavior that is inconsistent with

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34 personal preferences. Indeed, a central asserti on of transformational leadership theory is that effects are realized by a fundamental change among followers, such that follower preferences and motives are transformed, ra ised from individualto group-oriented, or from focused on the self to focused on in terests that are best for the organization (Bass, 1985). In general, transformational leaders emphasize the need for individual and organizational activ ity that is beyond the existing status quo. Using inspirational motivation, for example, transformational leaders convince followers to pursue the organizations mi ssion over their own personal agendas. As Bass and Avolio ( 1997 ) noted, Transformational leader ship is seen when leaders [generate] awareness of the mission or vision of the organization and motivate [followers] to look beyond their own interests towards those that wi ll benefit the group (p. 2). In this way, personal preferences among followers of transformational leaders are often suppressed for the sake of the organization. In addition, transformationa l leaders encourage followe rs to align individual interests with those of the organization. Indeed, followers of transformational leaders tend to regard the organizations goals (Jung & Avolio, 2000) and the organizations values (Bono & Judge, 2003) as consistent w ith their own, and come to behave in ways that express congruence with organizati onal norms. Thus, effective leaders shape follower beliefs and subsequent behaviors. As transformational leaders encourage followers to forgo personal preferences for the sake of the organization, I hypothesized: Hypothesis 2 : Transformational leadership wi ll predict risky choice beyond a trait measure of risk aversion.

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35 Method Manipulation of Transformational Leadership A number of studies have manipulated tr ansformational leadersh ip in a laboratory setting. Among other things, these studies ha ve attempted to isol ate the impact of leadership on follower reactions (e.g., Brown & Lord, 1999 ), to identify the psychological and affective responses that underlie leadership effects (e.g., McCollKennedy & Anderson, 2002; Kirkpatrick & Locke, 1996 ), and to examine the conditions under which leadership has its effect (Shamir & Howell, 1999). In many cases, the recommendations of Bass and Avolio (1997) have been at the heart of the experimental manipulations (e.g., Jung & Avolio, 1998, 2000; Sosik, 1997; Sosik, Avolio, Kahai, & Jung, 1998). According to Ba ss and Avolio, willing participants can learn to execute behaviors that characterize the transformational leadership pattern. In their plan for leadership development, Ba ss and Avolio described a set of specific behaviors and verbal benchmarks that characterize transformational leadership. In studies that have relied on the Bass and Avolio (1997) program, manipulations of high transformational leadership have (1) emphasized the importance of the task and its broad contribution to th e organizations goals (Jung & Avolio, 1998), (2) presented a high level of expectation to inspire performance (Jung & Avolio, 1998), (3) stressed the importance of questioning assumptions (S osik, 1997), (4) encouraged originality (Sosik, 1997), (5) expressed c onfidence in the group and its individual members (Sosik et al., 1998), (6) suggested new and creat ive methods to analyze problems (Jung & Avolio, 2000), and (7) stressed the importance of questioning assumptions (Sosik et al., 1997). These behaviors are consistent with mani pulations of charismatic leadership that not only emphasize verbal persuasion, such as articulating an ideological goal (Shea &

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36 Howell, 1999), but also non-verbal charisma tic behaviors such as the use of hand gestures and a captivating voice to ne (Kirkpatrick & Locke, 1996). In each of the experimental studies described above, a high transformational leadership script is presented in contrast to low transformational leadership. The low transformational conditions tend to empha size the economic payoff of a specific accomplishment (Sosik et al., 1998), the st eps that should be taken to accomplish desired outcomes (Jung & Avolio, 2000), a specific set of low level goals (Sosik et al., 1997), and the quantity of work to be acco mplished within a specified time period (Shea & Howell, 1999). In addition, the low transformational leader tends to be neutral towards the task and participants, and relies less on language that refers to history, tradition, and a set of collective values. In the current set of studies, original scripts were written for each condition, based on the recommendations of Bass and Avolio (1997) and on examples presented in previously published articles In particular, the leaders high transformational address to student participants was meant to include content that is characteristic of the transformational pattern (clear and articul ate vision, positive outlook for the future, emphasis on collective set of objectives, reference to higher-o rder values) and nonverbal communication that is typical of a charismatic leader (use of hand gestures, active engagement with audience during the presentation, animated facial expressions, a meaningful pattern of voice tone and in flection). The high and low transformational scripts are presented in Appendix A. Sample and Research Design Undergraduate students (54% male) enro lled in an upper-level management course at a southeastern uni versity participated in the research study. Students were

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37 offered one extra credit point for their part icipation and were randomly assigned to the experimental or control condi tion. Using original scripts a nd case studies, I manipulated transformational leadership (high transforma tional leadership vs. low transformational leadership) in a completely randomized be tween-subjects design. Fifty-four students were in the high transfor mational condition and 58 st udents were in the low transformational condition. Procedure Participants accessed a secure web site which contained the studys material. Each participant was asked to read a brief out line of the study and to complete a short questionnaire, including a tra it measure of risk aversion. Upon completing the survey, each participant was randomly directed to one of two separate web sites, which contained the video files for the manipulation of transformational lead ership. In each of the two videos, a trained actor portrayed a research coordi nator at the University of Florida, described the business schools cu rrent research program, and introduced two assignments in which students could participat e. The actor was male, in his early 30s, and was trained to portray behaviors characte ristic of the high and low transformational style in a manner that is consistent w ith previous experimental studies of transformational leadership theory. In the experimental condition, the resear ch coordinator used transformational language and charismatic speech consistent with the recommendations of Bass and Avolio (1997). The speech included imagery, collective goals, and an optimistic outlook for future success. Manipulation of lead ership in this manner is consistent with other laboratory studies of transformationa l leadership (e.g., Kirkpatrick & Locke, 1996). In the control condition, the coordinato r utilized less transformational behavior,

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38 with little use of charis matic language or expressive non-verbal communication, and with more attention to the specific processe s and intermediate activities necessary for accomplishment of individual goals. Immediately after watching the video, part icipants were asked to choose between an assignment with clearly defined objectiv es, time demands, and responsibilities, and an assignment in which time demands and responsibilities were uncertain. After making this choice, students completed additional survey items and submitted their responses to a secure database. Measures Transformational leadership The four dimensions of transformational leadership were measured with items from the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ; Bass & Avolio, 1995). The MLQ was developed and empirically validated to reflect dimensions of transformational leader ship and has been used in over 75 studies across a variety of settings (L owe et al., 1996). Participants we re asked to indicate on a 5-point Likert scale (1=Not at all, 5=Frequently, if not always) the frequency with which the project coordinator exhibited the set of leadership behaviors. Four items were used to measure intellectual stimul ation (e.g., My supervisorseeks differing perspectives when solving problems), in spirational motivation (e.g., articulates a compelling vision of the future), and indivi dualized considerati on, (e.g., treats me as an individual rather than just a memb er of a group). Eight items were used to measure idealized influence (e.g., instills pride in me for being associated with him/her and talks about his/her most im portant values and beliefs). The measure of transformational leadership is presented in Appendix D.

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39 Risk aversion Risk aversion was measured with the 8-item scale developed by Cable and Judge (1994). Participants were as ked to indicate on a 5-point Likert scale (1=strongly disagree, 5=strongl y agree), the extent to which they agreed with statements such as, I am a cautious person w ho generally avoids risks, I view risk of a job as a situation to be avoi ded at all costs, I always pl ay it safe, even if it means occasionally losing out on a good opportunity, and People must take risks in their careers to be successful (reverse coded). The measure of risk aversion is presented in Appendix E. Risky choice Each participant was asked to c hoose between one of two possible extra credit assignments. One of the assignments (Project 1) had very little uncertainty, in that the time requirements, tasks, sett ing, location, and expectations were clearly described by the project c oordinator. The other assignment was described in more vague terms, with ambiguity regarding the expectations for participation. The coordinator explained, for example, In Project 2, the tasks vary from student to student and there are no standard time limits for your participation you could be finished in 15 minutes, or be given a task that demands nearly two hour s. [This] assignment could be a lot of fun, with excitement and mystery, but, it could also be long and quite embarrassing. Immediately af ter watching the video, partic ipants made their choice, which was coded as a dichotomous variable (0=Project 1: non-ri sky choice, 1=Project 2: risky choice). Perceived risk To evaluate the quality of th e experimental material, I asked participants to describe the extent to which they perceived risk and uncertainty in each of the project choices. Using a 5-point Like rt scale (1=strongly disagree, 5=strongly

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40 agree), participants indicated the extent to which they agreed w ith three statements about each project, Project 1 [Project 2] is risky, The expectations for Project 1 [Project 2] are uncertain, and The re quirements for Project 1 [Project 2] are unknown. Lastly, I recorded each participants gender (0=female, 1=male). Analysis Logistic regression was used to asse ss the hierarchical (multivariate) contribution of leadership and risk aversion as predictors of risky choice. Logistic regression is the appropriat e method of analysis when the dependent variable is dichotomous, such as the risky choice variab le used in this stu dy (Agresti & Finlay 1997). Unlike ordinary least squares regres sion, logistic regression does not assume linearity between the independent and dependent variables, nor does logistic regression require that the variables be normally distributed. Results To determine whether participants corre ctly perceived the intended manipulation of transformational leadersh ip, post-experimental manipul ation checks were conducted. A series of independent samples t -tests were computed for each dimension of transformational leadership. As expected, there were highly signi ficant differences between the high and low leader ship groups in their respectiv e assessments of idealized influence (mHIGH=3.60, SDHIGH=0.57; mLOW= 2.70, SDLOW=0.64; t =7.84, p <.05), inspirational motivation (mHIGH=4.37, SDHIGH=0.71; mLOW=2.81, SDLOW=0.79; t =10.97, p <.05), individualized consideration (mHIGH=2.89, SDHIGH=0.82; mLOW=2.10, SDLOW=0.92; t =4.79, p <.05), and intellect ual stimulation (mHIGH=3.32, SDHIGH=0.81; mLOW=2.83, SDLOW=0.86; t =3.11, p <.05). These results indicate that participants in the

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41 experimental, high transformational group perc eived their leader as having exhibited more behaviors consistent with the transfor mational pattern than those in the control, low transformational group. Prior to evaluating the relationship betw een leadership and risk, I conducted a series of paired sample t -tests to estimate participan ts perception of risk and uncertainty in each project. If Project 2 item mean scores on the perceived risk scale are significantly higher than item m ean scores for Project 1, then Project 2 is regarded by participants as more risky and more un certain. Consistent with expectations, participants regarded Proj ect 2 as more risky (m RISK, PROJECT2=4.18, SD RISK, PROJECT2=0.93; m RISK, PROJECT1=1.62, SD RISK, PROJECT1=0.95; t =17.67, p <.05), as having more uncertain expectations (m UNCERTAINTY, PROJECT2=4.38, SD UNCERTAINTY, PROJECT2=0.81; m UNCERTAINTY, PROJECT1=1.80, SD UNCERTAINTY, PROJECT1=1.02; t =17.53, p <.05), and with having more unknown requirements (m UNCERTAINTY, PROJECT2=4.38, SD UNCERTAINTY, PROJECT2=0.93; m UNCERTAINTY, PROJECT1=2.08, SD UNCERTAINTY, PROJECT1=1.25; t =12.75, p <.05) than Project 1. Knowing that participants regarded Project 2 as the risky opti on, I continued with my anal ysis of transformational leadership and risky choice. Scale means, standard deviations, scale reliabilities, and corr elations among the variables are presented in Table 3-1. Whereas previous studies suggested that men tend to be more risk seeking than women (Byrnes et al., 1999; Dunegan & Duchon, 1989), gender was not related to risky choice in the current study (r=.05, ns ). The trait measure of risk aversion was negatively related to ri sky choice, in that those who were risk averse tended to choose the less risky assi gnment. This relationship approached

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42 significance (r=-.17, p =.07). As expected, transformati onal leadership was positively related to risky choice (r=.23, p <.05) such that followers of the transforma tional project coordinator were more likely to choose th e uncertain assignment (Project 2) than followers of the non-transf ormational coordinator. Table 3-1. Scale Means, Re liabilities, and Intercor relations among Variables m SD 1 2 3 Transformational Leadership 3.06 .76 .91 Risk Aversion 2.52 .51 .71 -.01 Gendera .54 .51 .11 .01 Risky Choiceb 1.64 .48 .23* -.17 .05 Notes n =112. p <.05. a 1=male, 0=female. b 1=risky project, 0=safe project Table 3-2 and Figure 3-1 show the distri bution of project c hoices across the high and low transformational leadership groups. Of the 54 students who observed the high transformational project coordi nator, 13 (24%) chose the sa fe assignment (Project 1), while 41 (76%) made the risky choice (Proje ct 2). Of the 58 students who observed the non-transformational coordinato r, the choice among assignments was nearly split 27 chose Project 1 (47%), 31 chose Project 2 (5 3%). These results s uggest that followers of the transformational leader were more likely to choose the project with uncertain demands. To estimate the magnitude of the leadersh ip treatment effect on choice, I used logistic regression analysis with risky choice and lead ership as dependent and independent variables, respectively. Results are presented in Table 3-3. The deviance chisquare ( 2=6.26, p <.05) score indicates that a mode l containing the high versus low leadership predictor is significantly better than a model that c onsists of only the

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43 Table 3-2. Cross Classification of Leadership and Risky Choice Number of Choices Leadership Condition Proj ect 1 Project 2 Total High Transformational Leadership 13 41 54 Low Transformational Leadership 27 31 58 Total 40 72 intercept. The model correctly predicted pr oject choice in 64.3% of the observations, and the unstandardized logistic coeffici ent for leadership was significant (b=.59, p <.05), providing support for hypothesis 1. Those who observed a high transformational project coordinator were si gnificantly more likely to choose the risky 47% 24% 53% 76% 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% LOWHIGH Transformational LeadershipPercentage of Participants who made each choice Project 1 Project 2 Figure 3-1. Distribution of Project Choices across Leadership Condition assignment than those who observed a non-tran sformational coordinator. Further, the odds-ratio of high to low lead ership indicates that participants in the high transformational group were two and three quarters (2.75) time s more likely to choose the uncertain assignment than thos e in the non-transformational group.

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44 Table 3-3. Logistic Regression of Ris ky Choice on Transformational Leadership B SE Odds Ratio Intercept .14 .26 Leadership 1.01* .41 2.75 Notes : The deviance 2 of the model was 6.26, p < .05. The percentage of correct predictions for the model was 64.3%. To test hypothesis 2, I conducted a sec ond logistic regression analysis to determine if leadership accounted for vari ance in project choice beyond a trait measure of risk aversion. Risky choice was entered as the dependent variab le in a regression model with leadership and ri sk aversion as independent variables. The deviance chisquare statistic ( 2 = 9.19, p <.05) was significant and indicates that a model containing both leadership and risk aver sion is better than a model th at consists only of the intercept. The model correctly predicted part icipants project choi ce in 69.6% of the observations. In support of hypothesis 2, the unstandardized regression coefficient for leadership was significant (b=1.00, p <.05), suggesting that tran sformational leadership predicts risky choice beyond a stable measure of risk aversion. With leadership included in the model, the unstandardized re gression coefficient for risk aversion was non-significant (b=-.68, ns ). Discussion The primary purpose of the current study was to estimate a main effect of transformational leadership on risky choice among followers. Drawing on assertions of transformational leadership theory (Bass, 1985; Burns, 1978) and on models of risk behavior among managers (Sitkin & Pablo, 1992; Wakker, 2004), I expected followers of a transformational project coordinator to pursue an assignment with uncertain requirements over an assignment with predictable outcomes. Using an experimental

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45 manipulation of leadership and a personally relevant choice among pa rticipants, results of the study suggest that thos e who experience a high transf ormational leader are more likely to choose a risky assignment than those who experience a non-transformational leader. As hypothesized, there appears to be a positive main effect of transformational leadership on risk behavior. Results in the current study also suggest that transformational leadership predicts risky choice beyond a trait measure of risk aversion. Consistent with a fundamental premise of the transformational approach, follo wers of the transformational leader were willing to forgo personal preferences regardi ng risk in favor of recommendations made by the leader. This result is consistent with aspects of transformational leadership (Bass, 1985; 1999), and consistent with attemp ts to assert that risk behavior has a dispositional source (Judge et al., 1999; Williams & Narenden, 1999) In sum, transformational leadership predic ted risky choice among followers. There may exist several explanations for the observed relationship between leadership and risk. For one, the high tr ansformational leader may have motivated followers to assume personal risk in suppor t of stated organization goals. In this respect, risk behavior among followers is explained through motivational mechanisms. Indeed, transformational leadership is re lated to motivation and extra effort among followers (Judge & Piccolo, 2004), and motivation appears to be related to risk seeking behavior (Atkinson, 1957). Drawing on fundamental co ncepts in achievement motivation (McClelland, 1953), transformati onal leaders may encourage followers to pursue otherwise risky alternativ es in order to achieve desi rable organizational results.

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46 Second, transformational leaders tend to raise attention among followers from the self to the group. That is, followers of tr ansformational leaders learn to assume the objectives and values of the organizati on, and to share individual successes (and failures) with other members of the group (Sosik et al., 1997). By fostering a group context, in which group members share responsibility for both positive and negative outcomes, transformational leaders may re lieve some of the pressure otherwise associated with risk taking. Individual deci sion-making, particularly in a risky context, is protected by the character and culture of the group (Ilgen, Major, Hollenbeck, & Sego, 1995), and as Sitkin and Pablo (1992) not ed, group contexts tend to influence individuals to take more extreme positi ons with regard to risk (p. 13). It may also be possible that the high transformational leader influenced the manner in which followers perceived important aspects of the extra credit assignment. By stimulating followers to c onsider alternatives or to im agine innovative solutions to existing research problems (i ntellectual stimulation), the transformational leader may have enhanced perceptions of core ch aracteristics of each project. Indeed, transformational leadership appears to be rela ted to task perceptions along each of the 5 core job characteristics (Piccolo & Colqui tt, in press), and participants, perhaps, regarded the risky assignment as one of great significance, and one that required the use of diverse skills. As such, enhanced perceptions along key task characteristics influenced follower preferences for participation in the uncertain assignment. In addition, transformational leaders encourage cognitive flexibility among followers (intellectual stimulation), and subsequently influence their subjective estimates of success. Transformational leaders tend to make optimistic predictions for

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47 future outcomes, and articulate future aspi rations with clarity and conviction (Bass, 1985; Conger, 1989). In doing so, leaders direct attention to the positive aspects of organizational problems and make salient th e rewards associated with risky behavior. Lastly, an observed relationship between l eadership and risk behavior may result from the leaders influence on experienced emotions among followers. Leaders appear to have an influence on how followers expe rience emotion in the workplace (McCollKennedy & Anderson, 2002), and emotional experi ences are central in the evaluation of organizational problems (Ginsberg & Ve nkatraman, 1992; Mittal & Ross, 1998) and subsequent cognitive processing (Ise n, 1984a; 1984b; 1987). Indeed, there is a comprehensive literature on th e relationship between positive affect and risk behavior (for a review, see Isen, 1987), and so a positive affective state may explain why followers of transformational leaders assume risk. In addition, especially effective leaders may enhance the impact of emotiona l experiences on orga nizational behavior (Weiss & Cropanzano, 1996), further supporting the suggestion that affective states serve as an explanatory mechanism of leadership on risk behavior. Unlike previous approaches to examini ng risk-seeking behavior (e.g., Tversky & Kahneman, 1981; van Schie & van der Pligt, 1996), participants in the current study made a non-hypothetical, personally relevant choice. That is, student participants were asked to make a decision on how they woul d complete their extra credit assignments, and were expected to fulfill the expectations associated with their own decisions. As such, the experimental condition presente d in this study addresses a limitation of previous laboratory examinations of hypothetical decision making.

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48 Worth noting, the leadership manipulati ons in the current study were done by broadcasting digital recordings of the leader on a secure internet we bsite. Most previous laboratory examinations of charismatic or transformational leadership have been conducted with live confederates at experime ntal locations (e.g., Howell & Frost, 1989; Kirkpatrick & Locke, 1996). Despite the s uggestion that expressions of emotional appeal are not as easily recognized on vi deo (Harrigan, Wilson, & Rosenthal, 2004), the post hoc analyses suggest that aspects of the transformational approach can be manipulated successfully using a trained ac tor, a high quality digital recording, and broadband data transfer. In this respect, the current study provides a platform for future studies of leadership, charisma, and emoti on using video transfe rred over the internet. Further, the current study indicates, by re plicating the successf ul manipulations of emotional expression with video by Lewis (2000), that the relationships between leadership and emotion can be examined by using recorded l eadership behavior. While the current study provi des evidence of a relations hip between leadership and risky choice, and support for the noti on that contextual factors shape risk preference among decision-makers, the extent an d nature of a leaders effect remains unclear. In particular, the influence of prospect framing, a central element in the examination of decision making, has yet to be examined. The framing of decision scenarios as either a gain or loss certainl y has an important effect on how options are evaluated and how risk preferences are ul timately revealed (Khberger, 1998; Levin, Schneider, & Gaeth, 1998), but no study has spec ifically tested an interaction between leadership and framing. Considering the a ssertions of Kahneman and Tversky (1979), who showed that relatively minor adjust ments in the way problems are described

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49 enhance, suppress, or even reverse risk preferences, framing is central to the examination of risk behavior. Further, rele vant to the relationship between leadership and project framing, a gain (opportunity) or loss (threat) framing manipulation may provide important information about the orga nizational context, information that will have an influence on the emergence and effec tiveness of specific leadership behavior. In Study 2, I introduce problem framing in an experimental scenario and examine the interaction of leadership behavior and problem framing on risky choice among followers. I also extend the decision scenar io beyond student choice to one that involves managerial decision making.

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50 CHAPTER 4 STUDY TWO: LEADERSHIP AND FRAMING The results of study 1 confirmed a central assertion of transformational leadership theory by drawing a direct link between l eader behavior and an otherwise untested criterion, namely risk behavior among fo llowers. However, unlike other widely examined criterion variables, such as j ob satisfaction, motivation, or subordinate performance, the observed relationship between leadership and risk remains relatively unqualified. While study 1 provided evidence fo r a leadership effect on a student sample, it remains unclear whether or not this relationship will remain robust under different experimental conditions. As such, the purpose of study 2 is to evaluate the leadership risk link with the introduction of prospect framing, a central concept in the examination of decision making und er uncertainty and risk. As described previously, both experimental and meta-analytic evidence exists to suggest that transformational le adership is effective across organizational settings (Den Hartog et al., 1999; Judge & Piccolo, 2004; Lowe et al., 1996 ). That said, there are valuable arguments that imply the emergence and effectiveness of transformational leadership depends on factors that shape the organizations cont ext (Bass & Stogdill, 1990; Pawar & Eastman, 1997; Shamir & Ho well, 1999). For example, it has been suggested that charismatic leaders are particularly e ffective during periods of organizational change (Eisenbach, Watson, & P illai, 1999) or periods of uncertainty in the operating environment (Waldman, Ramirez, House, & Puranam, 2001). With their ability to articulate a compelling vision for the future and to develop commitment

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51 among followers to that vision, transformationa l leaders emerge as especially effective in times of organizational transition (S hamir & Howell, 1991). Indeed, Bass (1985) specifically theorized that transformational le adership is most likely to emerge in times of distress and rapid change (p. 154). Further, charismatic leaders appear to be influential when the viability of an organization is threatened. As Conger ( 1989) argued, in a crisis situation, [followers] are more willing to submit to a st rong individual enter the charismatic leader with his clear vision and strength of conviction (p. 173). Thus, despite arguments in favor of its universal app eal (Den Hartog et al ., 1999), the observed effectiveness of transformational leadersh ip may depend, at least in part, on the presence of environmental conditions that gi ve rise to aspects of the transformational approach. As Flynn and Staw (2004) observe d, the potency of charisma varies by the circumstances in which it is enacted (p. 324). Central in these arguments is the recogn ition among leadership scholars that the effects of transformational le adership behavior, though theori zed as universal, may shift with changes in the operating environment. In their examination of organizational and contextual factors that shape the effectiveness of the charismatic approach, Shamir and Howell (1999) noted, the emergence and effectiveness of [leadership] may be facilitated by some contexts and inhibite d by others (p. 257). In particular, the transformational approach to leadership, incl uding charisma, appears to most effective when the operating environment is shaped by uncertainty, change, or crisis. These observations are consistent with models of complex leadership (e.g., Marion & Uhl-Bien, 2001) and assertions of the contingency appro ach (Fiedler, 1967),

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52 which each emphasize the importance of charac teristics that give rise to leader effectiveness and highlight the existence of situational contingencies in the leader emergence. Thus, as the external environment may have an important influence on leader effectiveness, the relationship between transformational leadership and risk may depend on the how aspects of the decision cont ext are introduced, or on how features of the external environment are interpreted. In other words, transformational leaders may initiate risk seeking behavior in some circumstances, but not others. In the decision literature, framing gene rally refers to direct attempts by experimenters to emphasize specific aspects of the decision context. Positively framed scenarios, for example, make salient the pot ential gains associated with a risky choice (i.e., gain frame), whereas negatively framed scenarios emphasize potential losses (i.e., loss frame). While there exist several appro aches to categorizing otherwise distinct manipulations of framing (e.g., gain vs. loss, opportunity vs. threat), there is general consensus among scholars on the notion that fr aming has an influence on how facets of a decision scenario are processed (Ka hneman & Tversky, 1979; Khberger, 1995; 1998). By shifting the atten tion of decision makers to sp ecific aspects of the problem (March & Shapira, 1987), framing shapes th e way characteristics of the problem are evaluated, and ultimately how complex problems are resolved. Beyond its contribution to the evaluation of specific organizational problems, prospect framing provides information about the environment in which decisions are made. Tversky and Kahneman (1986) and Levin et al. (1998), for example, each argued that the framing of alternatives within a complex decision scenario highlights the potential outcomes of various choices and em phasizes specific features of the decision

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53 context. Although subtle, emphasis on the oppor tunities associated with a decision problem indicates that the organization is ope rating with effectivene ss and is capable of successfully carrying out its strategic deci sions. A positive frame, for example, where the likelihood of success is de scribed, allows decision-makers to imagine favorable future states and anticipate operational s upport. In their description of how framing effects are realized, van Schie and van de r Pligt (1995) argued, addressing positive aspects or outcomes of an issue (or deci sional option) results in a more favorable attitude toward that issue (o r option) compared to focusing on the negative aspects or outcomes (p. 266). In addition to providing valuable info rmation, framing directs attention to specific environmental characteristics. By making salient the likelihood of success on upcoming decisions, a positive frame suggest s that existing environmental conditions support innovative behavior (van Schie & van der Plight, 1995). That is, a positive frame indicates that the context is right for pursuing important, strategic initiatives. As such, a framing manipulation that highlight s the likelihood of favorable outcomes and fosters an efficacy for organizational achievement, may substitute for aspects of the transformational approach to leadership. Inspirational motivation, for example, is expected to facilitate positive expectan cies among followers (Erez & Isen, 2002), a condition that might be achieved in a positiv e frame. In this way, conditions expressed in a positive frame may suppress, or even re place, the effectiveness of transformational leadership. On the other hand, a framing manipulation that emphasizes the threats associated with a decisions outcome may indicate to me mbers that the status quo is in jeopardy,

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54 or that existing resources may be insuffici ent to achieve desired outcomes. As such, those who interpret a negative frame may come to regard the existing environment as one that is not in support of optimistic decision plans. Negative frames may communicate to decision makers that co mpetitive threats are imminent and that organizational failure is a realistic possibility (MacCr immon et al., 1986). Thus, a negative frame may serve to foster a sens e of urgency among decision makers, or an expectation about the uncertainty in the cu rrent operating environment (Ho, Keller, & Keltya, 2002). The uncertainty and threat expr essed in a negative frame, therefore, are conditions that are likely to enhance the e ffectiveness of transformational leadership (Bass, 1985; Shamir & Powell, 1999). In light of these arguments, it is reasonab le to believe that information provided by a problems frame may facili tate, neutralize, or even s uppress the effectiveness of transformational leadership. In a sense, prospect framing may emerge as a substitute for leadership, a concept introduced by Kerr a nd Jermier (1978), and later developed by Howell, Dorfman, and Kerr (1986). Indeed, framing provides a context that has both cognitive and motivational consequences (Levin et al., 1998; p. 182), an outcome that is often associated with components of the transformational approach to leadership (Lord & Brown, 2001; Howell & Avolio, 1993). An emphasis on positive aspects of a decision scenario, therefore, may displace the inspirational motiv ation or idealized influence provided by a transformational le ader. An emphasis on the negative, on the other hand, may indicate that the operati ng environment contains uncertainty and instability a situation that is expected to enhance the effectiveness of transformational leadership.

