Advertisement

Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 148, Issue 1, pp 205–218 | Cite as

The Perceived Impact of Leaders’ Humility on Team Effectiveness: an Empirical Study

  • Arménio Rego
  • Miguel Pina e. Cunha
  • Ace Volkmann Simpson
Article

Abstract

We assess the perceived impact of leaders’ humility (both self and other-reported) on team effectiveness, and how this relationship is mediated by balanced processing of information. Ninety-six leaders (plus 307 subordinates, 96 supervisors, and 656 peers of those leaders) participate in the study. The findings suggest that humility in leaders (as reported by others/peers) is indirectly (i.e., through balanced processing) related to leaders’ perceived impact on team effectiveness. The study also corroborates literature pointing out the benefits of using other-reports (rather than self-reports) to measure humility, and suggests adding humility to the authentic leadership research agenda.

Keywords

Balanced processing Leader humility Leaders’ perceived impact on team effectiveness 

Notes

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

References

  1. Argandoña, A. (2015). Humility in management. Journal of Business Ethics, 132, 63–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Avolio, B., & Gardner, W. (2005). Authentic leadership development: Getting to the root of positive forms of leadership. The Leadership Quarterly, 16(3), 315–338.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Avolio, B. J., & Mhatre, K. H. (2012). Advances in theory and research on authentic leadership (pp. 773–783). Oxford: The Oxford handbook of positive organizational scholarship, Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Awamleh, R., & Gardner, W. L. (1999). Perceptions of leader charisma and effectiveness: the effects of vision content, delivery, and organizational performance. The Leadership Quarterly, 10(3), 345–373.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Ayman, R., & Korabik, K. (2010). Leadership: Why gender and culture matter. American Psychologist, 65(3), 157–170.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Barbuto, J. E, Jr, Fritz, S., Matkin, G. S., & Marx, D. B. (2007). Effects of gender, education, and age upon leaders’ use of influence tactics and full range leadership behaviors. Sex Roles, 56(1–2), 71–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Barrick, M. R., Stewart, G. L., Neubert, M. J., & Mount, M. K. (1998). Relating member ability and personality to work-team processes and team effectiveness. Journal of Applied Psychology, 83(3), 377–391.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Basford, T. E., Offerman, L. R., & Behrend, T. S. (2013). “Please accept my sincerest apologies:” Examining follower reactions to leader apology. Journal of Business Ethics, 119(1), 99–117.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Baumeister, R. F., Smart, L., & Boden, J. M. (1996). Relation of threatened egotism to violence and aggression: The dark side of high self-esteem. Psychological Review, 103(1), 5–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Biemann, T., & Heidemeier, H. (2010). On the usefulness of the ICC(1) and rwg index to justify aggregation decisions. Academy of Management Proceedings, 2010(1), 1–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Blickle, G., Diekmann, C., Schneider, P. B., Kalthöfer, Y., & Summers, J. K. (2012). When modesty wins: Impression management through modesty, political skill, and career success—a two-study investigation. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 21(6), 899–922.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Boje, D. M., Roslie, G. A., Durant, R. A., & Luhman, J. T. (2004). Enron spectacles: A critical dramaturgical analysis. Organization Studies, 25(5), 751–774.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Brutus, S., Fleenor, J. W., & McCauley, C. D. (1999). Demographic and personality predictors of congruence in multi-source ratings. The Journal of Management Development, 18(5), 417–435.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Caldwell, C., Hayes, L. A., & Long, D. T. (2010). Leadership, trustworthiness, and ethical stewardship. Journal of Business Ethics, 96(4), 497–512.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Cameron, K. S., & Caza, A. (2004). Introduction: Contributions to the discipline of positive organizational scholarship. American Behavioral Scientist, 47(6), 731–739.