On Being a Leader

“The Reciprocal Effects of Self-View as a Leader and Leadership Emergence” by Cécile Emery, University of Lugano, Lugano, Switzerland, Kim Daniloski , Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, and Anne Hamby , Virginia Tech, Blacksburg was published in Small Group Research Online First a few weeks ago. The authors have taken time to give us some background about this article:

Who is the target audience for this article?

This article may be of interest to a diverse audience, as it covers a topic of relevance to management, leadership, and social psychology scholars and practitioners alike: how social identity affects leadership emergence and how leadership emergence shapes social identity.

What Inspired You To Be Interested In This Topic?

We realized practitioners and scholars often assume an individual’s self-view as a leader facilitates leadership emergence, but there is no empirical evidence of this effect. We saw an opportunity to make a contribution to the literature by investigating how leadership emergence and self-view as a leader co-evolve over time using a longitudinal analysis of social networks.

Were There Findings That Were Surprising To You?

We expected a strong reciprocal relationship between self-view of leadership and leadership emergence. We expected leader identity and leadership emergence to mutually reinforce each other and become stronger over time. We found mixed evidence for the hypothesis, which we believe may be connected to characteristics of our sample.

How Do You See This Study Influencing Future Research And/Or Practice?

This study is only a first step to better understand the co-evolution of self-view as a leader and leadership emergence. The article opens doors to new investigations of complex questions on the simultaneous roles of leaders’ and followers’ values and identities in leadership emergence. Practitioners attempting to foster leadership emergence can benefit from this enriched perspective on the process.

How Does This Study Fit Into Your Body Of Work/Line Of Research?

This study combined our respective research interests and backgrounds. The three of us have interests in the emergence of leaders, the social construction of identity, and social networks.

How Did Your Paper Change During The Review Process?

The reviewers’ comments were very encouraging and positive. They helped us be more critical of our study, its limitations, and its potential.

What, If Anything, Would You Do Differently If You Could Go Back And Do This Study Again?

If possible, we would run this study in an organizational context. As our discussion suggests, we believe it is important to study the reciprocal effects of self-view as a leader and leadership emergence in a real-world organization. A longer time frame would also be helpful in allowing us to draw stronger conclusions.

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