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Stuck in the past? Leader past cultural experience and its influences on group culture and outcome

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Original languageEnglish
Article number18306
JournalAcademy of Management Proceedings
Issue number1
Early online date9 Jul 2018
Publication statusPublished - 30 Aug 2018


The extant research on the antecedents of cultures posits that cultures result from internal and external changes (the functionality perspective of cultures) or leader idiosyncrasies (the leadership perspective of cultures). The current research seeks to integrate the two perspectives to propose another important, yet neglected, antecedent of cultures: a leader’s past cultural experience. Specifically, we theorize that group leaders transfer cultures from their former groups to the current groups, essentially enacting cultures on the basis of their past cultural experiences. Two studies, one in the field (Study 1) and one in the laboratory (Study 2), find that the current groups’ levels of cultural tightness are predicted by leaders’ experience with cultural tightness in their former groups in which they were followers. In addition, the transferred cultural tightness from the leaders’ former groups to the current groups in turn influences negative (counterproductive work behavior) and positive (promotive and prohibitive voice) forms of group deviance. The theoretical and managerial implications for the leadership and the culture literatures are discussed.

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