Seeing the Big Picture: A Within-Person Examination of Leader Construal Level and Vision Communication

Despite the importance of leader vision communication to effective leadership, little is known about what prompts leaders to communicate a vision in the first place. Drawing from construal level theory, we examined the within-person relationship of leader construal level in the morning with vision communication during that workday. Leadership self-identity, or the extent to which “being a leader” is central to one’s self-concept, was specified as a cross-level moderator of the daily construal level–vision communication relationship. We tested our predictions using an experience sampling design across 15 consecutive workdays. In total, we obtained a total of 394 matched morning and afternoon surveys from 44 mid- to high-level managers. Results revealed that a high-level construal level in the morning was positively associated with vision communication during the day but only when leadership self-identity is high (vs. low). We discuss the theoretical implications of our findings, in particular with regard to the emerging field of visionary leadership as well as the emerging literature that uses construal level theory to explain leadership phenomena.

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APA-Format Citation

Venus, M., Johnson, R. E., Zhang, S., Wang, X. H., & Lanaj, K. (2018). Seeing the Big Picture: A Within-Person Examination of Leader Construal Level and Vision Communication. Journal of Management, 0149206318761576.