Perceptual Disconnects in Leadership Emergence: An Integrated Examination of the Role of Trait Configurations, Dyadic Relationships, and Social Influence




Holland, Samantha Jean

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The purpose of the present study is to examine the phenomenon of perceptual disconnects in informal leadership emergence and explore their antecedents and group-level consequences. Although leadership is typically recognized to be a dyadic relationship dependent on the beliefs and perspectives of both leaders and followers, informal leadership emergence is traditionally measured solely from follower perceptions. This practice effectively obscures the opportunity to detect disconnects in leadership perceptions and assess the possible ramifications of these misalignments on group outcomes. I use a social network framework to distinguish among three possible types of leadership by the type of perceptual alignment between leaders and followers: connected, unrequited, and unrecognized leadership. I use exponential random graph models (ERGMs) to simultaneously examine predictors of these alignments – or misalignments – across multiple levels of influence. Results from a sample of student project teams indicate between- and within-person trait patterns, existing non-leadership relationships, and social influences within teams each contribute uniquely to predicting connected versus unrequited leadership relationships amongst members. Discussion focuses on the need for more dyadic study of leadership phenomenon and the role of complex trait patterns in leadership.



Psychology, Leadership, Perceptual disconnects, Personality, Social network analysis, Teams