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Substitutes For Leadership And The Management Of Professionals

P. M. Podsakoff, S. MacKenzie, Richard E. Fetter
Published 1993 · Psychology

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In a recent study, Podsakoff, Niehoff, MacKenzie, and Williams (1993) reported that although several of the subordinate, task, and organizational variables identified in Kerr and Jermier's (1978) Substitutes for Leadership model had main effects on subordinate criterion variables, few of these “substitutes” actually moderated the relationships between leader behaviors and the criterion variables in a manner consistent with that specified by Howell, Dorfman, and Kerr (1986). The goal of this study was to explore the possibility that the reason for the lack of support reported by Podsakoff and his colleagues, was their use of a sample comprised primarily of nonprofessionals, by testing the substitutes model using a more professional sample (n = 411 professional, managerial, and whitecollar employees drawn from 10 different organizations). In addition, other key objectives of this study were to: (a) provide a definitional and statistical clarification of Howell, Dorfman, and Kerr's (1986) “substituting,” “neutralizing,” and “enhancing” effects; (b) report the psychometric properties of a refined and reduced substitutes-for-leadership scale; (c) test the moderating effects of the substitute variables on a broader range of criterion variables than had been previously examined; and (d) investigate the proportion of variance explained in these criterion variables by the main effects of the leader behaviors and the substitutes for leadership. The results indicate that few of the substitutes variables moderated the relationships between the leader behaviors and the subordinate criterion variables, and that the majority of the moderated relationships identified did not meet the criteria specified by Howell, Dorfman, and Kerr. Possible reasons for these findings, and their implications for the substitutes model, are then discussed.
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