Individual Differences and Leader Emergence in a Transformational Context: An Examination of Person and Process


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Virginia Tech


The primary purpose of this research was to extend current knowledge of the individual differences that are traditionally associated with leadership emergence and to determine whether the individuals characterized by individual differences attributed to transformational leaders were also likely to emerge as a leader in a leaderless group. Leadership behaviors and followers' perceptions of emergent leadership of individuals with Ross and Offermann's (1997) enabling and forceful personality patterns were examined in an emergence setting that facilitates transformational leadership. A secondary purpose of this research was to further our knowledge of the process of leadership. The leadership process defined by Lord and his associates (Lord, Fot & Phillips, 1982; Lord, Foti & DeVader., 1984) was expanded to include relevant elements of Mischel's theory of personality (Mischel, 1999). The contextual influence of the task situation and feedback from others were examined. Individuals did not differ on transformational leadership behavior, but forceful individuals did exhibit a greater proportion of initiating structure behaviors than other individuals and were rated highest on leadership. In addition, there was no evidence of changes in the leadership process due to feedback based on the perceptions of others. Limitations and implications for future research are discussed.



Leadership Emergence, Transformational Leadership, Pattern Approach, Leadership Process