A Passion for Leadership: Three Studies
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This dissertation sought to further our understanding of the nature of leadership by developing and investigating a novel construct: a passion for leadership. In Study 1, I developed a dualistic model of a passion for leadership by distinguishing between a harmonious and an obsessive passion for leadership. Harmonious passion for leadership involves an intense, controllable desire to engage in leadership thereby creating a flexible form of persistence. In contrast, obsessive passion for leadership reflects an intense, incessant need to engage in leadership such that activity involvement is considered rigid. Then, across 7 studies involving 9 separate samples, I developed a reliable and valid measure of a passion for leadership, in which the harmonious and obsessive passion for leadership demonstrated internal and temporal stability and manifested content, construct, convergent, discriminant, and concurrent-related validity. Study 2 extended the first study by testing whether the passion for leadership is psychometrically invariant across groups. In particular, I investigated whether the factor structure of the passion for leadership was equivalent across biological sex (male vs. female) and country (USA vs. China). Two separate cross-sectional online surveys were conducted with leaders for each group. The results demonstrated that, for both sex and country, the passion for leadership measure was partially invariant. Based on the dualistic model of a passion for leadership, Study 3 examined whether harmonious and obsessive passion for leadership predict transformational leadership and abusive supervision, respectively. I also investigated the moderating role of gender. Within the context of a laboratory-based experiment, the findings showed that priming harmonious passion for leadership led to higher levels of transformational leadership; in contrast, priming an obsessive passion for leadership had no effect on abusive supervision. Furthermore, gender did not moderate the effects of harmonious or obsessive passion for leadership on either transformational leadership or abusive supervision, respectively. I close this dissertation with a general discussion of the three studies and recommendations for future research.