This thesis tries to find proof for the relation between leadership and psychopathy and the relation between leadership and hormones. To do so, three subjects have to be clear: leadership, psychopathy and the influence of hormones on (psychopathic) behaviour. The literature review will start with explaining, why a trait based approach of leadership is valid and it will describe the most important traits of trait based leadership research. Secondly, psychopathy will be described and the similarities between psychopathy and leadership will be made clear. Thirdly, the relationship between hormones and psychopathic behaviour and leadership will be described.
There has been much development in leadership research since the 19th century. One of the most important types of leadership research is trait based leadership research. This approach of leadership tries to explain leadership through traits. The literature review on leadership will first explain what research is done in the past and what evidence there is for the validation of the use of the trait based approach. Then, the most important traits will be described and discussed. Thirdly, the most important leadership styles will be described, using some of the traits.
2.1.1 Development of leadership research
Leadership research started with trait research by Carlyle in 1841 and Galton in 1869 (Zaccaro, 2004). Carlyle described the talents, skills and physical characteristics of typical heroes, people that come to power in politics, war and religion. Carlyle based his findings on qualitative research. Galton (1869) reported that leadership abilities are inheritable, people from successful families are more likely to become successful than people from other families. Galton also reported that the traits that are needed for successful leadership are inheritable, which implies that the traits are not capable of mutating (Zaccaro, 2007). Both Carlyle and Galton did not look at environmental factors influencing leaders. It could very well have been the case, that growing up in a successful family is an important factor in become a successful leader, because of nurture factors and not inheritability. Galton and Carlyle both agreed on the fact that leadership is an ability of extraordinary people, that are capable of enormous change. This is probably the result of their study cases, which included leaders in politics, religion and even prophets. This first form of trait research fuelled trait based research, which was ongoing until the late 1940’s.
In the 1940’s, trait based approach was considered as insufficient to explain effective leadership. The focus of research shifted to a more situational approach (Bird, 1940; Stogdill, 1948; Mann, 1959). Stogdill (1948) reported: “the evidence suggests that leadership is a relation that exists between persons in a social situation, and that persons who are leaders in one situation may not necessarily be leaders in other situations” (p. 65). Stogdill and Mann were the first to come up with a situational approach. They both defined leadership as leadership emergence and did not focus on leadership effectiveness or leadership development. There was found proof, that some traits are responsible for successful leadership emergence in some situations. On the other hand, some of the traits that are responsible for leadership emergence in one situation could be responsible for failure in others in other situations (Stogdill, 1948). However, Stogdill and Mann did find reoccurring traits that are responsible for leadership emergence across situation. This is proof of the fact that Stogdill and Mann did partially accept the trait based approach, even though it was interpreted differently in the years after (Lord et al. 1986). The traits that Stogdill (1948) found to be responsible for effective leadership across situations were intelligence, alertness, insight, responsibility, initiative, persistence, self-confidence and sociability. Mann (1959) found several different traits in his research, the traits that he found to be responsible for effective leadership across situations are intelligence, masculinity, adjustment, dominance, extraversion and conservatism. Baron et al. (1987) had a slightly more extreme vision on trait based research, they stated, “The conclusion . . . that leaders do not differ from followers in clear and easily recognized ways, remains valid.” The Fiedler Contingency Model (Fiedler, 1971, 1987) is one of the first situational leadership models. The model measures the orientation of the leader; task oriented or relationship oriented. The model works with favorability and orientations. A situation is considered favorable, when there is a good leader-member relation, a highly structured task and a high leader position power. A situation with a bad leader-member relation, a higly unstructured task and a low leader position power is considered unfavorable. A task oriented leader is needed in both extremely favorable and unfavorable situations. A relationship oriented leader is preferred in situations with intermediate favorability. The rejection of the trait based approach of effective leadership and the acceptation of the situational model was widely spread and influential. The rejection echoed in most of the organizational psychology works of the following 30 to 40 years (Zaccaro, 2007; Baron et al., 1987; Blum et al., 1956; Ghiselli et al., 1955; Muchinsky, 1983). The influence of situation is still researched, but more as a moderator of traits. It is still of interest which traits are of influence cross-situational and which traits are situation specific. Individuals with a specific set of expertise and skills can be very successful leaders in one situation, but poor leaders in other situations, according to the situational approach. On the other hand, some traits could be the cause of certain expertise in skills and could be influencing leadership from a dimension higher than the observable skills and expertise (Zaccaro, 2007).
