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The effects of empathic concern and knowledge of commonly taught OB models on transformational leader behaviors: Do empathy and knowledge of OB models impact leadership?

David C Schmidt, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Abstract

Leadership scholars have acknowledged the informational role of empathy in transformational leader behaviors for some time (Bass, 1990), but have limited their discussion to cognitive empathy. In the meantime empathy researchers have demonstrated the ability of affective empathy to induce certain behaviors intended to “help” needy target individuals (Batson, Fultz, & Schoenrade, 1987). Assuming affective empathy has the ability to induce behaviors on the part of leaders intended to “help” needy followers, the difference between these two phenomenon is the ability to go beyond merely eliminating “needs” that are basic, such as food or safety to meeting higher order “needs” such as development (one of the goals of transformational leadership). This paper argues that the missing element is knowledge to make sure the helping effort results in development of the follower. This study used Bass & Avolio's (1995) MLQ-5x Short, Davis (1983) Interpersonal Reactivity Index (a four factor measure of empathy), and the Knowledge of Organizational Behavior instrument (developed by this author) to examine the interaction between empathic concern (an affective subdimension of empathy) and knowledge on Bass' model of leadership. Hierarchical regression was used and findings indicated no significant relationships between either empathic concern or knowledge individually and leadership. However, partial significance (r2 = .111; p < .079) was achieved when the interaction variable was included in the regression formula. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, Behavioral|Business Administration, Management

Recommended Citation

Schmidt, David C, "The effects of empathic concern and knowledge of commonly taught OB models on transformational leader behaviors: Do empathy and knowledge of OB models impact leadership?" (2001). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3034389.
http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/dissertations/AAI3034389

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