Measuring leadership an assessment of the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire

J.M. Batista-Foguet, M. Esteve, A. van Witteloostuijn

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Copyright: © 2021 Batista-Foguet et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.Although the most used measure of transformational leadership, the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ), has been the subject of intense scrutiny among leadership scholars, little interest has been shown in analyzing the relationship between its underlying constructs and / or their measures. The present study identifies a formative factor structure for most MLQ first-order factors, replacing the usual reflective model. We demonstrate the value of this structure using data from two different samples. First, we applied the MLQ to a sample of 129 police officers from the Catalan Police workforce. Second, we ran an online survey with 300 US citizens. We argue that three second-order factors (transformational, transactional, and laissez faire) should be used as emergent aggregate multidimensional models to describe three different leadership styles, challenging the ubiquitous multidimensional latent models favored in the extant literature. We then propose that transformational/charismatic leadership should be treated as a multidimensional emergent profile model, replacing the leadership development order of precedence, which is dominant in modern leadership research.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0254329
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number7 July
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jul 2021


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