In the 1980’s the rejection of the trait based approach was challenged (Zaccaro et al., 1983; Lord, et al., 1986). Meta-analysis made it possible to quantitatively research leadership more effectively, which made the rejection of the trait based approach questionable. Additionally, the articles of Stogdill and Mann were misinterpreted (Lord et al. 1986). Firstly, Stogdill and Mann only tested on leadership emergence and not on leadership performance. Secondly, both Stogdill and Mann stated that there are traits that are important in every leader, which is basically still in line with the trait based approach. The re-introduction of the trait based approach was reinforced by the emergence of theories of charismatic leadership and transformational leadership, which are theories of leadership that include personality traits (Burns, 1978; Bass, 1985). Another reason why the rejection was questioned was the development and consensus on the research of personality (Judge, 2002). For example, the Big Five Theory and the MBTI theory have found great support in the 1980’s (McCrea et al., 1987; Myers-Briggs et al., 1985). Quantitative trait research had better results, because of better methods to test personality traits. Lately, there has been found much empirical evidence for the trait based approach (Judge et al., 2002, 2004; Peterson et al., 2003; Mumford, 1991; McCauley, 1990; Zaccaro, 2001).
Although, there is found much proof for the trait based approach, there is still much research to be done. It is one step to know that personality traits have influence on leadership, the biggest and most valuable step is to find out through what processes and in what situations traits have influence on leadership (Peterson et al., 2003). It is important to keep in mind that it is possible that traits do not individually influence leadership and that the focus needs to be on the influence of multiple types of traits and interaction effects between these traits should be considered (Zaccaro, 2007), even interaction effects with situational factors (Fiedler, 1987, Zaccaro, 2004, 2007). Zaccaro (2004, 2007) is one of the first to come up with a model, that describes how individual traits influence leadership, through situational effects and interaction effects of the individual traits. A great share of research has only used personality traits, like the Big Five, but cognitive abilities, motives and social skills should be included in a model that determines effective leadership (Zaccaro, 2004, 2007). One of the biggest restrictions in leadership research is that it is unknown which traits have influence on which leadership criteria (Zaccaro, 2007). For example, it is not clear what factor has a positive influence on leadership effectiveness, leader emergence or leader development.
2.1.2 leadership Traits
As shown in the previous chapter, research has shown many relations between traits and effective leadership. Quantitative trait research has really started in the 1904, by Terman. Many of his findings are still accurate. Terman researched leadership in school children and he found that verbal fluency, intelligence, low emotionality, daring, congeniality, goodness and liveliness are important traits for children to position themselves as leaders (Zaccaro, 2004). This chapter describes the most important leadership traits, divided into three dimensions.
This chapter gives you insight in the three most important dimensions of leadership, cognition, social cognition and motivation. The dimensions will be explained as well as their underlying factors.
Cognition is the way a person understands things and how his or her response is in the form of actions. Cognitive abilities are somebody’s brain based skills, that determine how well that individual performs a task. The complexity of the task is indifferent in this definition. In leadership, two cognitive traits are important, intelligence and creative thinking.
Intelligence is one of the most important characteristics in the modern western society. There have been found many relations between intelligence and socio-economic factors (Herrnstein et al., 1994). Herrnstein et al. have found relations between intelligence and job performance, income, employment, poverty, high school dropout rate, out of wedlock parenthood, divorce rates, permanent subvention, amount of children, mothers mean age at birth and mean weeks of employment. Also, the population itself recognizes the importance of intelligence in leadership. The Gallup Poll, that was held before the United States elections of 2000, has shown that 90% of the voters in the U.S. responded that the capability to understand complex issues is extremely important for determining who to elect.
