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Leadership: Is bad stronger than good?
Swedish Defence University, Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership (ISSL), Ledarskapscentrum.
Swedish Defence University, Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership (ISSL), Ledarskapscentrum.
Swedish Defence University, Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership (ISSL), Ledarskapscentrum. Department of Public Health, Hedmark University College, Elverum, Norway.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8274-6065
2016 (English)In: Leadership & Organization Development Journal, ISSN 0143-7739, E-ISSN 1472-5347, Vol. 37, no 6, 690-710 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose

– The purpose of this paper is to investigate if the thesis “bad is stronger than good” also holds true for a number of leadership issues, more specifically: trust in the immediate leader, emotional exhaustion, work atmosphere and propensity to leave.

Design/methodology/approach

– Questionnaire responses were obtained from military personnel in Estonia, Sweden, Switzerland and the Netherlands (n=625).

Findings

– Multiple regression analyses revealed a certain pattern. Constructive leadership behaviours showed stronger positive associations with trust in the immediate supervisor and work atmosphere, than destructive leadership behaviours showed negative associations. On the other hand, destructive leadership behaviours showed stronger positive associations with emotional exhaustion and propensity to leave, than constructive leadership behaviours showed negative associations. This suggests that constructive leadership behaviours possibly have a greater impact on positive phenomenon and/or phenomenon associated with work-related relationships. On the other hand, destructive leadership behaviours appear to have a greater impact on negative phenomena with a stronger personal meaning. The results also show that the passive forms of destructive leadership are the behaviours that had the strongest impact on the investigated dependent variables.

Research limitations/implications

– Limitations related to item construction, common method variance, response set tendencies, translation of the instruments, and lack of response rate are discussed.

Practical implications

– The results emphasize the importance of focusing on both constructive and destructive leadership at the selection stage, as well as during training of military leaders. Focusing on them separately obstructs optimal leader development and prevents leaders from gaining authentic self-knowledge. The results also point at the importance of including both aspects of leadership in leader evaluation processes.

Originality/value

– The use of both constructive and destructive leadership behaviours with respondents from multiple nations in the same analysis.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 37, no 6, 690-710 p.
Keyword [en]
military, trust, emotional exhaustion, constructive leadership, destructive leadership, propensity to leave, work atmosphere
National Category
Other Social Sciences
Research subject
Ledarskap under påfrestande förhållanden
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:fhs:diva-6686DOI: 10.1108/LODJ-09-2014-0191OAI: oai:DiVA.org:fhs-6686DiVA: diva2:1090701
Available from: 2017-04-25 Created: 2017-04-25 Last updated: 2017-05-02Bibliographically approved

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