Keep your head in the clouds and your feet on the ground: A multifocal review of leadership–followership self-regulatory focus

Ronit Kark, Dina VAN DIJK

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

Self-regulatory focus reflects both a trait (chronic focus) and a state (situational focus) that can either influence or be influenced by various organizational factors and outcomes, allowing us to be promotion focused, “keeping our head in the clouds” and/or prevention focused by “keeping our feet on the ground.” Self-regulatory focus is a significant explanatory construct because it comprises an inner-self component (ideal versus ought), which is evident as a motivational force that mobilizes different individual and work-group processes and behaviors to achieve end results. These unique characteristics of regulatory focus make it especially appropriate for understanding the psychological mechanisms that underlie leadership–followership processes involving dynamic relationships and mutual influences across time and context. To date, the relationships between leadership and regulatory focus and the roles of time and context have not been assessed systematically. We review the literature on regulatory focus and leadership, while integrating the multiple targets and levels of regulatory focus (leaders, followers, dyads, and teams). We further offer a comprehensive conceptual framework that focuses on the significance of time and context across these levels, to advance our knowledge and to suggest a roadmap for future research on leader–follower motivational processes and their influence on multiple-level outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)509-546
Number of pages38
JournalAcademy of Management Annals
Volume13
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2019

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