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Are leaders smarter or do they just seem that way? Exploring perceived intellectual competence and leadership emergence

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Abstract

Both intelligence (Bass, 1990) and self-monitoring (Cronshaw & Ellis, 1991) have been shown to be strong individual predictors of leadership emergence in small groups. The present study proposed a potential mediator in the leadership emergence process. Specifically, it was hypothesized that perceived intellectual competence would mediate the emergent leadership process. Undergraduate business students (N = 347) from a large mid-western university participated in an academic assessment center in conjunction with an organizational behavior course. Findings indicated that the proposed model fits the data quite well and mediator analysis demonstrated that the perception of intellectual competence might be an important mechanism for leadership attainment in small groups.
... Adding the intelligence and physical attractiveness pathways allowed us to analyze whether the effects of narcissism on leadership emergence would remain meaningful beyond additional attributes of prototypical leaders (Lord et al., 1984;Offermann et al., 1994) that have consistently been found to predict leadership emergence (Ensari et al., 2011;Hochschild Jr. & Borch, 2011;Judge et al., 2004;Lord et al., 1986;Poutvaara, 2014). Even though narcissism was found to be unrelated to intelligence (O'Boyle et al., 2013), narcissists tend to be seen as intelligent in group discussions (Paulhus, 1998), which may be due to agentic narcissism and which might to some extent explain why they emerge as leaders (see also Rubin et al., 2002). Narcissism was found to be positively related to observer-rated attractiveness (Holtzman & Strube, 2010), which may be due to agentic narcissism Dufner et al., 2013;Weber et al., 2019) and which might be another reason for why they emerge as leaders. ...
... Indeed, even though we found that being seen as intelligent was a unique predictor of leadership emergence, the intelligence pathway was not meaningful in the context of the other pathways. Consequently, it might be more important to appear intelligent than to actually be intelligent in order to emerge as leader (see Rubin et al., 2002). ...
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Narcissists successfully emerge as leaders. However, the processes by which this occurs are mostly unknown. Following a dual-pathway approach and differentiating between agentic (narcissistic admiration) and antagonistic (narcissistic rivalry) narcissism, we investigated the behavioral processes underlying narcissists’ leadership emergence in social groups. We applied data from a multimethodological laboratory study ( N = 311) comprising three groups of variables: personality traits, expressed interaction behaviors, and interpersonal perceptions. Prior to the laboratory sessions, participants provided self-reported answers to various narcissism measures. Interpersonal perceptions were obtained from round-robin ratings after participants completed the Lost on the Moon task in small groups. Participants’ behaviors during the group discussion were videotaped and coded by trained raters. Results supported the notion of a pathway from agentic narcissism to leadership (measured as target effects of being seen as a leader) determined by narcissistic admiration, dominant-expressive behavior, and being seen as assertive. To clarify narcissism’s relationship to leadership emergence, the effects were (a) contrasted with narcissism’s effects on popularity and (b) set in relation to process pathways leading from intelligence and physical attractiveness to leadership. The findings underscore the benefits of a behavioral pathway approach for unravelling the impact of narcissism on leadership emergence.
... Research on leadership emergence has investigated the factors that make someone in a group more likely to be perceived as leader-like (Judge et al., 2002). Among these factors, leadership emergence was strongly associated with general mental ability (Ilies et al., 2004;Reitan & Stenberg, 2019;Rubin et al., 2002;Taggar et al., 1999), as well as with emotional intelligence, while controlling for cognitive intelligence, personality traits and gender (Côté et al., 2010). In light of these results, humor might be considered an important predictor for leadership emergence because effective humor production is perceived as an indicator of intelligence and mental fitness in humans (Greengross & Miller, 2011;Howrigan & MacDonald, 2008). ...
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Humor can be a powerful tool for increasing one’s status in a group and influencing others. Given that past research has indicated that the use of humor by a woman might harm her potential of advancing in the workplace, we examine the joint effect of humor style and gender on the likelihood of being perceived as a leader. Using a within-subjects vignette experiment, we collected data from 148 participants, with 73% being female, and an average age of 33.2 years old (SD = 9.8). We found that people using affiliative humor had a higher perceived chance of emerging as leaders compared to those using aggressive humor and gender itself did not have a significant effect on leadership emergence. Contrary to our expectations, the affiliative-aggressive humor discrepancy in leadership emergence was higher for men rather than women. These results are aligned with expectancy violation hypothesis pointing to a distinctiveness effect of incongruent role behaviors such that men tend to receive more credit for affiliative humor, while women tend to be penalized less for using aggressive humor in groups. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.