Most researchers are positive that intelligence has an influence on leadership. One of the main arguments why intelligence is important for leadership is that leaders have to gather, interpret and integrate enormous amounts of information (Kirkpatrick, 1991). Leaders face tasks such as developing strategies, monitoring the environment, motivating employees and solving complex problems on a daily basis. There is a great deal of cognitive ability and intelligence needed for these processes. Fiedler and Garcia (1987) argue that the tasks that leaders face on a daily basis have high similarities with intelligence tests. Lord et al. (1984, 1986) have found that intelligence was the most prototypical trait for leadership out of 59 traits. The 59 traits included traits like intelligence, honesty, charisma and kindness. They found that intelligence is a critical trait that must be possessed to a certain degree by all leaders to be effective. Kirkpatrick (1991) reports that a follower wants its leader to be more capable, than him or herself, a leader that is perceived intelligent gains authority through intelligence. Krikpatrick’s finding is in line with the theory on sources of power of French and raven (1959). French and raven report that being more cognitively skilled, or being an expert is one of the 5 sources of power, called expert power. Lord et al. (1986) performed a meta-analysis to be able to determine the relation between several traits, including intelligence, and leadership. They researched five traits in their meta-analysis, intelligence, extroversion, conservatism, masculinity, adjustment and dominance. The biggest correlation found by Lord et al. is the one between leadership emergence and intelligence, 0.50. Judge et al. (2004) find a correlation of 0.27 between leadership performance and intelligence. They also further divided intelligence into perceived intelligence and objective intelligence. Perceived intelligence has a correlation of 0.60 with leadership emergence, whereas objective intelligence has a correlation of 0.19 with leadership emergence, which is in line with the findings of Kirkpatrick (1991) and French and Raven (1959). The leader has expert power, as long as the follower perceives its leader as more intelligent.
Situational influences should be considered too. Schmidt et al. (2000) find that intelligence has the biggest influence on general job performance, with an overall validity of 0.51, this influence is the biggest in complex jobs. Fiedler (1987) states that intelligence is less effective in situations, where leaders experience high levels of stress. This is caused by the stressful relationships with followers. Intelligence is more effective in situations with low amount of stress, because more cognitive capacity is available for use in non-stressful situations. The same was found by Judge et al. (2004), intelligence had a positive non-zero correlation in low stress situations, whereas intelligence did not have a significant correlation with leadership in stressful situations. One of Judge’s other findings was that intelligence has a significant correlation with intelligence in situations where leaders are directive, whereas no significant correlation was found in situations where leaders are more participative. In summary, most researchers have found a significant influence of intelligence on leadership and the influence of intelligence differs across situations.
Creativity is mostly associated with artists, painters, musicians or writers. Creativity can be defined as creating something new, that is appropriate for a task (Plucker et al., 2004; Sternberg, 1999; Sternberg et al., 2002). Kaufman (2011) has built a conceptualized model that defines creativity, and allows creativity to be seen as a leadership trait. The model consists of (1) novelty recognition, (2) observational learning and (3) innovation. Novelty recognition is divided into basic novelty recognition and novelty seeking. The amount of cognitive complexity increases with every step, from 1, novelty recognition, to 3, innovation. Creativity can best be explained by the concept of convergent and divergent thinking (Kraft, 2005). Convergent thinking aims for a single correct solution to a problem, whereas divergent thinking does not follow conventional thought patterns and creates multiple solutions. Creativity is clearly a product of divergent thinking. A series of investigations in the 70’s and 80’s (Chusmir, 1986; DeVeau, 1976; Sinetar, 1985) has shown a relation between divergent thinking and leadership performance. Recent studies have found proof for the relation between creativity and leadership (Mumford & Connelly, 1991; Mumford et al., 1991, 2000, 2002). A changing environment that provides ill-defined problems, calls for leaders that are able to come up with a solution to a problem. This solution is often new to the individual and requires the capability to come up with new ideas or to modify existing knowledge or solutions to be suitable for new situations. This process is called creative problem solving. Divergent thinking is highly important in this process (Mumford, 1991).
