Thursday, December 15, 2011

When Opposites Hurt: Similarity in Control in Leader-follower Dyads as a Predictor of Job Performance Evaluations

Control-related behaviors are an important attribute in leadership jobs, but do leaders appreciate being surrounded by followers with controlling personalities? Building on the self-enhancement and self-efficacy theories, we propose that leaders with high self-assessed control give better performance evaluations to subordinates who are also high in control. In contrast, leaders with low self-assessed control are quite reserved about the performance of subordinates high in control. We also propose that overall, leaders high in control evaluate more positively their followers’ performance than leaders low in control. We suggest that this difference is magnified if the leader-follower dyad is inconsistent with social norms related to age and hierarchical level. 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 bias rooted in leaders’ self-assessed control. We conclude by deriving the theoretical and practical implications of these findings.