Article | Leadership Quarterly

Perceiving Freedom Givers: Effects of Granting Decision Latitude on Personality and Leadership Perceptions

by Roy Y.J. Chua and Sheena Iyengar

Abstract

A perennial question facing managers is how much decision latitude to give their employees at work. The current research investigates how decision latitude affects employees' perceptions of managers' personalities and, in turn, their leadership effectiveness. Results from three studies using different methods (two experiments and a survey) indicate an inverted-U shaped relationship between degree of decision latitude and leadership effectiveness perceptions. The increase in leadership effectiveness perception between low and moderate decision latitude was explained by an increase in perceived agreeableness; the decrease in leadership effectiveness perception between moderate and high decision latitude was explained by a decrease in perceived conscientiousness. Theoretical and practical implications of these findings are discussed.

Keywords: Decisions; Leadership; Perception; Employees; Performance Effectiveness; Personal Characteristics;

Citation:

Chua, Roy Y.J., and Sheena Iyengar. "Perceiving Freedom Givers: Effects of Granting Decision Latitude on Personality and Leadership Perceptions." Leadership Quarterly 22, no. 5 (October 2011): 863–880.