Motivating Language: Exploring Theory with Scale Development

Mayfield, Jacqueline; Mayfield, Milton; Kopf, Jerry
October 1995
Journal of Business Communication;Oct98, Vol. 32 Issue 4, p329
Academic Journal
Traditional conceptualizations of leader-worker oral communication have been unidimensional among management theorists (Yukl, 1989). Despite urgings by academics and managers for more research, little investigation has been conducted into the specific roles that language plays in strategically transmitting leader behavior. In response, recent leadership theory has called for more sophisticated models to explain leader-worker communication processes, their relationships with desirable outcomes, and potential areas for improvement (Conger, 1991; Daft & Wiginton, 1979; Fairhurst & Chandler, 1989;Jablin, 1985; Jablin & Krone, 1994; Scandura & Graen, 1984; Sullivan, 1988; Waldron, 1991). The present study addresses this need in two ways; first by developing the motivating language scale, and then by testing it for reliability and validity. This scale is based on motivating language theory (MLT) (Sullivan, 1988), which proposes that strategic managerial application of all three speech acts will have a significant and positive effect on employee performance and process outcomes. Research implications and future directions are also discussed.


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