Value Congruence and Charismatic Leadership in CEO–Top Manager Relationships: An Empirical Investigation


Although charismatic leadership theorists
have long argued that leader–follower value congruence
plays a central role in the development of charismatic
relationships, few studies have tested this proposition.
Using data from two studies involving a total of 329
CEOs and 1807 members of their top management
teams, we tested the hypothesis that value congruence
between leaders and their followers is empirically linked
to follower perceptions of the charisma of their leader.
Consistent with a relational perspective on charismatic
leadership, strong support was found for the hypothesis
that perceived value congruence between leaders (CEOs)
and their followers (members of their top management
teams) is positively related to follower perceptions of the
degree of charisma possessed by the leader. Conversely,
only limited support was found for the hypothesis that
actual value congruence is linked to perceptions of charismatic
leadership. Implications of these findings for
research and practice are discussed.


charisma, leadership, top management,
value congruence, values

Over the years, a voluminous body of research has
emerged investigating the effects of charismatic
leadership on various employee and organizational
outcomes. In these studies, charismatic leadership has
been shown to be associated with a wide variety of
positive outcomes ranging from leader effectiveness
(DeGroot et al., 2000; Judge and Piccolo, 2004) to
follower job satisfaction and performance (Conger
et al., 2000; Judge and Piccolo, 2004; Rowold and

Heinitz, 2007) to group and organizational performance
(Judge and Piccolo, 2004; Waldman et al.,
2004). However, although there is a substantial
amount of research examining consequences of
charismatic leadership, there has been less systematic
study of its antecedents (Campbell et al., 2008).
Given the effects of charismatic leadership, and the
significant theoretical developments highlighting its
relational and dyadic nature (e.g., Balukundi and
Kilduff, 2005; Groves, 2005; Howell and Shamir,
2005), it is important to advance our understanding
of the factors that contribute to the emergence of
charisma in leader–follower relationships. This article
directs attention toward a key relational variable
– value congruence – and its influence on follower
perceptions of the charisma of their leader.
Value congruence between leaders and their followers
has been widely postulated as a core mechanism
underlying the development and effectiveness
of charismatic leadership (Bass and Steidlmeier,
1999; Fairholm, 1991; Klein and House, 1995; Lord
and Brown, 2001; Shamir et al., 1993). Contemporary
theories propose that charismatic leaders gain
commitment and support from their followers in
part through social identification processes (Van
Knippenberg et al., 2004) and subordinates’ internalization
of the charismatic leader’s core values
(Bass, 1985, 1988; Bass and Avolio, 1993; Conger
and Kanungo, 1998; Shamir et al., 1993). Value
congruence between charismatic leaders and their
followers may also occur due to similarity-attraction
processes (Byrne, 1971; Ehrhart and Klein, 2001;
Shamir and Howell, 1999), and the reinforcement
of shared values through the leader’s overt and

symbolic actions (Lord and Brown, 2001), or the
charismatic leader may purposely tailor his or her
message and vision such that it is in accordance with
the existing values of potential followers (Brown and
Trevin˜o, 2009).
Despite the fact that virtually all theories of
charismatic leadership recognize value congruence as
a central variable underlying its emergence, to date
there has been very little empirical research investigating
the relationship between value congruence
and charisma. Jung and Avolio (2000) studied the
effects of the broader construct of transformational
leadership on performance, and hypothesized that
leader–follower value congruence mediates the
relationship between the two. Using a measure of
self-reported perceptions of value similarity, transformational
leadership was found to have a positive
influence on value congruence; however, as noted
by the authors, the ability to generalize from this
finding to other settings may be limited, due to
reliance on a student sample and relationships that
were very short-term in nature (i.e., the two-hour
duration of the experiment). The value congruence
measure used also precluded the possibility of
investigating whether actual (rather than perceived)
values congruence is related to leadership characteristics.
Brown and Trevin˜o (2006) uncovered a relationship
between perceived value congruence and
socialized charisma in their study, the main aim
of which was to identify such congruence as a possible
mediator between charisma and organizational
deviance. Like Jung and Avolio (2000), they did not
address the possibility that actual rather than perceived
values congruence may have an impact on
outcomes of charismatic leadership, and employed
an overall, self-report measure of perceived value
congruence, which could mask differential impacts
of different types of values on perceptions of charisma:
that is, congruence with respect to some values may be
more critical in charismatic relationships than congruence
on others (Brown and Trevin˜o, 2009). They
also conceived of both leader–follower value congruence
and charisma at the work group level, though
the contemporary attributional conception of charisma
would seem to suggest that perceptions of both
value congruence and charisma may vary across
individual followers, even within groups (Ehrhart and
Klein, 2001). Finally, they collected data in a single

organization, and therefore noted the need for future
researchers to ascertain if their results generalize to
relationships in other organizations. Brown and Trevin
˜o (2009) augmented their earlier work by
attempting to assess actual rather than perceived
congruence in charismatic relationships, this time
using a values profile to assess individual values of
superiors and subordinates. While their results indicated
that charismatic leadership was associated with
actual (rather than perceived) value congruence
concerning particular types of values (self-enhancement,
openness to change, and self-transcendence
values), they measured the values that leaders attempted
to transmit to followers rather than directly
assessing the leaders’ own values. However, since the
values transmitted by the leader need not be a manifestation
of his or her actual values – the leader might
choose for various reasons to communicate values
which he or she does not in fact hold, or downplay
values that he or she does hold – we view the study
reported in this article, wherein we measure actual
CEO values using two different measures, as a strong
complement to the work of Brown and Trevin˜o
Hence, in this article we aim to fill part of the
void in the charisma literature concerning the relationship
between charismatic leadership and values
congruence, while also complementing previous
investigations of the charisma-value congruence
relationship and addressing ongoing general interest
in developing values-based leadership (Brown and
Trevin˜o, 2009). We do this by examining the relationship
between leader–subordinate value congruence
at the top levels of the organizational hierarchy
(both actual – measured using leader’s self-reports of
their actual values, not the values they choose to
transmit to followers – and perceived) and subordinates’
attributions of charisma to their leader. We
operationalize both attributions of charisma and
value congruence as individual- rather than grouplevel
constructs, and use a values inventory rather
than a direct measure of perceived value congruence,
which allows us to investigate the potential
differential impacts of various types of values, an
approach taken previously only by Brown and
Trevin˜o (2009). We also eschew student samples,
employ data from executives in a vast diversity of
organizations rather than focusing our attention on
many relationships within a single one, and respond

