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Pensamiento & Gestión

versión impresa ISSN 1657-6276versión On-line ISSN 2145-941X

Pensam. gest.  no.47 Barranquilla jul./dic. 2019 

Artículos originales

Leadership theories and individual performance

Teorías de liderazgo y desempeño individual

Mário Teixeira Reis Neto1 

Rejaine Nélia de Araújo2 

Cláudia Aparecida Avelar Ferreira3 

1PHD in Administration - UFMG FUMEC University - Brazil FUMEC University, Rua Cobre 200, Belo Horizonte, MG - Brazil Phone: +55 031 99774807,

2 Master in Administration - FUMEC University FUMEC University - Brazil,

3PHD student in Administration - Pontifícia Universidade Católica de Minas Gerais PUC MINAS - Brazil.


The objective of this study was to investigate the influence of the laissez-faire, transactional and transformational leadership style on individual performance (task performance and context performance) in a convenience sample composed of leaders and followers from three different companies. The Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ) was used and a few questions were added, as well as five performance categories. Three hundred people participated in the research, and the data were processed and analyzed using the PLS approach of the R software. The study showed that transformational leadership influenced the performance of the task and the performance of the context. It should be emphasized that this research contributed to empirical studies, in the themes of Leadership and Performance.

JEL: M10, 12,54

Keywords: Leadership; MLQ.,Performance; Task; Context


El objetivo de este estudio fue investigar la influencia del estilo de liderazgo laissez-faire, transaccional y transformacional en el desempeño individual (desempeño de tareas y desempeño de contexto) en una muestra de conveniencia, compuesta por líderes y seguidores de tres empresas diferentes. Se utilizó el Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ) y se agregaron algunas preguntas, así como cinco categorías de rendimiento. En la encuesta, trescientas personas participaron y los datos fueron procesados y analizados a través del enfoque PLS del software R. El estudio mostró que el liderazgo transformacional influenció el desempeño de la tarea y el desempeño del contexto. Se resalta que esta investigación contribuyó con los estudios empíricos, en los temas Liderazgo y Desempeño.

Palabras clave: Liderazgo; MLQ.; Desempeño; Tarea; Contexto


Many organizations operate in highly competitive environments. In emerging markets, private companies have sought to maximize the performance of their employees as a strategy for their own survival (Santos, Reis Neto & Verwaal, 2018). Zebral (2017) identified that leadership influences more individual performance than payment.

Leadership is a concern in many organizations, and several researchers have written about leadership (Dias & Borges, 2017; Zebral, 2017; Dionne et al., 2014). Some studies have elucidated the relationship between the leader and his followers as a base that stimulates positive behaviors in the work environment, such as performance (Dias & Borges, 2017; Zebral, 2017). According to Bass & Avolio (1990), in the leadership process there is an interaction between two or more members of a team. This interaction generally involves structuring and restructuring of situations, perceptions and expectations of the members (Crevani, Lindgren & Packendorff, 2010). Leaders have a high potential to influence workers and organizational actions that can impact on individual and organizational performances (Policarpo & Borges, 2016).

In the same organization, it is possible to find different styles of leadership. Among the styles of the new leadership approaches, the transformational has been a prominent representative. Laissez-faire and transactional styles are frequently found (Bass & Bass, 2008). Each of them may impact followers and organizations differently.

Another important concern in organizations is individual performance, which, for the purpose of this study, is considered as the tasks performed by employees who are admittedly part of what is expected technically in their position or function (Borman & Motowidlo, 1997). Many authors (Rickards, Chen & Moger, 2001; Rai & Sinha, 2000; Sosik, Avolio, Ka-hai & Jung, 1998; Barling, Weber & Kelloway, 1996; Bycio, Hackett & Allen, 1995; Howell & Avolio, 1993; Howell & Frost, 1989) have shown a positive relationship between leadership styles and job performance. It is assumed that performance can be considered as task performance and contextual performance. Both represent different behaviors that contribute to the organizational effectiveness, but in different ways (Kahya, 2007).

The development and performance of the follower are the targets of an effective leadership (Lowe, Kroeck & Sivasubramaniam, 1996). Considering that there are - as it is considered here - three styles of leadership and two types of performance, published studies about the relationship between these constructs have not been found. Therefore, the objective of this study was to investigate the influence of laissez-faire, transactional and transformational leadership styles on individual performance - task performance and contextual performance. The research question of the study was: which leadership style - transformational, transactional and laissez-faire - best relates with the task and contextual performance of the follower?

This work is structured in four sections. The next studies the literature, and, subsequently, describe the methodology. The third section analyzes the data and presents the results. In the final section, the final considerations are presented.


2.1 Leadership

Bass & Avolio (1990) state that leaders are agents of change whose actions affect others more than the acts of others can affect them. From this perspective, leadership occurs when a member of the group modifies the skills of others in the group towards a common goal. This definition is grounded in the studies of the new leadership approach. Before this perspective, there were other studies that contributed to the evolution and understanding of the leadership construct.

