Expanding the will at work: The effects of transformational leadership and workplace deviance on follower work self-expansion, work self-regulatory strength, and job performance
Bentley, Jeffrey Robert
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The present dissertation explores the power of transformational leadership and co-worker deviance in affecting workers' job performance by eliciting growth in one's sense of self at work. Drawing from literature in social psychology, self-cognition, and organizational behavior, a construct definition is proposed for work self-expansion, as a fundamental transformation of one's self-concept, wherein self-contents, self-processes, and self-evaluations come to overlap with work stimuli (e.g., contexts, relationships), and grow increasingly integrated, complex, and capable of facilitating effective work goal attainment. It is explained how leadership and deviance affect workers' psychological resources via work self-expansion, and thereby develop or deteriorate, respectively, workers' self-regulatory strength (i.e., self-control, willpower at work), work skill and ability, and work self-positivity. The effects of these expanded or obstructed self-factors are then linked to both task and contextual (e.g., citizenship behavior) performance through the mechanisms of goal optimization and social motivation. Longitudinal data were analyzed from three samples (N- employee-rated = 251, N- supervisor-rated = 109), which provide general support for the mediating effect of work self-expansion in the relationship between both transformational leadership and deviance, and job performance via goal optimization and social motivation. Analyses suggest that work self-regulatory strength, work ability, and work self-positivity, function similarly to work self-expansion, yet through a parallel and independent path.