The view over one's shoulder: The causes and consequences of leader's envy of followers

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The view over one's shoulder: The causes and consequences of leader's envy of followers
The Leadership Quarterly

We propose a social comparison-based framework in which leaders' meta-perceptions of power relative to their followers can be a source of envy, which can then lead to varied behaviors. We provide a model summarizing the main points of this framework, and develop propositions discussing how and when these effects operate. We start by discussing why perceived power differentials between leader and follower are expected to cause envy in the leader-follower relationship, and the contingencies that might affect such relationships. We then discuss how the aversive character of envy can provoke different types of action on the part of leaders aimed at reducing or eliminating this emotion. Furthermore, we propose different conditions that can increase the likelihood that the leader would choose one of these courses of action over another. Finally, we end with a discussion of the implications of leader-follower social comparisons and envy for research in the leadership field and for practice.

Citation: 
The Leadership Quarterly Volume 28, Issue 3, June 2017, Pages 451-468

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