Isopraxis Leadership: Leader Confidence, Managerial Strategy, and Organizational Performance

Kenneth J. Meier, Laurence J. O’Toole, Jr.


Attention has been given to the notion that organizational leaders’ expressed confidence and optimism regarding their organizations’ performance can affect that performance by increasing the motivation and/or self-efficacy of subordinates. This idea, a part of various leadership theories, we call “isopraxis leadership.” This paper examines the logic of the claim, reviews and critiques extant evidence, develops a measure of leader confidence (the starting point for isopraxis leadership), undertakes initial validation of the measure, and then tests for the link between leader confidence and performance among several hundred public organizations. Leader confidence is found to be largely unrelated to performance; some evidence indicates that it can help only for those organizations that are already doing well or have more resources than average – that is, where it is least needed.


Isopraxis Leadership;Leader Confidence;Management;Organizational Performance

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Chinese Public Administration Review (ISSN 1539-6754, Online ISSN 2573-1483)  is published by the School of Public Affairs and Administration at Rutgers University-Newark.