When Opposites Hurt: Similarity in Getting Ahead in Leader-Follower Dyads as a Predictor of Job Performance Evaluations

40 Pages Posted: 15 Dec 2011 Last revised: 3 Sep 2012

See all articles by Laura Guillen

Laura Guillen

ESMT European School of Management and Technology

Natalia Karelaia

INSEAD - Decision Sciences

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: August 30, 2012

Abstract

Status-seeking behaviors are linked to executive career progression, but do leaders appreciate being surrounded by followers eager to move up in the organizational hierarchy? Building on the self-enhancement theory, we propose that leaders with high self-assessed getting-ahead behaviors give better performance evaluations to subordinates who also have willingness to get ahead behaviors. In contrast, leaders with low self-assessed getting-ahead behaviors are quite reserved about the performance of subordinates high in the getting-ahead dimension. We also propose that overall, ambitious leaders evaluate more positively their followers’ performance than leaders with more modest desire to get ahead. We suggest that this effect is magnified when the status differential between the leader and the follower is reduced due to differences in age or hierarchical level (i.e., a younger leader or too few hierarchical levels between the leader and the subordinate). The results obtained by using polynomial regression and response surface techniques to analyze a sample of 138 leader-follower dyads supported our hypotheses showing a supervisor’s contextual performance ratings skew rooted in leaders’ desire to get ahead. We conclude by deriving the theoretical and practical implications of these findings.

Keywords: getting-ahead similarity, leader-follower dyads, job performance evaluation, self-enhancement, 360-degree instruments

Suggested Citation

Guillen, Laura and Karelaia, Natalia, When Opposites Hurt: Similarity in Getting Ahead in Leader-Follower Dyads as a Predictor of Job Performance Evaluations (August 30, 2012). ESMT Working Paper No. 11-12 (R1). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1972950 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1972950

Laura Guillen (Contact Author)

ESMT European School of Management and Technology ( email )

Schlossplatz 1
10117 Berlin
Germany

Natalia Karelaia

INSEAD - Decision Sciences ( email )

United States

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