Four studies conducted in diverse organizational contexts examined preferences and fit between two regulatory modes, referred to as ‘‘locomotion’’ and ‘‘assessment’’ (Higgins,Kruglanski, & Pierro, 2003; Kruglanski, et al., 2000), and leadership styles practiced by supervisors over their subordinates. The locomotion mode constitutes the aspect of self-regulation that is concerned with movement from state to state, and the assessment mode constitutes the aspect of self-regulation that is concerned with making comparisons. The present studies consistently show that individuals high in locomotion prefer a ‘‘forceful’’ leadership style, represented by ‘‘coercive’’, ‘‘legitimate’’, and ‘‘directive’’ kinds of strategic influence, whereas individuals high in assessment prefer an ‘‘advisory’’ leadership style, represented by ‘‘expert’’, ‘‘referent’’, and ‘‘participative’’ kinds of strategic influence. Consistent with regulatory fit theory (Higgins, 2000), the job satisfaction of subordinates was found to be higher when the style of strategic influence practiced by their supervisor fit their regulatory mode orientation (high locomotion/‘‘forceful’’ style; high assessment/‘‘advisory’’ style).
DISCUSSION OF STUDIES 1 AND 2
Studies 1 and 2 yielded strong and consistent results. In both studies, individuals with a stronger locomotion orientation preferred a leader who used coercive power and legitimate power as ways to influence subordinates — both ‘‘forceful’’ influence strategies. This preference for forceful or demanding strategies is natural because high locomotors want to initiate and maintain movement from state to state. In both studies, individuals with a stronger assessment orientation preferred a leader who used expert power and referent power as ways to influence subordinates—both ‘‘advisory’’ influence strategies. This preference for advisory or counseling strategies is also natural because high assessors want to consider different options and relate past and future actions to critical standards.
DISCUSSION OF STUDY 3
The results of Study 3 conceptually replicate the findings of Studies 1 and 2. Study 3 used ‘‘directive’’ leadership to represent the ‘‘forceful’’ strategic influence style and used ‘‘participative’’ leadership to present the ‘‘advisory’’ strategic influence style. Like Studies 1 and 2, Study 3 found that individuals with a stronger locomotion orientation preferred the forceful ‘‘directive’’ leadership style, and individuals with a stronger assessment orientation preferred the advisory ‘‘participative’’ leadership style. Thus, across different populations and different measures of ‘‘forceful’’ and ‘‘advisory’’ strategic influence styles, Studies 1–3 have found consistent and strong support for higher locomotion relating to a preference for a ‘‘forceful’’ strategic style and higher assessment relating to a preference for an ‘‘advisory’’ strategic style. These results are interesting in themselves, but they also set the stage to test our regulatory fit predictions. Given these distinct strategic preferences, we predicted that subordinates’ job satisfaction would be higher when there was a greater fit between their regulatory mode orientation and the leadership style of their supervisor (high locomotion=‘‘forceful’’ style; high assessment=‘‘advisory’’ style). These predictions are tested in Study 4.
We have found that individuals vary reliably in the extent to which they emphasize the locomotion or assessment components of activities (see Higgins et al., 2003; Kruglanski et al., 2000). What is less obvious is that people’s standing on the locomotion and assessment continua has implications not only for how they conduct their own individual affairs but also for how they experience interpersonal interactions, such as those found in work organizations that form an important part of most adults’ everyday lives. The present findings have implications of both theoretical and practical significance. On the theoretical level, they illustrate the relevance of regulatory mode to understanding how social influence strategies can impact life satisfaction (in this case, job satisfaction) through an interaction with motivational orientations. Social influence phenomena certainly constitute a fundamental aspect of everyday life and our results attest that preferences for different styles of strategic influence are significantly determined by the regulatory modes. In a sense, these results demonstrate that social influence phenomena are inextricably intertwined with issues of motivation and that social influence will be effective to the extent that it corresponds to the recipient’s motivational orientations.
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