An empirical assessment of the loose-tight leadership model: Quantitative and qualitative analyses

Abraham Sagie, Nurit Zaidman, Yair Amichai-Hamburger, Dov Te'eni, David G. Schwartz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


Using questionnaire and interview data, this study attempted to find out whether the organizational loose (participative) and tight (directive) practices are compatible with or contradict each other. Using the theoretical framework of Sagie's (1997) loose-tight leadership approach, our hypotheses concerned the effects of both practices on the employee's work-related attitudes, and the mediating role of two variables, cognitive (information sharing) and motivational (exerting effort), in these effects. Data were analysed using two methodological approaches, quantitative and qualitative. Based on a quantitative analysis of the questionnaires given to 101 professional employees of a textile company, partial support was provided for the study hypotheses. A qualitative analysis of in-depth, semi-structured interviews with all the employees (n = 20) in one of the company divisions led to similar conclusions. Specifically, we found that although the loose and tight practices affected work attitudes, the interviewees attributed more impact to the tight practice. In addition, none of the study variables mediated the loose impact on attitudes, whereas information sharing (but not exerting effort) mediated the influence of tight practice. Finally, the qualitative analysis revealed a deeper insight into the nature of both leader practices and their possible integration in the decision-making processes in organizations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)303-320
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Organizational Behavior
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2002


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