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Cascio, W. F., & Luthans, F. (2014). Reflections on the metamorphosis at Robben Island: The role of institutional work and positive psychological capital. Journal of Management Inquiry, 23(1), 51–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Cerne, M., Dimovski, V., Maric, L., Penger, S., & Skerlavaj, M. (2013). Congruence of leader self-perceptions and follower perceptions of authentic leadership: Understanding what authentic leadership is and how it enhances employees’ job satisfaction. Australian Journal of Management, 39(3), 453–471.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Chancellor, J., & Lyubomirsky, S. (2013). Humble beginnings: Current trends, state perspectives, and hallmarks of humility. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 7(11), 819–833.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Chowdhury, S. D. (2014). Strategic roads that diverge or converge: GM and Toyota in the battle for the top. Business Horizons, 57(1), 127–136.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Collins, J. (2001). Level 5 leadership. Harvard Business Review, 79(1), 66–76.Google Scholar
  21. Connelly, B. S., & Ones, D. S. (2010). Another perspective on personality: Meta-analytic integration of observers’ accuracy and predictive validity. Psychological Bulletin, 36(6), 1092–1122.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Cooper, W. H., & Richardson, A. J. (1986). Unfair comparisons. Journal of Applied Psychology, 71(2), 179–184.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Crossley, C. D., Cooper, C. D., & Wernsing, T. S. (2013). Making things happen through challenging goals: Leader proactivity, trust, and business-unit performance. Journal of Applied Psychology, 98(3), 540–549.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Damon, W. (2014). The moral advantage: How to succeed in business by doing the right thing. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler.Google Scholar
  25. Davis, D. E., Hook, J. N., Worthington, E. L, Jr, Van Tongeren, D. R., Gartner, A. L., Jennings, D. J., & Emmons, R. A. (2011). Relational humility: Conceptualizing and measuring humility as a personality judgment. Journal of Personality Assessment, 93(3), 225–234.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Davis, D. E., Worthington, E. L, Jr, & Hook, J. N. (2010). Humility: Review of measurement strategies and conceptualization as personality judgment. Journal of Positive Psychology, 5(4), 243–252.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Davis, D. E., Worthington, E. L, Jr, Hook, J. N., Emmons, R. A., Hill, P. C., Bollinger, R. A., & Van Tongeren, D. R. (2013). Humility and the development and repair of social bonds: Two longitudinal studies. Self and Identity, 12(1), 58–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. de Jong, A., de Ruyter, K., & Wetzels, M. (2005). Antecedents and consequences of group potency: A study of self-managing service teams. Management Science, 51(11), 1610–1625.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. De Jong, B. A., & Elfring, T. (2010). How does trust affect the performance of ongoing teams? The mediating role of reflexivity, monitoring, and effort. Academy of Management Journal, 53(3), 535–549.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. de Vries, R. E. (2012). Personality predictors of leadership styles and the self-other agreement problem. The Leadership Quarterly, 23(5), 809–821.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. de Vries, R. E., Lee, K., & Ashton, M. C. (2008). The Dutch HEXACO personality inventory: Psychometric properties, self–other agreement, and relations with psychopathy among low and high acquaintanceship dyads. Journal of Personality Assessment, 90(2), 142–151.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Dennis, R. S., & Bocarnea, M. (2005). Development of the servant leadership assessment instrument. Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 26(8), 600–615.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Dirks, K. T., & Ferrin, D. L. (2002). Trust in leadership: Meta-analytic findings and implications for research and practice. Journal of Applied Psychology, 87(4), 611–628.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Dirks, K. T., & Skarlicki, D. P. (2004). Trust in leaders: Existing research and emerging issues. In R. Kramer & K. Cook (Eds.), Trust and distrust in organizations: Dilemmas and approaches (pp. 21–41). New York: Russell Sage.Google Scholar
