University of Tasmania
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Development and validation of the authentic leader behaviour index (ALBI) : conceptualising and measuring contemporary leadership

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posted on 2023-05-27, 09:51 authored by Joseph CrawfordJoseph Crawford
Twenty-first century organisations face challenges, many of which stem from leaders acting ineffectively or unethically. Ethical and effective leaders demonstrably benefit the organisations they lead and, more broadly, the people who work for them and those who use their goods and services. The aim of this research is to support the development of authentic leaders, by conceptualising, measuring, and understanding them. Issues on a global scale arising from poor leadership (e.g. dotcom bust, Global Financial Crisis (GFC), and performance enhancing drug use in sport) highlight a need to understand the attitudes and behaviours of leaders that result in both positive and negative outcomes. The emergence of positive organisational scholarship in the late twentieth century brought a shift from scholars focusing on developing responses to bad leader behaviour, to focusing on building on human strengths. In recent years, investigators have applied this same positive philosophy to develop scholarly responses to growth in unethical and ineffective leader behaviours. To identify and understand possible drivers of such behaviours, this thesis begins with two case studies of unethical leader behaviour. In positive organisational scholarship, the theory of authentic leadership is considered a suitable approach to unethical and ineffective leaders. However, in the 16 years since the original conceptualisation, scholars have failed to move beyond critiquing the theory, including shortcomings in its implementation to organisational practice (or lack thereof). To address the limitations associated with the conceptualisation, measurement and empirical application of the authentic leadership construct, the following research questions (RQs) are posed: RQ1. What behaviours do authentic leaders and authentic followers demonstrate? RQ2. How can the behaviour of authentic leaders be effectively measured? RQ3. Which constructs are included in the authentic leader behaviours nomological network? Each of these research questions offers an opportunity to respond to significant challenges in the literature. This opportunity to respond begins with the identification of the core composition of authentic leaders and develops clear definitions of what it means to be i) authentic and/or sincere (Chapter 2), ii) an authentic leader (Chapter 4), and iii) an authentic follower (Chapter 5). Construct clarity is essential for an effective theoretical response to the ambiguity in the current conceptualisations of authentic leadership and followership. As such, this thesis (Chapters 4 and 5) provides a critical review and definition of authentic leaders and followers, as presented below. However, it does not present a definition of authentic leadership, based on the belief that the 'process' of leadership cannot be defined without clearly understanding the actors in that process first (See Chapter 4). An authentic leader influences and motivates followers to achieve goals through their sincerity and positive moral perspective, enabled through heightened awareness and balanced processing. An authentic follower is an individual who, through their capacity for authenticity and positive organisational engagement, is self-managing and follows leaders with whom they share values. The validity of the conceptual work underpinning this thesis was established via an integrative critical review of leadership theory that established both criteria of, and descriptors for, effective and ethical leadership theory. Building on the theoretical contribution of construct clarity, subsequent testing of the philosophical assumptions in an empirical setting was undertaken (Chapters Seven and Eight). This was followed by a systematic review of scale development practices, which underpinned three subsequent empirical studies (n = 1,118) to develop the Authentic Leader Behaviour Index (ALBI). The first part of the three empirical studies was a qualitative questionnaire sent to experts in authentic leadership and authenticity (n = 11) asking for commentary on the proposed definitions for the five authentic leader behaviours (awareness, sincerity, balanced processing, positive moral perspective, and informal influence). As there was not complete agreement, a follow-up sample of faculty management scholars (n = 13) was recruited for consistency checks. Study 1 concluded with item development and an independent review of items. Study 2 addressed content adequacy, through administering a quantitative assessment to determine the adequacy of the items with Australian management scholars (n = 124). The quantitative analysis of those responses identified the 20 most appropriate draft items. These were validated across three additional samples (Study 3), with a final scale of 15 items. Study 3 (Chapters 7 and 8) applied the ALBI in three different multilevel environments. First, a multilevel study of Australian university unit coordinators (leader role, n = 161) and tutors (follower role, n = 41). Study 3 continued to examine the ALBI in a multilevel study of Australian university tutors (leader role, n = 43) and students (follower role, n = 494). Study 3 also investigated the ALBI in a multilevel study across a sample of Australian business and political leaders/managers (leader role, n = 52) and their direct reports (follower role, n = 173). Study 3 subsequently aggregated all the paired data from previous samples to evaluate the validity and reliability of the scale with a larger sample (n = 391 leaders, 727 followers). The samples contained in study 3 incorporated multiple tests for incremental validity compared to the Authentic Leadership Questionnaire, Authentic Leadership Inventory, Servant Leadership Short, and Ethical Leadership Scale. The findings extend the authentic leader behaviour nomological network to demonstrate positive relationships between an authentic leader's behaviours and their self-awareness, job satisfaction, career satisfaction, affective commitment, mindfulness, and work engagement. The findings also establish significant positive relationships with follower individual-level organisational citizenship behaviours, work engagement, job satisfaction, career satisfaction, creativity, job performance, and psychological wellbeing. Finally, significant negative relationships were also found between authentic leader behaviours and follower Machiavellian personality and turnover intentions. A key aim for this research was to address the need to develop and support the development of authentic leaders. The research design incorporated steps to gain construct clarity on authentic leaders and followers (see RQ1), which would then enable rigorous measurement of authentic leaders as the first step (see RQ2), and demonstrate the value of such leaders in a variety of contexts (see RQ3). Future research should retest the research findings of authentic leaders in different temporal, situational, and cultural contexts. Additionally, it will be important to move beyond retesting and take steps to develop and then evaluate mechanisms for effective development of authentic leaders.


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Copyright 2018 the author A portion of chapter 1 appears to be the equivalent of a peer reviewed version of the following article: Crawford, J., Dawkins, S., Martin, A. Lewis, G., 2017. Understanding the organizational climate of unethical leadership in the Australian Football League, Journal of leadership studies, 11(2), 52-54, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions A portion of chapter 1 appears to be the equivalent of a pre-peer reviewed version of the following book chapter portion: Crawford, J., Newstead, T., 2018. The cascading effect of unethical leadership, in, McShane, S., Von Glinow, M-A., Organizational behaviour (7th ed.), McGraw-Hill. Copyright 2019 Chapter 4 appears to be the equivalent of a post-print version of an article published as: Crawford, J., Dawkins, S., Martin, A., Lewis, G., 2020. Putting the leader back into authentic leadership: Reconceptualising and rethinking leaders, Australian journal of management, Australian journal of management, 45(1), 114-133 Copyright The author(s) 2019 Chapter 5 appears to be the equivalent of a post-print version of an article published as: Crawford, J., Dawkins, S., Martin, A., Lewis, G., 2018. Conceptualising authentic followers and developing a future research agenda, in, Cotter-Lockard, D. (ed.), Authentic leadership and followership : international perspectives, pp. 271-293. Copyright The editor(s) and the author(s) 2018. This Palgrave Macmillan imprint is published by Springer Nature, reproduced with permission of Palgrave Macmillan Chapter 5 appears to be the equivalent of a post-print version of an article published as: Crawford, J., Kelder, J-A., 2019. Do we measure leadership effectively? : Articulating and evaluating scale development psychometrics for best practice, Leadership quarterly, 30(1), 133-144

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