Influences of individual differences on leader emergence and work-family experiences—Examination through a meta-analysis and longitudinal design

Some of the most critical decisions made by organization revolve around understanding whether and how individual differences influence the areas such as selecting leaders and balancing work and family. An abundance of research has investigated individual attributes that are associated with leader emergence. One such attribute that may influence the leader emergence process, but is often underappreciated by scholars and practitioners, is physical attractiveness. In the first study which is to be resubmitted to Journal of Applied Psychology, our investigation focuses squarely on the physical attractiveness-leader emergence relationship and, in particular, seek to understand if, when, and how a “beauty bias” affects leader emergence. I will first review the theoretical underpinnings of the physical attractiveness-leader emergence relationship and conclude that the two dominant theoretical perspectives—implicit leadership theory and status generalization theory—differ markedly in their assumptions regarding the magnitude, mechanisms, and moderators of this relationship. I then will use meta-analysis to quantitatively summarize the literature and resolve the theoretical discrepancies noted. In the second study which is to be resubmitted to Academy of Management Journal, our investigation provides a rigorous examination of the classic dispositional perspective of personality in the work-family literature by probing the lagged influences of personality traits on increases or decreases in work-family variables over time. We observed that positive work-family experiences tend to bring about positive changes in personality traits. On the contrary, negative work-family experiences may precipitate somewhat negative personality development. Our findings offer important implications for organizations and employees to better manage their work and family experiences and career development.
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