  35. Edmondson, A. C. (2012). Teaming: how organizations learn, innovate, and compete in the knowledge economy. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  36. Ehrart, M. G., Schneider, B., & Macey, W. H. (2014). Organizational climate and culture: An introduction to theory, research, and practice. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  37. Fast, N. J., Burris, E., & Bartel, G. (2014). Managing to stay in the dark: Managerial self-efficacy, ego defensiveness, and the aversion to employee voice. Academy of Management Journal, 57(4), 1013–1034.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Fleenor, J. W., Smither, J. W., Atwater, L. E., Braddy, P. W., & Sturm, R. E. (2010). Self-other rating agreement in leadership: A review. The Leadership Quarterly, 21(6), 1005–1034.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Gardner, W. L., Cogliser, C. C., Davis, K. M., & Dickens, M. P. (2011). Authentic leadership: A review of the literature and research agenda. The Leadership Quarterly, 22(6), 1120–1145.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Gilbert, G. R., Collins, R. W., & Brenner, R. (1990). Age and leadership effectiveness: From the perceptions of the follower. Human Resource Management, 29(2), 187–196.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Goddard, J., & Eccles, T. (2013). Uncommon sense, common nonsense. London: Profile Books.Google Scholar
  42. Goncalo, J. A., Polman, E., & Maslach, C. (2008). Can confidence come too soon? Collective efficacy, conflict and group performance over time. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 113(1), 13–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Goodhue, D. L., Lewis, W., & Thompson, R. (2012). Does PLS have advantages for small sample size or non-normal data? MIS Quarterly, 36(3), 891–1001.Google Scholar
  44. Goodwin, D. K. (2005). Team of rivals: The political genius of Abraham Lincoln. New York: Simon & Schuster.Google Scholar
  45. Gully, S. M., Incalcaterra, K. A., Joshi, A., & Beaubien, J. M. (2002). A meta-analysis of team-efficacy, potency, and performance: interdependence and level of analysis as moderators of observed relationships. Journal of Applied Psychology, 87(5), 819–832.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Hofstede, G. (1991). Cultures and organizations: Software of the mind. London: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  47. Hühn, M. P. (2014). You reap what you sow: How MBA programs undermine ethics. Journal of Business Ethics, 121(4), 527–541.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Iacobucci, D., Saldanha, N., & Deng, X. (2007). A meditation on mediation: Evidence that structural equations models perform better than regressions. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 17(2), 139–153.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Judge, T. A., LePine, J. A., & Rich, B. L. (2006). Loving yourself abundantly: Relationship of the narcissistic personality to self- and other perceptions of workplace deviance, leadership, and task and contextual performance. Journal of Applied Psychology, 91(4), 762–776.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Jung, D. I., & Sosik, J. J. (2003). Group potency and collective efficacy: Examining their predictive validity, level and analysis, and effects of performance feedback on future group performance. Group and Organization Management, 28(3), 366–391.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Kachorek, L. V., Exline, J. J., Campbell, W. K., Baumeister, R. F., Joiner, T., & Krueger, J. I. (2004). Humility and modesty. In C. Peterson & M. E. P. Seligman (Eds.), Character strengths and virtues: A handbook and classification (pp. 461–475). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  52. Kellman, S. G. (1999). Swan songs. American Scholar, 68(4), 111–120.Google Scholar
  53. Kozlowski, S. W. J., & Bell, B. S. (2003). Work groups and teams in organizations. In W. C. Borman, D. R. Ilgen, & R. J. Klimoski (Eds.), Handbook of psychology (Vol. 12, pp. 333–375). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  54. LaBouff, J. P., Rowatt, W. C., Johnson, M. K., Tsang, J.-A., & Willerton, G. M. (2012). Humble persons are more helpful than less humble persons: Evidence from three studies. Journal of Positive Psychology, 7(1), 16–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. LeBreton, J. M., & Senter, J. L. (2008). Answers to 20 questions about interrater reliability and interrater agreement. Organizational Research Methods, 11(4), 815–852.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Lee, K., & Ashton, M. C. (2004). Psychometric properties of the HEXACO personality inventory. Multivariate Behavioral Research, 39(2), 329–358.