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55 As framing provides important informa tion about the decision context, I hypothesized: Hypothesis 3: The effect of transformationa l leadership on risky choice (investment in a new venture) is modera ted by framing, such that leadership is unrelated to risk in the positive (opport unity) frame and positively related to risk in the negative (threat) frame. Despite the suggestion that pr eference for risk is a stable individual trait (Judge et al., 1999), risk behavior tends to vary with even slight modificat ions to the decision frame. Prospect theory (Kahneman & Tversky, 1979), for example suggests that relatively minor changes in th e wording of alternatives have a profound influence of how decision-makers perceive the scenario and ultimately make decisions. According to Tversky and Kahneman (1981; 1986), decisi on makers tend to be risk averse when problems are framed as potential gains a nd risk seeking when decision problems are framed as losses. These predictions were grounded in the notion that decision-makers consider their position relative to a reference point, a refere nce that shifts based on the nature of how a problem is introduced. Indeed prospect theorys primary contribution to understanding risk is the obser vation that organizational acto rs tend to be risk-seeking when operating below a target reference point and risk averse wh en operating above a target reference point (Bazerman, 1984). Many of the early framing studies contrasted a positive (gain) to negative (loss) description of the same problem a technique described as a valence frame in the Levin et al. (1998) typology. Using th is technique, Kahneman and Tversky (1979) suggested that individuals tend to be ri sk averse when the decision problem is framed as a gain

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56 and risk seeking when the decision is fram ed as a loss. According to Tversky and Kahnemans (1981), there appears to be a general tendency for risk aversion in positively framed problems and a general tendency for risk seeking in negatively framed problems. In their classic test of the Asian-disease scenario, Tversky and Kahneman (1981) reported that subjects were less willing to choose the risky scenario when the problem was framed in terms of possible gains, but more willing to choose the risky scenario when the problem was framed in terms of losses. A positive frame yielded risk aversion whereas a nega tive frame yielded risk seeking. Although Kahneman and Tversky provided evidence that framing plays an important role in the evaluation and interpretation of decision scenarios, the cumulative effect of framing is not perfectly clear. According to results of Khbergers (1998) meta-analysis of 136 framing studies, the overa ll impact of framing on risky choice was moderate ( d= 0.329). Beyond the modest main effect, Khberger (1998) noted that framing effects were moderated by the nature of the decision problem such that framing had a significant effect when study participants were offe red the Asian disease problem ( d =+.57, p<.05), but a non-significant effect when participants were asked to evaluate consumer items ( d =-.08, ns ) or choose among common social dilemmas ( d =+.04, ns ). The magnitude of framing effects varied with the manipulation of risk, with positive effects for reference point manipulations ( d =+.50, p<.05) and negative effects for outcome salience manipulations ( d =-.11, p<.05). In sum, the framing effect seems to vary based on the type of decision problem used and the nature of the framing manipulation. Framing may affect risky choice, but the direction and magnitude of the effect remains in question.

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57 Further, a number of studies have reported results that are in direct contrast to those predicted by Prospect Theory (e.g., Holle nbeck et al., 1994; Slattery & Ganster, 2002; Thaler & Johnson, 1990). Both Thaler an d Johnson (1990) and Hollenbeck et al. (1994), for example, observed that prospect framing had little effect on risk-related decisions, results that were contrary to those promoted by Kahneman and Tversky (1979). To explain these differences, Highhouse and Yuce (1996) separated the gain vs. loss framing manipulations used by Kahne man and Tversky (1979) from those that emphasize opportunities vs. threats. In the standard gain frame, for example, the framing manipulation emphasizes what can be gained (e.g. lives saved), whereas the loss frame emphasizes what can be lost (e.g., lives lost). In opportunity vs. threat manipulations, outcomes are described in similar fashion, but opportunity does not necessarily equate to gains nor does threat equate with loss. According to the authors, when a loss frame of the Asian disease probl em is presented to decision makers, the risky option is regarded as an opportunity rather than a threat. As Highhouse and Yuce observed, decision makers in the loss frame re garded a sure thing choice as risky. In this way, the authors argue that an opportuni ty frame yields similar risk behavior to the loss frame predictions of prospect theory. The assertions offered by Highhouse and Yuce (1996) were similar to those presented by van Schie and van der Plig t (1995), who carefully separated problem framing from outcome salience According to van Schie and van der Pligt, framing usually refers to how a decision is descri bed in terms of gains and losses, whereas outcome salience refers to selective emphasis on the probabilities of success or failure.

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58 The authors explained results that were c ontrary to prospect theory predictions by suggesting that outcomes described in terms of their probabilitie s of success (i.e., opportunity) tend to encourage risk s eeking behavior among decision makers. In that vein, it is likely that the evalua tion of risky alternatives and subsequent risk behavior will reflect a decision make rs interpretation of the opportunities or threats contained within a set of alterna tives. Indeed, the degree to which people will engage in risk-taking behavior is relate d to the degree to which they perceive risk taking as and opportunity for somethi ng (Highhouse & Yuce, 1996: p. 159). I therefore hypothesized: Hypothesis 4: Framing will have a positive relationship with risky choice (investment in a new business venture). Considerable evidence has accumulated on the effectiveness of transformational leadership in encouraging de sirable behaviors and attit udes among followers. However, despite agreement among scholars regarding a transformational leaders ability to achieve positive outcomes, the mechanisms that underlie observed influence remain relatively untested. As Yukl (1999) noted, [while] there is considerable evidence that transformational leadership is effec tive, [the] underlying influence processes for transformational leadership are still vague (pg. 287). Only recently have experimental studie s begun to isolate intervening processes that mediate a leaders effect Podsakoff et al. (1996), for ex ample, found that trust in the leader mediated the lead ers influence on task and ci tizenship performance, while Jung and Avolio (2000) found that follower trust and value congruence mediated a leaders effect on both performance and sa tisfaction. Further, Pillai et al. (1999)

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59 explained a transformational leaders in fluence on organizational commitment by perceptions of fairness and trust in the l eader. In each of these studies, support was provided for the notion that leaders achiev e their effects by facilitating trust in followers. Beyond consideration of leader referenced variables (e.g., trus t in the leader), additional research has explored a host of alternative mechanisms that appear to mediate the effect of leadership on im portant organizational outcomes. McCollKennedy and Anderson (2002), for example, e xplained leaderships influence as a function of followers emotional response to leader behavior, while Lord and Brown (2001; 2004) suggested that leaders achieve results by altering the cognitive processes that followers use to evaluate themselves and their work. These studies suggest that especially effective leaders not only influe nce follower behaviors, but also arouse cognitive and emotional responses that alte r the manner in which followers perceive their organizations, their jobs, and their task assignments. As such, it is possible that transformational leaders influence risk pref erences by shaping judgments of expected success on future projects. As theorized by Bass (1985), leaders who be have in a manner that is consistent with the transformational pattern tend to emphasize positive organizational results (George, 2000) and speak optimistically about the likelihood of future success ((McColl-Kennedy & Anderson, 2002). By expressing enthusiasm about the organizations future and articulating a clear and compelling vision (inspirational motivation), transformational leaders encour age optimistic forecasts among followers. Indeed, followers tend to assume the beliefs and preferences of their leaders (Lord &

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60 Brown, 2001) and consider organizational goa ls as congruent with their own (Bono & Judge, 2003). Thus, consistent with their lead er, followers may report high levels of expectancy for their organizations success. Finally, transformational leaders may influence expectancy judgments by directing attention among followers to the re ward aspect of risky decisions. Lord and colleagues (1999, 2001) suggested th at leadership is realized in part by activating the cognitive processes that influence how follo wers interpret, per ceive, categorize, and assess characteristics of their working envir onment. Central to their discussion was the notion that leaders direct the attention of followers to sp ecific aspects of the work environment and influence how followers asse ss task requirements, an assertion that was empirically supported in a field study by Piccolo and Colquitt (in press). I therefore hypothesize: Hypothesis 5: Transformational leadership will have a positive effect on expectancy judgments among followers. A model of the hypothesized relationshi ps is presented in Figure 4-1. Figure 4-1. Model of Proposed Relationships among Variables Transformational Leadership Risk Behavior (Investment) Framing Issue Interpretation

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61 Method Sample Undergraduate students (49% male) enro lled in an upper-level management course at a southeastern uni versity participated in the research study. Students were offered two extra credit points for their participation and were randomly assigned to a high or low leadership condition. Using original scripts and case st udies, I manipulated transformational leadership (high transforma tional leadership vs. low transformational leadership) in a completely randomized between-subjects design. One hundred and forty-one students were in each condition (n=282). Procedure Laboratory sessions were conducted duri ng a 3 week period and each session took about 1 hour to complete. Upon arriving for the assignment, students were told that the purpose of the study was to expl ore the ways in which managers make decisions during a normal workday. Students we re then given an in-basket simulation (e.g., Kiker & Motowidlo, 1999; Mero & Moto widlo, 1995) where their duties included handling customer complaints, reviewing ne w organizational polic ies and procedures, and coordinating staff meetings to improve division performance. Participants were asked to assume the role of Leslie Wilder, a manager at Consolidated Federal Agency Contracting Office (CFACO), a large governme ntal contracting office. The in-basket exercise was designed to simu late a professional work c ontext, and students were instructed to address as many items as possible.

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62 Experimental Conditions Upon arriving at the studys location, participants were randomly assigned to one of four experimental conditions formed by crossing two levels of transformational leadership (high vs. low) with two levels of framing (positive vs. negative). At the beginning of each session, I read a brief intr oduction to the study and instructions for completing the extra credit assignment. Participants were told that while working on their administrative tasks, they would be interrupted periodically by videotaped depictions of the companys CEO, who w ould himself be performing regular duties associated with his position. In each conditi on, participants were shown six videotaped vignettes. In one scene, for example, the CEO is leaving a voice mail for an employee and describing a problem with the companys computer system. In another scene, the CEO summarizes business results fo r the previous fiscal year. An actor trained to exhibit aspects of high and low transformational leadership played the role of the companys CEO in both leadership conditions. Twelve separate scripts were written to provide information about the working cont ext and to highlight the CEOs behavior during the course of a regular workday. Six of the scripts were written to portray the CEO as a high tr ansformational leader with language and behavior that is characterist ic of the transformational patt ern, and six parallel scripts were written to portray the CEO as a low transformational leader, with focus on specific aspects of the task and expression of self-relevant objectives. The six high and six low transformational scenes were reco rded onto separate DVDs with 2 minute intervals between each scene. Scripts for each scene are presented in Appendix B.

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63 Investment Scenario and Framing Manipulation During the last scene on each DVD, the CEO introduced a business venture in which the company could invest. The CEO de scribed the potential for the company to develop its own software tool for grant ad ministration, summarized the ventures likely implications for the company, and asked partic ipants to read a thir d party consultants assessment of the venture. The consultant s report was one page in length and constituted the framing mani pulation for this study. Drawing on the suggestions of Jackson and Dutton (1988) and the manipulation used by Mittal and Ross (1998), two versions of the consultants report were drafted, one in which the venture was described as an opportunity (positive frame), and one in which the venture was described as a threat (negative frame). Each report contained similar information, but corresponding sent ences in the two reports were phrased differently according to the intended mani pulation. In the positive frame, for example, the consultants report read, O ne in 4 new software products offers a favorable return on investment. A parallel sentence in the ne gatively framed report read, nearly 3 of every 4 new [software] programs fail to offe r a profitable return on investment. After reading the consultants summary, participants selected their level of investment in the venture and responded to a questionnaire. The scripts for each framing manipulation are presented in Appendix C. Measures Transformational leadership As in Study 1, the four dimensions of transformational leadership were measured w ith items from the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ; Bass & Avolio, 1995). Partic ipants were asked to indicate on a 5point Likert scale (1=Not at all, 5=Frequently, if not alwa ys) the frequency with which

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64 the CEO exhibited leadership behaviors. Four items were used to measure intellectual stimulation (e.g., My supervisorseeks differing perspectives when solving problems), inspirational motivation (e.g., articulates a compelling vision of the future), and individualized consideration, (e.g., treats me as an individual rather than just a member of a group). Eight item s were used to measure idealized influence (e.g., instills pride in me for being asso ciated with him/her and talks about his/her most important values and beliefs). The measure of transformational leadership is presented in Appendix D. From this point forward, transformational leadership factor is used to refer to the manipulated transformational leadership variable, and transformational leadership is used to refer to the measured transformational leadership variable. Framing Five items were used to evaluate the quality of the framing manipulations contained in the consultant s report. On a 5-point Likert scale (1=strongly disagree, 5=agree), participants indicated the extent to which they agreed with statements about the new business vent ure such as, CFACO could have positive gains by developing a software tool, The prospects for CFACO are positive, and The market for a software tool is uncerta in (reverse coded). High mean scales scores indicate the percepti on of the new venture as an o pportunity, consistent with the approach used by Highhouse and Yce (1996). The framing measure is presented in Appendix F. From this point forward, framing factor is used to refer to the manipulated framing variable, and framing is used to refer to the measured framing variable Issue interpretation Issue interpretation was meas ured with a 5-item scale adopted from previous studies of deci sion-making and risk (e.g., Ginsberg &

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65 Venkatraman, 1992; Mittal & Ross, 1998). Using a 5-point Likert scale (1=strongly disagree, 5=strongly agree), part icipants indicated their agr eement with statements such as, Development of a new software tool is a plus, The new trends in this business are a threat (reverse coded), and the future will be better because of a new software tool. A high score on the issue interpretati on scale represented a positive interpretation of the venture (i.e., opportunity ) while a low score represente d a negative interpretation (i.e., threat). The scale items used to m easure issue interpretation are presented in Appendix G. Expectancy On a scale of 0 to 100, participan ts were asked to indicate their subjective probability that the company w ould successfully introduce a new software project as described in the decision scenario. Investment. Participants were told that they each had a $1 million annual budget for research and development, and were asked to indicate their level of investment in a new business venture. Analysis Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) was used to test for an in teraction between leadership and framing. The study used f our test conditions in a 2 (high/low transformational) X 2 (positive/negative framing) factorial design. Results To determine whether or not the experime ntal manipulations created the intended conditions, I conducted a two-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) for both leadership and framing. Results indicated that the ma nipulation of leadership had a significant effect on participants' ratings on the MLQ ( F (1, 282)=201.30, p <.01), non-significant effects on the framing scale, F (1, 282)=3.50, p =.063, and no significant interaction

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66 with the framing factor on ratings on the MLQ ( F (1,282)=1.91, p =.17). The framing manipulation had a significan t effect on participants ra tings on the framing scale ( F (1, 282) =82.54, p <.01), non-significant effects on the MLQ ( F (1,282)=.07, p =.79), and no significant interaction with the leader ship factor on rating of framing ( F (1,282)=.66, p =.42). As such, each of the experimental manipulations achieved its intended effect, and the leadership and framing ma nipulations were not confounded. Hypothesis 3 suggested that leadership and framing would interact to influence risky choice. To determine whether or not the interaction between leadership and framing was significant, I c onducted a two-way ANOVA with investment value as the dependent variable. As expected, th e interaction term was significant, F (1, 280) = 4.56, p <.05, 2 = .06, providing support for hypothesis 3. Table 4-1. Mean Level of Investme nt for Leadership and Framing Framing Positive Negative Total TF Leadership Factor m (SD) m (SD) m (SD) High 468.40 (206.80)a,c465.19 (270.91)a,d 466.84 (239.21) Low 511.92 (267.11)b,c376.97 (281.00)b,d 439.18 (281.92) Total 489.05 (237.44) 418.63 (278.84) Note Significance of differences between means: a ns ; b p < 05; c ns d p = .06 The distribution of investment means acr oss each of the four experimental conditions is presented in Table 4-1 and Figure 4-1. As information in the table indicates, the effect of l eadership on investment was moderated by the framing of the decision scenario. Followers in the high tr ansformational group invested at a similar level in the positive frame (m=468.40) as in the negative frame (m=465.19), and the

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67 difference was non-significant ( F =.01, p =.94). Thus, high transformational leaders tended to offset the influence of negative framing. On the other hand, framing effects were evident in the low transformational group, as a significant difference existed between the low transformational, positive frame (m=511.92) and the low transformational, negative frame (m=376.97; F =8.46, p<.05). This result suggests that followers of non-transformational leaders are influenced by the manner in which information about an investment opportunity is framed. To further estimate the influence of framing on the effectiveness of transformational leadership, I estimated the difference between the high and low leadership groups in each framing condition. In the positive frame, those who observed a high transformational leader invested at a similar level (m=468.40) to those who observed a low transformational leader (m=511.92; F =1.15, p >.05). Thus, leadership did not appear to influence investment level in the posit ive frame. For those who read the negatively framed report, followers of the high transformational level invested, on average, significantly more (m=465.19) than followers of the low transformational leader (m=376.97; F =3.66, p =.058). Table 4-2 contains the means, standard deviations, and intercorrelations among the studys variables, including expectancy judgments for the ventures success. As expected, the relationship between framing a nd investment was positive and significant (r=.56, p <.05), suggesting that those who rega rded the venture as an opportunity invested at a higher rate than those who re garded the venture as a threat. Using twoway ANOVA, I tested the effect of framing on investment and as expected, the average level of investment for those in the positive frame (m=489.0, SD=237.4) was

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68 significantly higher than those in the negative frame (m=418.6, SD=278.8; F =5.17, p <.05). Taken together, these result s provide support for hypothesis 4. 465 377 468 512350 400 450 500 550 LOWHIGHTransformational LeadershipInvestment in New Venture Negative Positive Figure 4-2. Pattern of Investme nt by Leadership and Framing In support of hypothesis 5, transformational leadership was positively related to expectancy (r=.23, p <.05), suggesting that followers of transformational leaders tend to maintain a positive outlook for the companys success. Worth noting, the strongest relationship was between exp ectancy and investment (r=.67, p <.05). Table 4-2. Scale Means, Re liabilities, and In tercorrelations among Variables. m SD 1 2 3 4 1. Transformational Leadership 3.19 .71 .91 2. Framing 3.18 .56 .72.18* 3. Gender .49 .50 -.00 -.03 4. Expectancy 63.73 20.88 .23* .67* -.05 5. Investment 452.96 261.41 .04 .56* .03 .67* Notes. n = 282. p < .05.

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69 Discussion The current study set out to examine the manner in which leadership interacts with framing to influence risky choice. Re sults suggest that th e relationship between leadership and risky choice depends in part on how decision scenarios are framed. In the positively framed condition, manipulated leadership did not in fluence investment choice or expectancy for the new ventures success. In this way, characteristics of the positive frame may have substituted for aspects of the transformational pattern. On the other hand, leadership had a significant influe nce on both expectancy and investment in the negative frame, suggesting that the framing manipulation provided information relevant to the effectiveness of transfor mational leadership. As hypothesized, framing moderated the relationship between leadership and risk. Consistent with the suggestion that transformational leaders shape follower perceptions of the working context (Piccolo & Colquitt, in press; Salancik & Pfeffer, 1978; Smircich & Morgan, 1982), transformati onal leadership was related to issue interpretation and expectancy judgments am ong participants. By expressing confidence in the organizations collective talent and vividly describing a wo rthy new venture, the transformational leader shaped the manner in which followers judged the organizations potential for success in a new venture. As results suggest, it appears that a transformational leader influences the manner in which followers interpret information in the working context. There exist several explanations for the observed interaction between leadership and framing. For one, framing may provide in formation about the decision context that is relevant to the emergence and effectiven ess of transformational leadership (Shamir & Howell, 1999). Transformational leaders tend to be most effective in times of stress,

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70 uncertainty, or organizational change, conditions that might be reflected in the negative frame. As such, consistent with studies that have reported situati onal contingencies in the effectiveness of transformational leadersh ip (e.g., Tosi et al., 2004), the ability of a leader to encourage risk behavior de pends on a followers perception of the organizations operating environment. As suc h, while aspects of the positive frame may have inspired favorable perceptions of th e operating environment, the negative frame may have made salient the contextual conditions that give rise to the effectiveness of transformational leadership. Second, aspects of the positive framing manipulation (e.g., optimism for future success, attention to positive outcomes) may have substituted for components of the transformational approach. The positively framed report, for example, with its expression of optimism and emphasis on va luable opportunities, neutralized the idealized influence or inspira tional aspects of the transfor mational leader. On the other hand, the negatively framed report, with emphasis on potential loss or fierce competition, may have activated the impact of transformational leadership. Results of the current study suggest that transformational leaders influence the manner in which followers interpret inform ation in the workplace, and the manner in which followers assign subjec tive probabilities to future outcomes. In this way, the study draws a link between a l eaders behavior and followe rs cognitive patterns, an observation that could have meaningful impact on modern leadership research. For one, follower cognitions may serve as valuable mediating mechanisms between leadership and follower behaviors. It is pos sible, for example, that part of the effect of leadership on organizational citizenship behavior is ex plained by how followers come to think of

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71 their group members and the environment in wh ich they work. It is also possible that leadership effects on job att itudes (e.g., satisfaction and co mmitment) can be explained by how followers of effective leaders come to think about their jobs and their organization, in terms of job characteristi cs. While the notion that leaders influence follower thinking patterns is not comple tely new (Burns, 1978; Gouldner, 1960), the implications of successful research in this area is worth hearty exploration. Beyond the observed interaction of leader ship and framing, the manner in which leadership was manipulated in the current st udy may be, in itself, a worthy contribution. A trained actor portrayed a fictional companys CEO duri ng the course of a normal workday. The manipulation of leadership incl uded portrayals of the kind of things that managers do on a regular basis. There were no fancy speeches, no exaggerated pep talks, and no ideological statements of the companys values or history. Instead, participants in the study observed the CEO carrying out his regular responsibilities, which is more likely the manner in which as pects of the transformational approach are revealed. That is, in a natural work environm ent, a leaders values and expectations are often revealed in short, simple, everyday en counters, rather than in fabulous speeches about results, mission, plans, or vision. In two of the scenes, for example, the CEO leaves voicemail messages for employees, and participants observe leader behavi or that is not directed at them. This is in itself an example of a subtle yet realistic manipulation of leader ship, in which aspects of the transformational approach are reveal ed in otherwise routine interactions. The current study relies on a cognitive expl anation for the relationship between leadership and risk. That is, results of this study provide a platform for the assertion that

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72 followers of transformational leaders interpret decision scenarios as having optimistic future outcomes, and as such, are willing to engage in otherwise risky behavior. While this observation is consistent with many pr evious examinations of risky choice (e.g., Nygren et al., 1996), there is little question that mood a nd emotions influence the manner in which people make decisions. As Schwarz and Bless (1991) remarked, [an] individuals cognitive performance on a wide variety of tasks may be profoundly influenced by the affective state they are in (p. 55). Future studies might examine the role of follower emotions in shaping interpretations of organizational stimuli, and in facilitating the emergence of and effectiveness of transformational behavior. Isen (1993; 2001) noted that the role of affect in cognitive processes and decision-making is now widely accepted in the social sciences literature, as evid ence by the inclusion of an affective component is most modern studies of decision making and c hoice (Ciarrochi & Forg as, 2000; Forgas & Ciarrochi, 2001; Nygren, Isen, Taylor, & Dulin, 1996). There is, therefore, adequate evidence for the role of mood and emotions in cognitive processing.