Social cognition is one of the most important predictors of effective leadership according to Zaccaro (1999, 2002) and Zaccaro et al. (1991). Social cognition refers to the capability of a leader to understand the feelings, thoughts and behavior of others and itself, the selection of the best fitting responses in social situations and being charismatic and charming. This definition includes to three different factors of social cognition. The first factor is the ability of social understanding of the psychological dynamics of other’s social information as well as the identification of that social information, which will be referred to as empathy. Empathy is a combination of several factors of emotional intelligence (Mayer and Caruso, 2002). Mayer and Caruso report that these factors of emotional intelligence are important in leadership and in building a company. This finding is supported by Zaccaro (2004), who connect emotional intelligence to social intelligence and social cognition. The second factor is the ability to display behavior that is desired by others, which is described in many different ways in research. This factor is defined as agreeableness or likability (Borgatta, 1964; Conley, 1985; Hakel, 1974; John, 1989; Lorr et al., 1978; McCrae et al., 1985; Noller et al., 1987; Norman, 1963; Smith, 1967), but is also defined as friendliness, social conformity or love (Barrick, 1991). Traits that are included in this factor are tolerant, good natured, flexible, trusting, courteous, forgiving, cooperative and soft-hearted (Barrick, 1991). Judge et al. (2002) find a significant negative relation between leadership emergence and agreeableness and a positive relation between agreeableness and leadership effectiveness. The third factor of social cognition is charm or charisma, which has proved itself to be of great importance, since the introduction of transformational and charismatic leadership (Weber, 1922; Bass, 1985). Charm and charisma are the base of these two leadership styles. Weber describes charm as “exceptional sanctity, heroism or exemplary character of an individual person”. In other words, it is the attractiveness that inspires devotion in others. In the description of the cognition dimension, the 5 sources of power theory of French and Raven (1959) has been introduced. Social cognition is the source of a second power described in the theory of French and Raven, which is referent power. Referent power refers to the capability to administer to another ones feelings and to make the follower feel approved and accepted. The leader acts like a role model and relies on its charm and admiration.
Recent research has shown the influence of several motive-states on leadership. The different motive states are: taking charge or the need for power, need for achievement, need for affiliation (Zaccaro, 2004) and risk taking (Lawrence et al., 2008). Taking charge or the need for power is defined as the need for a good status and reputation and the power to affect others (Winter, 1987). The need for achievement is defined as the need for long term involvement, striving to reach some standard of excellence and trying to accomplish unique goals (McClelland, 1958). The need for affiliation is the need to get close relations with others, to maintain these relations or restore them (Winter, 1987). There are significant differences in the need for power and the need for achievement between leaders and non-leaders (Chusmir, 1986). Chusmir also reports that males have significantly more need to take charge and a greater need for achievement, compared to females. McClelland (1958) reports that entrepreneurs have a significantly higher need for achievement. Research has shown that a certain combination of motive-states creates a profile of an effective leader. An effective leader is more likely to have a high need for power, a high need for responsibility and a low need for affiliation (Cummin, 1967; Varga, 1975; McClelland et al., 1976; Winter, 1987; McClelland et al., 1982). House et al. (1991) also found proof that need for achievement is more likely to be high in effective leaders. A previous chapter describes the significant influence of creativity on leadership, there has been found proof that creativity is correlated with the need for achievement in men and the need for affiliation in women (Chusmir, 1986). So it could be that the influence of certain motive-states on leadership goes through creativity or the other way around. Another motivational driver is risk taking. Entrepreneurial leaders are more likely to take risk than regular managers, this is tested in a gamble task (Lawrence et al., 2008). One of Lawrence’s findings is that risk taking decreases with age. Based on that, Lawrence reports that managerial leaders take risk, comparable to the normal population, whereas a group of entrepreneurial leaders with a mean age of 51 takes risk like 17 to 27 year olds of the normal population. Gupta et al. (2004) report that an entrepreneurial leadership style is needed, in a the rapidly changing economical environment, with much uncertainty about the direction of the developments. This requires adaptability and innovative thinking from a leader. Risk taking is one of the most important factors in executing innovative ideas (Javidan, 2003; Howell et al., 1990). Howell et al. reported that the best technological innovators take more risk than less performing innovators. Bass (1985), reports that transformational leadership is the best leadership style. One of the characteristics of transformational leadership is challenging the status quo, which is translated from the risk taking trait of charismatic leadership (Javadian, 2003).
