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The downside of looking like a leader: leaders' powerful demeanor stifles follower voice in participative decision making

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Leaders are often encouraged to exhibit a "leader-like" demeanor to enhance their image and effectiveness. However, the current investigation reveals an unintended consequence of looking like a leader: the stifling of follower voice in participative decision making interactions. This phenomenon was examined in two laboratory studies. Study 1 assigned participants to leader-follower dyads who worked on a decision making task together. Study 2 helped establish causality by manipulating the leader's demeanor through the use of a research confederate; it also tested the mediating effects of perceived leader competence and threat. We found that, in participative decision making, the effect of the leader's demeanor on follower voice was mediated by perceived leader competence. In other words, while leaders who exhibit a powerful demeanor may boost their appearance of competence, they also risk stifling follower voice precisely because they appear more competent.

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en

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http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/41724/

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