Although McGregor’s Theory X and Y holds significant attention in literature, research on the managerial assumptions and leadership is very scarce. The purpose of this paper is to examine the influence of a leader’s Theory X and Y managerial assumptions on follower perceptions of transformational leadership behaviors and the moderating role of the leader’s gender in this relationship.
A total of 108 leaders provided ratings of their Theory X and Y managerial assumptions; 398 followers then rated their leaders’ transformational leadership behavior. To test the hypotheses, moderated hierarchical regression analysis was conducted.
The results indicated that a leader’s Theory Y managerial assumptions are positively related to the followers’ ratings of transformational leadership behavior while a leader’s Theory X managerial assumptions are negatively related to the ratings of transformational leadership behavior. Furthermore, the relationship between Theory Y managerial assumptions and ratings of transformational leadership behavior are stronger for female leaders than male leaders.
This study provides important insights for leadership literature by depicting how cognitive mental schemas (i.e. Theory X and Y assumptions) and gender influence their transformational leadership behaviors.
- Theory X
- Theory Y
- Transformational leadership