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The Determinants of Leadership: The Role of Genetic, Personality, and Cognitive Factors

Richard Arvey (), Maria Rotundo (), Wendy Johnson () and Matt McGue ()

Working Papers from Human Resources and Labor Studies, University of Minnesota (Twin Cities Campus)

Abstract: A sample of 646 male twins (331 monozygotic or identical, 315 dizygotic or fraternal) completed a survey indicating their leadership role occupancy in work settings. Data on these individuals were also available for personality and cognitive variables. As predicted, two personality variables (Social Potency and Achievement) and a cognitive variable (a vocabulary test) were significantly correlated with the leadership variable. Subsequently, univariate and multivariate genetic analyses showed that a substantial portion of this leadership variance was accounted for by genetic factors (39 percent) while non-shared (or non-common) environmental factors accounted for the remaining variance in this leadership variable. Genetic influences were shown for the personality and cognitive factors as well. Finally, results indicated that the genetic influences for the leadership factor were substantially associated with or common with the genetic factors influencing the personality factors, but not with the cognitive variable.

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