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Followers Personality and Leadership

Hilde Hetland Gro Mjeldheim Sandal Tom Backer Johnsen


University of Bergen

Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies Volume 14 Number 4 May 2008 322-331 2008 Baker College 10.1177/1548051808315550 http://jlos.sagepub.com hosted at http://online.sagepub.com

The study presented in this article investigates how the personality of subordinates is related to leadership, an area largely neglected in prior research. Subordinates (n = 289) rated their immediate superior on transformational, transactional, and passive-avoidant leadership measured by the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ) and completed the NEO-FFI, with the five traits neuroticism, extraversion, openness, agreeableness, and conscientiousness. The results revealed that subordinates personality (n = 289) was only moderately associated with leadership ratings. Links were found between ratings of transformational leadership and subordinates level of neuroticism and agreeableness. Furthermore, ratings of passive-avoidant leadership were associated with subordinates level of agreeableness and openness. Keywords: subordinates personality; transformational leadership; transactional leadership; passive-avoidant leadership; NEO-FFI; MLQ; structural equation modeling; leadership ratings; followers personality

ithin both leadership research and practice, the focus is often on the leader as someone having unilateral influence on subordinates. Followers characteristics are typically posited as a dependent variable, affected by the leaders traits, behavior, and power bases (Dvir & Shamir, 2003; Yukl, 1998). So far, the majority of the leadership literature has neglected the role of subordinates characteristics in defining and shaping leaders behavior (Ehrhart & Klein, 2001; Judge & Bono, 2001). In the past decades, a line of leadership research has focused on transformational leadership and suggested this leadership style to be responsible for performance beyond expectations (Bass, 1985). Transformational leadership consists of idealized influence, where leaders are role models with a vision; inspirational motivation, which builds identification with the leader and provides a purpose for followers; intellectual stimulation, which implies questioning old assumptions; and individual consideration of followers needs. Transformational leadership has been consistently linked to positive outcomes, such as

Authors note: Address correspondence to Hilde Hetland, Christiesgate 12, 5015 Bergen, Norway; phone: +47 55582338; e-mail: Hilde.Hetland@ Psysp.uib.no.

satisfaction, motivation, and effectiveness (Hater & Bass, 1988; Hetland & Sandal, 2003). This leadership behavior is distinguished from the more traditional, transactional leadership that mainly entails relationships based on exchange of rewards between leader and subordinate. A third form, passiveavoidant leadership, is defined as avoiding making decisions at all or reacting only after problems have become serious. Although the three leadership styles are currently frequently used in research, the theory and measurement of these styles have also been criticized (Yukl, 1999). Leadership literature has linked leadership behavior and attitude to followership, for instance, by focusing on how leaders behavior affects motivation and satisfaction among subordinates. Many leadership theories and models have suggested how leaders affect and change followers through different types of influence processes (Yukl, 1998). Some theories, such as leader-member exchange theory, have specifically emphasized the dyadic aspect developing between a leader and a subordinate but have failed to investigate followers characteristics in further detail. Thus, although an extensive literature has addressed the implications of leadership style for organizational outcomes, there has been a lack of studies examining followers personality characteristics as indicators of

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differences in leadership (Dvir & Shamir, 2003; Meindl, 1995). Studies by Hautala (2005) and Roush (1992) are among the few exceptions to this leadercentered trend. However, these authors use the categorybased Myers-Briggs type indicator in their investigation of followers personality, and Hautala only addressed one leadership style, transformational leadership, in her article. Thus, the focus of the study presented in this article is to investigate the relationship between the dimensional five-factor structure of personality and three leadership styles. An assumption underlying the study is that the personality characteristics of subordinates may be related to leadership ratings basically through two mechanisms. First, as pointed out by several investigators (Ehrhart & Klein, 2001; Klein & House, 1995), subordinates may form different relationships with their leaders based on their personalities. Second, stable individual differences in perceptual orientation may be related to subjective evaluations of leadership (Zellars & Perrewe, 2001). The five-factor model of personality, a widely recognized taxonomy of personality dimensions, will be used as a framework to investigate individual differences in the article. This five-dimensional model with its measure has proven to be a reliable and valid measure of personality and is among the most robust (Costa & McCrae, 1985, 1992). According to this model, neuroticism, extraversion, openness, conscientiousness, and agreeableness are the five central dimensions of personality. These traits have been linked to differences in job performance and job satisfaction (Mount, Barrick, & Stewart, 1998; Salgado, 1998; Tett, 1991). Transformational leadership has been linked to leader traits and behaviors in several studies (Atwater & Yammarino, 1993; Hetland & Sandal, 2003; Judge & Bono, 2001). Yet, researchers taking on a more follower-centered approach emphasize that inspiration resides not in the leader or in the follower but in the relationship between a leader with these characteristics, a follower who is open to such characteristics, and the environment necessary for the development of such a relationship (Klein & House, 1995). Burns (1978) conceived transforming leadership as a dynamic, reciprocal process in which both leaders and followers are transformed by each other. In this connection, characteristics in subordinates could thus facilitate or impede the occurrence of transformational leadership as well as other leadership styles.