Glynn & Dejordy (2010) grouped leadership studies in four theoretical perspectives: personality, behavioral, contingency, and charismatic. Constituting the ramifications of charismatic theories, there are new sorts of leadership theories, divided in "transformational", "charismatic" and "visionary" leadership (Dvir, Eden, Avolio & Shamir, 2002). Mcshane & Glinow (2013) point out that making a distinction between charismatic and transformational leadership has been a challenge. To these authors, many researchers use the two words as if they had the same meaning or consider the charismatic leadership a component of transformational leadership. In contrast, other scholars suggest that charismatic leadership is the highest degree of transformational leadership. However, Mchshane & Glinow (2013) emphasize that the emerging view of experts considers charisma different from transformational leadership. This emerging line believes that charisma is a personal trait or a relational quality that provides reference power over followers, while transformational is a set of behaviors that people use to lead the change process.

Transformational leadership was first mentioned by Downton (1973) as different from transactional leadership. However, it was Burns (1978) who pioneered the research that contrasted transformational leadership and transactional leadership. Until the late 1970s, leadership theories and empirical works focused on transactional leadership, but, according to Bass & Bass (2008), both transformational and transactional leadership have a wide range of applications (Bass & Bass, 2008)

Transformational leadership takes place when both, leader and follower, increase the motivation of each other. To Burns (1978, p.20), the transformational leadership raises leaders and followers to "higher levels of motivation and morality". A transforming leader can increase the level of awareness of his followers in relation to the importance and value of the established results and about the means to achieve them. In the view of Bass and Bass (2008), transformational leadership raises the degree of maturity of the followers, their ideals and concerns about the well-being of others, the organization and society.

According to Turano and Cavazzotte (2016), there is a predominance of the theories of charismatic leadership, transactional, transformational and leader-led exchange theory (LMX) in the collection The Leadership Quartely. The transformational leadership was predominant in the bibliometric study of Raptopoulos and Silva (2018) on styles and attributes of leadership in the third sector. The leadership biggest challenges were: motivating employees, giving sustainability to the organization's reputation, creating collaborative environments to increase organizational performance and retain human capital. Transformational leadership has been identified in small and medium-sized commercial and manufacturing enterprises in Mexico in situations where the leader has taken direct action on his followers to obtain better performances (Pedraza, Lavín Delgado & Bernal, 2015; Méndez, Muñoz & Sandoval, 2017). In Brazil, Domingues, Pereira, Silva, Delapedra and Pontes (2018) demonstrated that both transformational leadership and emotional intelligence of followers elevate engagement, performance and job satisfaction.

Bass and Bass (2008) point out that the Full-Range Leadership is the leadership model that includes and extends ideas about the new approach of leadership. They consider three leadership styles: laissez-faire, transactional and transformational. This model was designed by studies carried out between 1980 and 1985 and resulted in the multidimensional theory of transformational and transactional leaderships, developing a leadership style verification instrument called Multifactor Questionnaire Leadership (MQL). Vizeu (2011) agrees that Bass was a great theorist who contributed to the development of the MLQ, whose goal was to measure aspects that characterize the presence of transformational and transactional traits, enabling to identify the presence of one or another (Bass, 1985, 1990, 1999; Bass & Avolio, 1990; Avolio & Bass, 1991; Bass & Avolio, 1995). The MQL model was chosen to support this work in the leadership strand.

2.2 Performance

In the early 1990's, performance was considered a complex construct (Corvellec, 1995) that involved employees and employers and was often linked to efficacy and efficiency (Neely & Platts, 1995). According to Campbell et al. (1993, p.37), individual performance was understood through the classical perspective as "a one-dimensional issue, which the most appropriate way to measure was making use of indicators able to verify the achievements of the individuals in the workplace". The scientific literature about performance produced over the last decades in the field of Organizational Psychology has given more emphasis to the evaluative dimension of performance (see Campbell, Meccloy, Oppler & Sager, 1993; Sonnentag & Frese, 2002). As a result, the literature about the subject is quite fragmented with a multitude of proposals about specific aspects of performance evaluation (Bendassolli, 2012).

The limitations of the classical perspective were diagnosed by scholars (Borman & Motowidlo, 1993; Campbell et al., 1993; Viswesvaran & Ones, 2000) and the organizations have been forced to survive in unstable environments, facing new challenges in the management of performance. Individual performance has changed, becoming active and dynamic. In this scenario of instability, the researches of individual performance took a new direction, moving towards a multidimensional perspective (Murphy & Jackson, 1999).

In the light of Motowidlo's studies (1993), Borman and Schimit (1997), Eboli, Cavazotte and Lucena (2012) argue that, from the individual point of view, the term performance is used to define the proficiency with which individuals act and behave in relation to the organization. Considering that, it is possible to argue that performance is achieved by the results of the behaviors and attitudes of individuals at work. For the sake of clarity, the authors (Borman & Motowidlo, 1997) use the term "technical performance" in the article to designate the tasks completed by employees who are admittedly part of what is expected technically in their position or function.

