Higgs, M. and Wren, J.
The leadership of change: a study on change leadership within the UK Royal Air Force , Reading, UK University of Reading
(Henley Working Paper Series, HWP 0516).
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This paper explores recent literature and studies on both leadership and change. In particular it focuses on the leadership of change and builds on two recent studies in this area (Wren & Dulewicz, 2005; and Higgs& Rowland, 2005). Findings from both of these studies indicated that there is a relationship between leadership, approaches to change, context of change and the ultimate success of the change. The first of these used the Leadership Dimensions Questionnaire (LDQ - Dulewicz & Higgs, 2004), which is based on the premise that a leadership style needs to be matched to the context of the change (in the sense of the degree of change being faced) and that this “fit” is a determinant of both leader performance and follower commitment. The importance of follower commitment to change success has been highlighted extensively in the literature.
The leader activities described by Wren and Dulewicz (2005) appear to have some overlap with the leader behaviours described by Higgs and Rowland (2005). Given that Wren and Dulewicz (2005) found evidence of relationships between leader activities and change success, the question arises as to whether or not their study provides any support for the findings of Higgs and Rowland (2005).
The LDQ context scale was derived from the change and change leadership literature. However it has not been concurrently validated. As the Wren and Dulewicz data includes objective measures of some of the constructs underpinning the LDQ Context Scale there is an opportunity to explore the validity of the LDQ Context Scale.
The study re-analyses the Wren and Dulewicz data, which was based on a sample of 36 RAF officers. The findings are reported and provide some support for the relationship between leadership behaviours, change context and change success. Furthermore they provide evidence for the construct validity of the LDQ context scale. The limitations of the study are considered and further research needs identified.
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