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Leadership as an emergent group process: A social network study of personality and leadership

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    Rights statement: © Emery, C., Calvard, T. S., & Pierce, M. E. (2013). Leadership as an emergent group process: A social network study of personality and leadership. Group Processes and Intergroup Relations, 16(1), 28-45. 10.1177/1368430212461835

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28-45
Number of pages18
JournalGroup Processes and Intergroup Relations
Volume16
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2013

Abstract

A longitudinal study was conducted on the social network of a leaderless group to explore how Big Five personality traits affect leadership emergence, in the form of receiver ties (being nominated as a leader), sender ties (nominating others as leaders), and similarity effects (nominating similar/different others as leaders). Forty one students on a 3-month study abroad program participated in intensive group work, and their perceptions of emergent task- and relationship-oriented leadership within these groups were assessed three times across the life cycle of the group. Results indicated that individuals scoring higher on extraversion, openness to experience, and conscientiousness were nominated more as task- and relationship-oriented leaders, whereas those who were more agreeable were more likely to emerge as relationship-oriented leaders. In terms of emergent followership, group members who were more agreeable and neurotic (and less open to experience) were less likely to follow relationship-oriented leaders, whereas more conscientious individuals were more likely to follow task-oriented leaders. With respect to the effects of complementarity and similarity, both task- and relationship-oriented leader nominations were based on dissimilar levels of agreeableness between leaders and followers, whereas nominated relationship-based leaders tended to have similar levels of openness to experience to followers. Implications of these results are discussed.

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