Pursuit of whose happiness? executive leaders' transformational behaviors and personal values

Ping Ping Fu, Anne S. Tsui, Jun Liu, Lan Li

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

162 Citations (Scopus)


This paper theorizes and tests how chief executive offi cers' (CEOs') transformational leadership behaviors, which motivate followers to do more than expected and act for the good of the collective, infl uence followers' commitment. We theorize that CEOs' values may either enhance or attenuate the effect of transformational behaviors on followers, depending on followers' reactions to the congruence or incongruence between leaders' internal values and their outward transformational behaviors. Self-enhancement values-focusing on the leader's own happiness-would attenuate the effect, whereas self-transcendent values-focusing on others' happiness-would accentuate the effect of CEOs' transformational behaviors on followers' commitment. Using a sample of 45 managers in two companies in China, we validated a Q-sort method of measuring personal values. Results of a second study using cross-sectional and longitudinal surveys as well as interview data from a sample of Chinese CEOs, top managers, and middle managers supported both the attenuation and the accentuation effects and validated the idea that middle managers can detect their CEOs' values.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)222-254
Number of pages33
JournalAdministrative Science Quarterly
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration


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