Dvir and Shamir (2003) pointed out that when encountering followers with high levels of social activity, initiative, and self-esteem, leaders will be more encouraged to activate a transformational style because they will perceive their followers as having the appropriate characteristics for such leadership. This would suggest that attributes such as high levels of extraversion and conscientiousness and low levels of neuroticism from the five-factor model are important subordinate characteristics. A literature review has revealed that the most central follower characteristics are related to their developmental level within the domains of motivation, morality, and empowerment (Dvir & Shamir, 2003). Shamir and Howell (1999) distinguished between followers with an instrumental orientation to work, who view their work primarily as a means for obtaining extrinsic rewards, and expressively oriented followers, who expect their work to provide opportunities for selfexpression. They assumed that the latter group would be most suitable for transformational leadership. Although instrumentality is one aspect of conscientiousness in the five-factor model (Musson, Sandal, & Helmreich, 2004), conscientiousness has been identified in meta-analyses as a predictor of job performance across occupations and organizations (Judge, Heller, & Mount, 2002; Salgado, 1998). We therefore suggest that conscientiousness could be linked to transactional leadership, both involving instrumentality, through the contingent reward component, found to be at the interface of transactional and transformational leadership (Tejeda, Scandura, & Pillai, 2001). Furthermore, conscientiousness could imply a positive attitude to work and the leader, suggesting a relation to transformational leadership. Emphasis on self-expression is also likely to be associated with subordinates level of openness to experience, referring to attributes such as critical-independent thinking (Ferguson & Patterson, 1998). Such attributes among subordinates may particularly encourage the leader to articulate new ideas and to stimulate rethinking of old ways of doing things, a central feature of transformational leadership (Bass, 1990). Furthermore, there is a possibility that the trait of openness and reflection on behalf of the follower could be related to a lower degree of leader passiveness. According to the principle of complementarity, interpersonal behavior invites a particular class of responses along two dimensions, affiliation, from friendliness to hostility, and control, from dominance

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to submission. This theory postulates that along the affiliation dimension, friendliness invites friendliness and hostility invites hostility (Dryer & Horowitz, 1997). In relation to the framework of the five-factor model, this would suggest that followers characterized by high levels of agreeableness, conceptually related to friendliness and warmth (Goldberg, 1992; John, 1990), and extroversion, also related to warmth (Costa, McCrae, & Dye, 1991), would stimulate the emergence of transformational leadership and lead to lower levels of passive-avoidant leadership. Neuroticism in subordinates, implying hostility, could impede the occurrence of a transformational relationship and possibly increase passive-avoidant leadership as it could invite a hostile response in the leader. Lord and Maher (1991) pointed out that cognitive strategies and categories used by followers could be important in understanding ratings of leadership. In line with this, studies have consistently shown that perceptions account for a significant amount of variance in leadership ratings (Lord, Brown, & Freiberg, 1999). Especially relevant to this is neuroticism. The trait of neuroticism (vs. emotional stability) is centrally defined as individual differences in the tendency to experience negative emotional states (Costa & McCrae, 1987). Neuroticism is conceptually similar to negative affectivity as described by Watson and Pennebaker (1989). There is a fairly consistent body of literature suggesting that subordinates with high negative affectivity dispositions react to environmental conditions and themselves with a generalized negative cognitive set that produces a negative interpretation of a wide range of phenomena (Munz, Huelsman, Konold, & McKinney, 1996; Williams, Gavin, & Williams, 1996). Due to the tendency of individuals high on neuroticism to view the world through a negative lens, it is expected that this trait is associated with negative descriptions of the leader (Chen & Spector, 1991; Furnham, 1992; Schaubroeck, Ganster, & Fox, 1992).

