Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy




Dr. Jane Howell, Dr, Charlice Hurst


A quasi-experimental field study explores how follower voice, leader regulatory focus and leader-member exchange (LMX) affect leader attention and decision-making. The model responds to calls for more work into the interplay between leaders and followers and the effect on leadership (Avolio, 2007; Howell & Shamir, 2005), the integration of top-down and bottom-up processes that affect attention (Ocasio, 2011; Rerup, 2009); and the types, tactics, targets, and outcomes of follower voice (Morrison, 2011). Twenty-seven established leaders and their followers completed on-line instruments in a time-lagged fashion. Leaders were asked to respond to common managerial issues based on the GMIB, a well-known in-basket exercise (Joines, 2011). Each scenario was accompanied by advisory messages that varied in (1) LMX level of the follower sender and (2) promotive or prohibitive voice type (Liang, Farh, & Farh, 2012). Results show the quality of the relationship between the leader and the follower message sender influenced leader interest and decision-making directly and as a moderator of the path between follower voice type and leader decision-making. Regulatory focus did not moderate the relationship between follower voice and leader attention. Contrary to predictions, promotive voice (messages about opportunities) influenced leader attention and decisions more than prohibitive voice (messages about threats). The contributions of these findings to the follower, voice, attention, LMX, and regulatory focus literatures are discussed.