Individual performance has been related to the following topics: training (Freitas & Borges-Andrade, 2004; Galvão, Monte-Mor & Satheesh, 2017), quality of information received (Antonelli, Neitzke, Bezerra & Voese, 2018), reward system (Ferreira, Reis Neto, Vasconcelos & Souki, 2016; Nascimento & Beuren, 2014), behavior (Brandão & Jordan, 2012), feedback (Thornock, 2016), motivation and knowledge sharing (Akram & Bokhari, 2011). From the new multidimensional perspective of performance, several theoretical models have been developed in the literature. Among these studies, the model of Borman and Motowidlo (1993) gained notoriety in the literature for broadening the performance domain by dismembering performance in two aspects: task and context. Still according to these authors, when it comes to job performance, both aspects are important; however, they point out that each one presents specific characteristics that need to be considered in the organizational environment.

2.3 Task and Contextual Performance

The performance studies of Borman and Motowidlo (1997) were chosen to support the topic "performance" in this research. The emphasis is on initiative and not on proficiency. It is assumed that the two types of behavior contribute to the organizational effectiveness, but in different ways (Kahya, 2007).

Task performance is defined as the proficiency (competence or mastery) with which an individual performs the activities that are formally recognized as part of his own work or position. Task performance is the result of behaviors that contribute for the technical system of the organization (Borman & Motowidlo, 1997). There are two types of task performance. The first consists of activities that transform raw materials into goods and services, which are the products of the organization. The second type of task performance consists of service activities capable of maintaining the technical core, such as: the replacement of the supply of raw materials; the distribution of its finished products; or the supply of important functions, for example, planning, and coordination, staff supervision to guarantee effective and efficient work. The fact is that task performance is directly related to the technical core of the organization, through the execution of its technical or maintenance processes and the assistance of its technical requirements (Motowidlo, Borman & Schmit, 1997).

Contextual performance refers to the extra-role behaviors mentioned by Katz and Khan (1964), informal and emerging, based on spontaneity and initiative of individuals and which are intended to globally benefit the psychosocial environment of the work. Motowidlo et al. (1997) point out that contextual performance consists of activities that promote the viability of social and organizational networks and improve the psychological climate of the workplace. Some examples of these activities are: the acts of helping and cooperating with others, following organizational rules and procedures - even when inconvenient, to endorsing, supporting and defending the organization's goals. Employees in their contextual performance will persist with extra enthusiasm, when necessary, to complete the tasks successfully and offer to perform activities or tasks that are not formally part of the job. Borman and Motowidlo (1997) enumerated five categories that comprise contextual performance: i) performing activities that go beyond the formal requirements of the position, ii) demonstrating enthusiasm, persistence and application when they are necessary to carry out the prescribed tasks, iii) helping others, iv) following the rules and obeying the prescribed procedures, even though they may be inconvenient, and v) demonstrating defense behaviors in relation to the organization's interests. Another approach that includes contextual performance is named pro-social behavior. This line, proposed by Brief and Motowidlo (1986), considers that the designated actions of contextual performance are performed by a member of the organization directed to an individual or group with whom such member has some sort of interaction and are performed with the intention of promoting the well-being of the individual, group or organization. Baruch, O'Creevy, Hind and Vigoda-Gadot (2004) emphasize that pro-social behavior in organizations is largely related to the notion of socially desirable behavior, since there are cultural beliefs that people should behave pro-socially because it is socially desirable or "correct" in some sense. Regarding the definition, these authors consider that there is not a clear concept of prosocial behavior in the literature, because there is a considerable overlap with other similar approaches, such as the Organizational Citizenship Behaviors - OCB (Organ, 1988) and extra-role behaviors.

2.4 Leadership and Performance relationship

Transactional leadership emphasizes the exchange that takes place between leaders and followers. This exchange involves direction of the leader or mutual discussion with the followers about the requirements to achieve the desired goals, and the reward can be psychologically or materially. On the other hand, failure in performance will result in disappointment, excuses, dissatisfaction and punishment, also of psychological or material nature. If the transaction occurs and the needs of the leader and the followers are met, and if the leader has formal or informal power to do it, it tends to reinforce the successful performance (Shao, Feng & Hu, 2016; Bass & Bass, 2008).

Several researches indicated that leadership influences attitudes and behaviors of followers in organizations (Zebral, 2017; Dias & Borges, 2017; Turano & Cavazzotte, 2016; Fonseca & Borges-Andrade, 2015; Dias & Borges, 2015; Purvanova et al., 2006; Epitropaki & Martin, 2005; Rickards et al., 2001; Ogbonna & Harris, 2000; Rai & Sinha, 2000; Bass, 1999; Podsakoff et al., 1996; Behling & Mcfillen, 1996; Sosik et al., 1998; Barling, Weber & Kelloway, 1996; Bycio et al., 1995; Howell & Avolio, 1993; Howell & Frost, 1989).

The studies of Dvir et al. (2002) provided evidences of positive relationships between transformational leadership and performance. These relationships are stronger than relations between transactional leadership and performance. On the other hand, Abelha, Carneiro & Cavazotte (2018) showed that, if there is training in the transformational attributes, a positive impact can be obtained in the relationship between transformational leadership and job satisfaction in Health and Teaching areas.

