Turning Visions into Results: Unraveling the distinctive paths of leading with vision and autonomy to goal achievement

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Maran, T. K., Baldegger, U., & Klösel, K. (2022). Turning Visions into Results: Unraveling the distinctive paths of leading with vision and autonomy to goal achievement. Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 43(1), 133-154. (ABDC_2022: B; ABS_2021: 1)


Beitrag in wissenschaftlicher Fachzeitschrift


Purpose – Leading with vision while granting employees autonomy is one effective organizational response to the demands of a dynamic external environment. The former is thought to align followers’ behavior by providing guidance, the latter to increase variance in their behavior by relinquishing control; both exert beneficial but distinct effects on organizational performance. What has remained uncharted heretofore is how these leader behaviors shape their followers’ cognition and, subsequently, yield improvements in performance. The authors argue that a leader’s vision communication transforms followers’ cognitive representation of their work. This not only enables them to specify their goals in alignment with the vision (goal clarity) but also to locate the meaning of their work within the bigger picture of the vision (construal level). By contrast, perceived autonomy in terms of power-sharing might directly affect followers’ work engagement more narrowly. Design/methodology/approach – The authors tested the model on a sample of 408 employees from eleven enterprises of a holding company. In the survey, employees reported perceived vision communication and autonomy provided by their leader. Furthermore, the authors assessed the employees’ goal attainment. To capture how employees represent their daily work activities, the authors measured their construal level and their goal clarity. Findings – The results show that both perceived vision communication and granted autonomy improve employees’ goal achievement. Moreover, two processes mediate the relationship between vision communication and goal achievement in followers: first, specifying goals in terms of clarity; second, composing a higher-level mental construal of their work. In contrast, no mediation of empowering leader behaviors was found. Originality/value – Better goal achievement through visionary leadership is therefore achieved through cognitive alignment of followers, while leader-granted autonomy acts as



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