How Cognitive Complexity and Need for Closure Determines Individual Differences in Implicit Leadership Theories

Open Access
Conference Proceedings
Authors: Beata Bajcar a Jolanta Babiak aCzeslaw S. Nosal b

Abstract: According to Implicit Leadership Theories (ILTs), the stimulus term “leader” is used as a superordinate cognitive category to classify others as leaders or non-leaders (Lord, Foti, & DeVader, 1984). At the basic level, perceivers classify others more specifically depending on the social setting in which leaders operate as organizational leaders, military leaders, political leaders, etc. At the basic level cognitive attributions of leaders’ traits and behaviours are made by comparing specific stimulus e.g. sports leader with an ideal example (prototype) of that category. At the lowest level leaders’ categorizations are made by recalling into memory the actual individuals, which perceiver regards as the representative of the category. The described research on Offermann, Kennedy and Wirtz’ ILTs structure was based Results of our research demonstrated that people describe political and organizational leaders differently. Additionally, men have different ILTs than women. The individual differences in implicit leadership theories is a function of cognitive processes of the perceivers. Empirical results showed, the categorization of political and organizational leaders are determined by other pattern of perceivers’ cognitive characteristics as cognitive simplicity vs complexity, need for closure and Kirton cognitive style. Analyses of multiple relationships were conducted by employing multivariate procedures of structural equation modelling.

Keywords: Implicit Leadership Theories, Political Leader, Organizational Leader, Cognitive Complexity, Need For Closure, Kirton Adaption-Innovation Style

DOI: 10.54941/ahfe100402

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