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Does Emotion Expression Variability Help or Hinder Leaders? Effects of Variability in Leaders’ Emotion Displays on Followers’ Perceptions of Leader Dysregulation, Authenticity, and Effectiveness

Office of Alumni and External Relations    2021-09-02

Subject: Does Emotion Expression Variability Help or Hinder Leaders? Effects of Variability in Leaders’ Emotion Displays on Followers’ Perceptions of Leader Dysregulation, Authenticity, and Effectiveness

Guest: Zaijia Liu, PhD candidate, Columbia Business School

Host: Shi XianweiAssistant Professor, Antai

Time: Wednesday, Sep 8th, 2021,  15:30-17:00

Venue: Tencent Conference (Please send email to finance@acem.sjtu.edu.cn by 17:00 Sep 7th for meeting number and password)

Abstract:

Does variability in leaders’ displays of emotion benefit or harm employees’ perceptions of their leaders? Prior research has provided mixed answers. Variability in leaders’ emotion expressions might undermine perceived leadership effectiveness because it makes leaders appear dysregulated. Yet, leaders’ emotion expression variability might also increase perceived leadership effectiveness because leaders who display more variability in their emotion expressions are perceived as more authentic. Six studies found support for the benefits of emotion expression variability in leadership judgments, including surveys with MBA students rating their most recent manager (Study 1a), full-time employees rating their long-term managers (Studies 1b and 5), a lab experiment involving a carefully controlled manipulation of emotion expression variability (Study 2), ratings of video-recorded professionals giving leadership speeches (Study 3), and ratings of leaders in real team competitions (Study 4). In each study, we found that variability in leaders’ emotion expression was associated with greater judgments of authenticity and consequently perceptions of greater leadership effectiveness. Theoretical and practical implications for emotion expression, impression management, and leader effectiveness are discussed.

Bio:

Zaijia Liu is currently a Ph.D. student in the Management Department at Columbia Business School. Her research focuses on both aspects of managing emotions, inner processes of emotion regulation, and interpersonal processes of emotion perception in organizations. Zaijia received her MA in Quantitative Psychology from UT Austin and her BS in Psychology from Tsinghua University.


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