A Parsimonious Model of Positive Leadership

Construct redundancy has become a problem for leadership research, causing “old wine in new bottles”. In Study 1, we use unsupervised latent semantic analysis to calculate the semantic similarities among 67 positive leadership scales and their 225 dimensions, and we visualize the resultant scale- and dimension-level conceptual structures on maps. Both maps confirm Yukl et al.’s (2002) task-relation-change taxonomy. Dimensions of the same scale often break apart to form a fine-grained structure of 15 clusters on the second map. In Study 2, we select five items across leadership scales in each cluster to reflect its unique theme. Empirical data show that these 15 standardized item blocks have satisfactory discriminant and convergent validities, and existing multidimensional leadership constructs can be reconstructed from such blocks. This research helps researchers break the conceptual shackles of existing paradigms to focus on more meaningful research questions.
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