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73 CHAPTER 5 GENERAL DISCUSSION The purpose of the current set of studies was to examine the relationship between transformational leadership and risk beha vior among followers. By observing a main effect of leadership on risky choice (Study 1) and then identifying a condition in which this effect remained robust negative frami ng (Study 2), the current research provides an early insight into the relationship between leadership and risk. While there exist several conceptual models that introduce situational antecedents to risk-seeking behavior (e.g., March & Shapira, 1987; Williams & Narendra n, 1999), no study has explicitly examined the impact of leader behavior on follower judgments of risk and their subsequent willingness to engage in risky behavior. Fu rther, whereas transformational leadership theory specifically asserts that followers of effective leaders are willing to assume risky positions (Bass, 1985), studies of that assertion are rare. The current studies add to our understanding of the situatio nal factors that influence decision-making under uncertainty and risk. Despite attempts to find evidence of dispositional sources of risk preference, aspects of the decisi on context, including organizational leadership, appear to be most relevant. That is, transformational leadership behavior, with its inspira tional motivation, modeling of courageous behavior, and intellectual stimulation, has an important in fluence on how risky decisions are evaluated and ultimately resolved. By estimating a link between leadership a nd risk, the current studies add to the growing body of leadership research and make a contribution to the continued

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74 development of transformational leadership th eory. For one, results of the current studies suggest that followers of transformationa l leaders are willing to forgo personal preferences and to risk security for the leade rs stated objectives. In this way, a central assertion of the transformational approach is tested, and a relative unique outcome, namely risk behavior, is examined. Second, study 2 reported an interaction between leadership and framing in the explanation of risky choice, s uggesting that the effects of tr ansformational leadership on risk depend, at least in part, on aspect s of the decision context. The framing manipulations, which were presented in expert third-party reports, provided information about the stability of the opera ting environment, some of whic h facilitated the impact of leadership on risk. This obser vation supports the assertion that the leader effectiveness is shaped by the organizational context (Shamir & Howell, 1999), and is consistent with the notion that the transformational approach is mo st effective in times of uncertainty, crisis, and organizational change (Bass, 1985; Flynn & Staw, 2004; Pawar et al., 1997). Lastly, the observed relationship between leadership and risk was explained through a cognitive mechanism (issue inte rpretation). Whereas many studies of leadership have focused primarily on fi rst order constructs (e.g., leadership behavior) little consideration has been given to intermediating pro cesses (e.g., follower cognition) by which observed effects are realized. As such, the current studies contribute to transformational leadership theory by pr oviding further support for the notion that leadership is realized through shifts in cognitive patterns among followers (Brown & Lord, 2001). Some of the variance in follower behavior, therefore, can be explained by

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75 the leaders influence on how aspects of th e work environment are perceived (Piccolo & Colquitt, in press). It is worth noting an interesting differe nce between the two studies. In study 1, transformational leadership appeared to have a direct main effect on risk behavior. Followers of high transformational leaders we re more likely to choose a project with uncertain demands. However, when prospect framing was introduced in study 2, the main effect of leadership was attenuated. Indeed l eadership had a significant main effect in the negative frame, but no influence on risk behavior was observed in the positive frame. In the presence of framing, which provided in formation about the operating environment and the context in which decisions were made, the main effect of leadership was nonsignificant. That said, the interaction between leadership and frami ng was of particular interest in study 2, and none of the 4 experi mental conditions in that study tested leadership without a manipulati on of the problems frame. Future Research. Given the relative novelty of a leadership risk link, further study is warranted. The existing literatures on leadership and on risk provide a valuable framework for evaluating both concepts, such that future studies should consider a host of moderating and mediating mechanisms, and utili ze several alternative research designs. The literature on affect and risk, for example, has identified a number of moderators of the relationship between positive affect and ri sky choice, including the nature of the decision task (Mittal & Ross, 1998), the per ceived criticality of the decision (Dunegan, Duchon, & Barton, 1992; Mano, 1994; Nygre n, 1998), and the personal relevance of likely outcomes (Isen & Patrick, 1983; Is en & Geva, 1987; Williams & Voon, 1999). By

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76 manipulating aspects of the decision assi gnment (e.g., personal relevance), a similar program of research can be developed for th e relationship between leadership and risk. Moderators Future experimental studies s hould manipulate the complexity and nature of the decision scenario. The current st udies, for example, asked participants to make a single, isolated decision with only one possible loss for the decision-maker a phenomenon that is common in the decisi on literature. However, in a complex, managerial setting, managers may experi ence several possible losses from a single decision (March & Shapira, 1987). If a manage r chooses to invest in a project that ultimately fails, he or she not only loses th e real, monetary, initial investment (e.g., dollars from a fixed budget), but could also compromise her own credibility among staff members and decision-making authority for fu ture projects (Yates & Stone, 1992). Thus, experimental research designs should employ multiple decision scenarios in a dynamic operating environment (e.g., Hollenbeck et al ., 1994), and manipulate the nature and frequency of feedback. The results of Study 2 provide support fo r the notion that th e effectiveness of transformational leadership depends, in part, on factors that shape the decision context. As such, there is reason to believe that the relationship between leadership, issue interpretation, and risk will be moderated by the context in which decisions are made. Future experimental studies should manipulat e the decision context to determine which aspects environmental or organizational sh ape leaderships effect on risk behavior among followers. Studies conducted in the la b, for example, could introduce hypothetical start-up companies in a fast moving technology sector, stable blue chip companies who deliver popular commodities, and companies who are attempting to establish new

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77 products and new markets. A manipulat ion of this kind corresponds to the recommendations of Pawar et al. (1997), w ho suggested that innova tion, creativity, and risk-taking may be rewarded in some or ganizations (e.g., high tech start-up) but discouraged in others (e.g., manufacturing). In addition, the role of the follower in l eader effectiveness should be examined. It has been theorized that charismatic leadersh ip is revealed only at the submission of followers (Conger & Kanungo, 1989) and that charisma is best understood as an individual relationship between a leader a nd his or her followers (Howell & Shamir, 2005). Further, as Erhardt and Klein (2001) obs erved, the disposition of followers, in the form of personality and values, appears to have a meaningful impact on the charismatic leadership process. Thus, future studies should examine follower personality traits to determine if specific traits enhance or neutralize the impact of transformational leadership behavior. Mediating mechanisms Consistent with previous ex aminations of decision making under uncertainty (e.g., Slatter & Ganste r, 2002), study 2 re lied on a cognitive explanation for observed effects. While expect ancy and issue interp retation are certainly valuable mediating process, future studies might further examine the process by which transformational effects are real ized, including the transient emotional states of followers. Indeed, a great deal of research on choi ce under risk or uncer tainty has relied on cognitive, rational explanations, but affect mood, and emotion each appear to play critical roles (Loewenstein, Weber, Hsee, & Welch, 2001). It may be possible, for example, that observed effects of leader be havior on risk are realized through follower

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78 emotional reactions in the organizational c ontext, such as optimism (McColl-Kennedy & Anderson, 2002) or positive affect (Erez et al., unpublished). The notion that transformational leaders influence affective states is not completely new. Bono and Judge (2003), for example, noted that, transformational and charismatic theories have been framed to re cognize the affective and emotional needs and responses to follower (p. 554), and George (2002) argued that le aders, in many ways, have the ability to influence the emotional reactions of followers. Further, Weiss and Cropanzano (1996) suggested that positive aff ective states might be initiated by positive work experiences, leaving open the possibility that transf ormational leaders have the potential to stimulate positive affective responses. Whereas the relationship between positive affect and choice remains unclear (see Isen, 2001), there is little debate that affective states have an important role in th e assimilation of inform ation (Estrada, Isen, & Young, 1997) and the evaluation of complex decision problems (Mittal & Ross, 1998; Williams & Voon, 1999). The examination of affective experience in explaining leaderships relationship with risk could be framed as part of the broad evaluation of emotion in cognitive processing. Consistent with classic theori zing on emotion and cognition (e.g., Kogan & Wallach, 1964), research on positive affect sugge sts that emotional arou sal is essential in decision making and choice (Isen & Means, 1983; Isen, 1984b; 2001). Yet, while a considerable body of research addresses the relationship betw een affect, social judgment, and risk-taking, little is known about the intera ction of leadership and follower emotion, or the influence that leader behavior has on the intensity w ith which followers experience positive emotions. Further, emotional arousal, which could be facilitated by leader

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79 behavior, also appears to be critical in the formation of many social judgments (Forgas, 1992; 1995). Thus, the interaction of leadership and positive affect is worthy of future exploration. Alternative research design The current set of studies used video taped recordings of a leader who exhibited be haviors that characterize the transformational pattern. Beyond highlighting high and low expressions of the transformational approach, the videos introduced the decision scenar ios in each study and provided important information that decision-makers used when evaluating alternativ es. An introduction by video, in this case, is in direct contrast to more popular approaches in the decisionmaking literature, which tend to rely on writt en vignettes (e.g., Ho, Keller, & Keltyka, 2002). In that respect, it is possible that the method of introducing the problem and manipulating leadership influenced the pro cess by which effects took place. Indeed decision scenarios are most often introduced in written vignettes, but as Taggar and Neubert suggested, video scenario methodol ogy [is] more likely to generate an affective reaction than written vignettes ( p. 936). Therefore, by ma nipulating the manner in which decision problems are introduced (v ideo vs. written vignette), future studies could attempt to isolate the emotional respon se that decision makers may have to the video taped introductions. Limitations. Although the current studies make a valuable contribution to transformational leadership theory and to the explanat ion of risk behavior among organizational members, several limitations must be acknowledged. For one, both studies utilized an undergraduate stude nt sample in an experimental setting. Certainly, research conducted in a lab allows for close control of experimental conditions, but results may

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80 generalize outside the lab. Further, study 2 aske d students to play the role of a division manager in a hypothetical government contr acting office. Despite the information provided to participants and my introduction of the company, it is unlikely that students have the experience to unders tand fully the organizational context and the role of a corporate manager. As such, future studies s hould utilize a sample of practicing managers who are required to make critical deci sions during the course of their work.

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81 APPENDIX A SCRIPTS FOR LEADERSHIP MANIPULATION STUDY 1 High Transformational Hi, my name is Chris Aruffo, and I am the pr oject coordinator for a research project in the Warrington College of Business. I am so exc ited that you have agreed to participate in research at the University of Florida. UF is one of the nations leading research institutions, and as you probably know, the Univ ersity has had a long history of research excellence. With your assistance, I am optimistic that our re search will be successful in the future. Did you know that researchers at UF have disc overed a treatment for glaucoma that is being hailed as a major breakth rough in treating the disease? Or that researchers at UF invented Sentricon the states most popular termite baiting system? Of course, youre familiar with Gatorade the Universitys contribution to athletic performance around the world. These are just a few examples of Flor idas rich and robust research history. Today, you have the opportunity to be part of this gr eat tradition. I am conf ident that our future research goals can be achieved. By signing up for one of these projects and fully committing to the research process, you are contributing to the Univer sitys mission. Imagin e the future a national University with global recognition for re search and teaching excellen ce. This is our collective mission to advance our understanding of factor s that shape the world in which we live, and to lift the University to national prestige.

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82 The faculty and staff in the business school ar e truly outstanding, and we are so confident in our students. Students at UF regularly cons ider the Universitys goals as their own, and are willing to make sacrifices for UFs comprehensive and innovative research program. Thank you for your enthusiasm and for your participation. For this particular assignment, there are tw o projects in which you can enroll. Project 1 will be conducted at Stuzin Hall and take a bout 1 hour to finish. The assignment will be interesting in that you will be asked to make a series of management decisions based on information provided to you in a business case scenario. You will be asked to consider hiring choices, investment decisions, and personnel selection, and will work in a computer lab with other students. The second option for this extra credit project is a bit more uncertain, a bit risky some even say a bit mysterious! You will not know your specific assignment until you arrive at the projects location, which is also unknown. You might be asked to meet at Stuzin Hall, or you might be asked to meet with other st udents and members of the research team at another location on campus. In project 2, the task s vary from student to student and there are no standard time limits for your particip ation you could be finished in 15 minutes, or be given a task that demands nearly two hours. You wont know until the day of the assignment. This assignment could be a lot of fun, with excitement and mystery, but, it could also be long and quite embarrassing. You just wont know until you arrive. Now, I realize that Project 2 is a bit ris ky in that you do not know what is required. In Project 1, assignments and time lines are cl early defined. But I encourage you to give serious consideration to Projec t 2. For the success of this pr oject, and for the success of our research program in general, we need people to make a personal sacrifice and sign-up

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83 for Project 2. This is not necessarily the eas y choice, not a choice that is straightforward, but one that will really advance our work. You know, this entire extra credit assignment is unique in that student s have a choice. In a way, we are breaking from time honored research norms. We ar e giving students the chance to choose their own path, to shape thei r own destiny, to have a great story to tell friends about their participation in this project. Personally, I regard this is an important value of our research program. By giving st udents a choice, we are considering not only the unique individual needs and as pirations of each student, but also doing the right thing. I believe strongly in treating students as i ndividuals, and think conduc ting our research in this manner will have constructive consequences. Maybe this approach is unusua l. But should progressive rese archers continue to conduct experiments in the same old traditional ways? Sure, its assumed that participants in research projects should know what theyre in for, but is that the most effective way to do things? Does that system really work? Are th ere better ways to appr oach research in the University setting? Maybe its time to ch allenge previous assu mptions about working with students. Thanks again for your willingness to participate in the research process at UF. It really makes a difference. Choose now Project 1 in Stuzin Hall; Proj ect 2 location unknown. Low Transformational Hi, my name is Chris Aruffo, and I am the coordinator for a research project in the Warrington College of Business. You have signe d-up for extra credit, and so you have to come to campus soon to complete your assi gnment. In order to earn your point, you have to execute the task. Now that you have finish ed the online survey, you ll need to finish

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84 your assignment on campus. Then your student ID will be recorded in our database, and you will get 1 extra credit point in MAN 3025. I have done a lot of research at the University of Florida, an d students are often a part of the research process. When students do what th ey are asked to do, they are rewarded with extra credit points in their classes. When stude nts fail to complete their assignments, they do not earn the extra credit points they desire. Th is is a simple give-and-take procedure. I have a job to do here, and so do you. You might have unusual circumstances that make this assignment and this course tricky, but I am unable to take those things into cons ideration. Every one tends to think that their own situation is unique, but for this assignment, all students will be treated the same way. As a researcher, I have had mixed results with my research in the past some times it works, some times it doesnt. This particular program is complex, and I am just not sure that we can get it right this time. I will try my best, but I cant say that I am completely confident. Time will tell. Now, I will give a brief description of two projects, and you will make your choice. For this particular assignment, there are tw o projects in which you ca n enroll. One project will be conducted at Stuzin Hall and take a bout 1 hour to finish. The assignment will be interesting in that you will be asked to make a series of management decisions based on information provided to you in a business case scenario. You will be asked to consider hiring choices, investment decisions, and personnel selection, and will work in a computer lab with other students. The second option for this extra credit project is a bit more uncertain, a bit risky some even say a bit mysterious! You will not know your specific assignment until you arrive at

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85 the projects location, which is also unknown. You might be asked to meet at Stuzin Hall, or you might be asked to meet with other st udents and members of the research team at another location on campus. In project 2, the task s vary from student to student and there are no standard time limits for your particip ation you could be finished in 15 minutes, or be given a task that demands nearly two hours. You wont know until the day of the assignment. This assignment could be a lot of fun, with excitement and mystery, but, it could also be long and quite embarrassing. You just wont know until you arrive. Now, I realize that Project 2 is a bit ris ky in that you do not know what is required. In Project 1, assignments and time lines are clearly defined. But I need to make sure that at least some people sign-up for Project 2. So that I can adequately attend to my research objectives, I need to have peopl e participate in both studies, even if some students are put at risk. I realize that the choi ce is not straightforward, but if youre able, consider Project 2. We have already tested each assignment, a nd some students have said they actually enjoyed the mystery associated with Project 2; some said th ey had fun. But, others have said they did not appreciate the uncertain ty. Some were even embarrassed. They would have rather known what they were getting into and how long it w ould take. I guess its up to you. Others have suggested trying innovative ways to encourage support from students, but I have used this approach to the extra cred it assignment many times before. You might think having a choice is unusual, but in fact this is really a ve ry standard way of operating. I do it this way all the time. The re search program in the business school has

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86 been successful, and so I am going to rely on my previous method for collecting data. I know how to get things done, and I not going to try anything different at this point. Please make your choice, and please come to your assigned location, on-time. You have made a commitment to be a part of this project, and you are requi red to complete the second part of this assignme nt. Thank you for your participation. Choose now Project 1 in Stuzin Hall; Project 2 location unknown.

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87 APPENDIX B SCRIPTS FOR LEADERSHIP MANIPULATION STUDY 2 Scene 1: Introduction High Transformational LeslieCongratulations on your new assignment and welcome to Consolidated Federal. I am so pleased that you decided to join our great team. We have wonderful people on staff, with so much experience and ta lent. You will find that our services really make a difference for many small, minority -owned, and disadvantaged businesses. Indeed, we have plans and projections for our level of business each year, but our mission is to assist small businesses in the procurem ent of government grants and contracts. Our business is competitive, but we always work with integrity to help local businesses achieve their dreams. We always consider the expectations and initia tives of our clients. In fact, our clients objectiv es often become our own. I realize that you have a busy schedule; you have a lot to learn in a short amount of time. I am considerate of your needs and of the pressures on your time, and so I appreciate your attention this morning. Let me just briefly describe ou r results in the last year, and then we can discuss these issues in more de tail this afternoon. Fiscal year 2003 was a very good year. Together we faced difficult challenges, competed against skilled rivals and collaborated to execute creative solutions. We had an interesting, challenging, and ex citing year. Collectively, we shared a great experience. At last years annual meeting, we agreed on the level of business to pursue, and used breakout sessions to develop innovative wa ys to maintain our leadership position in

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88 the market. We were aggressive in our a nnual projections, with forecasts for revenue growth at 20%. The market for our products wa s expected to grow just 10%, and so it was risky to make such a bold prediction. Ne vertheless, we knew we had the collective talent to surpass expectations. We knew th at our people had the energy and resources needed to succeed, and we knew that our managers were motivated. WellI am happy to report that our effort s paid off. Although we did not meet our specific goals for revenue or profit, we di d grow by nearly 15%. The market for our services was competitive, and we found ourselves making difficult decisions on which customer projects to pursue. We were aggressi ve, took measured risks with several of our largest customers, and in the end, we achie ved respectable results I am proud of the companys performance. Please, take your time to get to know th e company, and the wonderful people who each make a difference for so many small, minority-owned, and disadvantage businesses. You are now part of a wonderful tradition and I look forward to getting to know you as an individual, as a leader. Welcome aboard! Low Transformational LeslieCongratulations on your assignment and welcome to Consolidated Federal. You have made a good decision to join this company. The leaders of this company are very experienced and have been successf ul for many years. Our company provides valuable service to our clients, who pay a fa ir, often times favorable rate. Fortunately, we earn above average profit margins, and I have personally been rewarded by the companys success.

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89 As with any profit-seeking co rporation, there exist specific financial projections to meet each year. Our business is competitive, an d the principals of this corporation have labored for many years to maintain a solid position in the market. I know that you are new, but you have a lot of work to do. There is little time to waste before we move on with the business of conducting business. You need to focus on the important tasks at hand and be as efficien t as possible. Lest we forget, the companys principal objective is to meet revenue goals while controlling operating expenses. I know, from experience that control of expenses will be the key to reaching profitability, especially in light of the current economic e nvironment. Well meet at lunch to discuss your immediate priorities, but for now, I want to review the companys past performance and remind you of your assigned objectives for the coming year. The companys performance in 2003 was fair. As usual, there were competitors, some of whom were able to win business from our most important clients. It was a year in which we fell short of our planned target s. We expected to gr ow at 20%, twice the industry pace. Unfortunately, th e Florida division did not ach ieve its target level of revenue or profit. As a result, our company s stock price suffered, and several managers failed to earn at their expected levels of co mpensation. Sure, we set an aggressive target, but once that target was set, it should have been achieved. The analysts expected strong performance from us. I know that when we sa tisfy those expectations, we all earn the rewards we desire. As I have stressed in the past, it is th e duty of the organizations management to achieve objectives. If this is done, the organization will be a leader in this industry. If this is not done, it threatens th e companys existence in such a competitive market.

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90 Please take the next hour or so to ca tch up on your work. Since Bob left this position, many tasks have been ignored. You now have the obligation to address all of these issues in a timely manner. See you this afternoon so that we can discuss other plans. Scene 2: CEO visits Leslie Wilders office High Transformational Leslie, I have become aware of issues with our MIS links at se veral of our Eastern agency offices. I am looking at a memo da ted May 19 from Bill Jensen. The memo was addressed to you and David Fredericks. A lthough Bills memo does not specifically highlight the potential consequences, I expe ct the issues to which he refers will compromise our internet and email access. I realize that you are new to the issue, but have you begun to consider creative ways to handle it? Do you suppose there is a means to get temporary high speed access to the web outside of our normal service? Does UNICOM have a contingency plan? If so, how soon will it be implemented? Are ther e other communication companies that can provide the same service? What else can we do if the links are not restored? What are our alternatives? Perhaps you could contact another local pr ovider, one who could offer a different perspective. Lets not rely strictly on UNICOM for all of our information. We need to look at these problems from several different angles. We have assumed for years that our business can operate without high speed communication channels, but t hose assumptions are no longer valid. We have also assumed that customers will adjust to our wa y of doing business. That assumption is not valid either. We have to be creative, to be assertive, and fi nd innovative ways to overcome these issues.

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91 In the next few minutes, jot down any questions, and your ideas for how this problem can be addressed. Low Transformational Leslie, I have become aware of issues with our MIS links at se veral of our Eastern agency offices. I am looking at a memo da ted May 19 from Bill Jensen. The memo was addressed to you and David Fredericks. A lthough Bills memo does not specifically highlight the potential consequences, I expe ct the issues to which he refers will compromise our internet and email access. I suspected this might happen. I told Bill long ago that we should not rely on one supplier for our communications network. No w we have no alternatives. We have to communicate with customers and suppliers using antiquated methods. I have an important job to do, and so do you. We have co mplex tasks to execute and clients expect that we perform those tasks in a professional and expert manner. Now, I have to try to conduct business without an essential aspect of basic communication. UNICOM is our supplier, but I am not confident that they will get us back online in an efficient way. We need suppliers who are consistent, focused on the task, and reliable. No surprises. I recommend that you address th is issue immediately and get back to me. Scene 3: CEO encourages employee to participate in 360-degree feedback High Transformational Jim, our company has a commitment to em ployee development. It is one of our most closely held priorities. We value our employees and recognize that each has his or her own unique talents. In fact, I persona lly believe that every employee brings something different to the table, and that we can all learn from each other. Even the entry

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92 level clerk can make a valuable contribut ion, with an idea for how we can improve operation or for how we can expr ess ourselves to customers. In that spirit, I nominated you to part icipate in the next 360-degree employee development plan. This is the companys way of investing in your futu re; Its our way of expressing appreciation for your good work, a nd contributing to your continued success. With a comprehensive battery of tests and exercises, you will be evaluated by me, by your peers, and by a few of your clients. In this way, we are getting an assessment of your performance and your potential from seve ral different angles. I expect that youll learn something new about yourself and about how you are perceived by your colleagues. You will likely discover strengths you ne ver knew you had, and weaknesses you didnt know existed. I encourage you to attend the program with an open mind. I personally value continuing education, and you are an important employee. Do your best, and know that the company has your long term needs in mind. Low Transformational Jim, I have to send someone from our di vision to this trai ning program. We are being told by corporate that every divi sion has to send someb ody. I dont think youve been to one of these brainwashing se minars yet, so you get to go this time. Heres whats going to happen youll sit in a room, youll take a few surveys, and then people whove never worked in our busin ess will tell you need to start doing better. Itll probably be simple advice like, be a better listener or follow through on your commitments. Real rocket science, if you ask me.

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93 Anyway, I could care less about these th ings, but you gotta go. And you have to pick a few of your fellow employees and a few of your clients to fill out surveys as well. I say pick your best friends and most favorable clients. You dont want to get bad marks on one of these reviews. It c ould be a career killer. Lets see what this thing is called, 60 degree Employee Development Program. Which translates to, Well keep track of how we can fire you at a moments notice in the future. There are also a few sentences about long term commitment, investment in our employees, etc. You an I both know make profit for the company and youll be fine. Miss your budget numbers? Fall short of pr ofit projections? And youre on the street. Scene 4: CEO makes person al phone call to employee High Transformational Janet, this is Art Bollinger, and I am calling to express my appreciation for your good work with the IRS. I received a letter from James Dillon, who praised your effort in solving a delivery problem with King Industries. I am so pleased that you were able to assist Mr. Dillon the way that you did. Our company has a long tradition of providing exce ptional service, and there are many stories of heroic effort on the part of our employ ees in addressing custom er concerns. You are now an important and valuable part of that continuing tradition. I pe rsonally hold honest communication with clients as a non-negotiable value. Further, I believe that persistent, diligent, and principled effort on behalf of clients is our companys most critical value added service. Your effort exemplified the values we hold dear, and our company deep beliefs were revealed in your work. It is not always easy to satisfy customer demands. Each client is different, and each interaction is different. And so, I commend you on your ability to adjust your approach to

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94 meet Mr. Dillons individual needs. I am sure you had to be flexible and creative. Your work is an inspiration. Thank you. I appreciate your effort, and the attention you gave to the needs of Mr. Dillon and the IRS. Low Transformational Janet, this is Art Bollinger, and I am cal ling to let you know that I received a copy of a letter written from James Dillon. Mr Dillon described your work with King Industries. As you know, customers have high expectations of us, and its good that you were able to execute your assignments to the customers satisfaction. Good that you got the job done. Its a competitive market and customers can choose to do business with or without us. Sometimes, Im not sure that we have the ri ght people in the right jobs. In the future, I expect that youll draw on this experience and focus on the tasks we need to execute. For now, Id like you to call Mr. D illon and ask if hell renew our service contract for next year. If he was happy with your work on the last project, I exp ect you can convince him to renew for next year and to pay a higher f ee for our service. We must always remember our main priority in mind to maintain a pr ofitable business model. Despite what others may say, there is only one formula for success in this business good decisions and execute your assignments as efficiently as possible. Think about our next move w ith Mr. Dillon and the IRS. Scene 5: CEO makes another pe rsonal phone call to employee High Transformational John, this is Art Bollinger. I was recently copied on a letter fro m Alfred Hoight at Big Brothers of America. Mr. Hoight highl ighted your support of Big Brothers, and

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95 mentioned your contribution to the chapters annual fundraising campaign. This is great, and I am very proud of you. On behalf of the executive staff, I want to personally thank you for your work. Beyond our commitment to clients, and our deep interest in conducting business is an honest and principled way, we have also wa nted to be good corporate citizens. That is, we want to give back to the communities in which we work not just financially, but with the kind of personal service that you ar e providing for this worthwhile organization. You are an excellent representative of th e company, and your effort exemplifies the traditions that we have treasured over the years. Congratulations on your work with Big Br others. You community support is truly commendable. I would personally like to make a contribution to your effort, so please call me when you get a few moments. Low Transformational John, this is Art Bollinger. I was recently copied on a letter fro m Alfred Hoight at Big Brothers of America. Mr. Hoight de scribed your support of Big Brothers, and mentioned your contribution to the ch apters annual fundraising campaign. It is good that you are involved in local social service, but I think it goes without saying that we have an important job to do. I am hopeful that your time spent with this organization will provide a few good leads for busin ess, or at the least, some exposure to important decision-makers in the community. These kinds of groups can be great places to do business; Great places to meet influential people. If you ever have to chance to meet with a city commissioner, perhaps at a luncheon or something, let me know. We need to get in front of elected officials as often as

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96 possible. Thats good business. Plus, I would personally like to meet Rep. Andy Wasserman. If he is on the agenda at an upcoming meeting, give me some advanced notice. Scene 6: CEO introduces new business venture High Transformational Leslie, we need to make a decision about a potential new venture. During the last 6 months, a third party consulting team e xplored our potential to expand our product offering. They recommended that we develop a software package to assist in the grant application process. Now we have not done this kind of thi ng in the past, but I wonderAre we doing all that we can to develop our business? Is our current way of doing business whats really best for the future? Do our existing products provide a strategic competitive advantage? I wonder if we should consider alternatives. I wonde r if it should try something new. Perhaps this is our time to truly take the lead in our industry. You should have a package delivered to you shortly by interoffice mail. The package will include a summary of the consul tants report. Please look it over and decide how much of your departments budget you are w illing to invest in the development of a new software package. You know, going in this new direction will not be easy, and it will not be cheap. There will be serious start-up costs fo r engineering, development, production, and marketing. As the consultants suggested, there is a chance a tool like this will not be adapted, will not sell at expected levels. Th ere is a chance that customers will choose to buy similar products from existing supplie rs, and our product will be overlooked.

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97 If the product fails, you will not lose your job, but your compensation and your divisions performance will be below standard. Short term profitability could suffer. If it succeeds, however, we would revolutionize the way our industry operates. We would emerge as the clear leader in our business, and you would stand to earn a substantial bonus. Now I know that a project of this magn itude is risky we could make a big investment and get no tangibl e return. On the other hand, the project could be quite rewarding, with high margins and a way to improve our customer service. Think it over. I strongly encourage you to give the new proj ect your sincerest consideration. I know there is risk and a bit of uncertaint y, but I am confident in our people. I believe there is great pote ntial here and hope that you will too. Before I go, let me point out that this id ea, though novel, is co nsistent with our companys history and its strate gic vision. In the past, we were the first in our business to introduce a computerized system for tracking gran t requests. It cost a lot of money at the start; we suffered in the short term, but the system ultimately improved our efficiency and profitability. Developing our own software tool is also risky. There exist strong competitors and difficult approval guidelines. Plus, we are attempting to move our business beyond existing boundaries to assert ourselves as the innovator leader in our market. Yet in spite of all that, Im optimistic. Read over the consultants report and decide how much youll invest. Low Transformational Leslie, we need to make a decision about a potential new venture.