to the suggestion of Brown and Trevin˜o (2009) that
the relationship between value congruence and charisma
may differ across industrial context by employing
data from managers in a wide variety of industries.
Finally, in response to calls to explore different
dimensions and influences of work values (Agle and
Caldwell, 1999), we examine congruence with respect
to organizational rather than personal values.
As noted, we focus particular attention on
assessing value congruence and charismatic leadership
in top management teams. Levels of charismatic
leadership displayed by CEOs have been linked to
measures of organizational success (Agle et al., 2006;
Waldman and Yammarino, 1999; Waldman et al.,
2004). Few studies, however, have systematically
examined the organizational values of top management
team members or the role of organizational
values in driving CEO leader behavior, nor, to our
knowledge, have the effects of values congruence on
charisma been studied at the executive level, though
researchers have suggested that the influences of
charismatic leaders on the values of their followers
may vary depending on the hierarchical level of the
relationship (Brown and Trevin˜o, 2009). Given the
importance of top management team members’
values and CEO–top management team member
relationships in determining the culture, vision,
primary modes of doing business, and ultimate success
of an organization (Hunt, 1991; Meglino et al.,
1989; Waldman and Yammarino, 1999), this research
has significant implications for both charismatic
leadership theory and organizational practice.
In the following sections, we first provide an
overview of the charismatic leadership and value
congruence literatures, and then discuss our specific
hypotheses. We then report on our hypothesis tests,
which employed data from two large studies of
American CEOs and members of their top management
Theoretical background and hypotheses
Charismatic leadership and charismatic relationships
‘‘Charisma,’’ owes its origins to the Greek word for
‘‘gift’’ (Conger and Kanungo, 1987). The term is
widely used today to describe leaders – political,
organizational, and otherwise, but has in recent years

also been used to describe very diverse entities, both
human and non-human (for example, ‘‘charisma’’
has been described in dolphins) (Barney et al., 2005).
While the word is thus used rather loosely in many
cases, in the organizational literature, as discussed
below, the meanings ascribed to it are rather less
diverse. In basic terms, charismatic leaders are seen as
visionary leaders who, through a combination of
personal characteristics, behaviors, and the relationships
they foster with followers, motivate the latter
to achieve exceptional performance directed toward
the vision. In studies of organizations, charisma in
leaders has been empirically linked to many positive
individual, group, and organizational phenomena
such as employee performance, mood, and organizational
citizenship behaviors (Tsai et al., 2009),
motivation, job satisfaction, group cohesion and
performance, and organizational financial performance
(Campbell et al., 2008). Hence, the study of
charismatic leadership remains a critical area of
concern in organizational studies.
The work that initially brought the study of charisma
to the fore was that of Weber (1947), whose
conception of charisma relies on the idea of a leader
who possesses extraordinary or super-human qualities.
This emphasis on the personal characteristics of
charismatic leaders spawned a significant amount of
research examining focal qualities that charismatic
leaders possess. According to this literature, there are
several defining features that typify a charismatic
leader. Charismatic leaders tend to be future-oriented
(Conger, 1989). They see fundamental discrepancies
between things as they are and things as they could
be, and articulate a vision that embodies the means to
move from the status quo to the desired future state
(Chinoy, 1961; Conger, 1999; Friedland, 1964;
House, 1977; Willner, 1984). Charismatic leaders
tend to possess substantial rhetorical skills (Conger,
1989; Shamir et al., 1994). They also tend to be
highly expressive of emotion (Shamir et al., 1994;
Sosik and Dworakivsky, 1998), and are often adept at
expressing emotion non-verbally (Bass, 1990).
While neo-charismatic theories are still concerned
with the personal characteristics and behaviors of
charismatic leaders (Jacobsen and House, 2001), a
great deal of consensus has emerged that charismatic
leadership is a relational phenomenon (Bass, 1985;
Berlew, 1974; Burns, 1978; Conger, 1985; Conger
and Kanungo, 1987; Groves, 2005; Howell and

Hall-Merenda, 1999; Howell and Shamir, 2005;
Katz and Kahn, 1978; Shamir, 1995; Yukl, 1999).
Jermier (1993) describes charisma as a process that
cannot occur in the absence of social relationships,
and Mullin (1987), highlighting the importance of
the relational components of charismatic leadership,
noted a lack of empirical support for models that
place the locus of charisma solely in the personal
characteristics of the leader. Thus, for example,
while charismatic leaders in general may share the
characteristic of using analogy, metaphor, and stories
in order to articulate their visions, it is the fact that
these techniques emotionally stimulate followers and
increase follower identification with the leader that
is critical to the emergence of charismatic leadership.
In this view, ‘‘leadership is jointly established by
leaders and followers’’ (Castro et al., 2008, p. 1842):
charisma does not reside in leaders alone, but rather
in the relationships a leader possesses with particular
followers (Howell and Shamir, 2005; Klein and
House, 1995), and the charismatic relationship,
rather than being determined by any given set of
characteristics of the leader, is influenced by followers’
perceptions of the leader (Campbell et al.,
2008; Conger et al., 2000; Howell and Shamir,
2005; Hughes et al., 1999; Kark and Shamir, 2003;
Willner, 1984).
Yukl (1999) states that the most useful definition
of charisma is in terms of attributions of charisma to
a leader by followers; this position is also evident in
the model of charisma presented by Conger and
Kanungo (1987). From this point of view, charismatic
leadership can be seen as a socially constructed
phenomenon based on follower attributions of
charisma to the leader (Awamleh and Gardner,
1999). Various followers of a particular leader may
attribute different levels of charisma or charismarelated
characteristics to that leader (Ehrhart and
Klein, 2001). The result is that while in some cases a
leader may share charismatic relationships with all of
his or her followers, in other cases he or she will
share such relationships with only some subset of all
followers (or, indeed, none of those followers)
(Howell and Shamir, 2005; Klein and House, 1995).
In this respect, several researchers have suggested
that there is a strong argument in favor of adopting a
dyadic perspective in studying charismatic leadership
and examining relational factors that contribute to
charismatic leader development (e.g., Bass, 1988,