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Lee, K., & Ashton, M. C. (2006). Further assessment of the HEXACO personality inventory: Two new facet scales and an observer report form. Psychological Assessment, 18(2), 182–191.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Leroy, H., Palanski, M. E., & Simons, T. (2012). Authentic leadership and behavioral integrity as drivers of follower commitment and performance. Journal of Business Ethics, 107(3), 255–264.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Lester, S. W., Meglino, B. M., & Korsgaard, M. A. (2002). The antecedents and consequences of group potency: A longitudinal investigation of newly formed work groups. Academy of Management Journal, 45(2), 352–368.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. May, D., Chan, A., Hodges, T., & Avolio, B. (2003). Developing the moral component of authentic leadership. Organizational Dynamics, 32(3), 247–260.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Mangelsdorf, M. E. (2015). From the editor: In Praise of Humility. MIT Sloan management review, 56(2), 1.Google Scholar
  62. McIntosh, C. N., Edwards, J. R., & Antonakis, J. (2014). Reflections on partial least squares path modeling. Organizational Research Methods, 17(2), 210–251.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Mishra, A. K., & Mishra, K. E. (2012). Positive organizational scholarship and trust in leaders. In K. S. Cameron & G. M. Spreitzer (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of positive organizational scholarship (pp. 449–461). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  64. Mittal, R., & Dorfman, P. W. (2012). Servant leadership across cultures. Journal of World Business, 47(4), 555–570.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Morris, J. A., Brotheridge, C. M., & Urbanski, J. C. (2005). Bringing humility to leadership: Antecedents and consequences of leader humility. Human Relations, 58(10), 1323–1350.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Neider, L. L., & Schriesheim, A. C. (2011). The authentic leadership inventory (ALI): Development and empirical tests. The Leadership Quarterly, 22(6), 1146–1164.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Oc, B., Basshur, M. R., Daniels, M. A., Greguras, G. J., & Diefendorff, J. M. (2015). Leader humility in Singapore. The Leadership Quarterly, 26(1), 68–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Oh, I.-S., Wang, G., & Mount, M. K. (2011). Validity of observer ratings of FFM personality traits: A meta-analysis. Journal of Applied Psychology, 96(4), 762–773.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Ou, A. Y., Tsui, A. S., Kinicki, A. J., Wladman, D. A., Xiao, Z., & Song, L. J. (2014). Humble Chief Executive Officers’ connections to top management team integration and middle managers’ responses. Administrative Science Quarterly, 59(1), 34–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Owens, B. P., & Hekman, D. R. (2012). Modeling how to grow: An inductive examination of humble leader behaviors, contingencies, and outcomes. Academy of Management Journal, 55(4), 787–818.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Owens, B. P., & Hekman, D. R. (2015). How does leader humility influence team performance? Exploring the mechanisms of contagion and collective promotion focus. Academy of Management Journal. doi: 10.5465/amj.2013.0660.Google Scholar
  72. Owens, B. P., Johnson, M. D., & Mitchell, T. R. (2013). Expressed humility in organizations: Implications for performance, teams, and leadership. Organization Science, 24(5), 1517–1538.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Owens, B. P., Rowatt, W. C., & Wilkins, A. L. (2012). Exploring the relevance and implications of humility in organizations. In K. Cameron & G. Spreitzer (Eds.), Handbook of positive organizational scholarship (pp. 260–272). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  74. Owens, B. P., Walker, A. S., & Waldman, D. A. (2015). Leader narcissism and follower outcomes: The counterbalancing effect of leader humility. Journal of Applied Psychology, 100, 1203–1213.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Park, N., Peterson, C., & Seligman, M. E. (2004). Strengths of character and well-being. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 23(5), 603–619.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Paulhus, D. L., & Reid, D. B. (1991). Enhancement and denial in socially desirable responding. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 60(2), 307–317.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Podsakoff, P. M., MacKenzie, S. B., & Podsakoff, N. P. (2012). Sources of method bias in social science research and recommendations on how to control it. Annual Review of Psychology, 63, 539–569.