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Inclined but less skilled? Disentangling extraversion, communication skill, and leadership emergence.

Authors
  • Mitchell, Tyree1
  • Lemoine, G James2
  • Lee, Diana3
  • 1 School of Leadership and Human Resource Development.
  • 2 School of Management.
  • 3 Management Department.
Type
Published Article
Journal
The Journal of applied psychology
Publication Date
Sep 01, 2022
Volume
107
Issue
9
Pages
1524–1542
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1037/apl0000962
PMID: 34618518
Source
Medline
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

Individual extraversion is considered to be one of the most consistent predictors of leadership emergence according to meta-analytic support, but inconsistent empirical results indicate that their relationship may be more nuanced than scholars have concluded. We propose two key reasons for why the extraversion-emergence relationship has yielded inconsistent results. First, we challenge one of the fundamental theoretical assumptions regarding why extraverts emerge as leaders, namely, that extraverts have high levels of communication skill. Drawing on the personality literature, we argue that rather than being inextricably linked to extraversion, communication skill not only plays a separate role but also may determine when extraversion relates to emergence. Second, we test a multilevel model accounting for the team context by proposing in alignment with the social identity model of leadership that a team's overall level of extraversion impacts the team's leadership prototypes and thus the importance of extraversion and communication skill for leadership emergence. We test our hypotheses across two studies in assessment center contexts. We find broad support for our multilevel model and show that extraversion's effects may be much more conditional than previously assumed, whereas communication skill may be a more promising explanatory factor. Thus, we provide a more complete understanding of why and when interpersonal characteristics relate to leadership emergence. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved).

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