In order to verify the impact of leadership on organizational results, Zhu, Chew and Spangler (2005) indicated that leadership is a valuable resource for organizational results and competitive advantage. They also verified that transformational leadership has a positive association with organizational results. In another study, transformational leadership did not have influence on the performance of 315 employees of the executive branch, according to Dias and Borges (2015). In this case, the influence on performance came from transactional leadership

An experiment conducted by Kirkpatrick and Locke (1996) showed a positive relationship between charismatic behaviors and performance, satisfaction in the fulfillment of tasks and attitudes towards the leader. Barling, Weber and Kelloway, (1996), using the MLQ, and considering performance before and after the promotion of leadership training with managers, concluded that managers with transformational leadership training exerted significant effects on their followers' performance.

Therefore, authors such as Kirkpatrick and Locke (1996), Barling, Weber and Kelloway (1996), Dvir et al. (2002), Zhu, Chew and Spangler (2005), Dias and Borges (2015, Pedraza et al. (2015), Méndez et al. (2017), Abelha et al. (2018), Domingues et al. (2018) pointed out the influence of leadership on individual performance. Therefore, based on the several research results presented here, this study was proposed to analyze the influence of certain leadership styles on the performance of followers. The theoretical model developed for this work included the constructs leadership and performance. For leadership, the transformational, transactional and laissez-faire styles of Bass and Avolio were considered (1990). For performance, task and contextual were analyzed (Bormam & Motowidlo, 1993).


This study was quantitative and descriptive. Data was collected through questionnaires using Likert scale of eleven points, ranging from "Strongly Disagree" (1) to "Strongly Agree" (10). The instrument had the constructs: transformational leadership (charisma, motivational inspiration, intellectual stimulation, and individualized consideration), transactional leadership (contingent reward, an active management by exception), laissez-faire style (passive management by exception, laissez-faire), task performance (deadline, quantity and quality, misalignment with the leader), and contextual performance (pro-social behavior, contextual performance).

The research population was composed by professionals working in 3 enterprises of trade and service sectors in the metropolitan region of Belo Horizonte, Brazil. One of the companies surveyed is characterized as a profit class entity that meets retail trade. The other two were in different segments: computer and call center. The three are in the medium-size enterprise category and have been in the market for over 10 years. Three companies, whose business was distinct, were chosen. The objective was to identify which leadership style was adopted in each one and what was its influence on the performance of followers. It was also investigated if the business interferes with the kind of leadership. Two of the companies were in the service sector and the other in the trade one.

For this research, it was decided to use a non-probability sampling, and convenience sampling was the chosen method. The sample consisted of leaders and followers. They are professionals working in enterprises of trade and service sectors, identified here as companies A, B and C, respectively: representative association of the trade sector, call center service and a provider of software service. In total, 309 people were investigated: 8 leaders and 101 followers in company A; 8 leaders and 101 followers in company B; and 13 leaders and 94 followers in company C.

In order to check the leadership styles, the MLQ was used (Bass & Avolio, 1990). The first order categories of analysis of transformational leadership were: charisma, motivational inspiration, intellectual stimulation and individualized consideration; of transactional leadership: contingent reward and active exception management; of laissez-faire leadership: management by passive exception and laissez-faire. Each leadership style was measured through a set of variables described in tables I and II.

Table I Leadership Measurement Variables 

Transformational Style Transactional Style Laissez-Faire Style
Charisma Contingent Reward Passive Management by Exception
Inspiring motivation Active Management by Exception Laissez-faire
Intellectual stimulation
Individualized consideration

Source: Bass and Avolio, 1990.

Table II Performance Measurement Variables 

Task Performance Contextual Performance
Deadline Pro-Social Behavior
Quantity and Quality Contextual Performance
Misalignment with the Leader

Source: Adapted from Reis Neto et al. (2012).

"Transformational leadership style", "transactional leadership style", "laissez-faire style", "task performance" and "contextual performance" are second-order constructs, which means that they are not formed directly by the items (questions), but by other latent variables (indicators). In the interest of treating this characteristic of the measurement structure, the Two-Step approach (Sanchez, 2013) was used. This way, the scores of the first-order latent variables were computed, using the factorial analysis with the extraction method of the main components and Varimax rotation (Mingoti, 2007).

To analyze the quality and validity of the first-order constructs, it was verified dimensionality, reliability and convergent validity. To verify the convergent validity, the criterion proposed by Fornell et al., (1981) was used. It guarantees such validity if the average variance extracted (AVE), that indicates the average percentage of variance shared between the latent construct and its items, is greater than 50% (Henseler et al., 2009) or 40% in the case of exploratory surveys (Nunnaly et al., 1994). In order to measure reliability, the Cronbach Alfa (AC) and Dillon-Goldstein's (DG) were used. According to Tenenhaus et al., 2005, the AC and DG indicators must be greater than 0.70 for an indication of reliability of the construct, and, in exploratory surveys, values above 0.60 are also accepted.

To verify the dimensionality of the constructs, the criterion of Kaiser (Mingoti, 2007) was used, which returns the number of factors that must be retained in the exploratory factorial analysis. This was due to the fact that each theoretical construct must deal with different dimensions of the studied phenomenon. Exploratory Factor Analysis was also used to perform a previous analysis of the contribution of each item of the construct to represent the concept of the same. Exploratory Factor Analysis was adjusted using principal component analysis as the extraction method. For the rotation method, Varimax was used (Mingoti, 2007). Kaiser Meyer-Olkin Adequacy Measurement (KMO) is the index used to evaluate the adequacy of the factorial analysis. Values from this test range from 0 to 1, being 0.80 or above, admirable; 0.70 or above, medium; 0.60 or above, mediocre; 0.50 or above, bad; and below 0.50, unacceptable (Mingoti, 2007). The survey was conducted with 309 respondents distributed in 29 teams, from three different companies.