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Rego, A., & Cunha, M. P. (2008). Perceptions of authentizotic climates and employee happiness: Pathways to individual performance? Journal of Business Research, 61(7), 739–752.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Rego, A., Vitória, A., Magalhães, A., & Ribeiro, N. (2013). Are authentic leaders associated with more virtuous, committed and potent teams? The Leadership Quarterly, 24(1), 61–79.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Rowatt, W. C., Powers, C., Targhetta, V., Comer, J., Kennedy, S., & Labouff, J. (2006). Development and initial validation of an implicit measure of humility relative to arrogance. Journal of Positive Psychology, 1(4), 198–211.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Schrage, M. (2015). Embrace your ignorance. MIT Sloan Management Review, 56(2), 95–96.Google Scholar
  82. Segreti, G. (2013). Pope Francis: Mass appeal. Financial Times, August 2. Retrieved from http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/0761fcfa-f9e4-11e2-b8ef-00144feabdc0.html#axzz38BSkBi1m.
  83. Shah, J. Y. (2003). The motivational looking glass: How significant others implicitly affect goal appraisals. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 85(3), 424–439.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Sivasubramaniam, N., Murry, W. D., Avolio, B. J., & Jung, D. I. (2002). A longitudinal model of the effects of team leadership and group potency on group performance. Group and Organization Management, 27(1), 66–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Stajkovic, A. D., Lee, D., & Nyberg, A. J. (2009). Collective efficacy, group potency, and group performance: Meta-analyses of their relationships, and test of a mediation model. Journal of Applied Psychology, 94(3), 814–828.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. Tangney, J. P. (2009). Humility. In S. Lopez & C. Snyder (Eds.), Oxford handbook of positive psychology (pp. 483–490). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  87. The Economist. (2013). The global-leadership industry needs re-engineering. p. 59.Google Scholar
  88. Tucker, S., Turner, N., Barling, J., Reid, E. M., & Elving, C. (2006). Apologies and transformational leadership. Journal of Business Ethics, 63(2), 195–207.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  89. Vallely, P. (2013). Pope Francis: Untying the knots. London: Bloomsbury.Google Scholar
  90. van Dierendonck, D. (2011). Servant leadership: A review and synthesis. Journal of Management, 37(4), 1228–1261.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  91. van Dierendonck, D., & Nuijten, I. (2011). The servant leadership survey: Development and validation of a multidimensional measure. Journal of Business and Psychology, 26(3), 249–267.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  92. van Dierendonck, D., & Patterson, K. (2015). Compassionate love as a cornerstone of servant leadership: An integration of previous theorizing and research. Journal of Business Ethics, 128(1), 119–131.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  93. Vera, D., & Rodriguez-Lopez, A. (2004). Strategic virtues: Humility as a source of competitive advantage. Organizational Dynamics, 33(4), 393–408.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  94. Weick, K. E. (2001). Leadership as the legitimation of doubt. In W. Bennis, G. Spreitzer, & T. Cummings (Eds.), The future of leadership: Today’s top leadership thinkers speak to tomorrow’s leaders (pp. 91–102). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  95. Weiss, H. M., & Knight, P. A. (1980). The utility of humility: Self-esteem, information search, and problem-solving efficiency. Organizational Behavior and Human Performance, 25(2), 216–223.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  96. Yammarino, F. J., & Atwater, L. W. (1997). Do managers see themselves as others see them? Implications of self-other rating agreement for human resources management. Organizational Dynamics, 25(4), 35–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arménio Rego
    • 1
    • 2
  • Miguel Pina e. Cunha
    • 3
  • Ace Volkmann Simpson
    • 4
  1. 1.Universidade de AveiroAveiroPortugal
  2. 2.Instituto Universitário de Lisboa (ISCTE-IUL)Business Research UnitLisbonPortugal
  3. 3.Nova School of Business and EconomicsUniversidade Nova de LisboaLisbonPortugal
  4. 4.UTS Business SchoolUniversity of TechnologySydneyAustralia

Personalised recommendations