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98 During the last 6 months, a third party c onsulting team explored our potential to expand our product offering. They recommended that we develop a software package to assist in the grant application process. In the past, we did not develop our own products, but instead relied on systems and software developed by other companies. Ou r existing business model has been good for us, in that we have the systems to execute e ffectively. We have been able to maintain a leadership position in the market for severa l years. The profit ma rgins in our current business, though modest, are stable. Every so often, someone recommends that our business model needs to change. That the method of business weve used for many years will no longer be valid in the future. More technology will equal more efficiency, they say, and more efficiency means more profit. The consultants recomm endations are interes ting, but theyre also very risky. I wonder if we can afford to take su ch a risk when the competition is so fierce. You should have a package delivered to you by interoffice mail. The package will include a summary of the cons ultants report. Please look it over and decide how much of your departments budget you are willing to inve st in the development of a new software package. Developing a new software package will not be easy, and it will not be cheap. There will be serious start-up costs fo r engineering, development, production, and marketing. As the consultants suggested, a produc t like this is untested in the market, and there is a chance it will not sell at expected levels. There is a chance that customers will choose to buy similar products from ex isting suppliers, and our product will be overlooked. If that were the cas e, you run the risk of losi ng the your initial investment. We also run the risk that short term prof itability for your division will suffer. If the

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99 product fails, you will not lose your job, but your compensation and your divisions performance will be below standard. If it succeeds, however, you stand to earn a substantial bonus. I know that a project of this magnitude is risky we could make a big investment and get no tangible return. On the other ha nd, I suppose the project might be successful. If all goes well, the consultants say, your division will earn high profit margins levels, and you will be rewarded accordingly. You w ill be able to shut-out several of your strongest competitors, and earn higher leve ls of business from the most demanding customers. Take a look at the latest recommendation. Think it over, carefully choose a level of investment that is consistent with your e xpectation for the projects success. I cant say that Im completely confident, but you make your own evaluation. Before I go, let me remind you of our companys main priority to maintain a stable, profitable business model. The manage rs who achieve the goals I set for profit and growth are compensated adequately. Our co mpany has been successful for many years, and weve done so by sticking to core business fundamentals. Outsides will always ways for us to improve our operations. Some ar e good, some are just plain hogwash. There are some benefits to the consultants idea, but th ere are serious risks as well. Risks that we must take seriously. Read over the consultants report and decide how much youll invest.

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100 APPENDIX C FRAMING MANIPULATIONS Summary of Consultants Report: Positive Frame Based on an extensive analysis, our consulta nts believe that a fair market may exist for the company that can develop and ma rket a grant proposal and administration software tool. A new software tool might pr ovide users with an electronic system to review grant requirements and submit proposals electronically. This could be a very positive opportunity fo r the company that successfully brings a software tool to market. CFACO, for exam ple, could revolutionize the grant application process, not only in th e government contracting business, but also in every industry that requires an application for government fundi ng. CFACO could re-shape the contracting market, and might eventually move the i ndustry towards a paperless application and review process. There are great opportunities for the comp any willing to bear the burden of new software development. Now that the federa l government has impr oved its capability of administering service electronically, the poten tial for full electronic grant submission is real. Further, there do not appear to be strict approval procedures and burdensome administrative obstacles to overcome. There are, however, several risks. GeneralSoft a leader in software development and marketing, has looked at the feasibility of such a tool but has not yet pursued one. If GeneralSoft were to get to market early, CFACO would essentially be shut out of the market for selling electronic administration tools.

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101 That said, the outlook for CFACO on this issue is pretty positive. One in 4 new software products offers a favorable return on investment, and CFACO seems to have the talent on staff to make some real gains. Although there are heavy start-up costs, if successful, CFACO would stand to make high profit margins a nd take control of a large portion of the federal co ntracting business. Summary of Consultants Report: Negative Frame Based on an extensive analysis, our consulta nts believe that a fair market may exist for the company that can develop and ma rket a grant proposal and administration software tool. A new software tool might pr ovide users with an electronic system to review grant requirements and submit proposals electronically. However, while this seems like a good idea, the market for this kind of product is untested. As such, CFACO would stand to lose a great deal of its orig inal investment if the product is not adapted quickly. The reward s could be substantia l if the product sells well, but the losses could be equall y substantial if the product fails. It is possible to imagine scenarios in which CFACOs products are overlooked by clients, or a scenario in which competit ors introduce competing tools with similar capabilities. Further, we know that the gove rnment has begun to accommodate electronic administration, but it is hard to say how a tool like this would be accepted. In sum, there are several risks in pursuing this project. Very few software packages are successful in the market nearly 3 of every 4 new progr ams fail to offer a profitable return on investment. Further, GeneralSoft a leader in software marketing, has considered the feasibility of such a tool but not yet pursued one. If GeneralSoft were to

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102 get to market early, CFACO would essentiall y be shut out of the market for selling electronic administration tools. The outlook for CFACO on this issue is a bit unknown. There are high probabilities for falling short on the software issues, and while CFACO seems to have the talent on staff to make gains, some of the approval re quirements may be out of CFACOs control. If unsuccessful, the company would stand to co mpromise profitability and lose access to a large portion of the contracting business.

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103 APPENDIX D MEASURE OF TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADERSHIP Indicate the frequency of with which the project coordinator exhibited these behaviors. 1=Not at All, 2=Once in a while, 3=Sometim es, 4=Fairly Often, 5=Frequently, if not Always 1 Re-examines critical assumptions to question whether they are appropriate 2 Talks about his/her most important values and beliefs 3 Seeks differing perspectives when solving problems 4 Talks optimistically about the future 5 Instills pride in me for being associated with him/her 6 Talks enthusiastically about what needs to be accomplished 7 Specifies the importance of having a strong sense of purpose 8 Spends time teaching and coaching 9 Goes beyond self-interest for the good of the group 10 Treats me as an individual rather than just as a member of a group 11 Acts in ways that build my respect 12 Considers the moral and ethi cal consequences of decisions 13 Displays a sense of power and confidence 14 Articulates a compelling vision of the future 15 Considers me as having different need s, abilities and aspirations from others 16 Gets me to look at proble ms from many different angles 17 Helps me to develop my strengths 18 Suggests new ways of looking at how to complete assignments 19 Emphasizes the importance of havi ng a collective sense of mission 20 Expresses confidence that goals will be achieved

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104 APPENDIX E MEASURE OF RISK AVERSION Indicate the extent to which you agree with each of the following statements. 1=Strongly Disagree, 2=Disagr ee, 3=Neither Agree nor Disagree, 4=Agree, 5=Strongly Agree 1 I am a cautious person who generally avoids risks. 2 People must take risks in their careers to be successful. 3 I always play it safe, even if it means occasionally losing out on a good opportunity. 4 I view risk on a job as a situ ation to be avoided at all costs. 5 I am not willing to take risks when c hoosing a job or a company to work for. 6 I prefer to remain on a job that has problems that I know about rather than take the risk of a new job with unknown problems even if the new job offers greater rewards. 7 I prefer a high security job with a stea dy salary over one offering high risks and high rewards. 8 I think a low risk career strategy is wi se even if it means losing out on making it big.

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105 APPENDIX F MEASURE OF FRAMING Drawing only on whats written in the consultants marketing report, indicate the extent to which you agree with each of the following statements. 1=Strongly Disagree, 2=Di sagree, 3=Neither Agree or Disagree, 4=Agree, 5=Strongly Agree 1 CFACO could have positive gain s by developing a software tool. 2 The development of a software tool is within CFACOs control. 3 The market for a software tool in government contracting is uncertain. 4 According to consultants, CFACO could suffer sizeable losses they introduce a new software package. 5 The prospects for CFACO are positive. Note. CFACO is the acronym for Consolidated Federal Agency Contracting Office, the hypothetical company name used during the in-basket exercise

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106 APPENDIX G MEASURE OF ISSUE INTERPRETATION Indicate the extent to which you agree with each of the following statements about the new venture. 1=Strongly Disagree, 2=Di sagree, 3=Neither Agree or Disagree, 4=Agree, 5=Strongly Agree 1 Development of a new software tool is a plus. 2 The new trends in this business are a threat. 3 The future will be better because of a new software tool. 4 The new software tool represents a potential loss. 5 The consultants presented opportunities.

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107 LIST OF REFERENCES Agresti, A., & Finlay, B. (1997). Statistic methods for the social sciences Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall. Atkinson, J. W. (1957). Motivational dete rminants of risk-taking behavior. Psychological Review, 64 359-372. Awamleh, R., & Gardner, W. L. (1999). Perceptions of leader charisma and effectiveness: The effects of vision content, delivery, and organizational performance. Leadership Quarterly, 10 345-373. Barling, J., Weber, T., & Kelloway, E. K. ( 1996). Effects of transf ormational leadership training on attitudinal and financia l outcomes: A field experiment. Journal of Applied Psychology, 81 827-832. Bass, B. M. (1985 ). Leadership and performance beyond expectations New York: Free Press. Bass, B. M. (1999). Current developments in transformational lead ership: Research and applications. Psychologist-Manager Journal, 3 5-21. Bass, B. M., & Avolio, B. J. (1995). MLQ Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire for Research. Redwood City, CA: Mind Garden. Bass, B. M., & Avolio, B. J. (1997). Full-range of leadership development: Manual for the multifactor leadership questionnaire. Palo Alto, CA: Mind Garden. Bass, B. M., & Stogdill, R. M. (1990). Bass & Stogdill's handbook of leadership: theory, research, and managerial applications (3rd ed.). New York: Collier Macmillan. Baum, J. R., Locke, E. A., & Kirkpatrick, S. A. (1998). A longitudinal study of the relation of vision and vision communication to venture growth in entrepreneurial firms. Journal of Applied Psychology, 83 43-54. Bazerman, M. H. (1984). The relevance of Ka hneman and Tverskys concept of framing to organizational behavior. Journal of Management, 10 333-343. Bernoulli, D. (1954). Exposition of a new theo ry on the measurement of risk (original 1738). Econometrika, 22 23-36.

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120 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH I earned a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics from Stetson University (1993), and a Master of Business Administ ration degree from the Crummer Graduate School of Business at Rollins College (1999). Prior to enrolling at the University of Florida, I worked in management, sales, a nd marketing at Arrow Electronics, Inc., a multi-national, Fortune 500, electronics company. My research interests include leadership, emotions in the workplace, a nd international aspect s of organizational behavior, and I have published (o r have articles forthcoming) in scholarly journals such as the Journal of Applied Psychology, Acad emy of Management Journal, Journal of Organizational Behavior, and Nonprofit Ma nagement and Leadership Quarterly.


Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0011465/00001

Material Information

Title: Transformational leadership and follower risk behavior : an examination of framing and issue interpretation
Physical Description: Mixed Material
Language: English
Creator: Piccolo, Ronald F. ( Dissertant )
Judge, Timothy A. ( Thesis advisor )
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2005
Copyright Date: 2005

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: Management thesis, Ph. D.
Dissertations, Academic -- UF -- Management

Notes

Abstract: Modern leadership theory asserts that followers of exceptional leaders are willing to take personal risk in support of stated organizational objectives. In that vein, two experimental studies were conducted to evaluate the influence of transformational leadership behaviors on followers' willingness to take risk. In each study, transformational leadership was manipulated with a trained actor, and student participants were asked to indicate their willingness to assume a risky position. Drawing on assertions contained within transformational leadership theory, I hypothesized that followers of transformational leaders would be more likely to put personal or company resources at risk. I further hypothesized that observed effects of leadership on risk behavior would depend on how aspects of the decision scenario were introduced. In Study 1, students who observed a highly transformational, highly charismatic project coordinator were more willing to participate in an uncertain assignment than students who watched a leader who exhibited fewer charismatic leadership behaviors. In Study 2, participants were asked to assume the role of a division manager in a fictional company and to make an investment decision on behalf of a company. Managers who observed a transformational CEO reported higher levels of expectancy in the investment's outcomes, and were less influenced by how aspects of the decision scenario were introduced. Results of these studies make a contribution to transformational leadership theory by directly testing one of its main tenets -- that followers are willing to take risks on behalf of the organization. Further, transformational leadership theory is enhanced through the observation that effects are realized through a cognitive mechanism, namely, issue interpretation.
Abstract: charisma, framing, interpretation, leadership, risk, uncertainty
General Note: Title from title page of source document.
General Note: Document formatted into pages; contains 130 pages.
General Note: Includes vita.
Thesis: Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Florida, 2005.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
General Note: Text (Electronic thesis) in PDF format.

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Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0011465/00001

Material Information

Title: Transformational leadership and follower risk behavior : an examination of framing and issue interpretation
Physical Description: Mixed Material
Language: English
Creator: Piccolo, Ronald F. ( Dissertant )
Judge, Timothy A. ( Thesis advisor )
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2005
Copyright Date: 2005

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: Management thesis, Ph. D.
Dissertations, Academic -- UF -- Management

Notes

Abstract: Modern leadership theory asserts that followers of exceptional leaders are willing to take personal risk in support of stated organizational objectives. In that vein, two experimental studies were conducted to evaluate the influence of transformational leadership behaviors on followers' willingness to take risk. In each study, transformational leadership was manipulated with a trained actor, and student participants were asked to indicate their willingness to assume a risky position. Drawing on assertions contained within transformational leadership theory, I hypothesized that followers of transformational leaders would be more likely to put personal or company resources at risk. I further hypothesized that observed effects of leadership on risk behavior would depend on how aspects of the decision scenario were introduced. In Study 1, students who observed a highly transformational, highly charismatic project coordinator were more willing to participate in an uncertain assignment than students who watched a leader who exhibited fewer charismatic leadership behaviors. In Study 2, participants were asked to assume the role of a division manager in a fictional company and to make an investment decision on behalf of a company. Managers who observed a transformational CEO reported higher levels of expectancy in the investment's outcomes, and were less influenced by how aspects of the decision scenario were introduced. Results of these studies make a contribution to transformational leadership theory by directly testing one of its main tenets -- that followers are willing to take risks on behalf of the organization. Further, transformational leadership theory is enhanced through the observation that effects are realized through a cognitive mechanism, namely, issue interpretation.
Abstract: charisma, framing, interpretation, leadership, risk, uncertainty
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General Note: Document formatted into pages; contains 130 pages.
General Note: Includes vita.
Thesis: Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Florida, 2005.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
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TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADERSHIP AND FOLLOWER RISK BEHAVIOR: AN
EXAMINATION OF FRAMING AND ISSUE INTERPRETATION














By

RONALD F. PICCOLO


A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


2005

































Copyright 2005

by

Ronald F. Piccolo

































All of this work is dedicated to Dominique.















ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I would like to thank Tim Judge for his leadership and support throughout my time

at the University of Florida. I sincerely valued his wisdom, creativity, and personal

attention. I would also like to thank Jason Colquitt for his feedback, guidance, and

commitment to my professional development, and Amir Erez, whose help in the design

of the studies in this dissertation proved invaluable. Thanks also go to John Kammeyer-

Mueller and James Algina, who each provided valuable advice and feedback during the

course of my study. I would also like to express special gratitude to Henry Tosi, who was

gracious enough to grant me an opportunity to attend UF. I am forever grateful.

Finally, I'll express my love and appreciation for Dominique, who continues to be

supportive and inspirational. She is an amazing woman.
















TABLE OF CONTENTS



A C K N O W L E D G M E N T S ................................................................................................. iv

LIST OF TABLES ................................................... vii

LIST OF FIGURES ................................ .. ......... ............................ viii

A B S T R A C T ........................................................................................................ ............ ix

CHAPTER

1 IN T R O D U C T IO N ................................................. .............................................. .

2 REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE ........................................................................... 8

Transformational Leadership Theory .....................................................................8...
Risk-taking Behavior ....................................................................................... 13
Fram ing and Issue Interpretation ........................................................... ................ 21

3 STUDY ONE: TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADERSHIP AND RISK .................28

M e th o d .................................................... ... .. .. ............................................................. 3 5
Manipulation of Transformational Leadership ..............................................35
Sam ple and R research D esign ......................................................... ................ 36
P ro c e d u re ............................................................................................................. 3 7
M e a su re s .............................................................................................................. 3 8
A n a ly sis ............................................................................................................... 4 0
R e su lts....................................................................................................... ....... .. 4 0
D isc u ssio n ................................................................................................................ .. 4 4

4 STUDY TWO: LEADERSHIP AND FRAMING................................................ 50

M e th o d ........................................................................................................................ 6 1
S a m p le ............................................................................................................. .. 6 1
P ro c e d u re ............................................................................................................. 6 1
E xperim ental C conditions ............................................ .................... ................ 62
Investment Scenario and Framing Manipulation ...........................................63
M e a su re s .............................................................................................................. 6 3
A n a ly sis ............................................................................................................... 6 5



v









R e su lts ......................................................................................................................... 6 5
D discussion ......................................... ............. .................. 69

5 G EN ER A L D ISCU SSIO N ......................................... ........................ ................ 73

APPENDIX

A SCRIPTS FOR LEADERSHIP MANIPULATION STUDY 1 ..............................81

B SCRIPTS FOR LEADERSHIP MANIPULATION STUDY 2 ..............................87

C FRA M IN G M AN IPULA TION S ..............................................................................100

D MEASURE OF TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADERSHIP ................................... 103

E M EA SURE OF RISK AVER SION ........................... .................... .....................104

F M EA SU RE OF FRAM IN G .................................... ....................... ................ 105

G MEASURE OF ISSUE INTERPRETATION...... ........................................106

L IST O F R E F E R E N C E S ................................................................................................. 107

BIOGRAPH ICAL SKETCH .................. .............................................................. 120















LIST OF TABLES


Table page

3-1 Scale Means, Reliabilities, and Intercorrelations among Variables......................42

3-2 Cross Classification of Leadership and Risky Choice ........................ ................ 43

3-3 Logistic Regression of Risky Choice on Transformational Leadership ...............44

4-1 Mean Level of Investment for Leadership and Framing....................................66

4-2 Scale Means, Reliabilities, and Intercorrelations among Variables......................68















LIST OF FIGURES


Figure page

3-1 Distribution of Project Choices across Leadership Condition ..............................43

4-1 Model of Proposed Relationships among Variables ...........................................60

4-2 Pattern of Investment by Leadership and Framing .............................................68















Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADERSHIP AND FOLLOWER RISK BEHAVIOR: AN
EXAMINATION OF FRAMING AND ISSUE INTERPRETATION

By

Ronald F. Piccolo

August 2005

Chair: Timothy A. Judge
Major Department: Management

Modern leadership theory asserts that followers of exceptional leaders are willing

to take personal risk in support of stated organizational objectives. In that vein, two

experimental studies were conducted to evaluate the influence of transformational

leadership behaviors on followers' willingness to take risk. In each study,

transformational leadership was manipulated with a trained actor, and student participants

were asked to indicate their willingness to assume a risky position. Drawing on assertions

contained within transformational leadership theory, I hypothesized that followers of

transformational leaders would be more likely to put personal or company resources at

risk. I further hypothesized that observed effects of leadership on risk behavior would

depend on how aspects of the decision scenario were introduced.

In Study 1, students who observed a highly transformational, highly charismatic

project coordinator were more willing to participate in an uncertain assignment than

students who watched a leader who exhibited fewer charismatic leadership behaviors. In









Study 2, participants were asked to assume the role of a division manager in a fictional

company and to make an investment decision on behalf of a company. Managers who

observed a transformational CEO reported higher levels of expectancy in the

investment's outcomes, and were less influenced by how aspects of the decision scenario

were introduced.

Results of these studies make a contribution to transformational leadership theory

by directly testing one of its main tenets that followers are willing to take risks on

behalf of the organization. Further, transformational leadership theory is enhanced

through the observation that effects are realized through a cognitive mechanism, namely,

issue interpretation.














CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION

Risk-taking behavior among leaders and agents of an organization is an important

component of organizational success. In nearly every major industry, successful business

executives can easily identify a risky decision that served as the platform for achievement

of above average organizational results ("Setting a Direction," 2001). Observers of

business trends often attribute an organization's success to the willingness of its leaders

and employees to take risk in the face of competition and uncertainty (Collins, 1994;

2001; Peters & Waterman, 1982), and many popular press leadership guides emphasize

the importance of risk taking in the executive suites of major companies (Fiorina et al.,

2003) and throughout the middle and lower levels of management (Collins, 1994). In

their influential discussion on leadership and organizational success, Kouzes and Posner

(1995) encourage leaders to experiment, take risks, and encourage others to do the same

because "showing others that you're willing to risk is essential to getting others to do the

same" (p. 85). Indeed, many managers consider risk taking to be a central and essential

part of their jobs (March & Shapira, 1987), and risk taking has been described as an

essential aspect of each industry leader's strategy (Peters & Waterman, 1982).

As an important aspect of organizational success, risk behavior in an organizational

setting has been explained from both economic and psychological perspectives (Lopes,

1987). Early examinations of risk behavior tended to utilize economic models that relied

on strict assumptions regarding the concentration of information available to decision

makers, and the manner in which decision makers categorize, evaluate, and utilize that









information. Studies of risk preference and risky choice regularly test economic models

of decision-making under uncertainty with assumptions about the rationality of decision-

makers (Mellers, Schwartz, & Cooke, 1998), the use of mental heuristics by decision-

makers (Slovic, 1987), and the nature of the decision-task (March & Shapira, 1987;

Sitkin & Pablo, 1992). In the economic approach, risky choice is often predicted with

rational, utility maximizing cognitive models, which rely heavily on traditional economic

assumptions. However, despite the comprehensive body of research dedicated to

economic descriptions of risk, there exist regular variations in risk preference among

decision makers that remain unexplained by traditional models.

For one, economic models assume that decision makers are risk averse and prefer a

sure choice to one with uncertainty in the outcomes (Laughhunn, Payne, & Crum, 1980).

However, research in the personality literature has identified stable traits (e.g., sensation

seeking) that are proposed to indicate an individual's willingness to engage in risky

behavior (e.g., Rolison & Sherman, 2002; 2003), such as the study by Sorrentino, Hewitt,

and Raso-Knott (1992), which argued that risk preferences are substantially shaped by an

individual's tendency to avoid uncertainty. Further, studies involving working business

professionals have reported notable differences in tolerance for risk and uncertainty

between entrepreneurs and corporate managers (Stewart & Roth, 2001) and between male

and female managers (Byrnes, Miller, & Schafer, 1999). Thus, contrary to a fundamental

economic assumption regarding human behavior (i.e., risk aversion), it appears that

certain individuals may be predisposed to take risk.

Second, economic models assert that decision-makers evaluate potential

alternatives based on their stated probabilities, with little regard for the subjective









assessment of value an individual may place on a particular outcome. As noted by

Starmer (2000), traditional approaches relied on two major assumptions: procedural

invariance, which suggested that choices are made independently of the method used to

elicit them, and description invariance, which asserts that preferences do not depend on

how probability distributions are described. A central tenet of prospect theory (Kahneman

& Tversky, 1979), however, is that tolerance for risk is enhanced, suppressed, or reversed

depending on which outcomes of the decision scenario (e.g., gains or losses) are

emphasized (Bazerman, 1984).

Finally, the economic approach assumes that decision makers have access to

complete information about all alternative choices and that decision makers use all that

information when ultimately deciding on a course of action (Mellers et al., 1998). The

reality of practical business activity, however, is that these idealistic situations do not

exist. Very often, managers are forced to make strategic decisions with incomplete

information, and rely on intuition (rather than expressed probabilities) when estimating

prospects for a new venture's success (Eisenhardt, 1999). Unfortunately, while these

economic assumptions provide for the development of parsimonious models of decision

making under uncertainty, the resulting models fail to account for individual choices that

are inconsistent with calculated, self-maximizing thinking. Nor do these models account

for changes in risk preference that take place across context and decision task, a serious

shortcoming in our understanding of decision-making under risk and uncertainty.

More recently, research in social psychology has begun to address these limitations

with consideration of the psychological processes that underlie decision making under

uncertainty (Kahneman & Tversky, 1979; Lopes, 1987). Lopes (1987), for example,









argued that risk-seeking behavior could be justified by the internal processes that

decision-makers use to evaluate the values and probabilities of alternatives. According to

Lopes' (1987) summary, risk seeking behavior may have a motivational source (Larrick,

1993; McClelland, 1954), such that those with a high need for achievement are willing to

assume risk. In addition, risk behavior may be undertaken to support or enhance existing

self-judgments, such that those with a high level of self-esteem pursue risky adventures in

the presence of others (Cohen & Sheposh, 1977). Further, substantial evidence exists to

support the notion that choice under uncertainty is strongly influenced by transient

affective states (for a review see Isen, 1993), an assertion that is consistent with the

broader literature on the role of emotion in cognitive processing (e.g., Forgas, 1995;

2002). As such, a psychological approach to explaining risk provides a valuable platform

for explaining variations in decision making under uncertainty, and in understanding

deviations in choice from existing economic models.

Perhaps the most important contribution of the psychological approach to

explaining risk behavior is the observation that preferences for risk are not always bound

by rational, normative patterns, but are also influenced by social and organizational

factors that shape the decision context. Indeed, March and Shapira (1987) observed that

managers consider the organization's relation to aspiration level when evaluating risk,

and made cogent arguments for the notion that "risk-taking varies with the context" (p.

1412). Among the many potential situational modifiers, leader behavior may be one that

has a particularly important influence on how decision makers assess and ultimately

choose among risky alternatives, as followers look to their leader for cues on how to

interpret and respond to organizational stimuli (Levinson, 1965).









Inherent in most modern theories of leadership is the notion that effective leaders

arouse a high level of functioning among their followers and influence the manner in

which followers interpret important information in the workplace (Conger, 1991; Pirola-

Merlo, Hartel, Mann, & Hirst, 2002; Yukl, 1989). Transformational leadership theory, in

particular, asserts that leaders have a profound effect on the attitudes, behaviors, and

perceptions of followers (Bass, 1985), and inspire followers to perform beyond previous

limits. Unlike trait (Bass & Stogdill, 1990) or exchange-oriented (Maslyn & Uhl-Bien,

2001) approaches to understanding leadership, which tend to emphasize stable personal

traits of the leader or predictable patterns of communication across organizational levels,

the transformational approach specifically suggests that leadership is realized through

fundamental changes in followers (Bono & Judge, 2003). As such, a comprehensive body

of research on transformational leadership theory supports the notion that effective

leaders have an influence on how their followers feel about their work and how their

followers ultimately perform. Further, the transformational approach emphasizes the need

for a change in the status quo, and encourages behavior that supports the overall mission

of the organization, no matter how risky (Conger & Kanungo, 1994).

Despite the expectation that aspects of the transformational approach influence

followers' assessment and perceptions of risk, only one study to date has specifically

tested such a link. By examining the reactions among equity analysts to charismatic

appeals made by corporate CEOs, Flynn and Staw (2004) assessed the relationship

between charismatic behaviors and third party judgments about the company's future.

Results of the study suggested that companies with especially charismatic CEOs were

offered favorable stock ratings by third party analysts, in spite of financial evidence that









would have suggested otherwise. In this way, charismatic CEOs appeared to shape

judgments and behavior among equity analysts.

In that vein, the current studies were designed to examine the relationship between

leader behavior and followers' assessment of and willingness to engage in risky behavior.

Of particular interest is a transformational leader's influence on follower judgments about

characteristics in the workplace, and followers' willing to engage in risky behavior on

behalf of the organization.

In study 1, I attempt to establish a direct link between transformational leadership

and risk behavior among followers by having participants observe a leader that exhibits

behavior that is either consistent or inconsistent with the transformational approach.

Participants then make a personally relevant choice between two alternatives with

different levels of uncertainty. In study 2, I examine the influence of problem framing to

determine if observed effects of leadership on risk are subject to moderating influences.

In addition, I estimate the impact of issue interpretation among followers to determine if

observed effects can be explained by a leader's influence on how followers interpret

problem specific information. Despite transformational leadership theory's popularity in

the business literature, only a handful of studies to date have considered the processes by

which leaders affect followers' perceptions and attitudes (Bono & Judge, 2003;

Kirkpatrick & Locke, 1996; Pillai, Schreisheim, & Williams, 1999; Podsakoff,

MacKenzie, & Bommer, 1996). As such, the current studies examine a relatively unique

dependent variable (risk behavior), and attempt to explain observed relations between

leaders behavior and follower risk taking through a cognitive mechanism (issue

interpretation).






7


In the following section, I provide an overview of transformational leadership

theory, a description of theory and research on risk behavior in organizations, and an

introduction of framing and issue interpretation.