The study was validated with the relevant changes and adjustments to verify the linearity of the data, since a significant correlation coefficient at the 5% level is indicative of the existence of linearity. Through Spearman's correlation matrix (Hollander et al., 1999), 1038 of 1431 significant relationships were observed at the 5% level, which represent approximately 75.9% of the possible correlations. In addition, the Bart-lett test (Mingoti, 2007) was performed to verify the linearity in each construct. For all constructs p-values less than 0.001 were observed, indicating that there is significant evidence of linearity within the constructs. This demonstrates the internal and external validity and reliability of the model, showing the quality of the research.

The commonalities express the proportion of the variance for each variable included in the analysis that is explained by the extracted components. Usually, the minimum acceptable value is 0.50. Therefore, if the researcher identifies any commonality below that level, the variable must be excluded and the factorial analysis must be performed again. The low commonality among a group of variables is an indication that they are not linearly correlated and therefore should not be included in the factor analysis (Figueiredo Filho & Silva Júnior, 2010).

In order to collect data related to performance some items of the questionnaire developed and used by Reis Neto, Kilimnik, Melo and Theotônio (2012) were used. Seeking to adapt the instrument to the reality of this research, some questions about contextual performance were added, using as reference the studies of Brief and Motowidlo (1986) about prosocial behaviors and the five categories of performance developed by Borman and Motowidlo (1993).

To describe the variables related to the respondent's profile, the absolute and relative frequencies were calculated for qualitative variables, whereas for quantitative variables, the average and standard deviation were calculated. For the purpose of presenting and comparing the items and indicators for each construct, the average and the bootstrap 95 percentile confidence interval was used, and the scale in the interval of 0-10 was linearized for the interval of 0-100 for better data visualization.

The Pearson Coefficient was calculated (Garson, 2009), which is a measure of bivariate association (strength) of the degree of relationship between two variables. For Moore (2007), "correlation measures the direction and the degree of linear relationship between two quantitative variables" (p. 100101). Therefore, it was applied in the study to demonstrate the degree of influence between first and second order constructs on performance.


4.1 Leaders profile

Altogether 29 leaders, 13 of company A, 8 of company B, and 8 of company C were evaluated. About the characterization of the respondents, it is emphasized that: 41.3% of the individuals were male, and the highest proportion of this characteristic is in company C (68.9%); 36.3% of the individuals are married, and the highest proportion of married respondents is in company A (52.0%); 69.6% of the individuals had higher education or post-graduation, the highest proportion of this characteristic is in company A (88.8%), and the lowest proportion is in company B (only 37.5%).

In table III, the description leadership index, result and performance leadership among companies are presented. The average transformational leadership (76.09) was significantly higher than transactional leadership (66.29). Company B (43.72) presented a significantly greater laissez-faire-style average when compared to companies C (38.89) and A (32.91). There was no significant difference between companies concerning transformational leadership indexes, transactional leadership, result (74.9) and performance (69.47) leadership.

Table III Description of the leadership index, result and performance leadership among companies 

General Company A Company B Company C
Indexes Mean C.I.- 95% Mean C.I.- 95% Mean C.I.- 95% Mean C.I.- 95%
Transformational leadership 76.09 [73.56, 78.35] 73.76 [69.29, 78.05] 79.57 [75.38, 83.29] 75.09 [71.47, 78.40]
Transactional leadership 66.29 [63.71, 68.83] 61.34 [57.36, 65.38] 72.16 [67.63, 76.58] 65.54 [61.36, 69.37]
Laissez-Faire style 38.48 [36.01, 40.99] 32.91 [29.21, 36.82] 43.72 [39.75, 48.22] 38.89 [34.87, 43.06]
Result leader 74.79 [72.34, 77.08] 71.07 [66.53, 75.62] 78.19 [74.00, 82.11] 75.15 [71.35, 78.77]
Performance 69.47 [68.25, 70.74] 70.20 [68.45, 72.18] 67.34 [64.69, 69.84] 70.72 [68.58, 72.94]

Source: Research data.

In the tables IV, V and VI, the reliability, the convergent validity and the dimensionality of the five constructs are presented, as well as the initial and final validity of the model. All constructs were one-dimensional (no second eigenvalue was greater than one). All constructs presented convergent validation (AVE > 0.40). All constructs, except "task: term", presented Alpha of Cronbach (AC) and the Dillon-Goldstein's coefficient above 0.60. As the "task: term" construct presented the Dillon-Goldstein's coefficient above 0.70, it was considered that all the constructs presented the required levels of reliability. All constructs, except "task", presented the reliability indexes AC and DG above 0.70, thus demonstrating the reliability of the constructs. Although the "task" construct has presented a low AC (0.484) presented the DG index above 0.70. All constructs were one-dimensional, because they did not present any second auto values greater than 1. All constructs, except "task", presented AVE's greater than 0.50, indicating convergent validation. In all constructs, the adjustment of the factorial analysis was adequate, since all the KMO were greater than 0.50.