Campbell et al., 2008; Groves, 2005; Howell and
Shamir, 2005). In this article, we cast our attention
on leader–follower value congruence, a relational
construct that has a prominent role in most theories
concerning charismatic relationships.
Value congruence in the charisma literature
Values play a critical role in all theories of charismatic
leadership (House, 1996). Values are general
beliefs concerning the importance of normatively
desirable behaviors, states, objects, or goals (Rokeach,
1973; Schwartz, 1992), and address questions
of ‘‘what ought to be’’ (Liedtka, 1989). They are
relatively enduring, and can provide coherence and
purpose to individuals’ behavior (Lord and Brown,
2001). Values can become activated and act to
influence a person’s behavior without conscious
acknowledgment by that individual (Maio and
Olson, 1998). Value congruence – the similarity
between the value systems of two or more entities –
is generally held to result in greater commonality in
the perceptions and behaviors they display, which
can lead to a number of positive outcomes including
improved communication (Meglino and Ravlin,
1998), greater interpersonal attraction and positive
affect (Adkins et al., 1994; Meglino and Ravlin,
1998), and stronger commitment and trust (O’Reilly
et al., 1991).
The position that leader–follower value congruence
is a critical determinant of charismatic effects
has been a common one for decades. Weber (1947)
stated that the source of charismatic authority resides
in the ‘‘normative values’’ of the leader. Other early
theorists (e.g., Friedrich, 1961; Shils, 1965) have
asserted that the foundation for the relational power
of charisma is a shared ultimate ‘‘end value.’’ Katz
and Kahn (1978) and House and Baetz (1979) have
argued that the leader and follower must share basic
values in order for the leader’s charisma to be to be
validated by the follower, and Burns (1978) argued
that transformational leadership should be measured
by assessing the extent to which the leaders and his
or her followers share common values.
More contemporary theories of charismatic leadership
continue to emphasize the importance of
value congruence (Yukl, 1999). Mullin (1987) asserts
that charismatic effects can largely be explained

with respect to end-value congruence. Charismatic
leaders articulate a vision that emphasizes values
shared by leader and followers (Jacobsen and House,
2001) and ‘‘infuse seemingly disconnected organizational
activities with (those) shared values’’
(Shamir and Howell, 1999), which guides behaviors
of followers (Tsai et al., 2009). Lord and Brown
(2001) state that leaders are most effective when
follower self-concepts and values are congruent with
the values espoused by the leader. Likewise, Klein
and House (1995) propose that leaders and followers
must have compatible values to foster high levels of
charismatic leadership. Many charisma researchers
(e.g., Conger and Kanungo, 1998; Jung and Avolio
2000; Kanungo, 2001) assert that the shared sense of
values that characterizes charismatic relationships
stems in part from the leader acting to transform
followers’ personal values. Brown and Trevin˜o
(2006, 2009), while suggesting that it may in fact be
difficult for leaders to change the values of their
followers within organizations, acknowledge nonetheless
that leader–follower value congruence may
occur both as a result of the charismatic leader acting
to influence the values of followers, and from the
leader’s purposeful attempts to appeal to existing
follower values. Charismatic leaders are expected to
be better than other leaders at shaping the values of
others, and also at tailoring their messages to tap into
or ‘‘prime’’ pre-existing values of potential followers
(Brown and Trevin˜o, 2009).
Thus, much of the charisma literature suggests
that leader–follower value congruence must be
present for charismatic effects to occur (Ehrhart and
Klein, 2001; Shamir et al., 1993). The value congruence
described above is seen as playing a pivotal
role in formulating and implementing the vision
articulated by the charismatic leader (Boal and Bryson,
1988; Emrich et al., 2001; House, 1977;
Hughes et al., 1999; Jacobsen and House, 2001;
Kirkpatrick and Locke, 1996; Weirterer, 1997). The
charismatic leader sets a personal example of the
values emphasized in the vision through both verbal
and nonverbal behaviors in order to gain commitment
to it (Emrich et al., 2001; Jacobsen and House,
2001; Jung and Avolio, 2000), and followers in
charismatic relationships exhibit strong internalization
of and commitment to leader values (House and
Shamir, 1993). Shamir et al. (1993) assert that this
value congruence due to followers’ internalization of

charismatic leaders’ values is one of the driving forces
behind the desire of followers in charismatic relationships
to perform beyond expectations. Likewise,
the leader’s emphasis of shared values can make effort
directed toward fulfillment of the charismatic
leader’s vision particularly meaningful for followers if
these values are consistent with the followers’ own
values and self-concepts (Shamir, 1991).
In sum, there is a strong consensus that charismatic
relationships should be typified by a relatively
high degree of value congruence (Klein and House,
1995; Lord and Brown, 2001; Shamir and Howell,
1999). We next discuss in more detail the processes
that can account for leader–follower value congruence
in charismatic relationships.
Theoretical bases of value congruence in charismatic
Various processes may be used to explain the influence
of leader–follower value congruence on charismatic
leadership. These include processes based on
similarity-attraction, social identification, and social
The similarity-attraction paradigm (Byrne, 1969,
1971) is perhaps the best known theory of interpersonal
similarity. This theory proposes that higher
levels of similarity will tend to cultivate positive
interpersonal affect, leading to increased attraction
and harmony between individuals. Thus, individuals
will tend to express higher levels of liking for similar
parties and wish to interact with such parties on a
more frequent basis (Byrne, 1971). In this vein,
charismatic leadership theorists have argued that
followers should be attracted to leaders to whom
they bear similar values (Ehrhart and Klein, 2001).
Values and value congruence have been found to
directly influence reports of interpersonal affect
among work colleagues (Meglino et al., 1989;
Rokeach, 1973) and hence should also influence
follower perceptions of leader charisma.
Viewed using a similarity-attraction framework
(Byrne, 1971), the charismatic leader’s emphasis on
values shared by potential followers fosters affective
arousal and attraction of followers to the leader.
Value congruence in charismatic relationships thus
may exist to some degree from the outset of the
relationship, with the leader stressing adherence to

