Romantic Relationships and Leadership: Three Studies
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Questions of who becomes a leader, and what predicts the quality of their leadership behaviors, have been of interest to scholars and the public for decades. Although most explorations of antecedents to leadership focus on individual differences, scholars have speculated on the role of social-interpersonal contexts as potentially influential in shaping various leadership outcomes. I set out to examine how one central relationship outside of work, namely romantic relationships, shape how people lead, and whether or not they become a leader in the first instance. Drawing on ten Brummelhuis and Bakker’s (2012) Work Home-Resources Model, I examine three ways in which romantic relationship experiences spillover into leadership outcomes via their effects on personal resources. In Study 1, I examine how current, personal romantic relationship behaviors indirectly influence leadership behaviors through resource gain and loss. Using a randomized-clustered experimental design (n = 93 couples), results show that for female partners, positive relational behaviors serve as a contextual resource that limits personal resource loss, resulting in more positive and less negative leadership behaviors. Negative relational behaviors are a contextual demand, increasing personal resource loss, and in turn, negative leadership behaviors. In Study 2, I consider how distal personal relationships affect leadership emergence, and specifically how adolescents’ experience of dating violence indirectly affects leadership role occupancy through depressive symptoms. Drawing on a longitudinal nationally representative sample (Add Health, n = 3277), results revealed that experiencing psychological aggression for females, and experiencing physical violence across genders, are contextual demands that independently result in depressive symptoms, in turn decreasing the leader role occupancy. In Study 3, I consider how distal and vicarious relationship experiences, namely adolescents’ observations of their parents’ domestic violence, indirectly affects leader emergence. Drawing on a nationally representative sample (NCS-R, n = 1701), I found that for females, witnessing interparental domestic violence in adolescence results in greater anxious and avoidant attachment, which in turn decreases leader role occupancy. Together, results from these three studies point to the multiple ways in which romantic relationship behaviors influence leadership across the lifespan, and the critical role of gender in determining whether this spillover occurs.
URI for this recordhttp://hdl.handle.net/1974/27934
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