A Dyadic Approach to Leadership Emergence

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Virginia Tech

Leadership emergence is best conceptualized as a complex, multi-level process arising from the dynamic interplay of all elements in the process: group members, relations, and context (Day, 2014). This study seeks to simultaneously examine to the role of each in the leadership emergence process by assessing leader and follower traits, their trait similarity, task, behaviors, and the network itself. Using a rotation design, 99 cadets in groups of three completed four tasks with alternating partners and subsequently provided sociometric ratings of each of their group members. Data was analyzed using Exponential Random Graph Modeling, which controls for endogenous group effects. In general, there was a tendency toward nominating others as leaders. High scores on dominance and intelligence predicted leadership emergence, and low scores on dominance predicted follower emergence. The type of task did not affect leadership emergence. Perceived leader behavior unexpectedly reduced the likelihood of nominating another as a leader. Results from this study highlight the importance of studying all components of leadership process and are once step closer toward doing so completely and accurately.

personality, process, ERGM, social networks, follower, leader