Hypothesis 1: High levels of agreeableness, extraversion, conscientiousness, and openness among subordinates will be positively associated with ratings of transformational leadership and negatively associated with passive-avoidant leadership. The opposite relationship is expected for neuroticism as this trait is related to negative views of the world and negative human interactions. Hypothesis 2: Conscientiousness will also be positively related to transactional leadership.

Method
Sample
Data for the study of the relationship between leadership ratings and subordinates personality characteristics were collected from 289 employees in a Norwegian information and communication technology firm. The response rate was 82%. Of the respondents, 35% were women. In addition, 6% of the respondents were younger than 30 years, 32% were between 30 and 39 years, 39% were between 40 and 49 years, and 22% were older than 50 years. Also, 60% had worked in the firm for more than 5 years. For further details see Hetland, Sandal, and Johnsen (2007).

Procedure
Approval was obtained from the Regional Medical Committee concerning ethical issues and data storage in Norway, and careful ethical considerations were taken. The survey was Web based. Each respondent was asked to log on to a Web site with a confidential code that was individual and fill out a set of questionnaires. The Web design included the option of completing the questions at different time periods (using the same code) within a time frame of 2 weeks. Most respondents did, however, choose to answer all questions on one occasion. The respondents filled out the Multifactor Leadership QuestionnaireForm 5X (MLQ; Bass & Avolio, 1995) rating their immediate superior. In addition, they completed the personality inventory NEO-FFI rating their own personality (Costa & McCrae, 1985, 1992). Several subordinates rated each leader, but due to anonymity in the sample we did not have the possibility to link information between the subordinates of each leader. In a previous study (Hetland & Sandal, 2003) we found the interrater correlation (Pearson productmoment correlation) between the two groups of subordinates for transformational leadership to be .32 and for passive-avoidant

The Present Study


Given the aforementioned conceptual arguments and empirical evidence, we hypothesize that leadership will be associated with subordinates personality, reflected in how they perceive and interact with the leader, all mirrored in their ratings. Thus, to sum up and integrate the arguments based on theory and research, we propose the following hypotheses of how these traits may relate to leadership ratings:

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Table 1 Dimensions of Transformational, Transactional, and Passive-Avoidant Leadership


Scale Definition Transformational leadership Idealized influence, total: The leader instills pride and faith in followers by overcoming obstacles and confidently expressing disenchantment with the status quo. Inspirational motivation: The leader inspires followers to enthusiastically accept and pursue challenging goals and a mission or vision of the future. Individualized consideration: The leader communicates personal respect to followers by giving them specialized attention and by recognizing each ones unique needs. Intellectual stimulation: The leader articulates new ideas that prompt followers to rethink conventional practice and thinking. Transactional leadership Contingent reward: The leader provides rewards contingent on performance. Management by exception (active): The leader takes corrective action in anticipation of problems. Passive-avoidant leadership Management by exception (passive): The leader takes corrective action when problems arise or things do not go as planned. Laissez-faire leadership: Avoidance or absence of leadership. Number of Items 8 4 4 4

4 4 4 4

leadership to be .22, whereas agreement was only .05 for transactional leadership. This illustrates the variance in perception among subordinates of the same leader.

Instruments
Measures The MLQ (Bass & Avolio, 1995) was used to evaluate leadership styles. The questionnaire instructs the respondent to judge how often their manager displays 40 items of behavior using 5-point scales (0 = seldom, 4 = to a large extent). MLQ contains nine leadership subscales (see Table 1). The behavior scales describe transformational, transactional, and passiveavoidant leadership behaviors. High intercorrelations between the subscales suggest that they are not distinct measures (Tejeda et al., 2001). Therefore, similar to the scoring procedure followed in other studies (Carless, 1998; Hetland & Sandal, 2003; Ross & Offerman, 1997), only global scores for transformational leadership, transactional leadership, and passive-avoidant leadership were used in the analyses. These were calculated by summing the scales for the factors (see Table 1). Transformational and transactional leadership have often been contrasted with laissez-faire leadership, which refers to the absence of leadership. However, recent research suggests the scale management by exception-passive, traditionally included in transactional

