Do substitutes for leadership really substitute for leadership? an empirical examination of kerr and jermier′s situational leadership model

Philip M. Podsakoff, Brian P. Niehoff, Scott B. MacKenzie, Margaret L. Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

131 Scopus citations

Abstract

Although Kerr and Jermier′s (1978) “Substitutes for Leadership” model has generated a substantial amount of interest among leadership researchers, a number of recent attempts to test this model have not proven to be overly supportive. An examination of many of the previous studies suggests at least two potential reasons for this lack of support: (a) the relatively poor psychometric properties of the scales used to measure the substitutes constructs, and (b) deficiencies in the way that the model has been tested. This paper reports the results of two studies conducted to address these problems. The first study was designed to examine the psychometric properties of a revised 74-item measure of the substitutes constructs. Analysis of the data obtained from 372 working MBAs was encouraging and suggested that the dimensionality and reliability of the revised scales were substantially better than the original ones. Following this, a composite sample of 612 employees drawn from three different organizations was used to examine the effects of the substitutes variables. The results indicated that many of the 13 subordinate, task, and organizational characteristics identified by Kerr and Jermier (1978) contributed significantly to the amount of variance accounted for in subordinate performance, attitudes, and role perceptions. However, few of the substitutes variables moderated the relationships between the leader behaviors and the subordinate criterion variables in a manner consistent with that specified by Howell, Dorfman, and Kerr (1986). The importance of these findings and their implications for future research are then discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-44
Number of pages44
JournalOrganizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes
Volume54
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1993

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