The motivating power of visions

Head of the project:

Prof. Dr. Hugo M. Kehr, Dipl. Psych. Susanne Steiner

Project collaborators:

Dipl.-Psych. Alexandra Strasser

Description of the project:

The research project investigates the motivational power of individual and corporate visions. Visions are defined as idealised mental pictures of the future (Conger, 1999) representing shared values (Rafferty & Griffin, 2004). Current leadership theories view visions as a core component of charismatic and transformational leadership (e. g., Bass, 1990; Conger, 1991; Conger & Kanugo, 1987; Kirkpatrick & Locke, 1996; Tichy & Devanna, 1986). The creation and effective communication of a viable vision is expected to promote follower motivation (Bass, 1985; Strange & Mumford, 2005). However, there is a lack of empirical research on the motivational effects of visions and, most notably, on its underlying motivational processes.
We assume that visions are effective by arousing implicit motives. This is based on McClelland`s dual system approach to motivation (McClelland, Koestner & Weinberger, 1989) and the assumption that implicit motives are associated with pictorial representations (Atkinson, 1958; Murray, 1943; Schultheiss, 2001).
In sum, the present research project aims to:

  • supply empirical evidence for the motivational power of visions

  • clarify the underlying mechanisms and conditions

  • examine the motivational effects of visions on behavior, task-performance, creativity, subjective well-being, and affective commitment

We plan to realise this with two experiments and a field-stud

Promoted by:

Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)