specific existing follower values (Strange and
Mumford, 2002), and serving as an ‘‘embodiment’’
of those values (Shamir and Howell, 1999; Sosik and
Dworakivsky, 1998). The charismatic leader presents
a vision that is congruent with the values of potential
followers, thereby increasing the likelihood that they
will be attracted to and choose to follow him or her
and accept his or her vision (Shamir et al., 1993). In
accordance with this idea, Conger (1999) and
Conger and Kanungo (1998) submit that charismatic
leaders gain commitment from followers, at least in
part, by taking into account the pre-existing values
of those followers. Shamir et al. (1993, p. 588)
concur with this point of view and state, ‘‘In most
cases, charismatic leaders do not instill totally new
value in the followers.’’ Rather, the charismatic
leader presents a vision that is value laden, and followers
find in this vision an articulation of their own
values, which they themselves may not have been
able to articulate previously.
Researchers have also proposed that social identification
processes are important in explaining the
effects of value congruence (Chatman, 1991; Grant
and Bush, 1996; Lee and Mowday, 1987). Several
researchers have suggested that charismatic leaders
exert their strongest effects on followers whose selfconcepts
are more readily activated and molded
(Howell and Shamir, 2005; Kark and Shamir, 2003;
Kets de Vries, 1988; Lord and Brown, 2001). Lord
and Brown (2001), for example, see followers’ values
and identities as fundamentally intertwined: salient
values influence the probability of activation of
specific self-identities. Since a key feature of charismatic
relationships is strong follower identification
with the leader and her vision (Tsai et al., 2009),
activation of particular values among followers
becomes critical to the charismatic leadership process.
Seen in this light, value congruence is a
byproduct of necessary attempts – whether ‘‘real’’ or
symbolic – by the charismatic leader to activate
particular values within the follower, thereby
enhancing the follower’s identification with the
espoused mission of the leader. As Shamir et al.
(1998, p. 388) put it, ‘‘…charismatic leaders, by their
verbal and symbolic behavior, raise the salience of
certain values … in followers’ self-concepts and
articulate the goals and the required efforts in terms
of those values and identities.’’ They interpret the
present and past in terms of those values, ‘‘amplify’’

values using labels, slogans, and metaphors, and link
those amplified values to expected follower behaviors
(Shamir et al., 1998).
Reference to social learning theory (Bandura,
1977) also leads to the hypothesis that there will be a
relationship between charismatic leadership and value
congruence. Bandura (1977) proposes that values
can develop and change through imitative processes
stemming from the observation of models. Such
modeling results in a convergence between the
values of the model and observer, which manifests
itself as high-value congruence. Friedrich (1961)
maintained that imitation of the leader by his or her
followers is a typical characteristic of charismatic
relationships, and later researchers (e.g., Gardner and
Avolio, 1998; Jung and Avolio, 2000; Yukl, 1999)
have likewise emphasized this process, in which the
charismatic leader’s role modeling leads to vicarious
learning of values by followers. A charismatic leader
is thus able to transform the values of her followers
(Bass, 1985; Jung and Avolio, 2000) in such a way as
to support her goals or vision. Because of their
particular attractiveness as models and heightened
influence, charismatic leaders should be expected to
exhibit more value congruence with their followers
than non-charismatic leaders. Further, Yukl (1999)
stipulates that such modeling of charismatic leaders is
particularly likely to result in internalization of their
values by followers, rather than mere imitation of
behaviors: indeed, value congruence due to such
internalization of the values of the charismatic leader
by his followers has been a key component of
charismatic leadership theory since its nascent stages
(Jung and Avolio, 2000; Shamir et al., 1993).
In short, then, processes of similarity-attraction,
social identification, and social learning all suggest that
there should be a positive relationship between value
congruence and charisma. Accordingly, we submit:
Hypothesis 1: Actual value congruence between top
management team members and their CEO is
positively associated with attributions of charisma
to the CEO by those managers.
In using the term ‘‘actual value congruence’’ we
refer to a genuine similarity between the values of
the leader and the follower. However, we also suspect
that a relationship characterized by the absence
of genuine value similarity may still result in

attributions of charisma if the follower believes that
such value congruence exists. In the next section,
therefore, we discuss the possibility that perceived
value congruence may be related to charisma.
Perceived value congruence and charismatic leadership
Drawing on the preceding theoretical framework,
we also hypothesize that ‘‘perceived’’ value congruence
– as opposed to actual value congruence –
will influence follower attributions of charisma to
their leader. While followers may not always know
precisely what the values of their leaders are, they
will tend to form impressions of these values nonetheless
(Fryxell and Enz, 1990). Some followers, for
instance, might project their own values onto their
leader (Meglino et al., 1991). These impressions,
whether accurate or not, are likely to affect their
relationship with the leader (e.g., Agle and Caldwell,
1999; Brown and Trevin˜o, 2009; Campbell et al.,
2008; Liden et al., 1997; Turban and Jones, 1988).
In essence, we assert that a genuine similarity between
the values of leader and follower need not
exist in order for a charismatic relationship to develop,
so long as the follower believes that such
similarity exists.
Enz (1988) has articulated a view of value congruence
based on the importance of the perception
of such congruence between the perceiver and a
referent other, arguing that various organizational
outcomes are a product of a ‘‘social definition’’ of
value congruence rather than an objective calculation
of congruence. Likewise, Meglino et al. (1989,
1991) posit that more pronounced congruence effects
may emerge if a manager compares their values
with their perceptions of a comparison other’s values,
rather than the comparison other’s actual values,
and Brown and Trevin˜o (2006) found perceived
value congruence measured at the group level was
related to their measure of socialized charismatic
leadership. This general idea has also garnered
empirical support in other areas of relational leadership.
Research on leader–member exchange
(LMX) theory, for example, has uncovered more
consistent evidence supporting the relationship between
various measures of perceived supervisor–
subordinate similarity and LMX relative to measures

