The Motivating Potential of Leader Behaviors: A Comparison of Two Models1


  • 1

    The author wishes to thank Lawrence R. James for the provision of the data base on which the models were tested and his helpful comments on earlier drafts of this manuscript. Opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views, policies, or endorsements of Lawrence R. James or the Department of the Navy.

Correspondence concerning this article should be sent to Lois E. Tetrick, Department of Psychology, Wayne State University, 71 W. Warren, Detroit, MI 48202.


The motivating potential of leader behaviors was investigated in a comparative test of two models relating leader behaviors, perceived role clarity, psychological influence, perceived self-competence, self-determination, and intrinsic motivation. Based on the data from 422 naval personnel and their immediate supervisors, it would appear that leaders' informational and controlling behaviors influence subordinates' perceptions of role clarity and psychological influence. Self-determination and self-competence also influence these perceptions. Psychological influence increases intrinsic motivation but role clarity influences intrinsic motivation only indirectly through its influence on psychological influence.