When Leaders Have Character: Need for Leadership, Performance, and the Attribution of Leadership

  • de Vries R
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This study examined the effects of departmental performance and employees’ need for leadership on respondent’s perceptions of leader effectiveness, leadership traits, and prototypicality of the leader. A sample of 150 Dutch University students participated in a 2 × 2 plus control-group design. Results show that both need for leadership and performance manipulations have an effect on the perceived effective- ness and goal orientation of the leader. These effects are elaborated by an interaction effect. In the strong need for leadership and high perfor- mance condition the leader’s perceived effectiveness and goal orienta- tion were disproportionately higher than in the other conditions. How- ever, only a main effect of need for leadership occurred on perceived leader’s support orientation. The leader was perceived as more support- ive in the strong than in the weak need for leadership condition. Results are discussed in light of the “romance of leadership” theory (Meindl, Ehrlich, and Dukerich, 1985) and compared with findings from field studies

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  • Reinout de Vries

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