of actual supervisor–subordinate similarity and LMX
(e.g., Engle and Lord, 1997; Green et al., 1996;
Liden et al., 1997).
Based on the above discussion of the possible
importance of congruence perceptions, we present the
following hypothesis:
Hypothesis 2: Perceived value congruence between
top management team members and their CEO is
positively related to attributions of charisma to the
CEO by those managers.
In sum, in view of the preceding evidence and the
premise that charismatic leadership is a relational
phenomenon (Campbell et al., 2008; Howell and
Shamir, 2005) based in large part on follower perceptions
(Awamleh and Gardner, 1999; Conger and
Kanungo, 1987; Hughes et al., 1999; Willner, 1984),
we postulate that both actual and perceived value
congruence will be positively associated with follower
attributions of leader charisma.
Researchers have called for greater use of multiple
research methods and established measures of organizational
values in examining values in business
research (Agle and Caldwell, 1999; Meglino et al.,
1989). In response to these calls, this research was
conducted using two studies that draw on different
samples of CEOs and their respective top management
teams, and we utilize one of the few established
scales for assessment of organizational values
(Liedtka, 1989). The samples were chosen in light of
the limited research assessing values at senior levels in
the organization and, in particular, such managers’
organizational values. In the first study, we examine
the relationship between perceived value congruence
and charismatic leadership using a direct measure
of subordinate perceptions of value congruence.
In the second study, we assess both actual and perceived
value congruence across different dimensions
of organizational values, calculating value congruence
based on CEO and top manager self-reports
concerning the importance of various organizational
values. This is in accordance with the suggestion by
Brown and Trevin˜o (2006) that researchers assess the
implications for values congruence on charismatic

leadership by administering an inventory comprising
specific values to both supervisors and their subordinates.
Study 1 provided an initial test of Hypothesis
2, concerning the relationship between
perceived value congruence and charismatic leadership,
while Study 2 was designed to test hypotheses
concerning relationships between both actual and
perceived value congruence and charismatic leadership,
using a more detailed assessment of value
congruence. Both studies were approved by relevant
ethics committees, and all subjects provided
informed consent.
Study 1
Sample and procedure
Study 1 was a simple study employed to test
Hypothesis 2, the hypothesis that perceived value
congruence is related to attributions of charisma.
Data for this study was collected as part of a larger
research effort concerning CEO leadership. The
sample for Study 1 consisted of CEOs and members
of their respective top management teams, drawn
from various organizations across the United States.
The sampling frame included three publicly available
lists of companies containing CEO information: the
Monitor Publishing Company’s Financial 1000 list,
Corporate 2000 Yellow Books, and the Society of 200, a
U.S. society of top women executives. A request to
participate was sent to 776 CEOs in total. Two
hundred fifty-five of these CEOs eventually agreed
to participate in the study. This represents a response
rate of 33%, which is significantly higher than other
studies using similar populations (Friedman and
Singh, 1989). Data from five of the 255 respondents
was not included in the final study: one of the CEOs
could not participate after agreeing to do so; names
of top management team members subordinate to
two CEOs could not be obtained; and no responses
were received from members of the top management
teams of two CEOs. Thus, the final CEO
group included 250 CEOs, comprising approximately
8% women and 92% men, with an average
tenure of 6.6 years. They represented firms averaging
55 years of age, across a broad spectrum of
After receiving agreement from the CEOs, top
management team members (n = 1925) identified

by their respective CEOs were mailed a questionnaire
which asked them to assess their CEO’s charismatic
leadership, and their perceptions of the
degree of congruence between their values and those
of their CEO. Responses were received from 1540
top management team members in total – an average
of approximately six per CEO – for a response rate
of 80%.
Perceived value congruence. Perceived value congruence
between the CEO and top management team
members was measured using a two-item scale
concerning perceived value congruence, adapted
from Mullin (1987). Top management team members
were asked to indicate their level of agreement
to the following two items using a 7-point Likert
scale (1 = ‘‘strongly disagree’’ to 7 = ‘‘strongly
agree’’): ‘‘My basic beliefs on what is important in
life are identical to my CEO’s,’’ and ‘‘I deeply believe
in the same ultimate values as my CEO does.’’
Coefficient a for this scale was 0.86.
CEO charismatic leadership. Top management team
members assessed the charismatic leadership demonstrated
by their CEOs using Agle and Sonnenfeld’s
(1994) six-item Charismatic Leadership Scale.
This measure is a refinement of a larger scale
developed by Podsakoff et al. (1990). Sample items
include: ‘‘Our Chief Executive Officer paints an
exciting picture of the future of the organization,’’
‘‘Our Chief Executive Officer is dynamic,’’ and
‘‘Our Chief Executive Officer, when communicating,
drives to motivate with every word, story, and
inflection.’’ Respondents indicated their level of
agreement with each item using a 7-point Likert
scale (1 = ‘‘strongly disagree’’ to 7 = ‘‘strongly
agree’’). Coefficient a for this scale was 0.92.
As noted, data from Study 1 were used to test
Hypothesis 2, the hypothesis that perceived value
congruence between top management team members
and their CEO is positively related to CEO
perceptions of charismatic leadership. We tested the
hypothesis using simple Ordinary Least Squares
(OLS) regression. The six-item measure of CEO
charismatic leadership was regressed on managers’
perceptions of value congruence. Results from this

analysis revealed that perceived value congruence
was significantly and positively associated with top
manager attributions of CEO charismatic leadership
(b = 0.38, p<0.01). Results from these analyses are
summarized in Table I, and provide initial support
for Hypothesis 2. We discuss the results of this study
further after reporting on Study 2.

