Is Leadership a Part of Me? An Identity Approach to Understanding the Motivation to Lead
48 Pages Posted: 6 Apr 2011 Last revised: 3 Sep 2012
Date Written: August 29, 2012
Drawing on identity and social comparison theories, we propose and test a model of motivation to lead based on two types of self-to-role comparisons (i.e., self-comparisons with specific leaders and with more abstract representations of the leadership role). We propose that these comparisons imply different identity verification purposes and have different consequences on the motivation of individuals. The results obtained by using structural equation models and response surface techniques among a sample of 180 executives support our predictions. We hypothesize and find that a perceived similarity with a significant leader has a positive effect on the motivation to lead and that this relationship is mediated by self-efficacy perceptions. We also find that the affective, but not the social-normative component, is higher when there is self-role congruence with respect to leadership dimensions such as “power” and “affiliation”. We discuss theoretical and practical implications for leadership and the subjective fit at work.
Keywords: motivation to lead, self-to-role comparisons, self-efficacy perceptions, identity
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