Department of Management


Date of this Version



Published in The Leadership Quarterly 22 (2011), pp. 282–294; doi: 10.1016/j.leaqua.2011.02.004


Copyright © 2011 Avey, Avolio, & Luthans. Published by Elsevier Inc. Used by permission.


This field experimental study examined the role that positive leadership plays in producing effective leader and follower outcomes. Specifically, a sample of engineers (N = 106) from a very large aerospace firm were randomly assigned to four experimental conditions. Two conditions involved assigning these engineers to a low and high problem complexity condition. The other two conditions represented high versus low conveyed leader positivity. The results indicated a positive relationship between the leaders’ positivity and the followers’ positivity and performance, as well as a negative relationship between problem complexity and follower positivity. The study limitations, needed future research, and practical implications of these findings conclude the article.