Study 2
Sample and procedure
Study 2 was a more extensive study, conducted on a
different sample of CEOs and top managers, and
assessing value congruence using a broader range of
measurement methods. This study permitted us to
augment the results of Study 1 concerning perceived
value congruence, and also allowed us to test
Hypothesis 1, the hypothesis that actual value congruence
is positively associated with attributions of
charisma. The sample used in Study 2 consisted of
the CEOs of 79 companies and non-profit organizations
located in the United States. Respondents
were solicited from participants in four CEO conferences
held at a mid-sized university in the
southeastern United States. Questionnaires including
our measure of CEO organizational values were sent
to CEOs who had registered for any one of the
conferences. One hundred seventy-three questionnaires
were mailed, and 106 complete questionnaires
were returned, representing a response rate of 61%.
Approximately, 95% of the responding CEOs were
men, while about 5% were women.
As in Study 1, each CEO was asked to identify
members of his or her top management team.
Questionnaires were then sent to each of these top
management team members. In this survey,
respondents were asked to complete a multi dimensional

measure reporting their own values,
their perceptions of their CEO’s values, and their
perceptions of congruence between their values and
those of their CEO. They also completed the same
CEO Charismatic Leadership Scale (Agle and
Sonnenfeld, 1994) used in Study 1. Four hundred
seventy-two questionnaires were mailed to top
management team members. Two hundred sixtyseven
usable responses were returned, for a response
rate of 56%. At least one top management team
member for each CEO responded to the questionnaire
– on average 3.38 responses were received for
each. Of the responding top managers, 80% were
men, while 20% were women.
Organizational values. The assessment of perceived
and actual value congruence in this study began with
the measurement of the individual self-reported
values of all participants. Values of CEOs and the
members of their top management teams were assessed
using a slightly adapted version of Liedtka’s
(1991) survey of organizational values. The survey
included 16 organizational values such as ‘‘integrity,’’
‘‘reputation of the firm,’’ ‘‘innovation,’’
‘‘product quality,’’ ‘‘value to the community,’’ and
‘‘organizational growth,’’ 15 of which were taken
from Liedtka’s instrument. (One item, ‘‘protecting
the environment,’’ was added.) CEOs were asked to
indicate the degree to which they personally believed
that each of the organizational values should
be of great importance to a business firm. Top
management team members were asked to indicate
the degree to which each of the organizational values
was held to be of great importance to: (1) themselves
personally, and (2) their CEOs. Responses were
recorded using a 7-point Likert scale (1 = ‘‘strongly
disagree’’ to 7 = ‘‘strongly agree’’).
Factor structure of organizational values. A principal
components factor analysis using varimax rotation
was conducted to examine the latent factor structure
of the organizational values. The responses of all
top management team respondents and all CEO
respondents to the various value items were used in
the analysis, and factors with eigenvalues greater than
one were extracted. Results of the factor analysis
of the values survey instrument are reported in
Table II.

Results from our factor analysis of the organizational
values scale revealed three core factors, or
value domains. The first factor, which included the
values integrity, honesty, reputation of the firm,
customer service, innovation, and product quality,
was labeled ‘‘firm reputation.’’ The second factor,
which included value to the community, service to
the general public, and protection of the environment,
was labeled ‘‘social performance.’’ The third
factor, which comprised budget stability, stability of
the organization, profit maximization, and organizational
growth, was labeled ‘‘financial performance.’’
Value items that loaded heavily on more
than one factor were excluded from subsequent
analyses. These items included ‘‘industry leadership,’’
‘‘tolerance for diversity,’’ and ‘‘employee
welfare.’’ Cronbach’s a coefficients for the values
factors were 0.78 for firm reputation, 0.81 for social
performance, and 0.72 for financial performance,
reflecting acceptable levels of internal consistency
reliability (Nunnally, 1978).
Actual value congruence. Actual value congruence between
CEOs and their top management team
members was measured in two different ways in this
study. Both measures involved the use of |D|. |D|
is a profile similarity index calculated by taking the
sum of the absolute differences between profile

elements (e.g., between CEO and top management
team member ratings of each value) – thus lower
levels of |D| represent greater congruence between
the values of CEOs and each subordinate. |D| has
been used to represent congruence by many
researchers of organizational phenomena (Bernardin
and Alvares, 1975; Greene and Organ, 1973; Johnson
and Graen, 1973; Zalesny and Kirsch, 1989)
including value congruence in leader–subordinate
relationships (Ashkanasy and O’Connor, 1997; Engle
and Lord, 1997). Meglino and Ravlin (1998) have
advised that a profile similarity index that measures
distance between value profiles is essential
in the measurement of value congruence. While
there are some potential weaknesses associated
with using difference scores (Edwards, 1994; Johns,
1981), the appreciable levels of reliability for the
values measure used in this study minimized our
The first measure of actual value congruence
compared the self-reported values of each top
management team member to those of their CEO.
For each top management team member, |D| values
representing value congruence between himself
and his CEO were computed for each of the three
value factors. These |D| values will hereafter be
referred to with the suffix -C added to denote
‘‘CEO’’ (i.e., |D| -C).

In an effort to mitigate the effects of potential
socially desirable responding, a second measure of
actual value congruence was conceived. This measure
compared the self-reported values of each top
management team member with the values of his or
her CEO as reported by all the other members of the
top management team. In employing this measure
we are suggesting that the combined assessment of
the CEO’s values by members of his or her management
team, at least in some cases, might represent
a more accurate assessment of his or her values than
his or her own self-assessment. As with the first
measure of actual value congruence described above,
this procedure resulted in three |D| scores for each
top management team member – one for each of the
three values factors. |D| scores calculated in this
manner will hereafter be referred to with the suffix –
O, denoting ‘‘other team members’’ (i.e., |D| -O).
Perceived value congruence. Perceived value congruence
in this study was calculated in a manner similar
to that described for actual value congruence.
However, in this case, |D| scores were calculated by
comparing the self-reported values of each top
management team member to his or her perceptions
of the values of the CEO. Again, three |D| values
were calculated for each top management team
member; one corresponding to each of the three
value factors. |D| scores calculated in this manner
will hereafter be referred to with the suffix -P,
indicating ‘‘perceived congruence’’ (i.e., |D| -P).
CEO charismatic leadership. Top management team
member perceptions of CEO charismatic leadership
were assessed with the same six-item measure (Agle
and Sonnenfeld, 1994) used in Study 1. For this
sample, the Cronbach’s a for this scale was 0.81.
As noted, data from Study 2 was used to test both
hypotheses. As in Study 1, we conducted analyses
using OLS regression. The following sections describe
the results of the regression analyses used for
these hypothesis tests.
Actual value congruence and charisma. Hypothesis 1
states that actual value congruence between top
management team members and their CEO is
associated with higher attributions of charismatic