CHAPTER 2
REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE

Transformational Leadership Theory

Based in part on Burns' (1978) conceptualization, Bass (1985) introduced

transformational leadership theory to capture the impact of exceptional leaders on

followers' behavior. Transformational leadership theory asserts that certain leader

behaviors not only influence followers' attitudes and behaviors, but also inspire them to

perform beyond their previous personal limitations. In contrast to more exchange-

oriented models (e.g., leader-member exchange; Masyln & Uhl-Bien, 2001),

transformational leadership theory describes the process by which leaders create a

connection with followers, attend to their individual needs, and help followers reach their

potential (Bass, 1985). By appealing to follower's higher ideals and values,

transformational leaders enhance the commitment of followers to a well-articulated

vision and arouse followers to develop new ways of thinking about problems.

During the last two decades, the positive effects of transformational leadership have

been described in hundreds of empirical studies and summarized in three separate meta-

analytic reviews (Fuller, Patterson, Hester, & Stringer, 1996; Judge & Piccolo, 2004;

Lowe, Kroeck, & Sivasubramaniam, 1996). Of particular interest, the transformational

approach has been shown to be a reliable predictor of important organizational outcomes

including task and citizenship aspects of job performance (Howell & Frost, 1989;

Podsakoff, MacKenzie, & Bommer, 1996; Podsakoff, MacKenzie, Moorman, & Fetter,

1990). In studies that have considered the relative effects of popular leadership concepts,









transformational behaviors have emerged as consistent predictors of organizational

outcomes beyond other conceptualizations (Bycio, Hackett, & Allen, 1995; Howell &

Avolio, 1993; Howell & Hall-Merenda, 1999; Judge & Piccolo, 2004; Jung, 2001).

A search of the PsycINFO database indicates that more studies of

transformational leadership have been published since 1990 than all other modem

theories of leadership. Despite its popularity in the literature, however, only a few articles

to date have explored intervening mechanisms to explain transformational effects (e.g.,

McColl-Kennedy & Anderson, 2002; Pillai et al., 1999; Podsakoff et al., 1990; Shamir,

House, & Arthur, 1993). Those studies have tended to focus on leader-referenced

variables, such as trust in the leader, satisfaction with the leader, and perceived leader

fairness (e.g., Pillai et al., 1999; Podsakoff et al., 1990). While such mechanisms are no

doubt important, they represent a limited set of the potential mediators. Further, only one

study to date has specifically examined the link between aspects of the transformational

approach (i.e., charisma) and risk assessment among followers (Flynn & Staw, 2004).

Transformational leadership theory is a broad, process-based approach to

leadership that was developed, in part, from research on prominent political leaders

(Yukl, 1989). The theory suggests that certain leaders, through their charisma, vision, and

intellect, can elevate follower frames of reference, ideological values, and attitudes

towards self, peers, and the nature of their work (Bums, 1978). In contrast to economic

models which imply that followers tend to act to satisfy their own self-interest (Bono &

Judge, 2003), transformational leadership theory asserts that followers are inspired by

leaders who articulate a compelling vision, who help followers identify a higher purpose

in their work, and who recognize contributions to organizational objectives.









Since its original introduction by Burns (1978) and Bass (1985), transformational

leadership theory has evolved to describe four dimensions of transformational behavior:

idealized influence, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation, and individualized

consideration. Idealized influence is the degree to which leaders behave in admirable or

charismatic ways that cause followers to identify with them. Inspirational motivation is

the degree to which leaders articulate a vision that is appealing and inspiring to followers.

Intellectual stimulation is the degree to which leaders challenge assumptions, take risks,

and solicit followers' ideas. Individualized consideration is the degree to which leaders

attend to followers' needs, act as mentors or coaches, and listen to followers' concerns

and desires.

Recent studies of transformational leadership have involved a wide range of

samples and settings, have examined a host of different organizational outcomes, and

have utilized a variety of research methodologies (Conger, 1999). Assertions of the

transformational approach have received empirical support at the individual- and

organization-level (Howell & Avolio, 1993; Sosik, Avolio, & Kahai, 1997; Yammarino

& Dubinsky, 1994; Yammarino, Dubinsky, Comer, & Jolson, 1997), in educational

(Shamir, 1992; Zacharatos, Barling, & Kelloway, 2000), military (Shamir, Zakay,

Breinin, & Popper, 1998; Yammarino, Spangler, & Bass, 1993), and business settings

(Barling, Weber, & Kelloway, 1996; Baum, Locke, & Kirkpatrick, 1998; Bycio et al.,

1995), and in several different international samples (Den Hartog, House, Hanges, Ruiz-

Quintanilla, Dorfman, 1999; Jung & Avolio, 1998; Koh, Steers, & Terborg, 1995). These

studies provide evidence of the theory's cross-cultural generalizability.









In addition to studies that used participants in an organizational setting, researchers

have also tested the assertions of transformational leadership theory in experimental lab

studies. In several lab studies of transformational leadership theory, video tapes of well

known business and political leaders are used in an experimental transformational

leadership condition (Flynn & Staw, 2004; Erez et al., unpublished). In other cases,

trained actors exhibit behaviors that are proposed to characterize the transformational

pattern (Awamleh & Gardner, 1999; Howell & Frost, 1989; Kirkpatrick & Locke, 1996;

Shea & Howell, 1999). Based most often on the suggestions of Bass and Avolio (1997),

actors playing transformational leadership express confidence, use language that includes

symbolism and imagery, and appeal to followers' higher order values. In addition to these

verbal indicators of the transformational approach, the trained actors use nonverbal cues

such as dynamic voice inflection, animated facial expressions, and energetic physical

movement (Kirkpatrick & Locke, 1996). Taken together, the positive effects of

transformational leadership have been tested and verified in studies conducted in the lab

and in the field.

Two meta-analytic summaries of the transformational leadership literature have

been published in the last 10 years (Judge & Piccolo, 2004; Lowe et al., 1996). Lowe et

al. (1996) provided a corrected estimate of charismatic leadership's relationship to leader

effectiveness for (r=.71), whereas Judge and Piccolo (2004) summarized leadership's

effect on 6 important organizational outcomes such as leader effectiveness, satisfaction

with the leader, and motivation. In both studies, transformational leadership emerged as a

consistent and significant predictor of work related attitudes (e.g., satisfaction,









motivation) and behaviors (e.g., contextual performance, group performance) across

criteria and organization level.

Beyond transformational leadership's impact on a set of traditional organizational

outcomes, there is early evidence that transformational leaders also influence the way

followers think about themselves and their working environment. To suggest that

leadership is realized in part by the social-cognitive processing system of followers,

Brown and Lord (2001) introduced a model of the leadership process that described how

follower self- and context-relevant thought patterns are influenced by a leader's ability to

direct attention to critical bits of information. According to the authors, transformational

leaders create emotional arousal among followers and make specific information

regarding the work context more salient. Assertions of Brown and Lord's (2001) model

were confirmed, in part, by Piccolo and Colquitt's (in press) study of transformational

leadership and follower job perceptions, in which followers of transformational leaders

described their jobs as enhanced along the five core job characteristics (Hackman &

Oldham, 1976). This work by Lord and colleagues (1999; 2001) and by Piccolo and

Colquitt (in press) asserts that followers of transformational leaders tend to think

differently about their own potential, about their job experiences, and about problems

they face within the organization.

One possible extension of the work by Lord and Brown (2001; 2004) is

examination of a leader's influence on followers' willingness to take risk. Risk represents

a special kind of decision-making problem (Yates & Stone, 1992), one that deals with

uncertainty in the outcomes of a decision (March & Shapira, 1992) or with potential

losses for the decision-maker and his or her organization (Fischhoff, Watson, & Hope









1984). It is possible that especially effective leaders inspire followers to reach beyond

previous limits and risk personal resources for the sake of the organization. It may also be

possible that transformational leaders provide information about the work environment

and about the organization's future that influence follower judgments regarding the risk

associated with their actions and decisions.

Despite transformational leadership's popularity in the management literature, very

few studies to date have specifically tested a leader's influence on followers' willingness

to take risk. Whereas the notion that effective leaders encourage followers to innovate

and reach beyond comfortable personal boundaries is central to transformational

leadership theory (Howell & Avolio, 1993), specific tests of this phenomenon are rare.

Indeed, effective leaders are expected to influence risk behavior among followers, but

only one study to date (Flynn & Staw, 2004) has specifically examined the conditions

under which leadership influences risk behavior.

In the next section of the paper, I introduce some of the most relevant literature on

risk behavior and decision-making among managers in an organizational setting. I

provide an overview of economic and psychological approaches to explaining risk

behavior and describe how each approach explains risk behavior among managers.

Risk-taking Behavior

As described in the introduction, risk-taking is often regarded as an important

aspect of organizational success, and many managers consider the evaluation of risk and

management of uncertainty as essential components of their jobs (March & Shapira,

1987). Despite its usefulness and popularity in the social sciences, however, a consensus

definition of risk in an organizational setting does not seem to exist. Some authors tend to

equate risk with the uncertainty or variability of potential outcomes. Sitkin and Pablo









(1992), for example, suggested that risk is "...the extent to which there is uncertainty

about whether potential significant and/or disappointing outcomes of decisions will be

realized" (p. 10), while March and Shapira (1992) noted, in a similar definition, that

"... riskiness is associated with lack of certainty about the precise outcome of a choice

and the variation in the probability distribution" (p. 172). These definitions describe risk

in terms of the variability and uncertainty in potential outcomes. Of note, this approach

does not necessarily suggest that risk is the potential for negative outcomes, only that

outcomes are uncertain.

Other scholars have defined risk as the potential for meaningful loss.

MacCrimmon, Wehrung, and Stanbury (1986), for example, remarked that, "...a risky

situation is one in which the magnitude and chance of exposure to an outcome [may]

make a person worse off than some reference status quo" (p. 15). In a similar vein, Yates

and Stone (1992) suggested that the risk construct is comprised of (a) potential losses, (b)

the significance of those losses, and (c) the uncertainty of those losses. In the views of

MacCrimmon et al. (1986) and of Yates and Stone (1992), risky situations are those that

involve some potential for meaningful loss. Thus, while risk is an important and broadly

studied concept in the social sciences, there appears to be some ambiguity regarding the

construct's definition. Whereas risk is a construct that is expected to capture the dangers

and uncertainties of life (Mellers et al., 1998), no single, objective definition of risk exists

(Slovic, 1987).

In the economics literature, there have been several attempts to explain the manner

in which individuals approach decisions under uncertainty. Expected Utility Theory

(EUT), the "standard theory of individual choice in economics," is perhaps the most









popular (Starmer, 2000: p. 332). First proposed by Daniel Bernoulli (1738/1954),

expected utility theory asserts that individuals place subjective values on monetary

outcomes (i.e., utilities). The value of any particular gamble, therefore, is the expectation

of these utilities (Starmer, 2000). The theory states that decision makers choose among

risky alternatives by comparing their expected utility values. Beyond EUT, there exist a

host of non-expected utilities models of risky decision making and choice (for a review,

see Starmer, 2000). While Starmer (2000) classified theories of risk behavior into two

broad categories, descriptive and normative, Lopes (1987) instead reviewed the risk

literature and placed theories of risk into three descriptive categories.

First, Lopes described theories that explain differences between people who

regularly take risk and those who do not (e.g., Achievement Motivation, Atkinson, 1957;

McClelland, 1961). These theories tend to emphasize individual differences in risk

preference and suggest that willingness to engage in risky behavior remains constant

across situations. Second, Lopes described theories that explain differences between

situations that promote risk taking and those that promote risk aversion (e.g., Prospect

Theory, Kahneman & Tversky, 1979). These theories describe the contextual factors that

facilitate risky decision-making, and assume that people of all dispositions will engage in

risk when the situation is right. Finally, there are theories that explain why certain people

take risks in certain situations. Aspiration-level theory (Lopes, 1987), for example,

evaluates how dispositional and situational factors interact to produce "complex patterns"

of risk behavior. As Lopes (1987) remarked, ".. .risk-averse choices and risk-seeking

choices exist side-by-side in the same individual's behavior" (p. 275).









Each approach to understanding risk behavior tends to have its own set of

assumptions regarding the decision-maker, and each proposes a unique role for

emotional, situational, and individual factors. For example, very early observations of

human decision-making (e.g., Bernoulli) tended to emphasize the utility of expected

outcomes. That is, Bernoulli proposed a theory in which individuals place subjective

values on potential outcomes, the subjective evaluation being regarded as the outcome's

"utility." These and other economic models emphasize rational thinking among decision-

makers. Modern approaches to decision-making, on the other hand, have relaxed the hard

assumptions of rationality among decision-makers and have begun to recognize the "hot"

affective influences on risky decision-making alongside "cold" cognitive processes

(Brown & Lord, 2001).

The Economic Approach to Risk Behavior

In the social sciences, risk-taking and risky decision-making have been most

thoroughly covered in the economics literature (Lopes, 1987). Most approaches to

understanding decision-making under risk uncertainty depend on economic models rife

with assumptions about the rationality of the decision-maker and the process by which

decision-makers evaluate a set of potential alternatives. In an economics approach, the

stereotype is an individual who could forgo the influence of emotion and intuition during

the decision process and rely strictly on an objective evaluation of the information

presented. Decision theories presented in economics tend to rely on the rational choice

model, which suggested that a single correct answer existed for every decision scenario

(Mellers et al., 1998). Unfortunately, many of these early approaches failed to account for

choices that were inconsistent with rational evaluation of expected outcomes.









Worth noting, economic approaches to understanding decision-making under risk

rely heavily on cognitive explanations (Mellers et al., 1998). That is, models of risk-

seeking and decision-making under uncertainty make assumptions about the rationality of

decision-makers and the manner in which complex decision scenarios are categorized,

simplified, and deliberated. Decision models that emerged from early studies assumed

that decision-makers have access to and use of full information on the possible

alternatives, and make careful decisions based on objective evaluations of that

information. With the expectation that decision makers utilize strictly rational decision

processes, many early models ignored the emotion that decision-makers experience

during the decision process or the emotional reactions that decision makers experience

after outcomes are revealed. Only recently have more flexible models emerged that relax

traditional assumptions (e.g., complete information, rationality) regarding the decision

process (e.g., Isen, 1984a; 1984b).

Beyond the above stated assumptions, the economics literature also assumes that

decision makers are risk averse and rely on diminishing marginal utilities to justify

choice (Larrick, 1993; Laughhunn et al., 1980). That said, expected utility models, which

are at the heart of the economic approach to decision-making, fail to explain why people

simultaneously engage in risk averse behavior (buying life insurance) and risk seeking

behavior (buying a lottery ticket) (Wu, Zhang, & Gonzalez, 2004). Furthermore, models

that assume rational thinking among decision makers fail to explain variation in expected

outcomes or deviations from a single, correct choice. The expected utility approach, in a

sense, makes unreasonable assumptions about how most people engage in evaluations of

risk, ignoring irrational and impulsive reactions to environmental cues. Slovic (1987)









remarked, "...whereas technologically sophisticated analysts employ risk assessment to

evaluate hazards, the majority of citizens rely on intuitive risk judgments" (p. 280).

Individual Differences in Risk Behavior

Authors in the risk and decision-making literature tend to disagree on whether or

not preference for risk behavior is a stable individual difference. On the one hand, Sitkin

and Pablo (1992) developed a model of the antecedents of risk behavior and identified

three individual characteristics that influence risk related decision-making: risk

preference a stable preference for risky situations, risk perceptions a decision-

maker's assessment of the riskiness in a situation, and risk propensity an individual's

tendency to engage in risky behavior. These three characteristics are proposed to be

stable individual differences that predict risk behavior across context.

In support of risk propensity as a stable individual difference, one recent study

reported differences in risk preference between entrepreneurs and corporate managers

(Stewart & Roth, 2001). In particular, Stewart and Roth (2001) argued that entrepreneurs

tend to report, on average, higher levels of risk propensity than corporate managers. In

their meta-analytic review of 14 studies on risk propensity, the authors reported a

corrected effect size of d=.36 (.30, .44), suggesting that entrepreneurs displayed a higher

level of risk-seeking behavior across decision task than did corporate managers. In

addition, there appear to be risk seeking differences by other stable characteristics

including gender (Byrnes, Miller, & Schafer, 1999) and age (Sitkin & Pablo, 1992). In a

meta-analysis of 150 studies on risk behavior, Byrnes et al. (1999) examined the

difference in risk behavior between men and women and reported a positive mean effect

size (d=.13, p<.05), suggesting that men tended to exhibit slightly more risky behavior









than women. Studies of this kind relied on the notion that decisions to engage in risky

behavior do not rely exclusively on rational assessments of a given set of alternatives, but

also on stable individual predispositions towards risk (Bromiley & Curley, 1992).

However, despite reported differences between men and women and between

entrepreneurs and managers in terms of risk preference, the differences reported by

Bromiley and Curley (1992) and by Byrnes et al. (1999) were moderated by factors that

shaped the working context. For example, the difference between men and women was

significant when participants in a study were faced with a choice dilemma (men tended to

exhibit more risk), but men and women tended to display equal levels of risk in studies

that manipulated the frame of a decision outcome (a gain or loss). Thus, despite the

expectation that preference for risk remains stable across context, it may be unlikely that

risk propensity is the same in every situation. As MacCrimmon and Wehrung (1985)

noted, "...the person who takes business risks may avoid risks in personal decisions" (p.

3). That is, a person's willingness to take risk depends on contextual factors that shape

the environment in which a decision is made (Miller & Chen, 2004). Whereas Bromiley

and Curley (1992) argued that risky decisions depend on individual predispositions to

engage in risky behavior, decision-makers use information about the situation when

choosing among risky alternatives. In that vein, risk behavior has often been explained as

a function of characteristics that shape the context within which decision-makers work.

Contextual Influences on Risk Behavior

In consideration of the possible contextual factors that influence decision-making

under risk, a number of studies have emphasized the role of reference points or target

performance levels in the evaluation of risky alternatives (Fiegenbaum & Thomas, 1988;









March & Shapira, 1992). These studies tended to highlight the role of contextual factors

and asserted a motivational component to risky decision making. As Heath, Larrick, and

Wu (1999) noted, "...the traditional literature in economics assumed that risk aversion is

the norm, but the decision literature has demonstrated that risk attitudes change

depending on whether people are above or below a reference point" (p. 93). This idea

was extended to organization-level reference points when Miller and Chen (2004)

concluded that a manager's preference for risk was shaped by the organization's current

level of performance relative to expectations. These studies highlight the role of

information provided by aspiration levels or previous performance levels in explaining

risky behavior among managerial decision-makers.

The nature and availability of organizational resources also appears to influence a

manager's willingness to take risk. Managers tend to consider the importance and

concentration of resources in the risk-related decision process. March and Shapira (1992),

for example, found that managers with slack organizational resources were willing to put

those resources at risk, while those same managers were more willing to risk

organizational resources than their own personal resources. Samuelson and Zeckhauser

(1988) found that managers were more willing to risk newly acquired resources than

resources that had been held for a long time, a result that was similar to what Thaler and

Johnson (1990) labeled the "house money effect." That is, in a laboratory study of

students placing bets, Thaler and Johnson found that gamblers were more willing to risk

money won from the house in early bets than their own money. Taken together, these

studies indicate that risk preferences depend in part on the nature of the resources at risk.









In sum, risk taking behavior in organizations is a complex matter. There do appear

to be some individual differences that shape risk preference. Adolescents and young

adults, for example, tend to be exhibit more risky behavior than do senior citizens (Sitkin

& Pablo, 1992). However, risk taking behavior in organizations may best be explained as

a function of individual differences and social constructions of information provided in

the working context (e.g., leadership).

Framing and Issue Interpretation

In the previous section, I introduced some of the most prevalent research in the

social sciences on risk behavior. Normative economic models laid the groundwork for

early understanding of risk, but whereas these models assume rational thinking among

decision makers, several studies revealed that individuals regularly and systematically

make choices that violate traditional assumptions. For example, early economic models

of decision-making under risk, including expected utility theory (Bernoulli, 1738/1954;

von Neumann & Morgenstern, 1953), assumed that decision makers had access to

complete information regarding the decision. These models further assumed that decision

makers use fully rational thinking patterns during the decision process such that decision

makers rely strictly on information content when making choice and ignored the manner

in which information was delivered. In addition, many conventional theories assume

further that preferences are independent of the methods used to elicit them (procedural

invariance) and that preferences do not depend on how probability distributions are

described (description invariance) (Starmer, 2000). Assumptions of this kind, however,

have been ardently disputed (Kahenman & Tversky, 1979).

In the risk and decision literature, a series of classic studies by Kahneman and

Tversky (1979; 1986) questioned assumptions of the economic approach and revealed









weaknesses in expected utility theory. Despite the suggestion that rational decision

makers disregard the manner in which decision information is presented, Kahneman and

Tversky (1979) observed that preferences for risk reversed with modifications to how a

decision problem was introduced. In a study that introduced the Asian disease crisis to

student decision makers (Tversky & Kahneman, 1981), the authors noted that,

"...inconsequential changes in the formulation of choice problems caused significant

shifts in preference" (p. 457). The implication, of course, was that preferences depended

not only on rational evaluation of information content, but also on perceived value of

outcomes based in part on how the information is presented.

Tversky and Kahneman (1981) called the observed shift in risk preference a

framing effect, which occurs when decisions change with minor adjustments in how

decisions are introduced. As Ktuhberger (1998) noted, "framing [is] the fact that simple

and unspectacular changes in the wording of decision problems can lead to preference

reversals" (p. 24). In a sense, framing involves "making things look better or worse by

making some aspects of the situation more salient than other aspects" (Slattery &

Ganster, 2002: p. 90), so that decision choices can be influenced by both content and

delivery.

The most influential series of experiments conducted by Kahneman and Tversky

(1979) involved a variation of the Asian disease problem. The authors manipulated the

framing of the decision problem as either a gain or loss relative to the status quo. In one

such study, Tversky and Kahneman (1981) presented their subjects with the following

problem (p. 453):

Problem 1:









Imagine that the U.S. is preparing for the outbreak of an unusual Asian

disease, which is expected to kill 600 people. Two alternative programs to

combat the disease have been proposed. Assume that the exact scientific

estimates of the consequences of the programs are as follows:

If Program A is adopted, 200 people will be saved.

If Program B is adopted, there is 1/3 probability that 600 people will be

saved as 2/3 probability that no people will be saved.

Which of the programs would you favor?

Results of this particular problem indicated that a majority of respondents

preferred saving 200 lives for sure (72%) (the risk averse choice) rather than a 1/3

probability of saving all 600 lives (28%). Thus, when the problem was framed as

a gain (e.g., lives saved), study participants were risk averse.

Tversky and Kahneman (1981) then tested a loss frame condition with the

following problem:

Now consider this problem with a slightly different verbal description of

the outcomes:

Problem 2:

If Program C is adopted, 400 people will die.

If Program D is adopted, there is 1/3 probability that nobody will die and

2/3 probability that 600 people will die.

Which of the two programs would you favor?

As the authors noted in summaries of their research, options C and D are

equivalent to options A and B respectively. When presented with Problem 2,









however, a majority of respondents (78%) preferred Program D (the risk-seeking

choice) to Program C (the risk-averse choice). Tversky and Kahneman (1981)

noted that when the decision problem was framed as a potential loss (i.e., lives

lost), decision makers tended to prefer the risky alternative.

Results of this and other similar studies (e.g., Tversky & Kahneman, 1974; 1981;

1986) served as the platform for prospect theory, which suggested that decision

preferences change with mild manipulations of the decision frame. According to prospect

theory, individuals could be both risk seeking and risk averse depending on how language

in the decision problem is introduced. At the heart of prospect theory is the notion that

decision makers, in general, tend to be risk averse in a gain frame, and risk seeking in a

loss frame. That is, decision makers evaluate outcomes in comparison to a reference

point, which shifts with changes in the phrasing of the problem (Kuhberger, 1995).

Prospect theory has garnered favor among economists and psychologists alike, and

the predictions of prospect theory have been replicated in a number of studies (Bazerman,

1984). In a recent meta-analysis of 136 studies of the framing effect, for example,

Kuhberger (1998) reported support, in general, for the assertions contained within

prospect theory. As Kuhberger (1998) ultimately concluded, a framing effect, though

moderate, does exist across research designs in that emphasis on the positive aspects of a

problem (i.e., gain frame) leads to risk aversion, while emphasis on the negative aspects

(i.e., loss frame) encourages risk-seeking behavior. Kuhberger did note the roles of

problem characteristics and response style in moderating the framing effect, but

concluded that the main tenet of prospect theory was confirmed. In addition, basic

premises of prospect theory have been extended and supported at the organizational-level









of analysis in a study by Fiegenbaum and Thomas (1988), who noted that firms

performing below target levels tended to implement risk seeking organizational strategies

while firms above target level tended to choose strategies that were more conservative

(i.e., risk averse). Until recently, propositions contained within prospect theory were not

disputed.

Several recent studies of framing on risky decision-making, however, have yielded

results that are directly opposite to the predictions of Kahneman and Tversky (1979).

Hollenbeck, Ilgen, Phillips, & Hedlund (1994), for example, tested the impact of framing

on willingness to take risk and reported effects that were contrary to prospect theory

predictions. In a lab study that manipulated framing, goal setting, and past performance

level, Hollenbeck et al. (1994) found no direct effect of framing on risky choice, and

suggested that observed interactions among framing and goal setting were contrary to the

main assertions of prospect theory. In addition, von Schie and vander Pligt (1995) argued

that emphasis on positive features of a decision problem encouraged risk-seeking while

emphasis on negative features encouraged risk aversion. Further, Highhouse and Yuce

(1996), using Kahneman and Tversky's (1979) manipulation of the Asian disease

problem, were able to distinguish gain and loss frames from perceived opportunities and

threats. Highhouse and Yuce (1996) argued that decision-makers in the "lives saved"

frame regarded the risk averse choice as an opportunity, and the risk seeking choice as a

threat. It was the decision-maker's perception of opportunity or threat that shaped risk

behavior, results that conflicted with assertions of prospect theory.

Prospect theory has been a popular approach to understanding choice under

uncertainty and as Wu et al. (2004) noted, Kahneman and Tversky's (1979) influential









article was the second most cited paper in economics during the period 1975 2000. That

said, prospect theory has not closed the book on decision making under uncertainty as

enhancements to the prospect theory approach have been introduced and tested in the last

two decades. Modern approaches, for example, now take fluctuating reference points,

cognitive heuristics, and human emotion into consideration. Recent advancements have

attempted to bridge the gap between economic and psychological explanations of choice,

and research on risk behavior following the success of prospect theory has addressed the

concerns of both economists and psychologists (Wu et al., 2004). Whereas economists

longed for simple, parsimonious, and mathematically sound predictions of risky choice,

psychologists sought explanations of underlying evaluation processes. In modern studies

of risk, researchers examine the role of experienced emotion in the decision process (e.g.,

Isen, 1987), the social construction of environmental cues (e.g., Ginsberg &

Venkatraman, 1992; Mittal & Ross, 1998), and the interaction of framing and task

characteristics (Mano, 1994).

In the current set of studies, the roles of leadership and cognitive processes among

followers are of particular interest. Indeed, issue interpretation and subsequent cognitive

processing is of critical importance in the formation of judgments about decision

problems. As Tversky and Kahneman noted (1981), "...when faced with a complex

problem, people employ a variety of heuristic procedures to simplify the representation

and evaluation of prospects" (p. 317). That is, an individual's evaluation of alternative

choices may be shaped by the social construction of information provided in the work

context. As such, I describe, in the following sections, two studies that were designed to









estimate the influence of transformational leadership on cognitive patterns among

followers, including their willingness to engage in risky behavior.

