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Dissertation Abstract

Toward an Integrated Model of Visionary Leadership: A Multilevel Study

Peter H. Martini
April 2008

This quantitative cross-sectional study posited and tested a model of visionary leadership behavior (Sashkin, 1992) incorporating all three traditional domains of leadership research: trait, situation, and behavior. Drawing from the academic and practitioner literature, four individual difference (cognitive complexity, emotional intelligence, leader self-efficacy, and personality) and three situational (organizational stratum, sense of meaning and purpose, and sense of community) predictors of visionary leadership behavior were identified. A sample of 611 civilian and military focal leaders from military-related organizations at organizational strata 3 and 4 provided self-reported survey data for predictors. Subordinates of each focal leader provided criterion variable data to mitigate common method variance. One hypothesized and four alternate models relating predictors to criterion variables were tested with structural equation modeling (SEM). Model testing supported a respecification of the hypothesized model as having best fit, parsimony, and consistency with theory. Cognitive complexity failed to demonstrate significant relationships with criterion variables, emotional intelligence did not exhibit a posited increase in prediction with higher organizational levels, and all predictor to criterion path coefficients were significantly weaker than expected. Between-group testing supported a finding that higher organizational stratum positively moderates the relationship of predictors to criterion variables for leader self-efficacy and sense of community. A suppression effect of sense of meaning and purpose on three predictors was confirmed in post hoc analysis. This research has made a contribution in moving the field of leadership toward a theoretically based and empirically testable research model for examining visionary leadership behavior. Recommendations for future research are included.