leadership to the CEO. This hypothesis was tested
first by regressing CEO charismatic leadership on
actual value congruence, as measured by |D| -C.
Second, CEO charismatic leadership was regressed
on actual value congruence as measured by |D| -O.
As shown in Table III, the regression analysis of
|D| -C failed to uncover a significant relationship
between the three values factors and charismatic
leadership (F = 0.10, p<0.05), and none of the
three value factors uniquely predicted charismatic
leadership. Thus, contrary to Hypothesis 1, these
results suggest that actual value congruence between
top management team members and their CEOs is
not significantly associated with attributions of charismatic
leadership when CEO perceptions of their
personal values are compared to top management
team member perceptions of their own values
(i.e., |D| -C).
In the second regression analysis, using other top
managers’ ratings of the CEO’s values as the measure
of CEO values, there was some support for the relationship
between actual value congruence and ratings
of CEO charismatic leadership (see Table IV). The
overall regression model was significant (F = 6.03;
p<0.001). Moreover, the |D| -O associated with
the reputation value dimension was found to have a
significant relationship with attributions of charisma,
and in the hypothesized direction (b = -0.29, t =
-3.71; p<0.001). The |D| scores associated with
the other two value dimensions (social performance
and financial performance), however, were not significantly
related to ratings of CEO charismatic
leadership. Taken together, these results measuring
actual value congruence based on other top managers’

Perceived value congruence and charisma. To cross-validate
results from Study 1 and assess Hypothesis 2 using
a more nuanced measure of organizational values, in
Study 2 we regressed CEO charismatic leadership on
our measure of perceived congruence (i.e., |D| -P)
for each of the three value dimensions. As illustrated in
Table V, congruence on the three value factors was
significantly associated with perceptions of charismatic
leadership (F = 25.01, p<0.001), explaining
22.4% of the variance in CEO charismatic leadership.
Perceived value congruence with respect to reputation
values (b = -0.32, t = -4.18, p<0.001) and

social performance values (b = -0.13, t = -2.09,
p<0.05) were both significantly associated with
managers’ perceptions of CEO charismatic leadership,
and in the predicted direction. Perceived value
congruence in terms of the social performance values
was also marginally significant in predicting
CEO charismatic leadership (b = 0.14, t = -1.90;
p<0.06). Overall, these results complement findings
from Study 1 and provide further support for
Hypothesis 2. They also suggest that perceived congruence
relating to reputation values (r2 = 0.10) may
play a particularly prominent role in the explaining
relationship between perceived value congruence and
attributions of CEO charismatic leadership.
Value congruence and charisma
Results from the two studies paint an interesting
portrait of the relationship between leader–follower
value congruence and attributions of charismatic
leadership by the follower. In Study 1, we found that
top management team members who reported that
their values were generally similar to those of their
CEO were more likely to report that their CEO
demonstrated charismatic leadership. This result
supported the hypothesis that perceived value congruence
between top managers and their CEOs is
related to attributions of charismatic leadership.
Further support for this hypothesis was obtained
from Study 2, where perceived value congruence on
two different value dimensions – reputation and
social performance – were significantly related to
CEO charismatic leadership, and perceived congruence
on a third value dimension – financial
performance – was also marginally significant in
predicting charismatic leadership perceptions. These
results are consistent with the work of Enz (1988,
1989) and others who have argued that it is the
individual’s perceptions that are critical determinants
of the effects of value congruence on work-related
attitudes and behaviors.
While our measure comparing managers’ self-reported
values to the self-reported values of their CEO
failed to support the existence of a relationship between
actual value congruence and CEO charismatic
leadership, our second method of measuring actual

value congruence (i.e., assessing CEO’s values as reported
by their top management team members as a
whole) indicated that actual value congruence may be
associated with a manager’s perceptions of charismatic
leadership for at least some values dimensions. Congruence
on reputation values, in particular, appeared
to be important in driving this relationship.
It is interesting to note that the strongest effects of
both actual and perceived value congruence emerged
with respect to values relating to reputation. This
construct reflects the extent to which managers and
CEOs value integrity and honesty in an organization
(which had the highest loadings on this factor), along
with values such as providing good customer service
and product quality. This value dimension has strong
implications for ethical management of the organization,
maintaining high performance standards, and
building a positive and ethical organizational culture,
and, based on our results, it appears that value congruence
on this dimension may be particularly
important for CEOs in gaining a commitment from
his or her top management team.
Very little research has investigated the effects of
value congruence in the upper echelons of organizations,
nor organizational values at senior levels in
the organization, despite the importance of these
values in driving leader behavior and influencing the
culture of the organization (e.g., Agle and Caldwell,
1999). Results from this research suggest that CEO–
top management team member value alignment, or
at least the perception of such congruence, is critical
to the emergence of CEO charisma. Overall, results
from this work corroborate the position of a number
of charismatic leadership researchers (e.g., Bass and
Steidlmeier, 1999; Conger and Kanungo, 1987;
Fairholm, 1991; House and Baetz, 1979; Katz and
Kahn, 1978; Klein and House, 1995; Lord and
Brown, 2001; Mullin, 1987; Shamir et al., 1993;
Shils, 1965; Trice and Beyer, 1986) who have suggested
that value congruence is a key component of
the development of a charismatic relationship. As
noted, it appears that it is the perception of value
congruence between leader and follower that is of
pivotal importance. In this respect, these findings
also embody important corroborating evidence for
the view held by several theorists that charismatic
leadership is a relational phenomenon rather than
one that is based strictly on characteristics of the
leader (Bass, 1985; Conger and Kanungo, 1987).

