When Leader Emotional Displays Conflict with Follower Social-Relational Goals

30 Pages Posted: 24 Oct 2009 Last revised: 4 Nov 2009

See all articles by Gerben A. van Kleef

Gerben A. van Kleef

University of Amsterdam - Department of Psychology

Astrid C. Homan

University of Amsterdam - Department of Work and Organizational Psychology

Bianca Beersma

University of Amsterdam

D.L. van Knippenberg

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR)

Barbara Wisse

University of Groningen

Date Written: October 14, 2009

Abstract

Followers sometimes perform better when their leader expresses anger and sometimes when the leader expresses happiness. We propose that this inconsistency can be solved by considering potential conflict between leader emotions and follower social-relational goals, operationalized in terms of agreeableness. Happiness facilitates affiliation and social connection - states that are also associated with agreeableness. Anger, in contrast, is associated with hostility and conflict - states that are opposite to agreeable individuals' goals. We hypothesized that leader emotional displays enhance or hamper performance depending on whether they match or conflict with follower agreeableness. Four-person teams viewed a video clip of their leader, who provided feedback on their performance in an angry or happy way. Low agreeableness followers performed better with an angry leader and high agreeableness followers performed better with a happy leader. This effect could be explained in terms of experienced workload, which was highest among agreeable followers with an angry leader.

Suggested Citation

van Kleef, Gerben A. and Homan, Astrid C. and Beersma, Bianca and Van Knippenberg, Daan and Wisse, Barbara, When Leader Emotional Displays Conflict with Follower Social-Relational Goals (October 14, 2009). 22nd Annual IACM Conference Paper, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1488613 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1488613

Gerben A. Van Kleef (Contact Author)

University of Amsterdam - Department of Psychology ( email )

Roetersstraat 15
Amsterdam, 1018 WB
Netherlands
+31 20 525 6633 (Phone)
+31 20 639 0531 (Fax)

Astrid C. Homan

University of Amsterdam - Department of Work and Organizational Psychology ( email )

Weesperplein 4
Amsterdam, 1018 XA
Netherlands
+31 20 525 5955 (Phone)
+31 20 639 0531 (Fax)

Bianca Beersma

University of Amsterdam ( email )

Roetersstraat 15
Amsterdam, 1018 WB
Netherlands
+31 20 525 6860 (Phone)
+31 20 639 0531 (Fax)

Daan Van Knippenberg

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) ( email )

Burgemeester Oudlaan 50
3000 DR Rotterdam, Zuid-Holland 3062PA
Netherlands

Barbara Wisse

University of Groningen ( email )

P.O. Box 800
9700 AH Groningen, Groningen 9700 AV
Netherlands

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