Conceptualizing leadership perceptions as attitudes: Using attitude theory to further understand the leadership process
© 2015. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
Leadership is one of the most examined factors in relation to understanding employee well-being and performance. While there are disparate approaches to studying leadership, they share a common assumption that perceptions of a leader's behavior determine reactions to the leader. The concept of leadership perception is poorly understood in most theoretical approaches. To address this, we propose that there are many benefits from examining leadership perceptions as an attitude towards the leader. In this review, we show how research examining a number of aspects of attitudes (content, structure and function) can advance understanding of leadership perceptions and how these affect work-related outcomes. Such a perspective provides a more multi-faceted understanding of leadership perceptions than previously envisaged and this can provide a more detailed understanding of how such perceptions affect outcomes. In addition, we examine some of the main theoretical and methodological implications of viewing leadership perceptions as attitudes to the wider leadership area. The cross-fertilization of research from the attitudes literature to understanding leadership perceptions provides new insights into leadership processes and potential avenues for further research.
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from Elsevier via the DOI in this record.
Vol. 26 (6), pp. 910 - 934