Table IV Reliability, convergent validity and dimensionality of the first order constructs 

2- Order constructs Order constructs Itens KMO A.C. D.G. AVE 1aav 2aav
Charisma 8 0.928 0.950 0.918 0.743 2.44 0.73
Transformational Motivational Inspiration 4 0.836 0.940 0.974 0.849 1.84 0.57
Leadership Intellectual Stimulation 4 0.853 0.932 0.967 0.832 1.82 0.57
Individualized Consid. 4 0.767 0.894 0.932 0.764 1.75 0.73
Transactional Leadership Contingent Reward 4 0.795 0.832 0.856 0.666 1.63 0.77
Active Management by Exception 4 0.797 0.888 0.922 0.748 1.73 0.67
Laissez-Faire Style Passive Management by Exception 4 0.754 0.787 0.804 0.614 1.57 0.80
Laissez-Faire 4 0.837 0.890 0.926 0.754 1.74 0.61
Task performance Dealine 2 0.500 0.474 0.860 0.670 1.16 0.81
Quantity/ Quality 2 0.500 0.875 0.986 0.889 1.33 0.47
Misalignment with the Leader 3 0.619 0.601 0.733 0.553 1.29 0.87
Contextual performance Pro-social Behavior 4* 0.653 0.603 0.618 0.465 1.36 0.95
Contextual Performance 4* 0.746 0.824 0.848 0.658 1.62 0.80

Source: Research data. * Items were excluded.

Table V Validation of the initial measurement model 

Source: Research data.

Table VI Validation of the initial measurement model 

Source: Research data.

In order to avoid violating the basic assumptions for creating latent variables (Indicators), it was necessary to exclude 4 items (Comp_Pro_Soc-2, Comp_Pro_Soc-4, Desemp_Cont-1 and Desemp_Cont-5.), 2 of the Behavioral Construct Contextual Performance.

Table V presents the validation of the initial model through the analysis for convergent validity, discriminant validity, dimensionality and reliability of the constructs. All the constructs, except "task", presented the reliability index AC and DG above 0.70, thus evidencing the reliability of the constructs. Although the "task" construct presented a low AC (0.484), it presented the DG index above 0.70. All constructs were unidimensional, as they did not present any second eigenvalue greater than 1. All constructs, except "task", presented AVEs higher than 0.50, indicating convergent validation. All shared variances of all pairs of constructs of the model were lower than the mean variances extracted (AVEs) of the compared constructs, and, with this, the discriminant validation was obtained. As the "task" construct presented two items with non-significant weights, for a better measurement model, it was decided to exclude the Quantity and Quality and Misalignment items with the Chief.

Table VI presents the final validation of the model used in the study with the analyses of the convergent validity, the discriminant validity, dimensionality and the reliability of the constructs. All the constructs presented the reliability indexes AC and DG above 0.70, evidencing the reliability of the constructs. All the constructs were unidimensional, as they did not present any second eigenvalue greater than 1. All the constructs presented AVEs above 0.50, indicating convergent validation. All shared variances of all pairs of constructs of the model were lower than the mean variances extracted (AVEs) of the compared constructs, and, with this, the discriminant validation was obtained.

The initial and final validation processes of the model were necessary because a 100% standard questionnaire was not replicated, but was adapted due to the context of this study from MLQ (Bass & Avolio, 1990) with questions about contextual and task performance (Brief & Motowidlo, 1986; Borman & Motowidlo, 1993; Reis Neto et al., 2012).

4.2 Transformational, Transactional and Laissez-faire leadership

4.2.1 Transformational leadership

In evaluating items of transformational leadership in the overall sample, it was noted that charisma had the highest average (76.6), while intellectual stimulation had the lowest (74.7), but there was no significant difference between them. When considering the samples by companies, it was observed that company A presented the lowest averages of "charisma" (73.9), "motivational inspiration" (73.6) and "individualized consideration" (73.8), while company B had the highest averages of "charisma" (79.8), "motivational inspiration" (80.1), "intellectual stimulation"

(77.4) and "individualized consideration" (80.7), but there was no substantial difference between companies. Table VII contains the description of the items of transformational leadership among the companies.

Table VII Presentation and description of the items of transformational leadership 

Transformational Leadership General Company A Company B Company C
Mean C.I.- 95% Mean C.I.- 95% Mean C.I.- 95% Mean C.I.- 95%
Charisma 76.6 [74.2, 79.0] 73.9 [69.0, 78.4] 79.8 [75.2, 83.9] 76.2 [72.4, 79.5]
Motivational Inspiration 76.4 [73.5, 78.9] 73.6 [68.6, 78.5] 80.1 [75.0, 84.5] 75.7 [71.2, 80.3]
Intellectual Stimulation 74.7 [71.9, 77.1] 73.5 [68.6, 78.3] 77.4 [72.9, 81.6] 73.3 [69.0, 77.9]
Individualized Consid. 76.1 [73.5, 78.6] 73.8 [68.6, 78.3] 80.7 [76.2, 84.9] 74.2 [69.6, 77.7]

Source: Research data.