leadership, should be combined with laissez-faire leadership because these two scales correlate positively with each other and negatively with all other scales (Avolio, Bass, & Jung, 1999; Bass & Avolio, 2000; Den Hartog, Van Muijen, & Koopman, 1997; Hetland & Sandal, 2003). This structure has been replicated for the Norwegian leaders (Hetland & Sandal, 2003) and is applied throughout this article. The new factor (laissez faire and management by exceptionpassive) is labeled passive-avoidant leadership. Contingent reward and management by exceptionactive thus compose transactional leadership. Alpha values in were .70 for transactional leadership, .83 for passiveavoidant leadership, and .92 for transformational leadership. NEO-FFI (Costa & McCrae, 1985) was applied to measure personality characteristics. The NEO-FFI is an abbreviated version of the NEO-Personality Inventory (NEO-PI), which is the most widely used instrument to assess the traits in the five-factor model: neuroticism (N), extraversion (E), openness (O), agreeableness (A), and conscientiousness (C). Correlations between the scales in the NEO-FFI and the original scales in NEO-PI have been found to be .92, .90, .91, .77, and .87 for N, E, O, A, and C, respectively (Costa & McCrae, 1985). NEO-FFI comprises 60 items to be answered on 5-point scales from strongly agree to strongly disagree. For definitions and alpha values see Table 2.

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Table 2 Definitions and Reliability of the NEO-FFI Scales


Items Agreeableness Trusting others, being straightforward, altruistic, and tender-minded Extraversion Warmth with focus on positive emotions, assertive, and active Neuroticism Anxiety, hostility, depression, and vulnerability Openness to experience Fantasy, ideas, and values; interest in aesthetics, feelings, and actions Conscientiousness Orderly and competent, achievement oriented, self-disciplined 12 12 12 12 12 Cronbachs Alpha .71 .83 .84 .68 .70

Figure 1 Hypothesized model of relationships between subordinates personality and leadership ratings among subordinates (n = 289).
e1 e2 e3 e4 e5 e6 e7 e8 e9 e10 e11 e12 e13 e14 e15 e16 e17 e18 e19 e20

Ne 1 Ne 2 Ne 3 Ne 4 Ex 1 Ex 2 Ex 3 Ex 4 Op 1 Op 2 Op 3 Op 4 Ag 1 Ag 2 Ag 3 Ag 4 Co 1 Co 2 Co 3 Co 4
Conscientiousness
.

Neuroticism

Extraversion

Transformational

d1

Openness

Transactional

d2

Passive-avoidant
Agreeableness

d3

NOTE: e (e1, e2, etc.) indicates the error terms for observed variables. d (d1, d2, etc.) indicates the disturbance (error) term for latent variables.

Statistical Analysis Initial data analyses were performed in SPSS 11.0 (SPSS, 2002). Missing values were replaced by mean values in SPSS. Structural equation modeling was applied to test paths in a structural model. Model fit was tested by maximum likelihood (ML) estimation in Amos 4.01 (AMOS, 2002). The 12 items in each

factor of the personality measure, NEO-FFI, were parceled together randomly into sum scores of 3 items (3 and 3 subsequent items of the NEO-FFI), giving 4 sum scores for each latent variable. The model fit criteria included the 2 likelihood ratio statistic, the Comparative Fit Index (CFI; Bentler, 1990), and the root mean square error of approximation (RMSEA).

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Table 3 Means, Standard Deviations, and Bivariate Correlations Among Study Variables (N = 289)
Variables 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Neuroticism Extraversion Openness to experience Agreeableness Conscientiousness Transformational Transactional Passive-avoidant M 15.1 30.2 26.9 33.7 35.2 13.5 6.0 6.4 SD 6.1 6.5 5.9 4.3 5.1 2.7 1.2 2.1 1 .33** .00 .26** .38** .18** .07 .14* 2 .23** .32** .31** .06 .11 .01 3 4 5 6 7 8

.13* .00 .08 .03 .16**

.31** .20** .11 .28*

.16** .12* .12

.60** .60**

.27**

*p < .05. **p < .01.