... In their study of student leadership, Rubin, Bartels, and Bommer (2002) found that perceived intellectual competence of a student leader was associated with group recognition of the student as a leader, but that recognition was not significantly affected by whether the student was intellectually more advanced than the group or simply perceived as such. Our study upheld this finding since only 10 percent of the 43 facilitators cited academic expertise as a source of leader identity. ...
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This qualitative study at the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities, USA, investigated leader identity emergence of study group facilitators. There is a gap in the professional literature regarding study group programs and identity emergence of the student paraprofessionals who facilitate the study sessions. This study built upon previous studies of identity formation by integrating educational theories that help explain the changes that occurred. Peer study group programs are powerful co-curricular experiences. This study provided answers to why and how identity emergence occurs. The Leader Identity Development Model for peer study group facilitators was developed based on the findings from this study and other experiences with study group leaders over the past three decades by David Arendale to help predict this change and the experiences that supported identity formation. Among those catalysts were written reflections by the study group leaders throughout the academic term on what they learned about themselves and about their conversations with other study leaders and the study group program manager. Implications are provided that explain how peer programs can become a more transformative learning ecosystem. Peer learning programs present an untapped personal and professional development opportunity for student leaders that would be even more powerful if it were intentional rather than serendipitous.
... This allows for a deeper understanding of the personal qualities that help team members to emerge not only in the leader role, but also in the follower role which is required for shared leadership. Furthermore, the focus on political skill adds to the scope of the emergent leadership literature, which to date has rarely considered social skills such as political abilities (Acton et al., 2019), but rather focused on individual attributes and abilities such as self-monitoring (Dobbins et al., 1990) and cognitive ability (Rubin et al., 2002), as well as demographic factors such as gender (Badura et al., 2018), nationality (Paunova, 2015), and personality (Ensari et al., 2011). In addition, the focus of our analysis contributes to the political skill literature by adopting a network perspective (Scott et al., 2018) on the concept which opens a new line of research beyond the impact of political skill on formal leaders' emergence and effectiveness (Kimura, 2015). ...
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Shared leadership is not only about individual team members engaging in leadership, but also about team members adopting the complementary follower role. However, the question of what enables team members to fill in each of these roles and the corresponding influence of formal leaders have remained largely unexplored. Using a social network perspective allows us to predict both leadership and followership ties between team members based on considerations of implicit leadership and followership theories. From this social information processing perspective, we identify individual team members' political skill and the formal leaders' empowering leadership as important qualities that facilitate the adoption of each the leader and the follower role. Results from a social network analysis in a R&D department with 305 realized leadership ties support most of our hypotheses.
... Despite the expected linkage between intelligence and emergent leadership, in reality the findings have been more mixed. That is, a relatively large number of studies have indicated that intelligence can be beneficial (25 studies; e.g., Rubin et al., 2002) or irrelevant (19 studies; e.g., to one's ascendance into formal and informal leader positions. Accordingly, there remains an unexplored paradox that intelligence has the potential to both enhance and be irrelevant to one's chances of emerging as a leader in an organization. ...
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Despite significant scholarly attention and practical importance regarding who emerges as informal and formal leaders in organizations, an integrative framework of the leadership emergence literature remains elusive. The presence of such a framework proves integral for the advancement of work in this area due to the complexity of the field, coupled with its sprawling nature across multiple disciplines (e.g., management, communication, education, economics). Accordingly, in this review, we utilize a database of 270 primary studies to put forth a distal-proximal framework of leadership emergence. In particular, we systematically review past research to answer four questions: (1) what do we know about the phenomenon of leadership emergence itself, (2) what are the antecedents of leadership emergence, (3) what outcomes are associated with leader emergence, and (4) what are the boundary conditions of leadership emergence? By introducing a conceptual framework for informal and formal emergent leadership, we highlight areas of research maturity and nascency and offer several recommendations for future work in this domain. Altogether, we highlight broad theoretical implications for the leadership, teams, and individual differences literature-and elaborate upon several benefits that an integrated framework of emergent leadership provides for organizations. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).