Throughout the remained of this paper, I rely on definitions contained within

traditional behavioral decision theory, in which the term "risk" is synonymous with and

used interchangeably with the term "uncertainty." "Decision makers are said to be as risk

averse if they prefer a sure thing to an option whose outcome is uncertain" (i.e., a risky

option) (Highhouse & Yuice, 1996: p. 159), or as Sitkin and Pablo (1992) noted, risk is

".. .the extent to which there is uncertainty about whether potentially significant and/or

disappointing outcomes of decisions will be realized" (p. 10).














CHAPTER 3
STUDY ONE: TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADERSHIP AND RISK

Most examinations of decision-making under risk or uncertainty have noted that

aspects of the decision context have an important and significant influence on risk

preference and choice. Whereas several authors have explored risk preferences as

having a dispositional source (e.g., Judge, Thoresen, Pucik, & Welbourne, 1999),

factors that shape the working context and specific decision problems have an

important influence on judgment and choice. The perceived level of organizational

support for innovation (Sitkin & Pablo, 1992), for example, is regarded as a critical

factor in risk preference, as is the performance level of an organization relative to its

aspiration level (Miller & Chen, 2004). Indeed, a critical conclusion of the research

conducted by Kahneman and Tversky (1979) was that preferences for risk change with

relatively minor adjustments in the way outcomes are described (i.e., framing).

Beyond framing, a number of other individual and organizational aspects

influence evaluation of risk and subsequent risk behavior. For example, managers tend

to be risk seeking with newly acquired resources (Thaler & Johnson, 1990), when they

are familiar with the decision problem (Slovic, 1987), when they have had success on

similar decisions problems in the past (Osborn & Jackson, 1988), and when slack

resources are readily available (March & Shapira, 1992). Thus, social and contextual

factors that shape the decision scenario play an important role in the formulation of risk

perceptions and subsequent reactions to risky scenarios (March & Shapira, 1987).









Central in the observation that framing and other contextual factors influence

choice under uncertainty is the recognition that decision-makers regularly violate

traditional, economic assumptions regarding risk-oriented decisions (Mellers et al.,

1998). Among the many contextual factors that shape risk preference, leader behaviors

could be among the most influential (MacCrimmon, Wehrung, & Stanbury, 1986).

Leaders are central elements in the work context and have a profound effect on how

aspects of work are evaluated. Followers rely on informational cues provided by the

leader when making judgments about job characteristics and work assignments (Ferris,

1983; Levinson, 1965; Piccolo & Colquitt, in press), and employees regularly look to

their supervisors for guidance regarding acceptable behavior in the workplace,

organizational preferences for innovation, and leader support for risk taking. Drawing

on a social information processing perspective (Salancik & Pfeffer, 1978), work-

oriented judgments depend not only on tangible characteristics of the task and work

environment, but also on social constructions of information available to workers when

judgments are made, including the overt and implied preferences of the leader.

The notion that judgments regarding work problems rely on interpretations of

information in the working context is particularly relevant to the relationship between

leadership and risk behavior. Shamir et al. (1993) suggested that leaders who exhibit

transformational behaviors are able to influence the manner in which followers judge

the work environment by using verbal persuasion, by communicating the value of a

clear mission, and by connecting followers to higher-order values (collective goals, for

example). These ideas are similar to those proposed by Ferris and Rowland (1981), who

argued that leadership effects are realized in part, through follower perceptions of job









characteristics. Transformational behaviors, such as intellectual stimulation, are related

to perceptions of job autonomy, which places control for task engagement in the hands

of the employee. That is, when a leader offers an employee some control over

organizational decisions, the employee regards their job as having more autonomy,

which can translated to risk taking behavior among managers (Liverant & Scodel,

1960; March & Shapira, 1987).

Beyond job characteristics, effective leaders are capable of shaping the manner in

which followers perceive aspects and likely outcomes of organizational problems.

Effective leaders can make decision scenarios look better (or worse) by emphasizing

certain aspects of the situation more than other aspects (Slattery & Ganster, 2002;

Smircich & Morgan, 1982), and can make salient the reward aspect of the "risk-

reward" evaluation associated with decision-making under uncertainty.

Transformational leaders have the ability to crystallize the organization's mission and

direct attention among followers to the most critical features of the current assignment.

As Bass (1985) noted, "...transformational leaders attempt and succeed in raising

colleagues, subordinates, followers, clients or constituencies to a greater awareness

about the issues of consequence" (p. 17). Transformational leaders encourage change in

the status quo and heighten sensitivity to opportunities in the environment (Conger &

Kanungo, 1994), and as Highhouse and Yuce (2002) noted, "... emphasizing

opportunities [has] the effect of highlighting the positive outcomes associated with risk

taking" (p. 161).

In addition, leaders can influence follower preferences in the work place by

providing a model of the kind of behavior that is expected from followers (Levinson,









1965). This may be especially true for a leader's influence on followers' risk

preferences, which is often shaped by the leader's orientation towards risk (Sitkin &

Pablo, 1992) and the leader's support for innovation (Howell & Avolio, 1993).

Transformational leaders, in particular, tend to exhibit behaviors that are regarded as

bold and courageous (idealized influence), and charismatic leaders engage in behaviors

that subordinates interpret as involving great personal risk (Conger and Kanungo,

1994). These types of leaders, by example, indicate to followers that risk-taking is an

activity worth emulating, and when making judgments about risk, followers tend to

look at the behavior and preferences for risk displayed by leaders.

Further, transformational leaders stimulate followers to seek alternative and

innovative solutions to organizational problems (intellectual stimulation), and in doing

so, followers may develop and ultimately choose more risky solutions. Leaders who use

persuasive language draw on symbolism and ideology to inspire action (inspirational

motivation) such that followers feel empowered and willing to act on behalf of the

leader. Followers feel a sense of empowerment about their work (Thomas & Velthouse,

1990) which encourages innovation and risk taking behavior (Sitkin & Pablo, 1992).

Lastly, by connecting followers to the organization's mission and by emphasizing each

participant's contribution to organizational objectives (inspirational motivation), the

transformational leader motivates followers to assume more risk.

Effective leaders tend to arouse positive attitudes and positive emotions from

followers, which are often associated with risk-seeking behavior. That is,

transformational leaders have the potential facilitate a desire for achievement of

extraordinary results (Bass, 1985), a positive self-concept (Lord & Brown, 2001; Lord,









Brown, & Freiberg, 1999), and situationally-induced self-esteem (Cohen & Sheposh,

1977). Each of these attitudes has been identified as a predictor of innovative and risk-

seeking behavior (Cohen & Sheposh, 1977; Sorrentino et al., 1997). Further,

transformational leaders have the ability to arouse positive emotions among followers

(McColl-Kennedy, 2002), and high levels of arousal tend to facilitate risk-seeking

behavior (Mano, 1991).

Consistent with the inspirational motivation aspect of transformational leadership

theory, transformational leaders tend to speak optimistically about the organization and

articulate a clear and compelling vision for future success. These leaders emphasize

positive expected results of organizational effort and by doing so, reduce the

uncertainty and perceived variability of future outcomes. Hollenbeck et al. (1994)

argued that decision alternatives depend not only on past performance levels or on

gain/loss framing of potential outcomes, but on the specificity of future aspirations (i.e.,

goals and vision). Transformational leaders are able to convince followers to buy-in to

their vision, even if the objectives seem extraordinary and the outcomes uncertain. As

Flynn and Staw (2004) remarked,

Charismatic leaders often ask followers to accept their vision of the future, based
more on faith in the leader than upon the critical analysis, their communications
may influence follower's willingness to engage in risky behavior. The
charismatic leader may lead followers to frame investment decisions in a less
skeptical manner, resulting in a greater acceptance of risk, not only in regard to
the leader's own organization but relative to other investment opportunities as
well. (p. 313)

It is therefore likely that transformational leaders will have a positive

influence on follower's willingness to take risk.

Hypothesis 1: Followers of transformational leaders will be more willing to

take risk than followers of non-transformational leaders.









In the explanation of risky choice among decision-makers, researchers have

attempted to examine preference for risk as a stable, individual trait (e.g., MacCrimmon

& Wehrung, 1990; Williams & Narendan, 1999). Similar to other enduring personality

traits (e.g., extraversion), a dispositional preference for risk is proposed to shape

attitudes and risk seeking behavior across situations. Risk-averse decision-makers, for

example, avoid taking chances in business and in their personal lives, and prefer

outcome alternatives with known probabilities to those that are variable. Trait measures

of risk aversion are associated with achievement motivation (Atkinson, 1957), an

orientation towards safety (Lopes, 1994), reports of unhappiness in situations that

involve risk (Maehr & Videbeck, 1968), and negative views of risk-oriented

assignments (Cable & Judge, 1994). In their model of the antecedents of risk-seeking

behavior, Williams and Narendon (1999) considered culture, locus of control, and

gender as predictors of risk propensity and choice, and though modest, Stewart and

Roth (2001) reported a difference in risk preference among entrepreneurs and corporate

managers. Thus, despite the strong influence of situational factors, there is some

evidence for a dispositional source of risk preference.

That said, while risky choice may have a dispositional source, leaders have the

potential to move followers beyond existing personal preferences for the sake of

organizational objectives. Sitkin and Pablo (1992) argued that decision makers maintain

inertia in response to risky decision scenarios, such that individuals often prefer to

maintain the status quo and the routine nature of organizational response. However,

transformational leaders may be especially effective in shaping personal preferences

regarding uncertainty and risk, and in encouraging behavior that is inconsistent with









personal preferences. Indeed, a central assertion of transformational leadership theory is

that effects are realized by a fundamental change among followers, such that follower

preferences and motives are "transformed," raised from individual- to group-oriented,

or from focused on the self to focused on interests that are best for the organization

(Bass, 1985). In general, transformational leaders emphasize the need for individual

and organizational activity that is beyond the existing status quo.

Using inspirational motivation, for example, transformational leaders convince

followers to pursue the organization's mission over their own personal agendas. As

Bass and Avolio (1997) noted, "Transformational leadership is seen when leaders

[generate] awareness of the mission or vision of the organization and motivate

[followers] to look beyond their own interests towards those that will benefit the group"

(p. 2). In this way, personal preferences among followers of transformational leaders

are often suppressed for the sake of the organization.

In addition, transformational leaders encourage followers to align individual

interests with those of the organization. Indeed, followers of transformational leaders

tend to regard the organization's goals (Jung & Avolio, 2000) and the organization's

values (Bono & Judge, 2003) as consistent with their own, and come to behave in ways

that express congruence with organizational norms. Thus, effective leaders shape

follower beliefs and subsequent behaviors.

As transformational leaders encourage followers to forgo personal preferences for

the sake of the organization, I hypothesized:

Hypothesis 2: Transformational leadership will predict risky choice beyond a

trait measure of risk aversion.









Method

Manipulation of Transformational Leadership

A number of studies have manipulated transformational leadership in a laboratory

setting. Among other things, these studies have attempted to isolate the impact of

leadership on follower reactions (e.g., Brown & Lord, 1999), to identify the

psychological and affective responses that underlie leadership effects (e.g., McColl-

Kennedy & Anderson, 2002; Kirkpatrick & Locke, 1996), and to examine the

conditions under which leadership has its effect (Shamir & Howell, 1999). In many

cases, the recommendations of Bass and Avolio (1997) have been at the heart of the

experimental manipulations (e.g., Jung & Avolio, 1998, 2000; Sosik, 1997; Sosik,

Avolio, Kahai, & Jung, 1998). According to Bass and Avolio, willing participants can

learn to execute behaviors that characterize the transformational leadership pattern. In

their plan for leadership development, Bass and Avolio described a set of specific

behaviors and verbal benchmarks that characterize transformational leadership.

In studies that have relied on the Bass and Avolio (1997) program, manipulations

of high transformational leadership have (1) emphasized the importance of the task and

its broad contribution to the organization's goals (Jung & Avolio, 1998), (2) presented a

high level of expectation to inspire performance (Jung & Avolio, 1998), (3) stressed the

importance of questioning assumptions (Sosik, 1997), (4) encouraged originality

(Sosik, 1997), (5) expressed confidence in the group and its individual members (Sosik

et al., 1998), (6) suggested new and creative methods to analyze problems (Jung &

Avolio, 2000), and (7) stressed the importance of questioning assumptions (Sosik et al.,

1997). These behaviors are consistent with manipulations of charismatic leadership that

not only emphasize verbal persuasion, such as articulating an ideological goal (Shea &









Howell, 1999), but also non-verbal charismatic behaviors such as the use of hand

gestures and a captivating voice tone (Kirkpatrick & Locke, 1996).

In each of the experimental studies described above, a high transformational

leadership script is presented in contrast to low transformational leadership. The low

transformational conditions tend to emphasize the economic payoff of a specific

accomplishment (Sosik et al., 1998), the steps that should be taken to accomplish

desired outcomes (Jung & Avolio, 2000), a specific set of low level goals (Sosik et al.,

1997), and the quantity of work to be accomplished within a specified time period

(Shea & Howell, 1999). In addition, the low transformational leader tends to be neutral

towards the task and participants, and relies less on language that refers to history,

tradition, and a set of collective values.

In the current set of studies, original scripts were written for each condition,

based on the recommendations of Bass and Avolio (1997) and on examples presented

in previously published articles. In particular, the leader's high transformational address

to student participants was meant to include content that is characteristic of the

transformational pattern (clear and articulate vision, positive outlook for the future,

emphasis on collective set of objectives, reference to higher-order values) and non-

verbal communication that is typical of a charismatic leader (use of hand gestures,

active engagement with audience during the presentation, animated facial expressions,

a meaningful pattern of voice tone and inflection). The high and low transformational

scripts are presented in Appendix A.

Sample and Research Design

Undergraduate students (54% male) enrolled in an upper-level management

course at a southeastern university participated in the research study. Students were









offered one extra credit point for their participation and were randomly assigned to the

experimental or control condition. Using original scripts and case studies, I manipulated

transformational leadership (high transformational leadership vs. low transformational

leadership) in a completely randomized between-subjects design. Fifty-four students

were in the high transformational condition and 58 students were in the low

transformational condition.

Procedure

Participants accessed a secure web site which contained the study's material.

Each participant was asked to read a brief outline of the study and to complete a short

questionnaire, including a trait measure of risk aversion. Upon completing the survey,

each participant was randomly directed to one of two separate web sites, which

contained the video files for the manipulation of transformational leadership. In each of

the two videos, a trained actor portrayed a research coordinator at the University of

Florida, described the business school's current research program, and introduced two

assignments in which students could participate. The actor was male, in his early 30's,

and was trained to portray behaviors characteristic of the high and low transformational

style in a manner that is consistent with previous experimental studies of

transformational leadership theory.

In the experimental condition, the research coordinator used transformational

language and charismatic speech consistent with the recommendations of Bass and

Avolio (1997). The speech included imagery, collective goals, and an optimistic

outlook for future success. Manipulation of leadership in this manner is consistent with

other laboratory studies of transformational leadership (e.g., Kirkpatrick & Locke,

1996). In the control condition, the coordinator utilized less transformational behavior,









with little use of charismatic language or expressive non-verbal communication, and

with more attention to the specific processes and intermediate activities necessary for

accomplishment of individual goals.

Immediately after watching the video, participants were asked to choose between

an assignment with clearly defined objectives, time demands, and responsibilities, and

an assignment in which time demands and responsibilities were uncertain. After

making this choice, students completed additional survey items and submitted their

responses to a secure database.

Measures

Transformational leadership. The four dimensions of transformational

leadership were measured with items from the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire

(MLQ; Bass & Avolio, 1995). The MLQ was developed and empirically validated to

reflect dimensions of transformational leadership and has been used in over 75 studies

across a variety of settings (Lowe et al., 1996). Participants were asked to indicate on a

5-point Likert scale (l=Not at all, 5=Frequently, if not always) the frequency with

which the project coordinator exhibited the set of leadership behaviors. Four items were

used to measure intellectual stimulation (e.g., "My supervisor... seeks differing

perspectives when solving problems"), inspirational motivation (e.g., ".. .articulates a

compelling vision of the future"), and individualized consideration, (e.g., "...treats me

as an individual rather than just a member of a group"). Eight items were used to

measure idealized influence (e.g., "...instills pride in me for being associated with

him/her" and ".. .talks about his/her most important values and beliefs"). The measure

of transformational leadership is presented in Appendix D.









Risk aversion. Risk aversion was measured with the 8-item scale developed by

Cable and Judge (1994). Participants were asked to indicate on a 5-point Likert scale

(1=strongly disagree, 5=strongly agree), the extent to which they agreed with

statements such as, "I am a cautious person who generally avoids risks", "I view risk of

a job as a situation to be avoided at all costs", "I always play it safe, even if it means

occasionally losing out on a good opportunity," and "People must take risks in their

careers to be successful" (reverse coded). The measure of risk aversion is presented in

Appendix E.

Risky choice. Each participant was asked to choose between one of two possible

extra credit assignments. One of the assignments (Project 1) had very little uncertainty,

in that the time requirements, tasks, setting, location, and expectations were clearly

described by the project coordinator. The other assignment was described in more

vague terms, with ambiguity regarding the expectations for participation. The

coordinator explained, for example, "In Project 2, the tasks vary from student to student

and there are no standard time limits for your participation you could be finished in

15 minutes, or be given a task that demands nearly two hours. [This] assignment could

be a lot of fun, with excitement and mystery, but, it could also be long and quite

embarrassing." Immediately after watching the video, participants made their choice,

which was coded as a dichotomous variable (0=Project 1: non-risky choice, 1=Project

2: risky choice).

Perceived risk. To evaluate the quality of the experimental material, I asked

participants to describe the extent to which they perceived risk and uncertainty in each

of the project choices. Using a 5-point Likert scale (1=strongly disagree, 5=strongly









agree), participants indicated the extent to which they agreed with three statements

about each project, "Project 1 [Project 2] is risky", "The expectations for Project 1

[Project 2] are uncertain", and "The requirements for Project 1 [Project 2] are

unknown."

Lastly, I recorded each participant's gender (0=female, l=male).

Analysis

Logistic regression was used to assess the hierarchical (multivariate)

contribution of leadership and risk aversion as predictors of risky choice. Logistic

regression is the appropriate method of analysis when the dependent variable is

dichotomous, such as the risky choice variable used in this study (Agresti & Finlay

1997). Unlike ordinary least squares regression, logistic regression does not assume

linearity between the independent and dependent variables, nor does logistic regression

require that the variables be normally distributed.

Results

To determine whether participants correctly perceived the intended manipulation

of transformational leadership, post-experimental manipulation checks were conducted.

A series of independent samples t-tests were computed for each dimension of

transformational leadership. As expected, there were highly significant differences

between the high and low leadership groups in their respective assessments of idealized

influence (mHIGH=3.60, SDHIGH=0.57; mLow= 2.70, SDLow=0.64; t-7.84, p<.05),

inspirational motivation (mHIGH=4.37, SDHIGH=0.71; mLow=2.81, SDLow=0.79;

=-10.97, p<.05), individualized consideration (mHIGH=2.89, SDHIGH=0.82; mLow=2.10,

SDLow=0.92; =-4.79, p<.05), and intellectual stimulation (mHIGH=3.32, SDHIGH=0.81;

mLow=2.83, SDLow=0.86; t-3.11, p<.05). These results indicate that participants in the









experimental, high transformational group perceived their leader as having exhibited

more behaviors consistent with the transformational pattern than those in the control,

low transformational group.

Prior to evaluating the relationship between leadership and risk, I conducted a

series of paired sample t-tests to estimate participants' perception of risk and

uncertainty in each project. If Project 2 item mean scores on the perceived risk scale are

significantly higher than item mean scores for Project 1, then Project 2 is regarded by

participants as more risky and more uncertain. Consistent with expectations,

participants regarded Project 2 as more risky (m RISK, PROJECT2=4.18, SD RISK,

PROJECT2=0.93; m RISK,PROJECT1=1.62, SD RISK, PROJECT1=0.95; =-17.67, p<.05), as having

more uncertain expectations (m UNCERTAINTY, PROJECT2=4.38, SD UNCERTAINTY,

PROJECT2=0.81; m UNCERTAINTY, PROJECT= 1.80, SD UNCERTAINTY, PROJECT 1=1.02; t-17.53,

p<.05), and with having more unknown requirements (m UNCERTAINTY, PROJECT2=4.38,

SD UNCERTAINTY, PROJECT2=0.93; m UNCERTAINTY, PROJECT1=2.08, SD UNCERTAINTY,

PROJECT1=1.25; t-12.75, p<.05) than Project 1. Knowing that participants' regarded

Project 2 as the risky option, I continued with my analysis of transformational

leadership and risky choice.

Scale means, standard deviations, scale reliabilities, and correlations among the

variables are presented in Table 3-1. Whereas previous studies suggested that men tend

to be more risk seeking than women (Byrnes et al., 1999; Dunegan & Duchon, 1989),

gender was not related to risky choice in the current study (r=.05, ns). The trait measure

of risk aversion was negatively related to risky choice, in that those who were risk

averse tended to choose the less risky assignment. This relationship approached









significance (r=-.17, p=.07). As expected, transformational leadership was positively

related to risky choice (r=.23, p<.05) such that followers of the transformational project

coordinator were more likely to choose the uncertain assignment (Project 2) than

followers of the non-transformational coordinator.

Table 3-1. Scale Means, Reliabilities, and Intercorrelations among Variables
m SD Uc 1 2 3
Transformational Leadership 3.06 .76 .91
Risk Aversion 2.52 .51 .71 -.01
Gender .54 .51 .11 .01
Risky Choiceb 1.64 .48 .23* -.17 .05

Notes. n=112. p<.05. a l=male, 0=female. b l=risky project, 0=safe project

Table 3-2 and Figure 3-1 show the distribution of project choices across the high

and low transformational leadership groups. Of the 54 students who observed the high

transformational project coordinator, 13 (24%) chose the safe assignment (Project 1),

while 41 (76%) made the risky choice (Project 2). Of the 58 students who observed the

non-transformational coordinator, the choice among assignments was nearly split 27

chose Project 1 (47%), 31 chose Project 2 (53%). These results suggest that followers

of the transformational leader were more likely to choose the project with uncertain

demands.

To estimate the magnitude of the leadership treatment effect on choice, I used

logistic regression analysis with risky choice and leadership as dependent and

independent variables, respectively. Results are presented in Table 3-3. The deviance

chi- square (x=6.26, p<.05) score indicates that a model containing the high versus low

leadership predictor is significantly better than a model that consists of only the










Table 3-2. Cross Classification of Leadership and Risky Choice

Number of Choices
Leadership Condition Project 1 Project 2 Total
High Transformational Leadership 13 41 54
Low Transformational Leadership 27 31 58

Total 40 72
intercept. The model correctly predicted project choice in 64.3% of the observations,

and the unstandardized logistic coefficient for leadership was significant (b=.59,

p<.05), providing support for hypothesis 1. Those who observed a high

transformational project coordinator were significantly more likely to choose the risky


o 80% 76%


8 60% 53%
o 47%
"t Project 1
-u 40% -
2~4m Project 2

S20%

0%

LOW HIGH
Transformational Leadership

Figure 3-1. Distribution of Project Choices across Leadership Condition

assignment than those who observed a non-transformational coordinator. Further, the

odds-ratio of high to low leadership indicates that participants in the high

transformational group were two and three quarters (2.75) times more likely to choose

the uncertain assignment than those in the non-transformational group.









Table 3-3. Logistic Regression of Risky Choice on Transformational Leadership
B SE Odds Ratio
Intercept .14 .26
Leadership 1.01* .41 2.75

Notes: The deviance x2 of the model was 6.26, p < .05. The percentage of correct
predictions for the model was 64.3%.
To test hypothesis 2, I conducted a second logistic regression analysis to

determine if leadership accounted for variance in project choice beyond a trait measure

of risk aversion. Risky choice was entered as the dependent variable in a regression

model with leadership and risk aversion as independent variables. The deviance chi-

square statistic (V2 = 9.19, p<.05) was significant and indicates that a model containing

both leadership and risk aversion is better than a model that consists only of the

intercept. The model correctly predicted participants' project choice in 69.6% of the

observations. In support of hypothesis 2, the unstandardized regression coefficient for

leadership was significant (b=1.00, p<.05), suggesting that transformational leadership

predicts risky choice beyond a stable measure of risk aversion. With leadership

included in the model, the unstandardized regression coefficient for risk aversion was

non-significant (b=-.68, ns).

Discussion

The primary purpose of the current study was to estimate a main effect of

transformational leadership on risky choice among followers. Drawing on assertions of

transformational leadership theory (Bass, 1985; Bums, 1978) and on models of risk

behavior among managers (Sitkin & Pablo, 1992; Wakker, 2004), I expected followers

of a transformational project coordinator to pursue an assignment with uncertain

requirements over an assignment with predictable outcomes. Using an experimental









manipulation of leadership and a personally relevant choice among participants, results

of the study suggest that those who experience a high transformational leader are more

likely to choose a risky assignment than those who experience a non-transformational

leader. As hypothesized, there appears to be a positive main effect of transformational

leadership on risk behavior.

Results in the current study also suggest that transformational leadership predicts

risky choice beyond a trait measure of risk aversion. Consistent with a fundamental

premise of the transformational approach, followers of the transformational leader were

willing to forgo personal preferences regarding risk in favor of recommendations made

by the leader. This result is consistent with aspects of transformational leadership

(Bass, 1985; 1999), and consistent with attempts to assert that risk behavior has a

dispositional source (Judge et al., 1999; Williams & Narenden, 1999). In sum,

transformational leadership predicted risky choice among followers.

There may exist several explanations for the observed relationship between

leadership and risk. For one, the high transformational leader may have motivated

followers to assume personal risk in support of stated organization goals. In this

respect, risk behavior among followers is explained through motivational mechanisms.

Indeed, transformational leadership is related to motivation and extra effort among

followers (Judge & Piccolo, 2004), and motivation appears to be related to risk seeking

behavior (Atkinson, 1957). Drawing on fundamental concepts in achievement

motivation (McClelland, 1953), transformational leaders may encourage followers to

pursue otherwise risky alternatives in order to achieve desirable organizational results.









Second, transformational leaders tend to raise attention among followers from the

self to the group. That is, followers of transformational leaders learn to assume the

objectives and values of the organization, and to share individual successes (and

failures) with other members of the group (Sosik et al., 1997). By fostering a group

context, in which group members share responsibility for both positive and negative

outcomes, transformational leaders may relieve some of the pressure otherwise

associated with risk taking. Individual decision-making, particularly in a risky context,

is protected by the character and culture of the group (Ilgen, Major, Hollenbeck, &

Sego, 1995), and as Sitkin and Pablo (1992) noted, "...group contexts tend to influence

individuals to take more extreme positions with regard to risk" (p. 13).

It may also be possible that the high transformational leader influenced the

manner in which followers perceived important aspects of the extra credit assignment.

By stimulating followers to consider alternatives or to imagine innovative solutions to

existing research problems (intellectual stimulation), the transformational leader may

have enhanced perceptions of core characteristics of each project. Indeed,

transformational leadership appears to be related to task perceptions along each of the 5

core job characteristics (Piccolo & Colquitt, in press), and participants, perhaps,

regarded the risky assignment as one of great significance, and one that required the use

of diverse skills. As such, enhanced perceptions along key task characteristics

influenced follower preferences for participation in the uncertain assignment.

In addition, transformational leaders encourage cognitive flexibility among

followers (intellectual stimulation), and subsequently influence their subjective

estimates of success. Transformational leaders tend to make optimistic predictions for









future outcomes, and articulate future aspirations with clarity and conviction (Bass,

1985; Conger, 1989). In doing so, leaders direct attention to the positive aspects of

organizational problems and make salient the rewards associated with risky behavior.

