When the appeal of a dominant leader is greater than a prestige leader

Kakkar, H and Sivanathan, N (2017) When the appeal of a dominant leader is greater than a prestige leader. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), 114 (26). pp. 6734-6739. ISSN 1091-6490

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Official URL: http://www.pnas.org/content/114/26/6734

Abstract

Across the globe we witness the rise of populist authoritarian leaders who are overbearing in their narrative, aggressive in behavior, and often exhibit questionable moral character. Drawing on evolutionary theory of leadership emergence, in which dominance and prestige are seen as dual routes to leadership, we provide a situational and psychological account for when and why dominant leaders are preferred over other respected and admired candidates. We test our hypothesis using three studies, encompassing more than 140,000 participants, across 69 countries and spanning the past two decades. We find robust support for our hypothesis that under a situational threat of economic uncertainty (as exemplified by the poverty rate, the housing vacancy rate, and the unemployment rate) people escalate their support for dominant leaders. Further, we find that this phenomenon is mediated by participants’ psychological sense of a lack of personal control. Together, these results provide large-scale, globally representative evidence for the structural and psychological antecedents that increase the preference for dominant leaders over their prestigious counterparts.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2017 National Academy of Sciences
Subjects: C > Control
L > Leadership
Subject Areas: Organisational Behaviour
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1617711114
Date Deposited: 10 Jul 2017 12:04
Last Modified: 10 Jul 2017 12:04
URI: http://lbsresearch.london.edu/id/eprint/832

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