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Relations between consideration and initiating structure: Two causal relationships rather than one?

Research paper by D. M. Hosking, I. E. Morley

Indexed on: 01 Jun '85Published on: 01 Jun '85Published in: Current Psychology



Abstract

Lowin, Hrapchak, and Kavanagh (1969) manipulated independently the SBDQ dimensions of consideration and initiating structure. Data from their main study suggested a unilateral causal relationship in which increases in initiating structure led to decreases in perceived consideration. Other data, however, suggested a second causal relationship in which increases in consideration led to lower levels of perceived initiating structure. Two experiments were designed to clarify and extend the findings of Lowin et al. The data clearly showed two causal relationships rather than one. Increasing the amount of initiating structure in behavior led to a decrease in the level of perceived consideration. Increasing the amount of consideration in behavior led to a decrease in the level of perceived initiating structure, but only in one experiment. It was predicted that the findings of Lowin et al. would be replicated for subjects with low scores on Fiedler’s LPC or measures of cognitive differentiation based on Bieri’s Modified Repertory Test. These predictions were not confirmed. Implications of the data are discussed with respect to the literature on participative decision making, dual leadership, and role differentiation in small groups.