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Title: Biases in leadership perception : the role of implicit leadership theories, attachment style, attentional capacity, and accuracy motivation
Author: Fox, Lena Franziska
ISNI:       0000 0004 7226 3301
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2018
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Previous work suggested that followers’ insecure attachment style might bias the accuracy of follower leadership ratings (Davidovitz, Mikulincer, Shaver, Izsak, & Popper, 2007; Hansbrough, 2012), possibly also via followers’ implicit leadership theories (ILTs; Berson, Dan, & Yammarino, 2006; Keller, 2003). We argue that both followers’ attachment anxiety and avoidance—due to non-constructive emotion regulation and hence limited attentional capacity—lead to a biased leadership perception due to a greater usage of ILTs when rating a leader. In three online studies with full-time employed participants from the US and UK, we assessed both followers’ ILTs and leadership ratings together with their attachment style. Using an experimental design, Study 1 (N = 218) had participants rate a fictitious leader presented in a written vignette. In Study 2 (N = 217), participants rated their own supervisor. In Study 3 (N = 260), participants were asked to watch a video of a team meeting before rating the leader. Results indicated that the higher participants’ attachment avoidance, the more they relied on their ILTs when rating a leader. Study 3 found support suggesting that this was due to a decrease of attentional capacity. However, when under high working memory demands, the higher attachment avoidance, the less they relied on their ILTs, probably due to a breakdown of their defense-mechanism of blocking out information related to social perception (Edelstein & Gillath, 2008; Mikulincer, Dolev, & Shaver, 2004). Perceptual biases related to attachment anxiety were inconsistent. Results from Study 3 suggest that this might have been due to the interplay of a lack of attentional capacity and heightened accuracy motivation for participants high in attachment anxiety.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available