The 2 value measures the closeness of fit between the sample covariance matrix and the fitted covariance matrix, serving as an indicator of the overall fit. The higher the probability value, the closer the fit between the hypothesized model and the perfect fit. The CFI, a revised version of the Bentler-Bonett Normed fit index (Bentler & Bonett, 1980) that adjusts for degrees of freedom, ranges from 0 to 1.00. This measure is derived from the comparison of a restricted model (one in which structure is imposed on the data) with an independence (or null) model (one in which all correlations among variables are zero). In the determination of goodness of fit, a CFI value of .90 has served as the rule of thumb lower limit cutpoint of acceptable fit (B. M. Byrne & Shavelson, 1996); however, a fit of .94 is more recently seen as acceptable (B. M. Byrne, 2001). The RMSEA estimates the discrepancy between the predicted and observed covariances per degree of freedom, thus making the index sensitive to the number of estimated parameters in the model (B. M. Byrne, 2001). Values less than .05 indicate good fit, and values as high as .08 represent reasonable errors of approximation in the population (Browne & Cudeck, 1993). A structural model was constructed and tested based on the hypotheses of the study (see Figure 1). All nonsignificant paths were removed, resulting in a final model.

The Structural Models


Table 4 presents results fit measures from the initial (Figure 1) and final (Figure 2) structural models. When removing all nonsignificant parameters, all indices of the final model (Figure 2) reached the lower limit of acceptable fit. Path analyses revealed that several personality traits among subordinates were significant predictors of how they rated their immediate superior. Specifically, as Figure 1 reveals, neuroticism was negatively associated with transformational leadership ( = .12). Agreeableness was positively related to transformational leadership ( = .11) and negatively related to passive avoidance ( = .37). Finally, openness to experience showed a positive relationship to ratings of passive-avoidant leadership ( = .24). The relationships were relatively small, though ranging from .11 to a modest .37. All paths in this final model reached the critical ratio value cut-off level (C:R: = parameter divided by standard error) above 1.96 for statistical significance (p < .05). Excluding the paths was tested using to ensure removing each path did not lead to a significant increase in . Finally, because the fit measures of the final model were not excellent, a bootstrapping procedure was used. Bootstrapping is a procedure where multiple subsamples are created from the original database. The importance of the technique is that one can then examine parameter distributions relative to each of these spawned samples. The procedure gives an estimate of the numerical stability of the model, which is not provided by the normal tests of significance. Thus, this allows for comparison of parametric values over repeated samples that have been drawn from the original sample. The results of the bootstrapping showed the final model was stable across 500 samples (see Table 5).

Results
Table 3 contains the means, standard deviations, Cronbachs alpha, and Pearson productmoment correlations for the study variables. Initial analysis of variance revealed no significant gender differences in the study variables, and based on this, gender was not included as a variable in the analyses.

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Figure 2 Final model of relationships between subordinates personality and leadership ratings (n = 289).
e1 e2

Ne 1 Ne 2

.73 .82 .74 .81 .81 .66 .82 .54


Extraversion Neuroticism

e3 e4

Ne 3 Ne 4

e5 e6

Ex 1 Ex 2

-.41

.12
Transformational

d1
.59

e7 e8

Ex 3 Ex 4

e9 e10

Op 1 Op 2

.57 .71 .68 .48 .61 .64 .51 .64 .60 .77 .76 .76

.37 .50
.38

.31

Openness

e11 e12

Op 3 Op 4

.11 .24

Transactional

d2

.57 .25

e13 e14

Ag 1 Ag 2

.36

.27

Passive-avoidant
Agreeableness

d3

e15 e16

Ag 3

.37

Ag 4 Co 1
..43

e17 e18

Co 2 Co 3

Conscientiousness

e19 e20

Co 4

NOTE: e (e1, e2, etc.) indicates the error terms for observed variables. d (d1, d2, etc.) indicates the disturbance (error) term for latent variables.

Table 4 Model Fit Statistics for Structural Model on Subordinates Personality and Leadership Ratings
Comparative Root Mean Fit Square Error of 2 Index Approximation 15.17 .90 .90 .06 .06 Model

Table 5 Bootstrapping Results Based on 500 Random Samples From the Data Set
Failures (No Solution) 0 Mean 2 542.82 Standard Error .82

Model Default Final model

2 435.98 451.15

df 210 218

Final model

Discussion
Personality and Leadership Ratings Among Subordinates
The study presented in this article sought to investigate whether followers traits are related to the leadership style of their immediate superior. Our findings are consistent with previous research, which indicates that part of the variance in multisource ratings is idiosyncratic to the rater (Mount & Scullen, 2001).

The significant relationships detected support for the hypothesis that high agreeableness and low neuroticism were associated with the occurrence of transformational leadership. Moreover, high neuroticism and high openness to experience among subordinates were related to evaluations of the immediate superior as passive-avoidant. Although the initial correlation analyses also suggested that conscientiousness was positively related to both transformational and transactional leadership, these associations did not reach significance when all the personality variables were entered into the structural equation modeling analysis. Finally, contrary to our hypothesis, extraversion was not significantly related to how subordinates evaluated the leadership styles of their immediate superior (Figure 2).