4.2.2 Transactional leadership

In the assessment of the items of transactional leadership, in the global sample, it was realized that the item contingent reward had the highest average (67.9), while active management by exception had the lowest average (64.7), but there was not a substantial difference between them. When filtering the samples by companies, company B showed a contingent reward average significantly higher (75.0) than companies A (65.2) and C (64.0). It is noteworthy that company B also presented the average of active management by exception (69.3) higher than company A (67.5) . In table VIII, the description of the items of transactional leadership among the companies is presented.

Table VIII Presentation and description of items of transactional leadership among the companies 

Transactional Leadership General Company A Company B Company C
Mean C.I.- 95% Mean C.I.- 95% Mean C.I.- 95% Mean C.I.- 95%
Contingent Reward 67.9 [65.1, 70.7] 65.2 [60.4, 69.9] 75.0 [70.4, 79.7] 64.0 [59.5, 68.3]
Active Management by Exception 64.7 [61.9, 67.3] 57.5 [52.6, 62.6] 69.3 [64.3, 74.6] 67.1 [62.8, 70.9]

Source: Research data.

4.2.3 Laissez-faire leadership

For the laissez-faire leadership style, after analyzing the overall sample, the average of passive management by exception (46.7) was significantly higher than the average of laissez-faire (30.2). After collecting samples by companies, company A had the lowest average of passive management by exception (39.2) and laissez-faire (26.6), and the average of passive management by exception in company A was significantly smaller than in companies B (33.9) and C (30.3). In table IX, The description of the items of laissez-faire leadership style among the companies is presented.

Table IX Presentation and description of the items of laissez-faire style among the companies 

Laissez-Faire Style General Company A Company B Company C
Mean C.I.- 95% Mean C.I.- 95% Mean C.I.- 95% Mean C.I.- 95%
Passive Management by Exception 46.7 [43.9, 49.5] 39.2 [35.4, 43.0] 53.6 [48.5, 58.6] 47.5 [43.3, 51.9]
Laissez-Faire 30.2 [27.7, 32.8] 26.6 [22.9, 31.0] 33.9 [29.5, 38.3] 30.3 [25.8, 35.3]

Source: Research data.

4.3 Performance

4.3.1 Task performance

After analyzing the data, considering the global sample, it is emphasized that the average of the "deadline" indicator was significantly higher (78.7) than the "quantity and quality" indicator (51.8), and the "misalignment with the leader" indicator (37.1) was the one that presented the lowest average of the three indicators. By isolating the samples, the companies B (54.9) and C (57.3) significantly presented a greater average in the "quantity and quality" indicator compared with company A (42.7).

When evaluating the confidence intervals of the "quantity and quality" and "misalignment with the leader" factors, it was noted that the weights were not significant, and it was decided to exclude them from the measurement model. Thus, to the measurement of "task" the only valid factor was "deadline". Table X presents the description of the items of task performance among the companies.

Table X Presentation and description of the items of task performance among the companies 

General Company A Company B Company C
Performance Mean C.I.- 95% Mean C.I.- 95% Mean C.I.- 95% Mean C.I.- 95%
Deadline 75.7 [73.6, 78.1] 79.3 [75.8, 82.8] 72.3 [68.1, 76.7] 75.5 [71.6, 79.2]
Quantity/ Quality 51.8 [48.9, 54.9] 42.7 [37.1, 48.2] 54.9 [49.5, 60.5] 57.3 [52.7, 62.1]
Misalignment with the Leader 37.1 [34.9, 39.4] 35.5 [32.2, 38.7] 39.4 [34.2, 44.7] 36.5 [32.9, 40.0]

Source: Research data.

It should be noted that there was a strong (p-value = 0.000) and positive (β = 0.320 [0.10, 0.53]) influence of transformational leadership on task performance. Therefore, it can be assumed that there is correlation between positive transformational leadership with task performance, because greater transformational leadership tends to lead to more task performance. There was a significant (p-value = 0.051) and positive (β = 0.144 [0.00, 0.33]) influence of transactional leadership on task performance. There was also a positive correlation between transactional leadership and task performance, so, the greater the transactional leadership, the greater the task performance tends to be. The laissez-faire style did not influence significantly the performance of the task. Together, the three indicators cited above were responsible for 17.9% [9.5% - 29%] of the variability of the performance of the task. The model presented a GoF of 38.7%, indicating a reasonable model fit. The bootstrap confidence intervals are in agreement with the results found by the p-value, indicating a greater validity of the presented results.

4.3.2 Context performance

It is noted that, in the overall sample, the average of contextual performance (77.0) was significantly higher than pro-social behavior (70.0). Comparing the samples of the companies, company A (81.7) significantly presented a greater average of contextual performance when compared to companies B (71.7) and C (77.4). In table XI, the items of contextual performance among the companies are presented.

Table XI Presentation and description of the items of contextual performance among the companies 

Source: Research data.

