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Luis Curral 1 , Pedro Marques-Quinteiro 1. This article explores the relationship between self-leadership, goal orientation, intrinsic motivation, and innovative behavior. Because innovation requires self-navigation competences we propose that self-leadership skills mediate the relationship between goal orientation and role innovation, as well as between intrinsic motivation and role innovation. To investigate this, employees from three companies, working on the development and implementation of technological solutions, were surveyed on their goal orientation believes, their level of intrinsic motivation, their self-leadership strategies, and the frequency they introduce new procedures on their jobs.
Structural equation modelling showed a positive relationship with role innovation for learning goal orientation and intrinsic motivation, but not for performance goal orientation. Self-leadership skills fully mediated the relationship between learning goal orientation and role innovation and partially mediated the relationship between intrinsic motivation and role innovation.
Thus, enhancing employees' self-navigation competences might be an avenue for enhancing their innovative behavior. Palabras clave: self-leadership, goal orientation, motivation, work role innovation.
Today organizations are no longer in need of great leaders and managers. Self Leadership: A theoretical definition. However, this relation as proved not to be interactive or dependent Houghton et al. Self-leadership has a broad spectrum of theoretical origins influencing its definition and the way it is seen as an individual and team performance energizer.
From a self-management perspective, self-leadership builds on goal management strategies, explaining the how and why. Behavior focused strategies. Self-punishment includes negative feedback mechanisms that strive to guide personal behaviours towards desired goals by reducing undesired or ineffective behaviours.
Self-Cueing is all about an individual coming up with personal guidance strategies that allow him not to forget targets and goals and to achieve desired performance levels e. Natural self reward strategies. Constructive though pattern strategies. These are the strategies that better distinguish self-leadership from other competing concepts e. Self-Leadership: Antecedents and Consequents. Research from Neck and Manz showed that individuals who received specific training in self-leadership competences constructive though pattern strategies reported higher performance, satisfaction and self-efficacy levels , when compared to those who did not receive such training.
The authors found that co-workers' self-leadership behaviors would increase or decrease depending on empowerment and autonomy levels. Concerning this topic, there is at least one discordant finding. Self-leadership has also been considered in multicultural research. Giorgianna compared two samples of American and Chinese students, concerning their self-leadership levels. The author found that American students scored higher on self-leadership competences and skills than Chinese students.
Although, this same study also showed that self-leadership has a strong positive effect on creativity and work role performance.
Carmeli, Meitar, and Weisberg, and DiLiello and Houghton have found that self-leadership is a strong predictor of innovation as perceived by coworkers and managers. Although there are several definitions of innovation, all of them distinguish it from creativity, agreeing on the same necessary processes and contingency issues for it to happen Carmeli, et al.
Besides, it also has to significantly impact and change the environment in which it occurs Curral, ; Van de Ven, ; West et al. All of this depends on the existence of self-navigation skills, ones that only exist through self-leadership Carmeli et al.
In fact, besides the obvious necessity of a supporting environment for innovation Amabile, ; West et al. Concerning the relation between self-leadership and innovation, Phelan and Young have given a significant theoretical contribution by presenting the concept of creative self-leadership.
According to the authors, it stands for the conscious cognitive processes of reflection and ideas generation directed towards desired improvements and changes in the environment Carmeli et al.
Unfortunately, Phelan and Young conclusions were only theoretical. DiLiello and Houghton conducted an empirical research relating self-leadership, innovation and creativity. The results revealed that co-workers scoring high on self-leadership considered themselves to be more innovative and creative, when compared to those scoring lower. Considering self-navigation cognitive and behavioural competences and the conclusions advanced by Phelan and Young , DiLiello and Houghton , Carmeli et al.
H1: Self-leadership will have a positive relationship with work role innovation. Work motivation can be understood as the cognitive and affective processes determining how personal efforts and resources are allocated to actions pertaining work roles.
It varies within and across individuals and situations, and it is largely dependent on interactions between individual and environmental characteristics Kanfer et al. In fact, all of these psychological processes depend on personal needs, values and beliefs Latham, Goal orientation relies on personal beliefs concerning intelligence as either incremental e.
Although first theorists considered goal orientation as a single construct aligned in a continuum. Even more, performance orientation has shown to possess an avoidance dimension avoiding failure and to show incompetence and a performing dimension choosing to perform easier tasks in order to succeed, showing competence towards the pursuit of results Button et al.
Learning oriented individuals are known to apply more adaptable strategies towards the mastery of goals and challenges, being particularly motivated to engage in increasing complex, challenging and enjoyable tasks that might allow them to learn and develop new skills and competences Button et al. Learning oriented individuals are also known to be more optimistically and opened to experience, willing to be effortful and to perform challenging tasks LePine, ; VandeWalle et al.