... According to the research on implicit leadership theories, leaders are judged as effective when they match the schematic representations of leadership held by followers, and being competent typically provides an essential component of such schemas about what the leader should be like (Offermann et al., 1994). Yammarino and Dubinsky (1994) discovered that the effects of TFL vary by competence-related factors, such as dependability (Cheng & Jen, 2005), communication competence (Flauto, 1999), and intellectual capacity (Rubin et al., 2002). ...
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This study coupled the theory of uncertainty management (TUM) with the notion of transformational leadership (TFL) to examine how the uncertainty over the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies affects employees. SEM analyses with two-wave data collected in Japan (N = 1318 employee–supervisor dyads) revealed that uncertainty is negatively associated and TFL is positively associated with employees’ job performance. In addition, consistent with TUM, the digital literacy of leaders was found to moderate the effects of TFL such that the positive association between TFL and job performance disappeared when employees simultaneously feel high uncertainty and find supervisors low on digital literacy. These findings are discussed with reference to the relevant literature.
... Even more important, however, are the findings showing that perceived intelligence is a stronger predictor of leadership emergence than objective intelligence (i.e., Judge et al. 2004). Rubin, Bartels, and Bommer (2002) showed that perceived intelligence mediates the effects of objective intelligence on leadership emergence. These findings are important, as they suggest that individuals are more likely to be given leadership positions when others, especially those charged with the responsibility for leader selection decisions, perceive them to be higher in terms of cognitive skills and intellectual abilities. ...
... Maybe intelligent people know about the positive image they project onto others and they are also the ones who perform well in public speaking. Research shows that more intelligent individuals emerge more easily as leaders (e.g., Judge, Colbert, & Ilies, 2004;Rubin, Bartels, & Bommer, 2002), probably also because they convey a positive image. ...
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In an evaluative context, does the impression we think we convey to others matter, such that the more positive we think the impression conveyed is, the better we perform? Does this belief need to be accurate to perform better? We investigate the role of meta-perception and meta-accuracy in a public speaking context by asking participants to deliver a speech in front of an audience in virtual reality. Main results showed that participants’ meta-perception (i.e., how positive they think the audience perceives them) was positively associated to their performance above and beyond other-perception (i.e., how the audience actually perceives them). Results also revealed that performance increased as scores of meta-perception and other-perception increased together (i.e., meta-accuracy), up to a certain threshold.
Chapter
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List of Tables. List of Figures. Acknowledgements. Series Editor's Introduction. Part I: Leadership and Information Processing. Part II: Perceptual and Social Processes. Part III: Leadership and Organizational Performance. Part IV: Satbility, Change, and Information Processing. Bibliography. About the Authors. Index.
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The research described here was directed toward furthering our understanding of the antecedents of leadership emergence in groups. Kenny and Zaccaro (1983) have recently speculated that individuals who emerge as leaders may be able to perceive the needs of their group and pattern their own behavior accordingly. Past research strongly supports the notion that individuals who are high self-monitors possess skills corresponding to both these characteristics. Thus the present research examined the relationship between self-monitoring and leadership emergence in a long-term field study of natural groups. The expectation that high self-monitoring would be associated with leadership emergence received strong support. The implications of these results for furthering our understanding of the nature of self-monitoring and leadership are discussed.
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Conceptualizing the relationship between self-monitoring and leader emergence as a process suggests that high self-monitors are able to evaluate cognitively their situations to determine the behaviors necessary to emerge as leaders Having identified these behaviors, the individuals may act in a way that could lead others to perceive them as leaders. To test this, two studies were conducted. The first study used self-report data on self-monitoring and leader emergence obtained from 120 undergraduate business students. Analyses indicated that high self-monitors were more likely to report a propensity to emerge in leadership roles when in group situations. The second study extended the investigation by evaluating the perceptions of all group members concerning who emerged as the leader in group activities. Data on self-monitoring and both self and other perceptions of leader emergence were gathered from 116 undergraduate business students. Results of this study support the findings of Study 1 on self-perceptions but suggest that self-monitoring may not be directly related to actual perceptions of leadership by others. These findings provide additional understanding of the previously established relationship between self-monitoring and leader emergence as perceived by others.