Clothes make the leader! How leaders can use attire to impact followers' perceptions of charisma and approval

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Reference

Maran, T., Liegl, S., Moder, S., Kraus, S., & Furtner, M. (2021). Clothes make the leader! How leaders can use attire to impact followers' perceptions of charisma and approval. Journal of Business Research, 124(1), 86-99. (ABDC_2019: A; ABS_2021: 3; VHB_3: B)

Publication type

Article in Scientific Journal

Abstract

Sneakers at a product launch, a leather jacket when heads of state meet, sunglasses at a formal reception. While popular media relishes leaders who catch the eye by way of such distinctive fashion, we know little about how this salient daily practice of dress specifically affects perceptions of leaders in their daily business. Addressing this gap, we investigated how dress impacts perceptions and approval of a leader. Firstly, we found formal attire to lead to ascriptions of prototypicality but not charisma (Study 1). Secondly, leaders’ charisma and approval were higher when a person’s clothing style contrasted their organization’s culture (Study 2). Lastly, we replicated the impact of informal clothing on both leader approval and charisma in a sample of CEOs of Fortune 1000 companies (Studies 3 and 4). Findings lend support to the notion that leaders can manipulate their style of attire to actively shape their followers’ impressions of themselves.

Persons

Organizational Units

  • Institute for Entrepreneurship
  • Chair of Entrepreneurship and Leadership

DOI

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jbusres.2020.11.026