Lastly, an observed relationship between leadership and risk behavior may result

from the leader's influence on experienced emotions among followers. Leaders appear

to have an influence on how followers experience emotion in the workplace (McColl-

Kennedy & Anderson, 2002), and emotional experiences are central in the evaluation of

organizational problems (Ginsberg & Venkatraman, 1992; Mittal & Ross, 1998) and

subsequent cognitive processing (Isen, 1984a; 1984b; 1987). Indeed, there is a

comprehensive literature on the relationship between positive affect and risk behavior

(for a review, see Isen, 1987), and so a positive affective state may explain why

followers of transformational leaders assume risk. In addition, especially effective

leaders may enhance the impact of emotional experiences on organizational behavior

(Weiss & Cropanzano, 1996), further supporting the suggestion that affective states

serve as an explanatory mechanism of leadership on risk behavior.

Unlike previous approaches to examining risk-seeking behavior (e.g., Tversky &

Kahneman, 1981; van Schie & van der Pligt, 1996), participants in the current study

made a non-hypothetical, personally relevant choice. That is, student participants were

asked to make a decision on how they would complete their extra credit assignments,

and were expected to fulfill the expectations associated with their own decisions. As

such, the experimental condition presented in this study addresses a limitation of

previous laboratory examinations of hypothetical decision making.









Worth noting, the leadership manipulations in the current study were done by

broadcasting digital recordings of the leader on a secure internet website. Most previous

laboratory examinations of charismatic or transformational leadership have been

conducted with live confederates at experimental locations (e.g., Howell & Frost, 1989;

Kirkpatrick & Locke, 1996). Despite the suggestion that expressions of emotional

appeal are not as easily recognized on video (Harrigan, Wilson, & Rosenthal, 2004), the

post hoc analyses suggest that aspects of the transformational approach can be

manipulated successfully using a trained actor, a high quality digital recording, and

broadband data transfer. In this respect, the current study provides a platform for future

studies of leadership, charisma, and emotion using video transferred over the internet.

Further, the current study indicates, by replicating the successful manipulations of

emotional expression with video by Lewis (2000), that the relationships between

leadership and emotion can be examined by using recorded leadership behavior.

While the current study provides evidence of a relationship between leadership

and risky choice, and support for the notion that contextual factors shape risk

preference among decision-makers, the extent and nature of a leader's effect remains

unclear. In particular, the influence of prospect framing, a central element in the

examination of decision making, has yet to be examined. The framing of decision

scenarios as either a gain or loss certainly has an important effect on how options are

evaluated and how risk preferences are ultimately revealed (Kfihberger, 1998; Levin,

Schneider, & Gaeth, 1998), but no study has specifically tested an interaction between

leadership and framing. Considering the assertions of Kahneman and Tversky (1979),

who showed that relatively minor adjustments in the way problems are described









enhance, suppress, or even reverse risk preferences, framing is central to the

examination of risk behavior. Further, relevant to the relationship between leadership

and project framing, a gain (opportunity) or loss (threat) framing manipulation may

provide important information about the organizational context, information that will

have an influence on the emergence and effectiveness of specific leadership behavior.

In Study 2, I introduce problem framing in an experimental scenario and examine

the interaction of leadership behavior and problem framing on risky choice among

followers. I also extend the decision scenario beyond student choice to one that

involves managerial decision making.














CHAPTER 4
STUDY TWO: LEADERSHIP AND FRAMING

The results of study 1 confirmed a central assertion of transformational leadership

theory by drawing a direct link between leader behavior and an otherwise untested

criterion, namely risk behavior among followers. However, unlike other widely

examined criterion variables, such as job satisfaction, motivation, or subordinate

performance, the observed relationship between leadership and risk remains relatively

unqualified. While study 1 provided evidence for a leadership effect on a student

sample, it remains unclear whether or not this relationship will remain robust under

different experimental conditions. As such, the purpose of study 2 is to evaluate the

leadership risk link with the introduction of prospect framing, a central concept in the

examination of decision making under uncertainty and risk.

As described previously, both experimental and meta-analytic evidence exists to

suggest that transformational leadership is effective across organizational settings (Den

Hartog et al., 1999; Judge & Piccolo, 2004; Lowe et al., 1996). That said, there are

valuable arguments that imply the emergence and effectiveness of transformational

leadership depends on factors that shape the organization's context (Bass & Stogdill,

1990; Pawar & Eastman, 1997; Shamir & Howell, 1999). For example, it has been

suggested that charismatic leaders are particularly effective during periods of

organizational change (Eisenbach, Watson, & Pillai, 1999) or periods of uncertainty in

the operating environment (Waldman, Ramirez, House, & Puranam, 2001). With their

ability to articulate a compelling vision for the future and to develop commitment









among followers to that vision, transformational leaders emerge as especially effective

in times of organizational transition (Shamir & Howell, 1991). Indeed, Bass (1985)

specifically theorized that transformational leadership is most likely to emerge "... in

times of distress and rapid change" (p. 154).

Further, charismatic leaders appear to be influential when the viability of an

organization is threatened. As Conger (1989) argued, "...in a crisis situation,

[followers] are more willing to submit to a strong individual enter the charismatic

leader with his clear vision and strength of conviction" (p. 173). Thus, despite

arguments in favor of its universal appeal (Den Hartog et al., 1999), the observed

effectiveness of transformational leadership may depend, at least in part, on the

presence of environmental conditions that give rise to aspects of the transformational

approach. As Flynn and Staw (2004) observed, "...the potency of charisma varies by

the circumstances in which it is enacted" (p. 324).

Central in these arguments is the recognition among leadership scholars that the

effects of transformational leadership behavior, though theorized as universal, may shift

with changes in the operating environment. In their examination of organizational and

contextual factors that shape the effectiveness of the charismatic approach, Shamir and

Howell (1999) noted, "...the emergence and effectiveness of [leadership] may be

facilitated by some contexts and inhibited by others" (p. 257). In particular, the

transformational approach to leadership, including charisma, appears to most effective

when the operating environment is shaped by uncertainty, change, or crisis.

These observations are consistent with models of complex leadership (e.g.,

Marion & Uhl-Bien, 2001) and assertions of the contingency approach (Fiedler, 1967),









which each emphasize the importance of characteristics that give rise to leader

effectiveness and highlight the existence of situational contingencies in the leader

emergence. Thus, as the external environment may have an important influence on

leader effectiveness, the relationship between transformational leadership and risk may

depend on the how aspects of the decision context are introduced, or on how features of

the external environment are interpreted. In other words, transformational leaders may

initiate risk seeking behavior in some circumstances, but not others.

In the decision literature, framing generally refers to direct attempts by

experimenters to emphasize specific aspects of the decision context. Positively framed

scenarios, for example, make salient the potential gains associated with a risky choice

(i.e., gain frame), whereas negatively framed scenarios emphasize potential losses (i.e.,

loss frame). While there exist several approaches to categorizing otherwise distinct

manipulations of framing (e.g., gain vs. loss, opportunity vs. threat), there is general

consensus among scholars on the notion that framing has an influence on how facets of

a decision scenario are processed (Kahneman & Tversky, 1979; Kthberger, 1995;

1998). By "shifting" the attention of decision makers to specific aspects of the problem

(March & Shapira, 1987), framing shapes the way characteristics of the problem are

evaluated, and ultimately how complex problems are resolved.

Beyond its contribution to the evaluation of specific organizational problems,

prospect framing provides information about the environment in which decisions are

made. Tversky and Kahneman (1986) and Levin et al. (1998), for example, each argued

that the framing of alternatives within a complex decision scenario highlights the

potential outcomes of various choices and emphasizes specific features of the decision









context. Although subtle, emphasis on the opportunities associated with a decision

problem indicates that the organization is operating with effectiveness and is capable of

successfully carrying out its strategic decisions. A positive frame, for example, where

the likelihood of success is described, allows decision-makers to imagine favorable

future states and anticipate operational support. In their description of how framing

effects are realized, van Schie and van der Pligt (1995) argued, "...addressing positive

aspects or outcomes of an issue (or decisional option) results in a more favorable

attitude toward that issue (or option) compared to focusing on the negative aspects or

outcomes" (p. 266).

In addition to providing valuable information, framing directs attention to

specific environmental characteristics. By making salient the likelihood of success on

upcoming decisions, a positive frame suggests that existing environmental conditions

support innovative behavior (van Schie & van der Plight, 1995). That is, a positive

frame indicates that the context is right for pursuing important, strategic initiatives. As

such, a framing manipulation that highlights the likelihood of favorable outcomes and

fosters an efficacy for organizational achievement, may substitute for aspects of the

transformational approach to leadership. Inspirational motivation, for example, is

expected to facilitate positive expectancies among followers (Erez & Isen, 2002), a

condition that might be achieved in a positive frame. In this way, conditions expressed

in a positive frame may suppress, or even replace, the effectiveness of transformational

leadership.

On the other hand, a framing manipulation that emphasizes the threats associated

with a decision's outcome may indicate to members that the status quo is in jeopardy,









or that existing resources may be insufficient to achieve desired outcomes. As such,

those who interpret a negative frame may come to regard the existing environment as

one that is not in support of optimistic decision plans. Negative frames may

communicate to decision makers that competitive threats are imminent and that

organizational failure is a realistic possibility (MacCrimmon et al., 1986). Thus, a

negative frame may serve to foster a sense of urgency among decision makers, or an

expectation about the uncertainty in the current operating environment (Ho, Keller, &

Keltya, 2002). The uncertainty and threat expressed in a negative frame, therefore, are

conditions that are likely to enhance the effectiveness of transformational leadership

(Bass, 1985; Shamir & Powell, 1999).

In light of these arguments, it is reasonable to believe that information provided

by a problem's frame may facilitate, neutralize, or even suppress the effectiveness of

transformational leadership. In a sense, prospect framing may emerge as a substitute for

leadership, a concept introduced by Kerr and Jermier (1978), and later developed by

Howell, Dorfman, and Kerr (1986). Indeed, "...framing provides a context that has

both cognitive and motivational consequences" (Levin et al., 1998; p. 182), an outcome

that is often associated with components of the transformational approach to leadership

(Lord & Brown, 2001; Howell & Avolio, 1993). An emphasis on positive aspects of a

decision scenario, therefore, may displace the inspirational motivation or idealized

influence provided by a transformational leader. An emphasis on the negative, on the

other hand, may indicate that the operating environment contains uncertainty and

instability a situation that is expected to enhance the effectiveness of transformational

leadership.









As framing provides important information about the decision context, I

hypothesized:

Hypothesis 3: The effect of transformational leadership on risky choice

(investment in a new venture) is moderated by framing, such that leadership is

unrelated to risk in the positive (opportunity) frame and positively related to risk

in the negative (threat) frame.

Despite the suggestion that preference for risk is a stable individual trait (Judge et

al., 1999), risk behavior tends to vary with even slight modifications to the decision

frame. Prospect theory (Kahneman & Tversky, 1979), for example suggests that

relatively minor changes in the wording of alternatives have a profound influence of

how decision-makers perceive the scenario and ultimately make decisions. According

to Tversky and Kahneman (1981; 1986), decision makers tend to be risk averse when

problems are framed as potential gains and risk seeking when decision problems are

framed as losses. These predictions were grounded in the notion that decision-makers

consider their position relative to a reference point, a reference that shifts based on the

nature of how a problem is introduced. Indeed prospect theory's primary contribution to

understanding risk is the observation that organizational actors tend to be risk-seeking

when operating below a target reference point and risk averse when operating above a

target reference point (Bazerman, 1984).

Many of the early framing studies contrasted a positive (gain) to negative (loss)

description of the same problem, a technique described as a valence frame in the Levin

et al. (1998) typology. Using this technique, Kahneman and Tversky (1979) suggested

that individuals tend to be risk averse when the decision problem is framed as a gain









and risk seeking when the decision is framed as a loss. According to Tversky and

Kahneman's (1981), there appears to be a general tendency for risk aversion in

positively framed problems and a general tendency for risk seeking in negatively

framed problems. In their classic test of the Asian-disease scenario, Tversky and

Kahneman (1981) reported that subjects were less willing to choose the risky scenario

when the problem was framed in terms of possible gains, but more willing to choose

the risky scenario when the problem was framed in terms of losses. A positive frame

yielded risk aversion whereas a negative frame yielded risk seeking.

Although Kahneman and Tversky provided evidence that framing plays an

important role in the evaluation and interpretation of decision scenarios, the cumulative

effect of framing is not perfectly clear. According to results of Kuhberger's (1998)

meta-analysis of 136 framing studies, the overall impact of framing on risky choice was

moderate (d 0.329). Beyond the modest main effect, Kthberger (1998) noted that

framing effects were moderated by the nature of the decision problem such that framing

had a significant effect when study participants were offered the Asian disease problem

(d=+.57, p<.05), but a non-significant effect when participants were asked to evaluate

consumer items (d=-.08, ns) or choose among common social dilemmas (d=+.04, ns).

The magnitude of framing effects varied with the manipulation of risk, with positive

effects for reference point manipulations (d=+.50, p<.05) and negative effects for

outcome salience manipulations (d=-.11, p<.05). In sum, the framing effect seems to

vary based on the type of decision problem used and the nature of the framing

manipulation. Framing may affect risky choice, but the direction and magnitude of the

effect remains in question.









Further, a number of studies have reported results that are in direct contrast to

those predicted by Prospect Theory (e.g., Hollenbeck et al., 1994; Slattery & Ganster,

2002; Thaler & Johnson, 1990). Both Thaler and Johnson (1990) and Hollenbeck et al.

(1994), for example, observed that prospect framing had little effect on risk-related

decisions, results that were contrary to those promoted by Kahneman and Tversky

(1979).

To explain these differences, Highhouse and Yuce (1996) separated the "gain vs.

loss" framing manipulations used by Kahneman and Tversky (1979) from those that

emphasize "opportunities vs. threats". In the standard gain frame, for example, the

framing manipulation emphasizes what can be gained (e.g. lives saved), whereas the

loss frame emphasizes what can be lost (e.g., lives lost). In opportunity vs. threat

manipulations, outcomes are described in similar fashion, but opportunity does not

necessarily equate to gains nor does threat equate with loss. According to the authors,

when a loss frame of the Asian disease problem is presented to decision makers, the

risky option is regarded as an opportunity rather than a threat. As Highhouse and Yuce

observed, decision makers in the loss frame regarded a "sure thing" choice as risky. In

this way, the authors argue that an "opportunity" frame yields similar risk behavior to

the "loss" frame predictions of prospect theory.

The assertions offered by Highhouse and Yuce (1996) were similar to those

presented by van Schie and van der Pligt (1995), who carefully separated problem

framing from outcome salience. According to van Schie and van der Pligt, framing

usually refers to how a decision is described in terms of gains and losses, whereas

outcome salience refers to selective emphasis on the probabilities of success or failure.









The authors explained results that were contrary to prospect theory predictions by

suggesting that outcomes described in terms of their probabilities of success (i.e.,

opportunity) tend to encourage risk seeking behavior among decision makers.

In that vein, it is likely that the evaluation of risky alternatives and subsequent

risk behavior will reflect a decision maker's interpretation of the opportunities or

threats contained within a set of alternatives. Indeed, "...the degree to which people

will engage in risk-taking behavior is related to the degree to which they perceive risk

taking as and opportunity for something" (Highhouse & Yuce, 1996: p. 159). I

therefore hypothesized:

Hypothesis 4: Framing will have a positive relationship with risky choice

(investment in a new business venture).

Considerable evidence has accumulated on the effectiveness of transformational

leadership in encouraging desirable behaviors and attitudes among followers. However,

despite agreement among scholars regarding a transformational leader's ability to

achieve positive outcomes, the mechanisms that underlie observed influence remain

relatively untested. As Yukl (1999) noted, "... [while] there is considerable evidence

that transformational leadership is effective, [the] underlying influence processes for

transformational leadership are still vague" (pg. 287).

Only recently have experimental studies begun to isolate intervening processes

that mediate a leader's effect. Podsakoff et al. (1996), for example, found that trust in

the leader mediated the leader's influence on task and citizenship performance, while

Jung and Avolio (2000) found that follower trust and value congruence mediated a

leader's effect on both performance and satisfaction. Further, Pillai et al. (1999)









explained a transformational leader's influence on organizational commitment by

perceptions of fairness and trust in the leader. In each of these studies, support was

provided for the notion that leaders achieve their effects by facilitating trust in

followers.

Beyond consideration of leader referenced variables (e.g., trust in the leader),

additional research has explored a host of alternative mechanisms that appear to

mediate the effect of leadership on important organizational outcomes. McColl-

Kennedy and Anderson (2002), for example, explained leadership's influence as a

function of followers' emotional response to leader behavior, while Lord and Brown

(2001; 2004) suggested that leaders achieve results by altering the cognitive processes

that followers use to evaluate themselves and their work. These studies suggest that

especially effective leaders not only influence follower behaviors, but also arouse

cognitive and emotional responses that alter the manner in which followers perceive

their organizations, their jobs, and their task assignments. As such, it is possible that

transformational leaders influence risk preferences by shaping judgments of expected

success on future projects.

As theorized by Bass (1985), leaders who behave in a manner that is consistent

with the transformational pattern tend to emphasize positive organizational results

(George, 2000) and speak optimistically about the likelihood of future success

((McColl-Kennedy & Anderson, 2002). By expressing enthusiasm about the

organization's future and articulating a clear and compelling vision (inspirational

motivation), transformational leaders encourage optimistic forecasts among followers.

Indeed, followers tend to assume the beliefs and preferences of their leaders (Lord &









Brown, 2001) and consider organizational goals as congruent with their own (Bono &

Judge, 2003). Thus, consistent with their leader, followers may report high levels of

expectancy for their organization's success.

Finally, transformational leaders may influence expectancy judgments by

directing attention among followers to the reward aspect of risky decisions. Lord and

colleagues (1999, 2001) suggested that leadership is realized in part by activating the

cognitive processes that influence how followers interpret, perceive, categorize, and

assess characteristics of their working environment. Central to their discussion was the

notion that leaders direct the attention of followers to specific aspects of the work

environment and influence how followers assess task requirements, an assertion that

was empirically supported in a field study by Piccolo and Colquitt (in press). I therefore

hypothesize:

Hypothesis 5: Transformational leadership will have a positive effect on

expectancy judgments among followers.

A model of the hypothesized relationships is presented in Figure 4-1.


Figure 4-1. Model of Proposed Relationships among Variables











Method

Sample

Undergraduate students (49% male) enrolled in an upper-level management

course at a southeastern university participated in the research study. Students were

offered two extra credit points for their participation and were randomly assigned to a

high or low leadership condition. Using original scripts and case studies, I manipulated

transformational leadership (high transformational leadership vs. low transformational

leadership) in a completely randomized between-subjects design. One hundred and

forty-one students were in each condition (n=282).

Procedure

Laboratory sessions were conducted during a 3 week period and each session

took about 1 hour to complete. Upon arriving for the assignment, students were told

that the purpose of the study was to explore the ways in which managers make

decisions during a normal workday. Students were then given an in-basket simulation

(e.g., Kiker & Motowidlo, 1999; Mero & Motowidlo, 1995) where their duties included

handling customer complaints, reviewing new organizational policies and procedures,

and coordinating staff meetings to improve division performance. Participants were

asked to assume the role of Leslie Wilder, a manager at Consolidated Federal Agency

Contracting Office (CFACO), a large governmental contracting office. The in-basket

exercise was designed to simulate a professional work context, and students were

instructed to address as many items as possible.









Experimental Conditions

Upon arriving at the study's location, participants were randomly assigned to one

of four experimental conditions formed by crossing two levels of transformational

leadership (high vs. low) with two levels of framing (positive vs. negative). At the

beginning of each session, I read a brief introduction to the study and instructions for

completing the extra credit assignment. Participants were told that while working on

their administrative tasks, they would be interrupted periodically by videotaped

depictions of the company's CEO, who would himself be performing regular duties

associated with his position. In each condition, participants were shown six videotaped

vignettes. In one scene, for example, the CEO is leaving a voice mail for an employee

and describing a problem with the company's computer system. In another scene, the

CEO summarizes business results for the previous fiscal year.

An actor trained to exhibit aspects of high and low transformational leadership

played the role of the company's CEO in both leadership conditions. Twelve separate

scripts were written to provide information about the working context and to highlight

the CEO's behavior during the course of a regular workday. Six of the scripts were

written to portray the CEO as a high transformational leader, with language and

behavior that is characteristic of the transformational pattern, and six parallel scripts

were written to portray the CEO as a low transformational leader, with focus on

specific aspects of the task and expression of self-relevant objectives. The six high and

six low transformational scenes were recorded onto separate DVDs with 2 12 minute

intervals between each scene. Scripts for each scene are presented in Appendix B.









Investment Scenario and Framing Manipulation

During the last scene on each DVD, the CEO introduced a business venture in

which the company could invest. The CEO described the potential for the company to

develop its own software tool for grant administration, summarized the venture's likely

implications for the company, and asked participants to read a third party consultant's

assessment of the venture. The consultant's report was one page in length and

constituted the framing manipulation for this study.

Drawing on the suggestions of Jackson and Dutton (1988) and the manipulation

used by Mittal and Ross (1998), two versions of the consultant's report were drafted,

one in which the venture was described as an opportunity (positive frame), and one in

which the venture was described as a threat (negative frame). Each report contained

similar information, but corresponding sentences in the two reports were phrased

differently according to the intended manipulation. In the positive frame, for example,

the consultant's report read, "One in 4 new software products offers a favorable return

on investment." A parallel sentence in the negatively framed report read, ".. .nearly 3 of

every 4 new [software] programs fail to offer a profitable return on investment." After

reading the consultant's summary, participants selected their level of investment in the

venture and responded to a questionnaire. The scripts for each framing manipulation are

presented in Appendix C.

Measures

Transformational leadership. As in Study 1, the four dimensions of

transformational leadership were measured with items from the Multifactor Leadership

Questionnaire (MLQ; Bass & Avolio, 1995). Participants were asked to indicate on a 5-

point Likert scale (l=Not at all, 5=Frequently, if not always) the frequency with which









the CEO exhibited leadership behaviors. Four items were used to measure intellectual

stimulation (e.g., "My supervisor... seeks differing perspectives when solving

problems"), inspirational motivation (e.g., ".. .articulates a compelling vision of the

future"), and individualized consideration, (e.g., "...treats me as an individual rather

than just a member of a group"). Eight items were used to measure idealized influence

(e.g., "...instills pride in me for being associated with him/her" and "...talks about

his/her most important values and beliefs"). The measure of transformational leadership

is presented in Appendix D. From this point forward, transformational leadership

factor is used to refer to the manipulated transformational leadership variable, and

transformational leadership is used to refer to the measured transformational leadership

variable.

Framing. Five items were used to evaluate the quality of the framing

manipulations contained in the consultant's report. On a 5-point Likert scale

(l=strongly disagree, 5=agree), participants indicated the extent to which they agreed

with statements about the new business venture such as, "CFACO could have positive

gains by developing a software tool," "The prospects for CFACO are positive," and

"The market for a software tool is uncertain" (reverse coded). High mean scales scores

indicate the perception of the new venture as an opportunity, consistent with the

approach used by Highhouse and Yuice (1996). The framing measure is presented in

Appendix F. From this point forward, framing factor is used to refer to the manipulated

framing variable, and framing is used to refer to the measured framing variable.

Issue interpretation. Issue interpretation was measured with a 5-item scale

adopted from previous studies of decision-making and risk (e.g., Ginsberg &









Venkatraman, 1992; Mittal & Ross, 1998). Using a 5-point Likert scale (1=strongly

disagree, 5=strongly agree), participants indicated their agreement with statements such

as, "Development of a new software tool is a plus", "The new trends in this business

are a threat" (reverse coded), and "the future will be better because of a new software

tool." A high score on the issue interpretation scale represented a positive interpretation

of the venture (i.e., opportunity) while a low score represented a negative interpretation

(i.e., threat). The scale items used to measure issue interpretation are presented in

Appendix G.

Expectancy. On a scale of 0 to 100, participants were asked to indicate their

subjective probability that the company would successfully introduce a new software

project as described in the decision scenario.

Investment. Participants were told that they each had a $1 million annual budget

for research and development, and were asked to indicate their level of investment in a

new business venture.

Analysis

Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) was used to test for an interaction between

leadership and framing. The study used four test conditions in a 2 (high/low

transformational) X 2 (positive/negative framing) factorial design.

Results

To determine whether or not the experimental manipulations created the intended

conditions, I conducted a two-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) for both leadership

and framing. Results indicated that the manipulation of leadership had a significant

effect on participants' ratings on the MLQ (F (1, 282)=201.30, p<.01), non-significant

effects on the framing scale, F (1, 282)=3.50, p=.063, and no significant interaction









with the framing factor on ratings on the MLQ (F (1,282)=1.91, p=.17). The framing

manipulation had a significant effect on participants' ratings on the framing scale (F (1,

282) =82.54, p<.01), non-significant effects on the MLQ (F (1,282)=.07, p=.79), and no

significant interaction with the leadership factor on rating of framing (F (1,282)=.66,

p=.42). As such, each of the experimental manipulations achieved its intended effect,

and the leadership and framing manipulations were not confounded.

Hypothesis 3 suggested that leadership and framing would interact to influence

risky choice. To determine whether or not the interaction between leadership and

framing was significant, I conducted a two-way ANOVA with investment value as the

dependent variable. As expected, the interaction term was significant, F(1, 280) = 4.56,

p <.05, f2 = .06, providing support for hypothesis 3.

Table 4-1. Mean Level of Investment for Leadership and Framing

Framing

Positive Negative Total

TF Leadership Factor m (SD) m (SD) m (SD)

High 468.40 (206.80)ac 465.19 (270.91)ad 466.84 (239.21)

Low 511.92 (267.11)b"c 376.97 (281.00)bd 439.18 (281.92)

Total 489.05 (237.44) 418.63 (278.84)

Note. Significance of differences between means: a ns; bp < 05;c ns. dp = .06

The distribution of investment means across each of the four experimental

conditions is presented in Table 4-1 and Figure 4-1. As information in the table

indicates, the effect of leadership on investment was moderated by the framing of the

decision scenario. Followers in the high transformational group invested at a similar

level in the positive frame (m=468.40) as in the negative frame (m=465.19), and the









difference was non-significant (F=.01, p=.94). Thus, high transformational leaders

tended to offset the influence of negative framing. On the other hand, framing effects

were evident in the low transformational group, as a significant difference existed

between the low transformational, positive frame (m=511.92) and the low

transformational, negative frame (m=376.97; F=8.46, p<.05). This result suggests that

followers of non-transformational leaders are influenced by the manner in which

information about an investment opportunity is framed.

To further estimate the influence of framing on the effectiveness of

transformational leadership, I estimated the difference between the high and low

leadership groups in each framing condition. In the positive frame, those who observed

a high transformational leader invested at a similar level (m=468.40) to those who

observed a low transformational leader (m=511.92; F=1.15, p>.05). Thus, leadership

did not appear to influence investment level in the positive frame. For those who read

the negatively framed report, followers of the high transformational level invested, on

average, significantly more (m=465.19) than followers of the low transformational

leader (m=376.97; F=3.66, p=.058).

Table 4-2 contains the means, standard deviations, and intercorrelations among

the study's variables, including expectancy judgments for the venture's success. As

expected, the relationship between framing and investment was positive and significant

(r=.56, p<.05), suggesting that those who regarded the venture as an opportunity

invested at a higher rate than those who regarded the venture as a threat. Using two-

way ANOVA, I tested the effect of framing on investment and as expected, the average

level of investment for those in the positive frame (m=489.0, SD=237.4) was











significantly higher than those in the negative frame (m=418.6, SD=278.8; F=5.17,

p<.05). Taken together, these results provide support for hypothesis 4.


