The Interactive Effect of a Leader’s Sense of Uniqueness and Sense of Belongingness on Followers’ Perceptions of Leader Authenticity
Researchers have emphasized the value of authenticity, but not much is known about what makes a person authentic in the eyes of others. Our research takes an interpersonal perspective to examine the determinants of followers’ perceptions of leader authenticity. Building on social identity theory, we propose that two fundamental self-identifications–a leader’s sense of uniqueness and sense of belongingness–interact to influence followers’ perceptions of a leader’s authenticity via perceptions of a leader’s self-concept consistency. In a field study conducted among leader–follower dyads and in a controlled laboratory experiment, we find that when a leader feels a low sense of belongingness, there is a positive relationship between a leader’s sense of uniqueness and perceptions of leader authenticity. When a leader feels a low sense of uniqueness, there is a positive relationship between a leader’s sense of belongingness and perceptions of leader authenticity. This is because followers perceive this leader as having high self-concept consistency.
KeywordsSense of belongingness Sense of uniqueness Perceived leader authenticity Self-concept consistency Social identity theory
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the studies.
- Aiken, L. S., West, S. G., & Reno, R. R. (1991). Multiple regression: Testing and interpreting interactions. Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
- Antonakis, J., Bendahan, S., Jacquart, P., & Lalive, R. (2014). Causality and endogeneity: Problems and solutions. The Oxford handbook of leadership and organizations, 1, 93–117.Google Scholar
- Baumeister, R. F. (1991). Meanings of life. New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
- English, T. (2009). Emotional suppression and social functioning in young and older adults. Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences and Engineering, 69, 5830.Google Scholar
- Gardner, W. L., & Cogliser, C. C. (2008). Can a leader be “true to the self” and socially skilled? The paradox of leader authenticity and behavioral flexibility. In D. Barry & H. Hansen (Eds.) The Sage handbook of new approaches in management and organization. 93–94.Google Scholar
- Goldman, B. M., & Kernis, M. H. (2002). The role of authenticity in healthy psychological functioning and subjective well-being. Annals of the American Psychotherapy Association, 5(6), 18–20.Google Scholar
- Harter, S. (2002). Authenticity. In C. R. Snyder & S. Lopez (Eds.), Handbook of positive psychology (pp. 382–394). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Haslam, S. A. (2004). Psychology in organizations. Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
- Hayes, A. F. (2012). PROCESS: A versatile computational tool for observed variable mediation, moderation, and conditional process modeling [White paper]. Retrieved from http://www.afhayes.com/public/process2012.pdf.
- Hayes, A. F. (2013). Introduction to mediation, moderation, and conditional process analysis: A regression-based approach. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
- Henney, M. (2017). Hillary Clinton comes across as ‘robotic’ in new memoir, says former Trump surrogate. Retried from http://www.foxbusiness.com/politics/2017/08/24/hillary-clinton-comes-across-as-robotic-in-new-memoir-says-former-trump-surrogate.html.
- Hofstede, G. (2003). Culture’s consequences: Comparing values, behaviors, institutions and organizations across nations. Thousand Oaks: Sage publications.Google Scholar
- Hoyle, R. H., Kernis, M. H., Leary, M. R., & Baldwin, M. W. (1999). Selfhood: Identity, esteem, regulation. Boulder: Westview Press.Google Scholar
- Ibarra, H. (2015). The authenticity paradox. Harvard Business Review, 93(1/2), 53–59.Google Scholar
- Johnson, P. O., & Neyman, J. (1936). Tests of certain linear hypotheses and their application to some educational problems. Statistical research memoirs;, 1, 57–93.Google Scholar
- Koole, S. L., & Kuhl, J. (2003). In search of the real self: A functional perspective on optimal self-esteem and authenticity. Psychological Inquiry, 14(1), 43–48.Google Scholar
- Postmes, T., & Jetten, J. (Eds.). (2006). Individuality and the group: Advances in social identity. Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
- Pratt, M. G. (1998). Central questions in organizational identification. In Identity in organizations (pp. 171–207). Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
- Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2002). On assimilating identities to the self: A self-determination theory perspective on internalization and integrity within cultures. In M. R. Leary & J. P. Tangney (Eds.), Handbook of self and identity (pp. 255–273). New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
- Schlenker, B. R. (1985). Identity and self-identification. The self and social life, 65, 99.Google Scholar
- Selenta, C., & Lord, R. G. (2005). Development of the levels of self-concept scale: Measuring the individual, relational, and collective levels. Unpublished manuscript..Google Scholar
- Sheldon, K. M., Ryan, R. M., Rawsthorne, L. J., & Ilardi, B. (1997). Trait self and true self: Cross-role variation in the Big-Five personality traits and its relations with psychological authenticity and subjective well-being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 73, 6), 1380.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Tajfel, H., & Turner, J. C. (1979). An integrative theory of intergroup conflict. The Social Psychology of Intergroup Relations, 33(47), 74.Google Scholar
- Wallach, M. A., & Wallach, L. (1983). Psychology’s sanction for selfishness: The error of egoism in theory and therapy. San Francisco: Freeman.Google Scholar
- Whalen, B. (2016). Why Hillary Clinton Can’t Win In 2016. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/billwhalen/2016/02/19/even-when-she-doesnt-lose-hillary-clinton-cant-win/#48abfdf32f81.