Emergence of Leadership: Predicting Leadership Initiative and its Success from Individual Traits, Motives, and Characteristics
von Johanna Prüfer
Datum der mündl. Prüfung:2019-05-22
Betreuer:Prof. Dr. Stefan, Schulz-Hardt
Gutachter:Prof. Dr. Andreas, Mojzisch
Gutachter:Dr. Dietmar Zinner
EnglischResearch within the trait-oriented approach to leadership has focused more on leader effectiveness and less so on the emergence of leadership. Furthermore, most studies in the latter tradition have relied on self-descriptions or follower ratings of leadership emergence, which allowed for possible confounds with implicit leadership theories. In the present research, we propose a new approach to emergence of leadership by differentiating between leadership initiative, on the one hand, and its success in attracting followers, on the other hand. We test this approach by using strictly behavioral measures of both components in a laboratory setting. In two large studies, we aim at identifying inter-individual differences to predict these two components with predictors already known from the literature, like extraversion, as well as new predictors, like testosterone. In Study 1, N = 392 students took part in two laboratory sessions. During the first session, we collected data on most of the predictor variables. In the second session, participants worked on different estimation tasks (e.g., estimating a person's body height) in ad-hoc groups of four. In Study 2, N = 380 students completed the first session online. In the second session, they worked in ad-hoc groups of four on wilderness survival tasks (e.g., deciding on how to cross a river) in the laboratory. In both studies, participants either worked in mixed-gender, male-only, or female- only groups. Analyses aggregating data from both studies suggest that extraversion and participant's self-reported subjective competence robustly predict leadership initiative but not its success, while general intelligence predicts both components of leadership emergence. While the effects of differences in extraversion and general intelligence on leadership initiative are consistent with previous research, we were unable to replicate previously reported effects of other inter-individual differences (e.g., narcissism) on emergence of leadership. Based on our findings, we discuss implications and future research questions.
Keywords: Emergence of Leadership