550




500- 512

468
465
450 -*- Negative
-B --- Positive



400 -
377


350
LOW HIGH
Transformational Leadership
Figure 4-2. Pattern of Investment by Leadership and Framing

In support of hypothesis 5, transformational leadership was positively related to

expectancy (r=.23, p<.05), suggesting that followers of transformational leaders tend to

maintain a positive outlook for the company's success. Worth noting, the strongest

relationship was between expectancy and investment (r=.67, p<.05).


Table 4-2. Scale Means, Reliabilities, and Intercorrelations among Variables.

m SD ac 1 2 3 4

1. Transformational Leadership 3.19 .71 .91

2. Framing 3.18 .56 .72 .18*

3. Gender .49 .50 -.00 -.03

4. Expectancy 63.73 20.88 .23* .67* -.05

5. Investment 452.96 261.41 .04 .56* .03 .67*

Notes. n = 282. *p < .05.









Discussion

The current study set out to examine the manner in which leadership interacts

with framing to influence risky choice. Results suggest that the relationship between

leadership and risky choice depends in part, on how decision scenarios are framed. In

the positively framed condition, manipulated leadership did not influence investment

choice or expectancy for the new venture's success. In this way, characteristics of the

positive frame may have substituted for aspects of the transformational pattern. On the

other hand, leadership had a significant influence on both expectancy and investment in

the negative frame, suggesting that the framing manipulation provided information

relevant to the effectiveness of transformational leadership. As hypothesized, framing

moderated the relationship between leadership and risk.

Consistent with the suggestion that transformational leaders shape follower

perceptions of the working context (Piccolo & Colquitt, in press; Salancik & Pfeffer,

1978; Smircich & Morgan, 1982), transformational leadership was related to issue

interpretation and expectancy judgments among participants. By expressing confidence

in the organization's collective talent and vividly describing a worthy new venture, the

transformational leader shaped the manner in which followers judged the organization's

potential for success in a new venture. As results suggest, it appears that a

transformational leader influences the manner in which followers interpret information

in the working context.

There exist several explanations for the observed interaction between leadership

and framing. For one, framing may provide information about the decision context that

is relevant to the emergence and effectiveness of transformational leadership (Shamir &

Howell, 1999). Transformational leaders tend to be most effective in times of stress,









uncertainty, or organizational change, conditions that might be reflected in the negative

frame. As such, consistent with studies that have reported situational contingencies in

the effectiveness of transformational leadership (e.g., Tosi et al., 2004), the ability of a

leader to encourage risk behavior depends on a follower's perception of the

organization's operating environment. As such, while aspects of the positive frame may

have inspired favorable perceptions of the operating environment, the negative frame

may have made salient the contextual conditions that give rise to the effectiveness of

transformational leadership.

Second, aspects of the positive framing manipulation (e.g., optimism for future

success, attention to positive outcomes) may have substituted for components of the

transformational approach. The positively framed report, for example, with its

expression of optimism and emphasis on valuable opportunities, neutralized the

idealized influence or inspirational aspects of the transformational leader. On the other

hand, the negatively framed report, with emphasis on potential loss or fierce

competition, may have activated the impact of transformational leadership.

Results of the current study suggest that transformational leaders influence the

manner in which followers interpret information in the workplace, and the manner in

which followers assign subjective probabilities to future outcomes. In this way, the

study draws a link between a leader's behavior and followers' cognitive patterns, an

observation that could have meaningful impact on modern leadership research. For one,

follower cognitions may serve as valuable mediating mechanisms between leadership

and follower behaviors. It is possible, for example, that part of the effect of leadership

on organizational citizenship behavior is explained by how followers come to think of









their group members and the environment in which they work. It is also possible that

leadership effects on job attitudes (e.g., satisfaction and commitment) can be explained

by how followers of effective leaders come to think about their jobs and their

organization, in terms of job characteristics. While the notion that leaders influence

follower thinking patterns is not completely new (Burns, 1978; Gouldner, 1960), the

implications of successful research in this area is worth hearty exploration.

Beyond the observed interaction of leadership and framing, the manner in which

leadership was manipulated in the current study may be, in itself, a worthy contribution.

A trained actor portrayed a fictional company's CEO during the course of a normal

workday. The manipulation of leadership included portrayals of the kind of things that

managers do on a regular basis. There were no fancy speeches, no exaggerated pep

talks, and no ideological statements of the company's values or history. Instead,

participants in the study observed the CEO carrying out his regular responsibilities,

which is more likely the manner in which aspects of the transformational approach are

revealed. That is, in a natural work environment, a leader's values and expectations are

often revealed in short, simple, everyday encounters, rather than in fabulous speeches

about results, mission, plans, or vision.

In two of the scenes, for example, the CEO leaves voicemail messages for

employees, and participants observe leader behavior that is not directed at them. This is

in itself an example of a subtle yet realistic manipulation of leadership, in which aspects

of the transformational approach are revealed in otherwise routine interactions.

The current study relies on a cognitive explanation for the relationship between

leadership and risk. That is, results of this study provide a platform for the assertion that









followers of transformational leaders interpret decision scenarios as having optimistic

future outcomes, and as such, are willing to engage in otherwise risky behavior. While

this observation is consistent with many previous examinations of risky choice (e.g.,

Nygren et al., 1996), there is little question that mood and emotions influence the

manner in which people make decisions. As Schwarz and Bless (1991) remarked,

"... [an] individual's cognitive performance on a wide variety of tasks may be

profoundly influenced by the affective state they are in" (p. 55).

Future studies might examine the role of follower emotions in shaping

interpretations of organizational stimuli, and in facilitating the emergence of and

effectiveness of transformational behavior. Isen (1993; 2001) noted that the role of

affect in cognitive processes and decision-making is now widely accepted in the social

sciences literature, as evidence by the inclusion of an affective component is most

modem studies of decision making and choice (Ciarrochi & Forgas, 2000; Forgas &

Ciarrochi, 2001; Nygren, Isen, Taylor, & Dulin, 1996). There is, therefore, adequate

evidence for the role of mood and emotions in cognitive processing.














CHAPTER 5
GENERAL DISCUSSION

The purpose of the current set of studies was to examine the relationship between

transformational leadership and risk behavior among followers. By observing a main

effect of leadership on risky choice (Study 1) and then identifying a condition in which

this effect remained robust negative framing (Study 2), the current research provides an

early insight into the relationship between leadership and risk. While there exist several

conceptual models that introduce situational antecedents to risk-seeking behavior (e.g.,

March & Shapira, 1987; Williams & Narendran, 1999), no study has explicitly examined

the impact of leader behavior on follower judgments of risk and their subsequent

willingness to engage in risky behavior. Further, whereas transformational leadership

theory specifically asserts that followers of effective leaders are willing to assume risky

positions (Bass, 1985), studies of that assertion are rare.

The current studies add to our understanding of the situational factors that influence

decision-making under uncertainty and risk. Despite attempts to find evidence of

dispositional sources of risk preference, aspects of the decision context, including

organizational leadership, appear to be most relevant. That is, transformational leadership

behavior, with its inspirational motivation, modeling of courageous behavior, and

intellectual stimulation, has an important influence on how risky decisions are evaluated

and ultimately resolved.

By estimating a link between leadership and risk, the current studies add to the

growing body of leadership research and make a contribution to the continued









development of transformational leadership theory. For one, results of the current studies

suggest that followers of transformational leaders are willing to forgo personal

preferences and to risk security for the leader's stated objectives. In this way, a central

assertion of the transformational approach is tested, and a relative unique outcome,

namely risk behavior, is examined.

Second, study 2 reported an interaction between leadership and framing in the

explanation of risky choice, suggesting that the effects of transformational leadership on

risk depend, at least in part, on aspects of the decision context. The framing

manipulations, which were presented in expert, third-party reports, provided information

about the stability of the operating environment, some of which facilitated the impact of

leadership on risk. This observation supports the assertion that the leader effectiveness is

shaped by the organizational context (Shamir & Howell, 1999), and is consistent with the

notion that the transformational approach is most effective in times of uncertainty, crisis,

and organizational change (Bass, 1985; Flynn & Staw, 2004; Pawar et al., 1997).

Lastly, the observed relationship between leadership and risk was explained

through a cognitive mechanism (issue interpretation). Whereas many studies of

leadership have focused primarily on first order constructs (e.g., leadership -* behavior)

little consideration has been given to intermediating processes (e.g., follower cognition)

by which observed effects are realized. As such, the current studies contribute to

transformational leadership theory by providing further support for the notion that

leadership is realized through shifts in cognitive patterns among followers (Brown &

Lord, 2001). Some of the variance in follower behavior, therefore, can be explained by









the leader's influence on how aspects of the work environment are perceived (Piccolo &

Colquitt, in press).

It is worth noting an interesting difference between the two studies. In study 1,

transformational leadership appeared to have a direct main effect on risk behavior.

Followers of high transformational leaders were more likely to choose a project with

uncertain demands. However, when prospect framing was introduced in study 2, the main

effect of leadership was attenuated. Indeed leadership had a significant main effect in the

negative frame, but no influence on risk behavior was observed in the positive frame. In

the presence of framing, which provided information about the operating environment

and the context in which decisions were made, the main effect of leadership was non-

significant. That said, the interaction between leadership and framing was of particular

interest in study 2, and none of the 4 experimental conditions in that study tested

leadership without a manipulation of the problem's frame.

Future Research. Given the relative novelty of a leadership risk link, further

study is warranted. The existing literatures on leadership and on risk provide a valuable

framework for evaluating both concepts, such that future studies should consider a host of

moderating and mediating mechanisms, and utilize several alternative research designs.

The literature on affect and risk, for example, has identified a number of moderators of

the relationship between positive affect and risky choice, including the nature of the

decision task (Mittal & Ross, 1998), the perceived criticality of the decision (Dunegan,

Duchon, & Barton, 1992; Mano, 1994; Nygren, 1998), and the personal relevance of

likely outcomes (Isen & Patrick, 1983; Isen & Geva, 1987; Williams & Voon, 1999). By









manipulating aspects of the decision assignment (e.g., personal relevance), a similar

program of research can be developed for the relationship between leadership and risk.

Moderators. Future experimental studies should manipulate the complexity and

nature of the decision scenario. The current studies, for example, asked participants to

make a single, isolated decision with only one possible loss for the decision-maker a

phenomenon that is common in the decision literature. However, in a complex,

managerial setting, managers may experience several possible losses from a single

decision (March & Shapira, 1987). If a manager chooses to invest in a project that

ultimately fails, he or she not only loses the real, monetary, initial investment (e.g.,

dollars from a fixed budget), but could also compromise her own credibility among staff

members and decision-making authority for future projects (Yates & Stone, 1992). Thus,

experimental research designs should employ multiple decision scenarios in a dynamic

operating environment (e.g., Hollenbeck et al., 1994), and manipulate the nature and

frequency of feedback.

The results of Study 2 provide support for the notion that the effectiveness of

transformational leadership depends, in part, on factors that shape the decision context.

As such, there is reason to believe that the relationship between leadership, issue

interpretation, and risk will be moderated by the context in which decisions are made.

Future experimental studies should manipulate the decision context to determine which

aspects environmental or organizational shape leadership's effect on risk behavior

among followers. Studies conducted in the lab, for example, could introduce hypothetical

start-up companies in a fast moving technology sector, stable blue chip companies who

deliver popular commodities, and companies who are attempting to establish new









products and new markets. A manipulation of this kind corresponds to the

recommendations of Pawar et al. (1997), who suggested that innovation, creativity, and

risk-taking may be rewarded in some organizations (e.g., high tech start-up) but

discouraged in others (e.g., manufacturing).

In addition, the role of the follower in leader effectiveness should be examined. It

has been theorized that charismatic leadership is revealed only at the submission of

followers (Conger & Kanungo, 1989) and that charisma is best understood as an

individual relationship between a leader and his or her followers (Howell & Shamir,

2005). Further, as Erhardt and Klein (2001) observed, the disposition of followers, in the

form of personality and values, appears to have a meaningful impact on the charismatic

leadership process. Thus, future studies should examine follower personality traits to

determine if specific traits enhance or neutralize the impact of transformational

leadership behavior.

Mediating mechanisms. Consistent with previous examinations of decision making

under uncertainty (e.g., Slatter & Ganster, 2002), study 2 relied on a cognitive

explanation for observed effects. While expectancy and issue interpretation are certainly

valuable mediating process, future studies might further examine the process by which

transformational effects are realized, including the transient emotional states of followers.

Indeed, a great deal of research on choice under risk or uncertainty has relied on

cognitive, rational explanations, but affect, mood, and emotion each appear to play

critical roles (Loewenstein, Weber, Hsee, & Welch, 2001). It may be possible, for

example, that observed effects of leader behavior on risk are realized through follower









emotional reactions in the organizational context, such as optimism (McColl-Kennedy &

Anderson, 2002) or positive affect (Erez et al., unpublished).

The notion that transformational leaders influence affective states is not completely

new. Bono and Judge (2003), for example, noted that, "...transformational and

charismatic theories have been framed to recognize the affective and emotional needs and

responses to follower" (p. 554), and George (2002) argued that leaders, in many ways,

have the ability to influence the emotional reactions of followers. Further, Weiss and

Cropanzano (1996) suggested that positive affective states might be initiated by positive

work experiences, leaving open the possibility that transformational leaders have the

potential to stimulate positive affective responses. Whereas the relationship between

positive affect and choice remains unclear (see Isen, 2001), there is little debate that

affective states have an important role in the assimilation of information (Estrada, Isen, &

Young, 1997) and the evaluation of complex decision problems (Mittal & Ross, 1998;

Williams & Voon, 1999).

The examination of affective experience in explaining leadership's relationship

with risk could be framed as part of the broad evaluation of emotion in cognitive

processing. Consistent with classic theorizing on emotion and cognition (e.g., Kogan &

Wallach, 1964), research on positive affect suggests that emotional arousal is essential in

decision making and choice (Isen & Means, 1983; Isen, 1984b; 2001). Yet, while a

considerable body of research addresses the relationship between affect, social judgment,

and risk-taking, little is known about the interaction of leadership and follower emotion,

or the influence that leader behavior has on the intensity with which followers experience

positive emotions. Further, emotional arousal, which could be facilitated by leader









behavior, also appears to be critical in the formation of many social judgments (Forgas,

1992; 1995). Thus, the interaction of leadership and positive affect is worthy of future

exploration.

Alternative research design. The current set of studies used video taped recordings

of a leader who exhibited behaviors that characterize the transformational pattern.

Beyond highlighting high and low expressions of the transformational approach, the

videos introduced the decision scenarios in each study and provided important

information that decision-makers used when evaluating alternatives. An introduction by

video, in this case, is in direct contrast to more popular approaches in the decision-

making literature, which tend to rely on written vignettes (e.g., Ho, Keller, & Keltyka,

2002). In that respect, it is possible that the method of introducing the problem and

manipulating leadership influenced the process by which effects took place. Indeed

decision scenarios are most often introduced in written vignettes, but as Taggar and

Neubert suggested, "...video scenario methodology [is] more likely to generate an

affective reaction than written vignettes" (p. 936). Therefore, by manipulating the manner

in which decision problems are introduced (video vs. written vignette), future studies

could attempt to isolate the emotional response that decision makers may have to the

video taped introductions.

Limitations. Although the current studies make a valuable contribution to

transformational leadership theory and to the explanation of risk behavior among

organizational members, several limitations must be acknowledged. For one, both studies

utilized an undergraduate student sample in an experimental setting. Certainly, research

conducted in a lab allows for close control of experimental conditions, but results may






80


generalize outside the lab. Further, study 2 asked students to play the role of a division

manager in a hypothetical government contracting office. Despite the information

provided to participants and my introduction of the company, it is unlikely that students

have the experience to understand fully the organizational context and the role of a

corporate manager. As such, future studies should utilize a sample of practicing managers

who are required to make critical decisions during the course of their work.














APPENDIX A
SCRIPTS FOR LEADERSHIP MANIPULATION STUDY 1

High Transformational

Hi, my name is Chris Aruffo, and I am the project coordinator for a research project in

the Warrington College of Business. I am so excited that you have agreed to participate in

research at the University of Florida. UF is one of the nation's leading research

institutions, and as you probably know, the University has had a long history of research

excellence. With your assistance, I am optimistic that our research will be successful in

the future.

Did you know that researchers at UF have discovered a treatment for glaucoma that is

being hailed as a major breakthrough in treating the disease? Or that researchers at UF

invented Sentricon, the state's most popular termite baiting system? Of course, you're

familiar with Gatorade the University's contribution to athletic performance around the

world. These are just a few examples of Florida's rich and robust research history. Today,

you have the opportunity to be part of this great tradition. I am confident that our future

research goals can be achieved.

By signing up for one of these projects and fully committing to the research process, you

are contributing to the University's mission. Imagine the future a national University

with global recognition for research and teaching excellence. This is our collective

mission to advance our understanding of factors that shape the world in which we live,

and to lift the University to national prestige.









The faculty and staff in the business school are truly outstanding, and we are so confident

in our students. Students at UF regularly consider the University's goals as their own, and

are willing to make sacrifices for UF's comprehensive and innovative research program.

Thank you for your enthusiasm and for your participation.

For this particular assignment, there are two projects in which you can enroll. Project 1

will be conducted at Stuzin Hall and take about 1 hour to finish. The assignment will be

interesting in that you will be asked to make a series of management decisions based on

information provided to you in a business case scenario. You will be asked to consider

hiring choices, investment decisions, and personnel selection, and will work in a

computer lab with other students.

The second option for this extra credit project is a bit more uncertain, a bit risky some

even say a bit mysterious! You will not know your specific assignment until you arrive at

the project's location, which is also unknown. You might be asked to meet at Stuzin Hall,

or you might be asked to meet with other students and members of the research team at

another location on campus. In project 2, the tasks vary from student to student and there

are no standard time limits for your participation you could be finished in 15 minutes,

or be given a task that demands nearly two hours. You won't know until the day of the

assignment. This assignment could be a lot of fun, with excitement and mystery, but, it

could also be long and quite embarrassing. You just won't know until you arrive.

Now, I realize that Project 2 is a bit risky in that you do not know what is required. In

Project 1, assignments and time lines are clearly defined. But I encourage you to give

serious consideration to Project 2. For the success of this project, and for the success of

our research program in general, we need people to make a personal sacrifice and sign-up









for Project 2. This is not necessarily the easy choice, not a choice that is straightforward,

but one that will really advance our work.

You know, this entire extra credit assignment is unique in that students have a choice. In

a way, we are breaking from time honored research norms. We are giving students the

chance to choose their own path, to shape their own destiny, to have a great story to tell

friends about their participation in this project. Personally, I regard this is an important

value of our research program. By giving students a choice, we are considering not only

the unique individual needs and aspirations of each student, but also doing the right thing.

I believe strongly in treating students as individuals, and think conducting our research in

this manner will have constructive consequences.

Maybe this approach is unusual. But should progressive researchers continue to conduct

experiments in the same old traditional ways? Sure, it's assumed that participants in

research projects should know what they're in for, but is that the most effective way to do

things? Does that system really work? Are there better ways to approach research in the

University setting? Maybe it's time to challenge previous assumptions about working

with students.

Thanks again for your willingness to participate in the research process at UF. It really

makes a difference. Choose now Project 1 in Stuzin Hall; Project 2 location unknown.

Low Transformational

Hi, my name is Chris Aruffo, and I am the coordinator for a research project in the

Warrington College of Business. You have signed-up for extra credit, and so you have to

come to campus soon to complete your assignment. In order to earn your point, you have

to execute the task. Now that you have finished the online survey, you'll need to finish









your assignment on campus. Then your student ID will be recorded in our database, and

you will get 1 extra credit point in MAN 3025.

I have done a lot of research at the University of Florida, and students are often a part of

the research process. When students do what they are asked to do, they are rewarded with

extra credit points in their classes. When students fail to complete their assignments, they

do not earn the extra credit points they desire. This is a simple give-and-take procedure. I

have a job to do here, and so do you.

You might have unusual circumstances that make this assignment and this course tricky,

but I am unable to take those things into consideration. Every one tends to think that their

own situation is unique, but for this assignment, all students will be treated the same way.

As a researcher, I have had mixed results with my research in the past some times it

works, some times it doesn't. This particular program is complex, and I am just not sure

that we can get it right this time. I will try my best, but I can't say that I am completely

confident. Time will tell.

Now, I will give a brief description of two projects, and you will make your choice.

For this particular assignment, there are two projects in which you can enroll. One project

will be conducted at Stuzin Hall and take about 1 hour to finish. The assignment will be

interesting in that you will be asked to make a series of management decisions based on

information provided to you in a business case scenario. You will be asked to consider

hiring choices, investment decisions, and personnel selection, and will work in a

computer lab with other students.

The second option for this extra credit project is a bit more uncertain, a bit risky some

even say a bit mysterious! You will not know your specific assignment until you arrive at









the project's location, which is also unknown. You might be asked to meet at Stuzin Hall,

or you might be asked to meet with other students and members of the research team at

another location on campus. In project 2, the tasks vary from student to student and there

are no standard time limits for your participation you could be finished in 15 minutes,

or be given a task that demands nearly two hours. You won't know until the day of the

assignment. This assignment could be a lot of fun, with excitement and mystery, but, it

could also be long and quite embarrassing. You just won't know until you arrive.

Now, I realize that Project 2 is a bit risky in that you do not know what is required. In

Project 1, assignments and time lines are clearly defined. But I need to make sure that at

least some people sign-up for Project 2. So that I can adequately attend to my research

objectives, I need to have people participate in both studies, even if some students are put

at risk. I realize that the choice is not straightforward, but if you're able, consider Project

2.

We have already tested each assignment, and some students have said they actually

enjoyed the mystery associated with Project 2; some said they had fun. But, others have

said they did not appreciate the uncertainty. Some were even embarrassed. They would

have rather known what they were getting into and how long it would take. I guess it's up

to you.

Others have suggested trying innovative ways to encourage support from students, but I

have used this approach to the extra credit assignment many times before. You might

think having a choice is unusual, but in fact, this is really a very standard way of

operating. I do it this way all the time. The research program in the business school has






86


been successful, and so I am going to rely on my previous method for collecting data. I

know how to get things done, and I not going to try anything different at this point.

Please make your choice, and please come to your assigned location, on-time. You have

made a commitment to be a part of this project, and you are required to complete the

second part of this assignment. Thank you for your participation. Choose now Project 1

in Stuzin Hall; Project 2 location unknown.














APPENDIX B
SCRIPTS FOR LEADERSHIP MANIPULATION STUDY 2

Scene 1: Introduction

High Transformational

Leslie... Congratulations on your new assignment and welcome to Consolidated

Federal. I am so pleased that you decided to join our great team. We have wonderful

people on staff, with so much experience and talent. You will find that our services really

make a difference for many small, minority-owned, and disadvantaged businesses.

Indeed, we have plans and projections for our level of business each year, but our mission

is to assist small businesses in the procurement of government grants and contracts. Our

business is competitive, but we always work with integrity to help local businesses

achieve their dreams. We always consider the expectations and initiatives of our clients.

In fact, our clients' objectives often become our own.

I realize that you have a busy schedule; you have a lot to learn in a short amount of

time. I am considerate of your needs and of the pressures on your time, and so I

appreciate your attention this morning. Let me just briefly describe our results in the last

year, and then we can discuss these issues in more detail this afternoon.

Fiscal year 2003 was a very good year. Together we faced difficult challenges,

competed against skilled rivals, and collaborated to execute creative solutions. We had an

interesting, challenging, and exciting year. Collectively, we shared a great experience.

At last year's annual meeting, we agreed on the level of business to pursue, and

used breakout sessions to develop innovative ways to maintain our leadership position in









the market. We were aggressive in our annual projections, with forecasts for revenue

growth at 20%. The market for our products was expected to grow just 10%, and so it

was risky to make such a bold prediction. Nevertheless, we knew we had the collective

talent to surpass expectations. We knew that our people had the energy and resources

needed to succeed, and we knew that our managers were motivated.

Well... I am happy to report that our efforts paid off. Although we did not meet our

specific goals for revenue or profit, we did grow by nearly 15%. The market for our

services was competitive, and we found ourselves making difficult decisions on which

customer projects to pursue. We were aggressive, took measured risks with several of our

largest customers, and in the end, we achieved respectable results. I am proud of the

company's performance.

Please, take your time to get to know the company, and the wonderful people who

each make a difference for so many small, minority-owned, and disadvantage businesses.

You are now part of a wonderful tradition and I look forward to getting to know you as

an individual, as a leader. Welcome aboard!

Low Transformational

Leslie... Congratulations on your assignment and welcome to Consolidated Federal.

You have made a good decision to join this company. The leaders of this company are

very experienced and have been successful for many years. Our company provides

valuable service to our clients, who pay a fair, often times favorable rate. Fortunately, we

earn above average profit margins, and I have personally been rewarded by the

company's success.









As with any profit-seeking corporation, there exist specific financial projections to

meet each year. Our business is competitive, and the principals of this corporation have

labored for many years to maintain a solid position in the market.

I know that you are new, but you have a lot of work to do. There is little time to

waste before we move on with the business of conducting business. You need to focus on

the important tasks at hand and be as efficient as possible. Lest we forget, the company's

principal objective is to meet revenue goals while controlling operating expenses. I know,

from experience that control of expenses will be the key to reaching profitability,

especially in light of the current economic environment. We'll meet at lunch to discuss

your immediate priorities, but for now, I want to review the company's past performance

and remind you of your assigned objectives for the coming year.

The company's performance in 2003 was fair. As usual, there were competitors,

some of whom were able to win business from our most important clients. It was a year

in which we fell short of our planned targets. We expected to grow at 20%, twice the

industry pace. Unfortunately, the Florida division did not achieve its target level of

revenue or profit. As a result, our company's stock price suffered, and several managers

failed to earn at their expected levels of compensation. Sure, we set an aggressive target,

but once that target was set, it should have been achieved. The analysts expected strong

performance from us. I know that when we satisfy those expectations, we all earn the

rewards we desire. As I have stressed in the past, it is the duty of the organization's

management to achieve objectives. If this is done, the organization will be a leader in this

industry. If this is not done, it threatens the company's existence in such a competitive

market.









Please take the next hour or so to catch up on your work. Since Bob left this

position, many tasks have been ignored. You now have the obligation to address all of

these issues in a timely manner. See you this afternoon so that we can discuss other plans.

Scene 2: CEO visits Leslie Wilder's office

High Transformational

Leslie, I have become aware of issues with our MIS links at several of our Eastern

agency offices. I am looking at a memo dated May 19 from Bill Jensen. The memo was

addressed to you and David Fredericks. Although Bill's memo does not specifically

highlight the potential consequences, I expect the issues to which he refers will

compromise our internet and email access.

I realize that you are new to the issue, but have you begun to consider creative

ways to handle it? Do you suppose there is a means to get temporary high speed access to

the web outside of our normal service? Does UNICOM have a contingency plan? If so,

how soon will it be implemented? Are there other communication companies that can

provide the same service? What else can we do if the links are not restored? What are our

alternatives?

Perhaps you could contact another local provider, one who could offer a different

perspective. Let's not rely strictly on UNICOM for all of our information. We need to

look at these problems from several different angles.

We have assumed for years that our business can operate without high speed

communication channels, but those assumptions are no longer valid. We have also

assumed that customers will adjust to our way of doing business. That assumption is not

valid either. We have to be creative, to be assertive, and find innovative ways to

overcome these issues.