The Person System Interaction (PSI) theory and goal orientation has been researched by Kuhl and it characterizes four dynamic cognitive systems-extension memory, object recognition, intention memory and intuitive behavioral control.
1. What is the nature/purpose of the study?
The road from wishes to action is long and filled with many obstacles.“ (Kuhl & Jostmann,2004, p. 974). There has been a need for valid/reliable, work related measurement tools of action and state orientation and a need for studying hypothesized relations empirically which will then lead to practical applications in personnel management. PSI theory situations relate to everyday working life situations. The article studies the efficacy of transformational leadership on personnel competence and intrinsic motivation.
A variety of observations by various studies have been listed in this article. This includes the finding where the values and desires espoused by the followers based on the leaders’ visions and objectives thus making the followers’ achievements compatible with the leaders targets. Another finding states that in the above scenario the motivation of the followers is high and is manifested in improved performances (see: Csikszentmihalyi, 1975, 1978; Izard,1977; Pretty and Seligman, 1983). There has been other studies such as that of Moss et al which concludes that the above increased motivation and better performance does not apply to all individuals and revealed that transformational leaders fostered commitment and loyalty to the organization; this relationship, however, dissipated as openness to experience in followers, as measured by the NEO-FFI(Costa and McRae, 1992), decreased (for compatible findings, see Ehrhart and Klein,2001).
This leads to the conclusion the goal orientation of the followers may inhibit or amplify the benefits of transformational leadership. Kuhl’s PSI theory along with Kernis’s concept of optimal self esteem implies that goal orientation should influence the impact of transformational leadership on followers’ attitudes, behavior and performance.
So, the purpose of the PSI study is to explain the four dynamic cognitive systems namely the extension memory, object recognition, intention memory and intuitive behavioral control and its effect on a person’s cognition, emotion, motivation and behavior. According to the PSI theory, individuals are inclined either towards an action orientation or a state orientation and this is a stable personality characteristic for all persons which impact the basic levels of individual processing (Kuhl & Coenen, 2007). According to work done by Kuhl and colleagues, an action orientation predisposes people toward taking action to solve problems and spend relatively more cognitive resources on a given task thus focusing better on the success of the desired goal. State oriented persons on the other hand tend to dwell upon the negative aspects of an event and limited ability to control this effect thus impacting their success for the task at hand. The five hypotheses of this study are:
· The extent to which intellectual stimulation is positively related to organizational commitment, creativity, and job performance should increase as performance orientation in followers rises.
· The extent to which inspirational motivation is positively related to organizational commitment, creativity, and job performance should increase as performance orientation in followers rises.
· The extent to which idealized influence is positively related to organizational commitment, creativity and job performance should decrease as performance orientation in followers rises.
· The extent to which contingent reward is positively related to organizational commitment, creativity, and job performance should increase as learning orientation in followers rises.
· A performance (avoid) orientation, but not a performance (prove)orientation, should diminish the benefits of inspirational motivation on employee commitment, creativity and job performance.
2. Where does the study take place?
Thirty-eight government organizations – including local councils, as well as health and welfare agencies – located throughout Australia participated in the study.
3. Who are the participants of the study? And what is the setting?
The study was conducted in 38 government organizations including local councils, as well as health and welfare agencies. 263 data points were collected from leader-follower dyads and there was a response rate of 33%.
All followers worked a minimum of 30 hours per week and a 6 month duration for the same participating leader. The average age of followers was 40.05 years and that of supervisors was 43.79 years. 58% of the followers were female and 36% of the leaders were female. The leaders had an average of 10 years of managerial experience.
The study was conducted with an approach that had been employed in several other studies such as in Singer, 1989, Tucker et al., 1992, etc.
4. In what sequence did the major elements of the study occur? (list as bullets)
· Human Resources personnel distributed the leader and follower questionnaires to the selected leaders.
· No individuals participated as both a leader and a follower.
· Leaders were instructed to distribute the questionnaire to the follower whose surname appeared first alphabetically.
· After the questionnaires were completed they were returned to the researcher directly by using pre paid envelopes.
5. How was the data collected? Was it Qualitative being face to face research. or Quantitative being info collected from surveys and questioners or Triangulation which incorporates both.
The data collection was done via surveys by administering questionnaires to the supervisors and the followers. Each questionnaire took around 15 to 20 minutes to complete and to maintain the anonymity of the responders they were returned directly to the researcher via prepaid envelopes. The following parameters were surveyed:
· Follower goal orientation- By administrating a 13 item goal orientation instrument.
· Perceived leadership style- The widely used measure of transformational leadership , the multifactor leadership questionnaire was used to measure this.
· Follower organizational commitment- This was assessed by using an instrument constructed by Meyey et al(1993).
· Follower performance-This was assessed through leader ratings.
· Follower creativity- To measure the creativity of followers, leaders completed the 13-item measure that was developed by George and Zhou (2001).
6. What procedures were used to analyze the data? (Use bullets and identify listing the acronyms as well)
· Missing values were identified as scarce at 1.35% and were randomly distributed across variables. Data from the 3 outliers were excluded.
· Three sets of 5 regression analyses were conducted.
· Scatterplot analysis was performed.
· Moderated regression analysis was performed to investigate if learning orientation influences the relationship between leadership style and normative commitment.
· Moderated regression analysis was performed to investigate whether performance orientation(prove) moderated the association between leadership style and effective commitment
· Moderated regression analysis was performed to investigate whether performance orientation (avoid) moderated the association between leadership style and effective commitment.
7. What were the results/findings? (not a dissertation list as bullets)
· Learning orientation did not moderate the relationship between the leadership style and any of the other outcomes.
· When learning orientation declines the impact of reward on normative commitment diminishes and even reverses partly supporting hypothesis 4.
· Performance Orientation did not moderate the association between leadership styles and any of the other outcomes.
· There is positive association between intellectual stimulation and normative commitment which diminishes when the performance orientation decreases.
· When performance orientation is sufficiently reduced then intellectual stimulation seemed to be inversely related to the normative commitment.
Intellectual stimulation fosters a tendency to challenges beliefs and attitudes which reduces biased thinking thus activating extension memory allowing better abilities to resolve workplace issues as well as higher normative commitment.
· Beneficial impact of inspirational motivation on affective commitment diminishes as performance orientation rises and if sufficiently elevated the inspirational motivation seems to obstruct effective commitment. This seems to be consistent with hypothesis 5.
· Goal orientation did not influence the extent to which idealized influence or individualized consideration influenced follower outcomes.
· Goal orientation did not influence the extent to which leadership style influenced job performance or creativity.
8. What was interesting about the study?
This study attempts to identify mechanism to influence personnel by means of transformational leadership to facilitate this it was necessary to study the impact of goal orientation of a person. The study starts with 5 hypotheses and some of them held true based on the observations. Goal orientation however did not affect the extent to which the follower outcomes due to idealized influence. There was an inverse relationship between reward and commitment when learning is negligible. This was explained by the presence of “distributive injustice” where quid pro quo deals were prominent. This may contribute to lower employee morale and obstructs a learning orientation.
Several limitations of the study have been identified that may compromise the utility. A person’s personality for goal orientation was assumed to be a constant which did not hold true in the course of this study thus implying that transformational leadership can promote learning orientation. Organizations should encourage transformational leadership and ensure that rewards are dependent on the level of improvement of the employees so that the learning orientation can be fostered.