Affect and Leadership: Exploring the emotional antecedents of leader behavior and the subsequent emotions and behavior of followers

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Type and Duration

FFF-Förderprojekt, May 2021 until April 2023


Chair of Entrepreneurship and Leadership

Main Research

Growth and Complexity


Emotions are deeply entangled within the leadership process. The deeper we understand these processes the more we can understand, predict and change behavior for the good of all involved individuals in the organization and in turn for the organization itself. Since emotions are primary drivers of motivation, cognition, and behavior (Keltner & Haidt, 1999), leaders' affect should have a clear influence on the way leaders act, especially in the interaction with followers.
However, scholars have rarely addressed this in particular. Hence, the aim of the project is to find out why leaders do (or do not) display certain leadership behavior based on their affective experiences and how this leader behavior influences followers' affective experience, which in turn determines their behavior, which is recognized by leaders and as a result influences leaders emotional experience (a cycling process). In a first attempt, we will study the relation between leaders' affective experiences in the workplace and the leadership in a team context (multisource cross-sectional design). We will further test our purposed (cyclic) model with a serious of experiments. Experimental methods have been claimed to offer the "most stringent tests of moods and emotions" (Gooty et al., 2010, p. 998) and allow for causal claims. In addition, with an attempt to capture the emotion regulation process within individuals (i.e., intra-individual differences) we will conduct an experience sampling study. The outcomes of this project can be used as a basis for future projects regarding the exploration of this complex and dynamic nature of the relationship between leaders' and followers' emotional experience and behavior. Leaders receive insights on how their emotions affect their behavior, their workplace and the organization itself.

Principal Investigator

Project Collaborator