Recently, the need to better understand leadership processes in Australia was highlighted when The Report of the Industry Task Force on Leadership and Management skills (Karpin, 1995) exposed the inadequacy of the existing Australian leadership and management paradigm, and suggested that Australia lacked effective leaders necessary to provide Australia with an edge in the increasing competitiveness of the global economy.
This thesis has two purposes. The first is to empirically test House's (1999) Value Based Leadership Theory in the Australian context. The second is to empirically test the argument that Australian cultural characteristics need to be taken into account when applying leadership theories developed outside the Australian context. In the present study, an Australian cultural characteristic, the tall poppy syndrome, is proposed to have a moderating effect on the relationship between a value based leader and his/her followers.
A survey study of twenty-two Australian Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) and their subordinates examined relationships between Australian leader motives, Australian value based leader behaviours, subordinate tall poppy attitudes and subordinate commitment, effectiveness, motivation and satisfaction (CEMS). The findings provide empirical support for House's (1999) Value Based Leadership Theory in the Australian context. The findings also highlight the effects of subordinate tall poppy attitudes on Value Based Leadership Theory. Taken together, the results show that the Australian tall poppy syndrome has an effect on the application of value based leadership processes in the Australian context.