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Emergent leadership structures in informal groups: A dynamic, cognitively informed network model

Carnabuci, Gianluca, Emery, Cecile and Brinberg, David (2018) Emergent leadership structures in informal groups: A dynamic, cognitively informed network model Organization Science, 29 (1). pp. 118-133.

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This paper advances novel theory and evidence on the emergence of informal leadership networks in groups that feature no formally designated leaders or authority hierarchies. Integrating insights from relational schema and network theory, we develop and empirically test a 3-step process model. The model’s first hypothesis is that people use a “linear-ordering schema” to process information about leadership relations. Taking this hypothesis as a premise, the second hypothesis argues that whenever an individual experiences a particular leadership attribution to be inconsistent with the linear-ordering schema, s/he will tend to reduce the ensuing cognitive inconsistency by modifying that leadership attribution. Finally, the third hypothesis builds on this inconsistency-reduction mechanism to derive implications about a set of network-structural features (asymmetry, a-cyclicity, transitivity, popularity, and inverse-popularity) that are predicted to endogenously emerge as a group’s informal leadership network evolves. We find broad support for our proposed theoretical model using a multi-method, multi-study approach combining experimental and empirical data. Our study contributes to the organizational literature by illuminating a socio-cognitive dynamics underpinning the evolution of informal leadership structures in groups where formal authority plays a limited role.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > Surrey Business School
Authors :
Carnabuci, Gianluca
Brinberg, David
Date : 2 March 2018
DOI : 10.1287/orsc.2017.1171
Copyright Disclaimer : © 2017 INFORMS
Uncontrolled Keywords : Leadership Networks, Cognitive Schemas, Linear-ordering Schema; Network Dynamics; Informal Groups; Network Experiments; Stochastic Actor Oriented Models; Organizational behaviour; General management
Depositing User : Clive Harris
Date Deposited : 31 Aug 2017 08:40
Last Modified : 26 Jun 2018 07:05

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