On the contrary, performance oriented individuals are known to engage in non-adaptable behaviours, reporting higher levels of stress and poorer performance when in complex and challenging tasks Button et al. However, research as shown that when performing simple tasks, performance oriented individuals can achieve higher performance levels, when compared to learning oriented ones Button et al.
This might happen because of the enhancement of self-efficacy perception and the development of positive feelings towards the task. Considering what has been said till now and knowing that a innovation requires adaptable and proactive behaviours Curral, ; West et al. Learning orientation will have a positive relationship with work role innovation, and this relationship will be mediated by self-lea-dership.
That is, learning orientation will be associated with a greater use of self-leadership strategies, which in turn will be positively associated with role innovation.
H3: Performance orientation will have a negative relationship with work role innovation and this relationship will be mediated by self-leadership. That is, performance orientation will be associated with less use of self-leadership strategies, which in turn will be positively associated with role innovation.
As already said, innovation is preceded by creative thoughts that share with self-leadership the dependence on motivation Amabile, ; Carmeli et al. Motivation can be defined as a set of cognitive processes through which individual determine the amount of time and effort they will invest on the pursuit of specify needs and goals.
Considering this and reminding self-leadership navigation properties, it is hypothesised that:. H4: Intrinsic motivation will be positively related to work role innovation and this relationship will be mediated by self-leadership. That is, learning orientation will be associated with greater use of self-leadership strategies, which in turn will be positively associated with role innovation. Participants and procedure. The study took place in three international companies in Portugal, working on the development and implementation of software products and solutions.
Within each company, in cooperation with the HR director, all employees with technological jobs were invited by email to participate in the study. The questionnaire fulfilment took approximately 15 minutes and was done on a paper and pencil format.
Questionnaires were handled to and collected from the participants personally by the researchers. By the end of application, employees participated in this study. Approximately the same amount of participants came from each company. All measures used were adapted and translated to the Portuguese language through back translation techniques and language expert supervision. In order to assure minimal quality standards for measures reliability a pilot study with 30 participants, with at least 6 months of professional experience and a mean age of 22, was conducted.
Also by authors suggestion the self-punishment dimension was not included. A principal component analysis with oblimin rotation was performed on the 24 items.
All items loaded above. Figure 1. The Cronbach alpha coefficient was. The Cronbach alpha coefficient for the general self-leadership measure was. A principal component analysis with oblimin rotation was performed on the sixteen items. The Cronbach alpha coefficient for the 5-item scale was. Participants were asked how often they had introduced any new procedure or process in their job in the last year.
Background measures. Table 1 shows the means, standard deviations, and correlations for the measures. We considered a model with five latent factors selfleadership, work role innovation, intrinsic motivation, learning orientation, and performance orientation and the respective items mentioned in the Method section as observed variables. For self-leadership we used the eight scales as observed variables in order to reduce the number of free parameters to estimate.
According to Arbuckle with small samples it may be impractical to fit the saturated model because of the large number of parameters. Professional experience was included as a control variable in the model because it was the only background measure that correlated significantly with work role innovation. Hypothesis 1 stated that self-leadership is positively relationship with role innovation. The second hypothesis assumed that learning orientation would have a positive relationship with role innovation and that relationship would be fully mediated by self-leadership also received full support.
However, the full mediation of self-leadership between performance orientation and role innovation was not supported, as the relationship between performance orientation and self-leadership was non significant, thus failing to support hypothesis 3. Intrinsic motivation predicted role innovation, and this relationship was mediated by self-leadership. Finally, with regards to the effect of the control variable, no significant effect was found between years of job experience and role innovation.
The above hypothesized model assumed full mediation of self-leadership between goal orientation and work role innovation and between intrinsic motivation and work role innovation.
However, in order to verify that full mediation of self-leadership is the best fit to data when compared to alternative models, we compare our hypothesized model against a partially mediated alternative. In this model we added direct paths from intrinsic motivation and from learning orientation to role innovation. A direct path from performance orientation and role innovation was left out of this alternative model because we failed to find a significant correlation between these two latent variables.
Although this model also provided a reasonably good fit to the data, the direct paths from intrinsic motivation and from learning goal orientation to work role innovation were not significant as shown in Figure 2. Although work role innovation is a well-documented topic, this research addresses new relations concerning self-leadership, intrinsic motivation and goal orientation strategies. The findings of this study contribute to the enrichment of the growing body of research on self-leadership, and helps to clarify the contribution of self navigation competences on the innovative behaviors of employees..
The findings of this study also accentuate the idea that learning and performance orientation are distinct and even opposite dimensions of the some construct. The absence of relationship between performance orientation and role innovation is consistent with existing research, which found that performance oriented individuals, unlike learning oriented ones, perform poorer when facing complex and challenging tasks LePine, ; VandeWalle et al.
The preference of performance oriented individuals for simple and familiar tasks also helps explain why they seldom engage in self-leadership behaviors has found in our study Button et al.
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