Leadership Climate in the Public Sector: Feelings Matter Too!

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Although there is substantial empirical evidence supporting the important role of leadership in organizational contexts, there is limited empirical evidence that focuses on the distinction between how employees feel about senior leaders and what they think about senior leaders. This is particularly true in the public-sector environment. In this paper, a model is tested that identifies key consequences of affectively and cognitively based perceptions of public-sector senior leadership. Data collected from a large public-sector organization were examined to identify the correlates of affectively and cognitively weighted perceptions of leadership. A series of regression analyses was conducted to identify more clearly the extent to which affectively and cognitively based perceptions of leadership influenced affective commitment, attitudes to change, intention to turnover, and extra-role performance. The results suggest that both affectively and cognitively based perceptions of leadership influenced organizational commitment and cynicism toward change. Extra-role behavior was influenced by the affective dimension alone, and intention to turnover was influenced by the cognitive dimension alone. The results also showed a significant interaction between the affective and cognitive dimensions in predicting intention to turnover. In general terms, the findings will prove helpful to human resource practitioners interested in diagnosing and managing the transformational leadership climate in public-sector organizations.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1081/PAD-200055195

Affiliations: School of Psychology, Curtain University of Technology , Perth, Western Australia, Australia

Publication date: January 1, 2005

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