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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Person-thing orientation within an interactional model of leader behavior Mains, Gordon W.


A simplified interactional model of leader behavior was theoretically developed by reviewing the variety of approaches to the study of leadership and integrating some of the more recent major concerns. The model was conceptualized as including two original independent variable components - the person (leader) and the situation - with a continuous reciprocal influence between them so as to produce a theoretical hybrid interaction variable. The dependent variables consisted of the leader behavior dimensions of Initiating Structure and Consideration. The person component was operationalized by utilizing the construct of Person-Thing orientation from specialization theory and the situation component by creating and categorizing situations in terms of their people-thing nature. The dependent variables were measured by a self-rating behavior checklist. 244 subjects were administered a questionnaire which assessed their Person-Thing orientation, asked for their perceptions of three situations in terms of their nature, and solicited their responses in terms of how they would behave as a leader in each situation. Analysis of the data was carried out (1) to test for the existence of theoretical interaction between the person and situation variables, (2) to test for a significant relationship between Person orientation and Consideration behavior, and, between Thing orientation and Initiating Structure behavior, and (3) to test for differences in behavioral responses as influenced by both a person's specialist orientation and the nature of the situation. The results tended to support the existence of a theoretical interaction effect as conceptually defined between the person and the situation in that both variables had a significant influence on leader behavior. Person orientation and the nature of the situation predicted a Consideration behavior profile between specialties and situations but Thing orientation was not a predictor for Initiating Structure responses. Instead, Initiating Structure was partially predicted by Person orientation. In addition, the two behavior dimensions were found to be highly interdependent. Subsequent analysis discovered the existence of three behavior dimensions: Initiating Structure, Consideration (Being Friendly), and Consideration (Enhancing Participation). The data supported the hypothesized model but resulted in rejecting a connection between Thing orientation and Initiating Structure.

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