As stated in the chapter about the development of research in the field of leadership, the introduction of leadership styles have had a big impact on leadership research. It helped with the reintroduction of leadership traits. Weber (1922) classified leaders into three categories, bureaucratic leaders, traditional leaders and charismatic leaders. The theory about charismatic leadership had the most influence in leadership research. Charismatic leadership is described by Weber as: “resting on devotion to the exceptional sanctity, heroism or exemplary character of an individual person, and of the normative patterns or order revealed or ordained by him”. The charm and charisma of these leaders is the reason why employees follow their leaders, with little or no questions asked. Some examples of the leaders described by Weber are Adolf Hitler, Mahatma Ghandi and Jesus Christ. Weber mainly focuses on the charisma and charm. Later research revealed other processes that made the charismatic leadership style successful. The other processes that make charismatic leadership successful are: attending to the needs and demands of the follower and creating a psychological bond between the leader and the follower (Burns, 1978), risk taking, challenging followers, encouraging followers and providing a clear vision to followers (Javidan, 2003). This last approach has led to the introduction of transformational and transactional leadership by Burns, where transformational leadership is highly similar to charismatic leadership. This approach was followed by Bass (1985), who described the distinction between transactional and transformational leadership, which is still used today.
Bass (1985) was one of the first researchers to introduce the distinction between transactional and transformational leadership and eight dimensions of leadership behavior covering those two leadership styles. The introduction of these eight dimensions refueled the trait approach of effective leadership. The dimensions are described table 1.
Contingent reward: This dimension relates to the degree in which a leader uses rewards and punishments to motivate its followers and to influence the amount of effort they put in their jobs. The effort of individuals will eventually influence the results of the group. This extrinsic motivation is the core of transactional leadership, as opposed to the more intrinsic motivation of transformational leadership.
Active management by exception: This dimension relates to the degree in which a leader watches and searches for deviations from the rules and the standards and the degree in which corrective actions are taken to make followers act according to the rules and standards.
Passive management by exception: This dimension relates to the degree in which a leader intervenes when standards are not met or when rules are not followed.
Laissez-faire: This dimension relates to the degree in which a leader delegates responsibilities and avoids making decisions.
Individualized Consideration: This dimension relates to the degree in which a leader acts like a coach or a mentor, in which degree a leader attends to the needs of growth and development of its followers and in which degree a leader consults its followers.
Intellectual Stimulation: This dimension relates to the degree in which a leader stimulates followers to share ideas, be creative and think divergent. It also relates to the degree in which a leader challenges the status quo in an organization and assumptions, it relates to the degree in which learning is experienced as valuable and the degree in which unexpected situations are seen as opportunities.
Inspirational Motivation: This dimension relates to the degree in which a leader has a clear vision of the future, which is based on values and ideas and the level of clearness, powerfulness and preciseness with which the vision is communicated to the followers. It relates to the degree in which a leader uses persuasive language and symbolic gestures to inspire followers, build confidence and stimulate enthusiasm.
Idealized Influence: This dimension relates to the degree in which a leader provides a vision and a sense of mission, the degree in which a leader is a role model for ethical behavior, the degree in which a leader gains respect and instills pride.
Table : Transformational en transactional leadership dimension (Bass, 1985)
Bass (1985) was one of the first to describe two different leadership styles. Few leaders depend exclusively on legitimate power (French and Raven, 1959). Legitimate power is the power that a leadership position or title gives a leader over its followers and is one of the five sources of power described by French and Raven. Two types of motivation are used to lead followers. The first is extrinsic motivation, the second is intrinsic motivation. Extrinsic motivation is the motivation used in the transactional leadership style, this means that a leader engages a transaction with its followers. Leaders explain what is required from the followers and what will be the reward if succeeded or the punishment if not succeeded. The ability to reward and promising these rewards is the fourth source of power of French and Raven described in this thesis, out of the power sources five in their theory, called reward power. The ability to punish is the fifth source of power, called coercive power. Table 1 describes 8 dimensions of transactional and transformational leadership. Four of these eight dimensions play an important role in transactional leadership: Contingent reward, management by exception (both passive and active) and laissez-faire. The higher a leader scores on these dimensions, the more transactional the leadership style is. Contingent reward is the most important of those dimensions. The most central sources of power in this leadership style are coercive and reward power.