As highlighted by charismatic leadership theorists,
social identification processes play an important role
in determining the type of relationship a charismatic
leader may form with their followers (Jung and
Avolio, 2000; Shamir et al. 1993). Likewise, the
similarity-attraction paradigm (Byrne, 1971) proposes
that individuals will report higher levels of
attraction and be more likely to develop harmonious
interpersonal relationships with individuals who
share similar characteristics. Given the context of
this study and the focus on senior executives, one
might expect that a perception of shared organizational
values will be particularly influential in
determining the levels of attraction and commitment
of managers to the vision and leadership of
their CEO. In this vein, while previous studies have
suggested that charismatic leader behavior may be a
key precursor to the development of high-quality
leader–follower relationships (Campbell et al., 2008;
Howell and Hall-Merenda, 1999; Wang et al.,
2005), we suggest that it may well be that relationship
development is fueled through processes,
such as social identification and similarity-attraction,
which play a central role in facilitating charismatic
relationships. Future research is needed to examine
the role of these processes in mediating the effects
of charismatic leader behavior. We would also
welcome more research that investigates the role of
follower perceptions and behavior in shaping the
leader development process, and the effects of leader
and follower similarity in driving leader effectiveness.
Concerning the latter, it may be, for
instance, that in addition to the perception of
congruence on organizational values, perceived or
actual similarity with regard to other characteristics
or behaviors, such as personality or leadership style,
may influence subordinates’ perceptions of the
charismatic leadership of their supervisor. To this
end, researchers are encouraged to adopt a dyadic
perspective, and investigate both leader and follower
perceptions and behaviors – and their interplay – in
shaping the development of charismatic relationships.
Applied implications and limitations
This study offers several implications for organizational
practice. Our findings suggest that if managers

wish to benefit from the positive effects of charismatic
leadership – greater follower trust in the leader
and commitment to their vision, heightened follower
empowerment, motivation, and performance
(House, 1977; Hughes et al., 1999; Willner, 1984) –
they should cultivate the perception that their values
are similar to those of their followers. As such,
leaders need to be cognizant of the values of their
subordinates and aim to appeal to these values in
their communications and the development of their
vision. In this respect, leader development programs
should encourage efforts on the part of the leader to
familiarize themselves with their employees: in particular
their values, views, and objectives surrounding
their work, and how they think these
characteristics compare to those of their superiors
and the organization as a whole.
Findings from this research also suggest that the
beneficial consequences of charismatic relationships
may be promoted through organizational selection
and placement practices. Although representing a
shift from the traditional person-job match selection
paradigm, our findings suggest that strong charismatic
relationships may be forged if organizations
considered introducing values-based assessment tools
and measures of interpersonal fit in their selection
and placement systems. In this respect, both
researchers and practitioners should systematically
examine pragmatic implications of adopting a relationship-
based approach to employee selection
(Uhl-Bien et al., 2000).
There are specific limitations to this research that
should be noted. First, one of the shortcomings of
the profile similarity measure used in this research is
that |D| gives equal weight to differences on different
dimensions of the profile (Johns, 1981).
However, it is possible that differences on some
items from a given value dimension are of greater
importance to the prediction of attributions of
charismatic leadership than others. Future studies
should directly examine the relative importance of
items comprising each of the values dimensions
identified in this research. For example, in light of
our findings indicating that reputation values appear
to exert the strongest influence on charismatic
leadership perceptions, it may be, for example, that
value congruence relating to one’s espoused ethics
(e.g., honesty, integrity) may be particularly important
in predicting attributions of charismatic leadership

as well as other aspects of the leader–follower
Another limitation of this work stems from the
cross-sectional design of the research. As a result of
the cross-sectional nature of the data, the direction
of causality between leader–follower value congruence
and charismatic leadership was not directly
tested. In fact, charismatic leadership theorists
sometimes posit bidirectional causality: values congruence
is necessary for charismatic relationships to
develop, but, simultaneously, charismatic leaders
may be able to influence the degree of leader–
follower value congruence through efforts to alter
the values of their followers. Indeed, Brown and
Trevin˜o (2009), despite using cross-sectional data,
suggested that their results offered preliminary support
for such a conception of charisma. Future
longitudinal and/or experimental research is required
in order to derive more definitive conclusions
regarding the causal direction (or directions) of the
charisma-value congruence relationship.
A final limitation is the possibility of common
method bias, as in Study 1, the measures of charismatic
attribution and perceived values congruence
were collected from the same subject. Similarly, the
perceived value congruence measure from Study 2
employed data from a single source – the TMT
member – though other congruence measures were
calculated based on data from multiple respondents.
In his discussion of the charismatic leadership literature,
Yukl (1999) noted that there remains a great
deal of ambiguity regarding the factors that shape
followers’ attributions of charisma. To further knowledge
in this area, we have investigated the effects
of one construct that has been postulated as a key
contributor to the development of charismatic relationships
between leader and follower – value congruence.
Data from two studies of CEOs and their top
managers were used to empirically test this relationship.
In accordance with the result of Brown and
Trevin˜o (2006), perceived value congruence was
found to be a strong predictor of attributions of
charisma to CEOs by their immediate subordinates,
while there was considerably less support for the
notion that actual value congruence was a predictor of

followers’ propensities to view their leaders as charismatic.
Value congruence concerning the reputation
of the organization emerged as particularly influential
in relation to follower attributions of CEO charismatic
The present research assessed the relationship
between value congruence and charismatic leadership
in the context of dyadic relationships central to
the functioning of an organization (CEOs and their
top management team members) and cast direct
attention on organizational values – an understudied
area in the literature on values in business research.
Future studies should aim to test the relationship
between value congruence and charismatic leadership
perceptions at other levels in organizational
hierarchy, assess different types of values, and explore
the role of specific process mechanisms, such as
social identification (Howell and Shamir, 2005; Kark
and Shamir, 2003) and similarity-attraction processes
(Byrne, 1971) in mediating this relationship.

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Sefa Hayibor and Greg J. Sears
Carleton University,
Ottawa, ON, Canada
E-mail: [email protected]
Bradley R. Agle
Brigham Young University,
Provo, UT, U.S.A.
Jeffrey A. Sonnenfeld
Yale University,
New Haven, CT, U.S.A.
Andrew Ward
Lehigh University,
Bethlehem, PA, U.S.A.

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