Leader identity as an antecedent of the frequency and consistency of transformational, consideration, and abusive leadership behaviors

J Appl Psychol. 2012 Nov;97(6):1262-72. doi: 10.1037/a0029043. Epub 2012 Jun 25.


Drawing from identity-based theories of leadership, we examined relations of leader identity with leader behavior and perceived effectiveness. To do so, we employed multiwave methodology to examine the differential impact of leaders' chronic collective, relational, and individual identities on the frequency and consistency of their subsequent transformational, consideration, and abusive behaviors over a 3-week period. We also examined the relative importance of these leadership behaviors for predicting perceived leader effectiveness as rated by subordinates and peers. Results indicated that leaders' collective and individual identities were uniquely related to transformational and abusive behaviors, respectively. We also observed a significant collective by individual identity interaction, such that abusive behaviors were most frequent when a strong individual identity was paired with a weak collective identity. Frequency of transformational behaviors accounted for the largest proportion of variance in perceived leader effectiveness, followed by frequency of abusive behaviors and consistency of transformational behaviors. We discuss the implications of these findings for leadership theory and development.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leadership*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Personality*
  • Self Concept
  • Social Behavior*
  • Social Perception