Transformational leadership is mainly about stimulating the intrinsic motivation of followers. This intrinsic stimulation includes attending to the needs of growth and development, stimulating the intellect, inspiring, using charisma and acting as a role model to stimulate the desired performance of followers. Transformational leadership is about lifting or transforming followers into better selves. Both the mission and the purposes of the group are clear for every group member, while the breadth and depth of the interests of every individual group member are expanded. Followers are encouraged to look beyond their self-interest and to act in a way that is beneficial for the group or the whole organization. One of the main traits of a transformational leader is its charisma or its charm. Charismatic leaders have a lot of power and influence over their followers, because the followers identify with charismatic leaders, want to be alike and have a high level of trust and confidence in their leaders. A charismatic leader motivates and inspires followers to contribute much effort, by making them interested in achieving great accomplishments. The higher a leader scores on the dimensions individualized consideration, intellectual stimulation, inspirational motivation and idealized influence, the more transformational a leader is. The most central source of power in this leadership style is referent power and to a smaller extent expert power (French and Raven, 1959).
Transformational versus transactional leadership
Bass (1990) describes the difference between transactional and transformational leadership, he also reports the benefits of transformational leadership over transactional leadership. The first benefit is that transformational leaders are seen as more effective and satisfying by its followers and other colleagues. Managers that are evaluated as good performers by their superiors are more often transformational leaders than transactional leaders (Bass et al., 1997). One of the most important findings of Bass on the difference between transactional and transformational leadership is that the four dimensions related to transformational leadership are responsible for followers exerting more effort into their jobs (Bass, 1990). Bass measured the amount of extra effort exerted by followers compared to the leaders score on the 8 dimensions of transactional and transformational leadership. The result is that the leaders that score high on intellectual stimulation have 82% of following employees that exert extra effort into their jobs. The group of leaders that have a low score on intellectual stimulation have only 24% of followers that exert extra effort into their jobs. The same results have been found for charisma (idealized influence) and individualized consideration. 78% of the followers of leaders that have a high score on charisma exert extra effort into their jobs, whereas 24% of the followers of leaders that have a low score on charisma exert extra effort into their jobs. The results for individual consideration are nearly identical to those of charisma. The same research has been done on transactional leadership. A high score on contingent reward resulted in 60% of followers exerting extra effort into their jobs, whereas a low score on contingent reward resulted in 31% of followers exerting extra effort into their jobs. Comparable results were found for management by exception. The amount of followers exerting extra effort is significantly lower for high scores on transactional dimensions compared to transformational dimensions. Yukl (1999) sees the two leadership styles as distinct, but not mutually exclusive, which means that a certain leader can be transformational in one situation and transactional in another situation. This type of approach is according to situational leadership theories.
Leadership styles and leadership traits
Barling (2000) has found a significant relation between social cognition and transformational leadership. Three groups of leaders, divided based on their social intelligence score, were tested on their score on the four dimensions of transformational leadership and the constructive transactions dimension of transactional leadership. Constructive transactions is a construct that contains contingent reward, passive and active management by exception. The three groups showed significantly different scores on all 5 dimensions in an univariate and multivariate analysis, with the socially most intelligent leaders having the highest scores on transformational dimensions. When testing the four dimensions of transactional leadership individually, only contingent reward had a significant result. This means that emotional intelligence or social cognition is related to transformational leadership and the contingent reward dimension of transactional leadership. Mandell (2003) has done a similar research, including both women and men, to test the difference between genders in the influence of emotional intelligence on transformational and transactional leadership. Mandell did a regression analysis to test the influences and also found that emotional intelligence has a positive influence on transformational leadership, but also that females are more likely to be transformational leaders than men. There is empirical evidence that there is a relation between social cognition and transformational leadership.
2.1.4. Hypothesis 1
This chapter has described 3 dimensions of leadership, cognition, social cognition and motivation. It is interesting to know to what extent the dimensions with their underlying factors are present in leaders compared to non-leaders. If the dimensions and their factors are constructed correctly, then leaders should score significantly higher on them, with the exception of agreeableness. As reported, agreeableness has both a positive and a negative influence on leadership, therefore a direction of the effect can not be hypothesized. The need for affiliation is lower in leaders according to the theory.
Hypothesis 1: The mean scores of leaders on intelligence, creative thinking, charm, empathy, need for achievement, taking charge and risk taking are significantly higher than the mean scores of the control group. The mean score of leaders on agreeableness is significantly different from the control group and the mean score of leaders on the need for affiliation is significantly lower than the control group.