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Growing Followers: Exploring the Effects of Leader Humility on Follower Self‐Expansion, Self‐Efficacy, and Performance

Jianghua Mao, Chia‐Yen (Chad) Chiu, Bradley P. Owens, Jacob A. Brown and Jianqiao Liao

Journal of Management Studies, 2019, vol. 56, issue 2, 343-371

Abstract: Although the effectiveness of leader humility has been well documented, our understanding of how leader humility influences followers psychologically is limited. Surpassing a mere leader‐centric understanding of the leader influence process by more fully understanding how leadership behavior shapes followers psychologically has been identified as a critical need by leadership scholars. Drawing on self‐expansion theory, we argue that leader humility triggers followers’ self‐expansion and that this psychological change enhances followers’ self‐efficacy, which in turn contributes to followers’ task performance. We also argue that the relationship between leader humility and followers’ self‐expansion is strengthened when leaders and followers are similar in age and gender. Using a time‐lagged research design with responses from 256 leader–follower dyads, we found support for our proposed model. We discuss the theoretical implications for our findings and suggest areas for future research.

Date: 2019
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Handle: RePEc:bla:jomstd:v:56:y:2019:i:2:p:343-371