Find out more about ESMT's experts research in the field of human resources management/organizational behavior.
When opposites hurt: Similarity in getting ahead in leader-follower dyads as a predictor of job performance evaluations
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.
Is leadership a part of me? An identity approach to understanding the motivation to lead
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.
Identity challenges of women leaders: Antecedents and consequences of identity interference
We explore the antecedents and consequences of women leaders' identity interference related to the perceived conflict between their roles as both women and leaders. Drawing on identity development and organizational demography research, we propose that leadership experience reduces women leaders' identity interference, whereas women's numerical underrepresentation in organizations exacerbates it. Moreover, we hypothesize that identity processes related to collective self-esteem—personal regard for one's collective identity and the perception of others' views of it—mediate these effects. A sample of 722 women leaders representing a diverse range of countries and industries supported our hypotheses. We also demonstrate that identity interference reduces the psychological well-being of women leaders and undermines their affective motivation to lead. In contrast, perceived conflict between leader and female identities enhances women's sense of duty to assume leadership roles. Importantly, women leaders' personal regard for their female identity buffers the detrimental effect of identity interference on life satisfaction. We discuss the implications of our results for women's advancement in organizations and the development of their identity as leaders.
This article introduces "career entrepreneurship," a rapidly spreading phenomenon in the global knowledge-driven economy. Career entrepreneurship involves taking an entrepreneurial approach to managing our careers. It means doing things that seem "illegitimate" to other people and contradict socially-recognized and accepted sequences of work experiences in terms of age, education, or socio-economic progression. This kind of behavior challenges established norms about typical career development. The evidence presented in this article suggests new possibilities for thinking about the way individuals invest in their careers, new insights for organizations interested in capturing the potential of career entrepreneurship, and new ideas for career and life coaches to support people embracing the phenomenon. The article offers a primer on career entrepreneurship to all three groups of readers, calling for more effective collaborative relationships and more effective leveraging of individuals' career investments.
Coaching: What do coaches say they sell? What do clients say they buy?
This business brief addresses the questions of what coaching is and what coaches do, from the perspective of executive coaching as a professional service. The findings are based on a survey of executive coaches and corporate clients at the 1st ESMT Coaching Colloquium in 2009. When posed with the question what do you sell as a coach, executive coach responses highlighted: dedicated time, space and a safe environment, awareness, empathy and challenge, and a promise of a transformation opportunity. When corporate clients were posed with the question of what do you buy from a coach their responses highlighted: awareness and sparring partnership, dedicated time and space, and a happy internal customer. The theme of solutions was also highlighted, although views differed from that of the desire that executive coaches provide solutions, to that of the provision of a solution from an executive coach is undesireable and executive coaches should provide coachees assistance in finding own solutions. From the answers given and despite published definitions of what coaching is, it can be surmised that much confusion remains about what coaching actually is and what it is not.
Executive education programs in times of economic crisis: Considerations for learning and development professionals
With the current financial and economic crises and expectations or reality of a recession companies are looking at ways of optimizing the use of their resources and reconsidering their investments. Efforts at developing management talent and leadership capacities of company employees are often associated with significant costs and may, therefore, be among the first to undergo scrutiny in terms of feasibility and expected effectiveness. On the other hand, underinvestment in preparing people for leadership and management roles and tasks may come at a cost for the organization's survival, competitiveness, and future success. Although leadership development can take many forms, executive education courses and programs traditionally play a large role in the process, and constitute a major part of leadership development costs. This business brief outlines a number of issues that need to be taken into account when designing, developing, and delivering leadership and management development programs under the conditions of scarce financial resources.