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Interestingly, the traits in subordinates linked to transformational leadership bear strong resemblance to traits found to characterize the transformational leader. Using Cattell 16pf we have previously linked transformational leaders to higher levels of warmth and lower levels of tension (Hetland & Sandal, 2003), which capture similar characteristics as agreeableness and neuroticism in the five-factor model. One interpretation, based on similarity attraction theory (D. Byrne, 1971), is that similar characteristics attract people toward each other and increase the possibility for positive interaction. Along this line, a relatively recent study (Ehrhart & Klein, 2001) found support for similarity attraction as a basis for systematic differences in subordinates preference for leadership. Finally, our findings suggest that the relationships between the level of extraversion and consciousness of subordinates and leadership ratings are perhaps more complicated than hypothesized. Future studies could investigate whether personality profiles or clusters of traits could be more relevant to the prediction of leadership rating among subordinates. It has been claimed that neuroticism among subordinates may be a mere reflection of a negative response set in self-report data. In the present study, this explanation seems less likely as neuroticism is only related to transformational leadership and not to the other two leadership styles. The relationship between openness to experience and passive-avoidant leadership occurred in the opposite direction than what we expected. Also, contrary to expectations, this subordinate characteristic was not significantly related to ratings of transformational leadership. One possible explanation for this finding is that passive leader behaviors are more salient to raters high on openness through a contrast effect (London, 2001). Passive-avoidant leadership may contrast with the values and typical characteristics of those high on openness to experience, for instance, unconventional judgments (Costa, McCrae, & Kay, 1995). No subordinates personality trait predicted transactional leadership ratings. This leadership style is probably somewhat neutral and not as emotionally laden as the other two, and one can speculate that it does not induce as strong and different emotions (Glas, 2006) among subordinates as for instance transformational leadership does. Furthermore, the possible augmentation of transformational leadership over transactional leadership when both styles are included could mean the effects of transactional leadership are balanced out by the stronger effects of

transformational leadership. A noticeable finding is that subordinates personality reveals higher associations with passive-avoidant leadership compared to transformational and transactional leadership. This issue should be further investigated.

Limitations
The relationships documented between personality characteristics of subordinates and leadership ratings were generally weak. One possibility is that a more complex combination of traits is more important than levels of each individual factor, an issue that may deserve more research attention. Yet, including all traits in one model and as such combining their effects on the leadership ratings allows us to study more complex associations between variables within one single model. This is a clear advantage of structure equation modeling as used in our study. Future research may also consider evaluating whether facets in the NEO-PI could prove more valuable in predicting leadership ratings. The study reported in this article has relied on cross-sectional, subjective measures, which introduce common method and common source variance as potential biases. Single measures of personality and leadership can also be a limitation. Another limitation is that we did not consider the potential influence on leadership ratings of factors such as frequency and novelty of contact. Misunderstandings about the leaders job responsibilities or inadequate opportunities to observe behavior are further factors that may reduce the validity of ratings. Because the study is based on data from one organization, generalization to other organizations should be examined. Also, further studies including data from more than one country could shed light on cross-cultural differences and issues of generalizability. Leader personality could also be a variable to include in future studies addressing the relationship between leaders and followers. Finally, the cross-sectional design makes it impossible to draw conclusions about causality. This implies that apart from the possibility that subordinates influence their leaders, other explanations for the findings may be that subordinates different personalities induce them to focus on different aspects of leadership behavior, as we suggest. Also, a possibility is that leaders elicit different responses from followers. Furthermore, a possible explanation that cannot be ruled out is that leadership transforms or affects subordinates or even that a third variable, such as learning climate, affects the relationship.

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Conclusion
More studies should investigate followers characteristics and behaviors in relation to the leadership process. However, although the findings emphasize the need to incorporate subordinate characteristics in the leadership equation, the results suggest that subordinates personality per se only explains part of the picture. Power relations in leader-follower dyads are not egalitarian, as by most definitions leaders are in power (Yukl, 1998). Yet, the results from this study suggest that the level of agreeableness and emotional stability of subordinates is linked to a positive and motivating leadership style, transformational leadership, which in turn may result in beneficial organizational outcomes.

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