The Impact of leader emotion display frequency on follower performance: Leader surface acting and mean emotion display as boundary conditions

Gang Wang, Scott E. Seibert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations

Abstract

Theory and evidence suggest leader emotion has an important influence on follower performance. However, we lack a theoretical framework to understand when the frequency of leader emotional displays may or may not explain significant variance in follower performance. To advance knowledge in this emerging line of research, we integrate Emotion As Social Information (EASI) theory with attribution theory to explore boundary conditions of the relationships of the frequencies of positive and negative leader emotional displays with follower performance. Results based on leaders and followers in three organizations show that leader surface acting acted as a boundary condition, neutralizing the effects of the frequencies of positive and negative leader emotional displays toward an individual follower on that follower's performance. In addition, higher frequency of negative emotional displays shown by the leader to all group members acted as a boundary condition, neutralizing the effect of the frequency of negative leader emotional displays toward an individual follower on that follower's performance. This work advances our understanding of the way the frequency of leader emotional displays may influence follower performance, introduces new types of contingency factors to the leader emotion area, and helps extend emotional labor theory to the leadership context.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)577-593
Number of pages17
JournalLeadership Quarterly
Volume26
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business and International Management
  • Applied Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

Keywords

  • Attribution theory
  • EASI
  • Job performance
  • Leader emotion
  • Leader emotional labor

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