April 9, 2013
Dr. Kara Arnold, associate dean of research and associate professor of organizational behaviour at Memorial University’s Faculty of Business Administration, is the recipient of a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Insight Grant.
Dr. Arnold is the primary investigator on a project entitled Transformational Leadership Style and Leader Stress: A Multi-source, Multi-method Analysis.
SSHRC Insight Grants are highly competitive and aim to build knowledge about individuals and the broader community. The program strives to increase understanding of people and society and seeks to find solutions to societal changes.
Dr. Arnold said that she was “thrilled to find out that our grant was successful. It means that we can continue to investigate this important question using rigorous methods and unique measures.”
Dr. Arnold’s research examines transformational leadership style, which includes “communicating a vision and developing employees’ capabilities, while remaining an important role model” and how enacting this leadership style impacts the leaders themselves. The research question this project will examine is: how, when, and why are leaders’ transformational leadership behaviours and psychological stress levels related?
“Our project shifts the focus from the employee to the leader himself or herself and essentially asks, ‘Is it stressful to be a good leader?’” said Dr. Arnold. “Leadership roles can be stressful, in particular if a leader is trying to learn new behaviours in order to enact a positive leadership style. Depending on the level of confidence and the support they have a leader may find it stressful to be transformational. Organizations should encourage transformational leadership because of the many positive outcomes associated with it. The goals of this program of research are to figure out how this can be accomplished without creating undue stress for the leaders themselves.”
Dr. Arnold will be working with co-investigators Dr. Catherine Connelly and Dr. Kathleen Martin Ginnis on this project. Dr. Connelly is an associate professor of organizational behaviour and human resources management and holds a Canada Research Chair (Tier II) in organizational behaviour at DeGroote School of Business at McMaster University. Dr. Martin Ginis is a professor in the Dept. of Kinesiology at McMaster University.