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6 March 2024 - 6 March 2024

12:00PM - 1:00PM

Durham University Business School and Online

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Join us for a CLF-hosted seminar with Dr Michelle Hammond (Oakland University)

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Durham University Business School

Decoding Leader Identity: Exploring Variance in Internalization and Endorsement as a Leader Among Rater Groups and Leader Behaviors


Both seeing oneself as a leader and being endorsed as a leader by others are critical to the development of a cohesive and adaptive sense of self (DeRue & Ashford, 2010). Yet, definitions of leadership (Day & Harrison, 2007) and prototypes of ideal leaders vary significantly (Epitropaki & Martin, 2005), suggesting that leaders and relevant others may hold different expectations of who a leader should be and what a leader should do. For example, if an individual thinks, “I feel like a leader when I delegate” (task-oriented behaviors) but their followers believe “I see leadership in people who care about my personal goals” (relational-oriented behaviors), then this individual may continually exemplify behaviors with a low likelihood of being validated from others in their social environment. This dynamic leads to two questions: 1) how do differing expectations about who a leader ought to be and what a leader ought to do impact a leader’s internalization and others’ endorsement of leader identity? and 2) how do leaders internalize and are endorsed as leaders when they are incongruent on fundamental dimensions of leadership?

Using quantitative and qualitative data from 360-degree feedback assessments of over 400 leaders, we aim to answer these questions. Text analysis revealed differential emphasis of task and communal behaviors across groups in open-ended comments about admirable traits and ideas for development. Further, multi-level polynomial regression and response surface analysis revealed a significant rater source moderation effect of the relationship between agentic-communal congruence and leader identity internalization/endorsement. While congruence in agentic and communal behaviors positively predicts leader identity across rater groups, incongruence is evaluated differently across rater groups. These findings have implications for both research and practice of leader identity development.  Feedback seeking for leaders is touted as incredibly important for growth and development, resources abound with evidence-based advice on how to ask for feedback but far less on who to ask and how that relationship may influence the advice given (e.g. Imber, 2023, HBR). Likewise, encouraging leaders to “act like a leader may lead to the very opposite of what would foster them to be seen as a leader. I conclude by theorizing on the importance of relationships in leader identity construction and leader development more broadly.

About the Speaker

Dr. Michelle Hammond is an Associate Professor of Management at Oakland University. She earned her M.S. and Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from the Pennsylvania State University. She was the Program Director of the MSc in Work and Organizational Psychology/Behaviour at the University of Limerick, Ireland until joining OU in 2017. Through her research, she seeks to understand the process of leadership development across multiple domains of life. Her work also focuses on understanding the influence of leadership on employee well-being at work, including factors such as meaningful work, work-life balance, and creativity and innovation. She co-authored an award-winning book on leader development and has published in top academic journals including the Academy of Management Review, Human Resource Management Review, Journal of Vocational Behavior, among others. She consults and coaches in the area of leader development.