Revisiting Extraversion and Leadership Emergence: A Social Network Churn Perspective

Blaine Landis, Jon M. Jachimowicz, Dan J. Wang, Robert W. Krause

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

One of the classic relationships in personality psychology is that extraversion is associated with emerging as an informal leader. However, recent findings raise questions about the longevity of extraverted individuals as emergent leaders. Here, we adopt a social network churn perspective to study the number of people entering, remaining in, and leaving the leadership networks of individuals over time. We propose that extraverted individuals endure as emergent leaders in networks over time, but experience significant changes in the people being led, including the loss of people who once considered them a leader but now no longer do. In Study 1 (N = 545), extraverted individuals had a larger number of new and remaining people in their leadership networks, but also lost more people, above and beyond differences in initial leadership network size. In Study 2 (N = 764), we replicated and extended these results in an organizational sample while controlling for alternative explanations such as formal rank, network size, self-monitoring, and narcissism. Extraversion predicted the number of people entering, remaining in, and leaving leadership networks over time. Our findings suggest that while extraverted individuals tend to emerge as leaders, they are also more likely to experience greater network churn—they tend to lead different people over time and leave people in their wake who once perceived them a leader but now no longer do. We discuss the challenges posed by this network churn perspective for extraverted emergent leaders and highlight its importance for our understanding of extraversion and emergent leadership.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)811-829
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Volume123
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We gratefully acknowledge invaluable feedback received from Joshua Becker, Steve Borgatti, Adam Smith, Tom Taiyi Yan, and members of the reading group at University College London. We thank Julian Arango for his tireless assistance with data collection for Study 2. Due to the sensitive nature of these data, they cannot be made publicly available, but syntax for our models can be found here: https://osf.io/34kzs/?view_only=ca31e 773c7f042a7992eb5ef8db45af8

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 American Psychological Association

Keywords

  • Emergent leadership
  • Extraversion
  • Social networks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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