According to the results, "task" and "context" were considered as endogenous variables (dependent): a) in relation to the performance of the task realized that there was a significant (p-value = 0.000) and positive (β= 0.320 [0.10, 0.53]) influence of the transformational leadership on the performance of the task. There is a correlation between transformational leadership and contextual performance and b) there was a significant influence (p-valor=0,000) and positive (β = 0,344[0,11; 0,54]) of transformational leadership on the performance of the contextual.

Thus, the greater the transformational leadership, the greater the performance of the task tends to be. The transactional and laisse-faire styles did not significantly influence contextual performance. Together, the three indicators mentioned above can explain 18.8% [11.2% - 29.5%] of the variability and the contextual performance.

After analyzing the sample by company, in other words, the multi-group analysis, the relationship of the leadership style over task performance varied according to the surveyed universe. Therefore, it was observed that in companies A (0.403) and C (0.596) there was a significant influence of transformational leadership over task performance, but in company B (0.021) this has not happened. For transactional leadership, the result was inversed. While in company B (0.361) there was a significant and positive influence over task performance, in companies A (0.247) and C (-0.027) this was not confirmed. Another relevant point of the analysis is that in companies A (0.168), B (0.073) and C (0.168) there was no significant influence of the laissez-faire style over task performance.

The results for contextual performance, considering the multi-group analysis, showed that in companies A (0.074) and C (0.573) there was a significant influence of transformational leadership. This was not seen in company B (0.294). For transactional leadership in company A (0.369) there was a significant and positive influence. This result was not repeated in companies B (-0.105) and C (-0.019). The laissez-faire leadership, as well as the overall sample, did not influence contextual performance (multi-group). Of the three leadership styles, the laissez-faire style was the only one that, even though in different contexts, presented the following result: no significant influence on task and contextual performance in companies A (-0.188), B (0.005) and C (-0.014).

An interesting environment to highlight is company A. In it, besides the transformational style, the transactional style also influenced contextual performance, unlike companies B and C. This result is different from the overall sample result. Company A is an entity representative of trade, which probably helps to understand such result. The transactional style is based on exchange, then, it is assumed that the commercial culture rooted in such an institution has contributed to this result. Another important point is the lack of influence of any leadership style in contextual performance in company B. Considering that contextual performance is linked to extra-role activities and contributes indirectly to task performance, it was expected that the result was compatible with the overall sample, i.e. influenced by the transformational style. The professionals of company B, for the most part, have completed high school. This may be an indicative of difficulties in understanding the research instrument.

The research of the relationship between leadership and task and contextual performance of the followers, in different contexts, revealed that the associations made by Rickards et al. (2001); Sosik et al. (1998) and Jung in the late 1990s about the positive relationship between leadership, especially the transformational style and performance, whether of task or contextual, still make sense. This is because the leadership is still considered one of the key driving forces to improve people's performances (Zhu et al., 2005).

It is worth noting that, according to Purvanova et al. (2006), several researchers, including Podsakoff et al. (1996) have argued that, although the effects of transformational leadership on task performance are important, the effects of transformational leadership on extra-role behaviors could be even more significant. A prominent point of this research is based on the fact of studying, in addition to task performance, the effects of the leadership styles on the contextual performance of the followers. What these authors argued was confirmed in this study, since there was, in the overall sample, and in companies A and C, a significant (p-value = 0.000) and positive (β = 0.344 [0.11, 0.54]) influence of transformational leadership over contextual performance. Thus, the higher the transformational leadership, the greater the contextual performance will be.

Regarding the structural model, it is noted that it presented a GoF of 38.7%, indicating a reasonable adjustment of the model. Some items to be mentioned are the task indicators. Of the three indicators, only "deadline" was considered relevant to measure task performance. "Quantity and quality" and "misalignment with the leader" were not considered relevant indicators for such variable.


The present study compared teams managed under different leadership styles and observed the effect of each style on the individual performance of employees. The results of this research showed that there was no significant influence of the laissez-faire leadership style over task and contextual performance in companies A, B and C. However, transformational and transactional leadership influenced the performance on the task in the sample studied.

Leaders must interact with employees and meet the satisfaction needs of their followers in the search for a better performance. The study also showed that transformational leadership influenced task performance and contextual performance. There was a significant (p-value = 0.000) and positive (β = 0.320) correlation of transformational leadership on task performance, and a significant (p-value = 0.051) and positive (β = 0.144) influence of transactional leadership on task performance. There was significant (p-value = 0.000) and positive (β = 0.344) correlation of transformational leadership on contextual performance. Thus, the present study complements Bass and Avolio (1990) who related leadership styles with performance, but did not explain it in terms of task and contextual performance.

In general, the result of this research was consistent with previous results in relation to the positive correlation between leadership and performance at work. (Howell & Frost, 1989; Howell & Avolio, 1993; Barling et al., 1996; Sosik et al., 1998; Rai & Sinha, 2000; Rickards et al., 2001). It was relevant to identify how leadership influences the performance -task and contextual - of the followers; however, the results suggested that leadership is not able to explain all variations of individual performance, so other constructs should be added to the model for such purpose, which is our main suggestion for future research.


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Funding agencies: FAPEMIG, CNPq, ProPIC

Received: November 24, 2018; Accepted: July 30, 2019

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