Managing Dreams and Ambitions: A Psychological Analysis of Vision Communication



The communication of inspiring visions is arguably the sine qua non of change-oriented leadership. Visions are images of the future. Vision communication refers to the expression of a vision with the aim of convincing others (usually followers) that the vision is valid. Despite the fact that the merits of vision communication are widely acknowledged, research in vision communication is scarce and unable to explain comprehensively how and when leaders are able to inspire followers through the communication of visions. In this dissertation I set out to answer the question ‘How can vision communication affect follower (intrinsic) motivation and subsequent behavior?’

The key insight of this dissertation is that, if vision communication stimulates followers to create future images of themselves based on a vision (so called possible selves), it may subsequently cause them to be more intrinsically motivated to make this vision reality. In this dissertation I develop a theoretical framework for the role of possible selves of followers in visionary leadership. Furthermore, I present  the results of several experimental studies that investigate hypotheses derived from this framework. Ultimately, I identify various ways in which leader vision communication might positively influence follower motivation.

Download PhD thesis (available after PhD defense)
Contact information:
Olga Novikova