The Effects of Appropriately Participative Leadership on the Core Dimensionis of Climate

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Kidder, Pamela J.
Schneider, Benjamin
A field experiment was conducted to determine some effects of the appropriateness of participative leadership styles on the core dimensions of climate. Climate is a construct that has received considerable attention in organizational research. The research on Climate has revealed a core set of issues or dimensions that appear to be useful for capturing employees' perceptions across all or most organizations. Proposed core dimensions of climate have included role stress or harmony in the work environment, job challenge and autonomy, leadership facilitation and support, and workgroup warmth, empathy and cooperation. I hypothesized that leadership style would affect employees' perceptions of these core dimensions of climate. The literature in psychology and organizational behavior shows significant agreement regarding the potential effect of leadership style on climate, but little empirical work has been conducted in this area. The particular leadership style I studied concerned the appropriateness of participativeness of leaders' decision making styles. I carried out a field experiment, using a two group pre- and post- experimental design. The experimental manipulation was a training program in appropriate participative decision making, with supervisors randomly assigned to a training or no training control group. Pre- and post- measures of the core dimensions of climate and decision making style were collected prior to and following the training. Appropriate participativeness in decision making (Vroom & Jago, 1988) was found to predict the three core dimensions of role stress, leadership facilitation and support, and workgroup cooperation, friendliness, and warmth. The quality of the supervisor-subordinate relationship, based on vertical dyad linkage theory, was found to contribute to the prediction of the core climate dimension of role stress. It was concluded that leadership style has an effect on employees' perception of some, but not all of the core dimensions of climate. Implications of these results for research and practice regarding climate and leadership were explored.