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Title: Leadership emergence in conversations
Authors: Harding, T. Matthew
Department: Department of Applied Social Studies
Discipline: Social Psychology
Issue Date: 2005
Supervisor: Prof. Ng Sik Hung
Subjects: Leadership
Leadership emergence
Abstract: Objectives: This study investigated the language used by leaders to maintain and gain their relative position. Specifically, this study examined the effect of interruptions, number of turns, and speech style on leadership emergence. It is hypothesized that the speaker who interrupts the most, who speaks the most, or who uses the most proactive speech will have higher power ratings and solidarity ratings. Methods: Eighty-six university students were randomly assigned to one of three conditions – number of interruptions, number of turns, and speech style – where these variables were manipulated to determine any cause and effect relationship between their presence and leadership emergence. They read a fictional conversation and filled out a questionnaire relating to the variables of relative power and solidarity among the ‘speakers’. Results: The results for the power variables upheld all of the researcher’s hypotheses, whereas the solidarity ratings countered the researcher’s hypotheses very conclusively in two of the three conditions. That is, the speaker who interrupted the most, who spoke the most, and who used the most proactive speech was considered more powerful, but least likable. However, the use of proactive speech had no effect on solidarity ratings. Discussion: Future research should focus on keeping participants involved in the process of leadership emergence. This might help clarify certain inconsistencies between the manuscript of a conversation and either viewing or taking part in the actual experience. Specifically, subjects might be able to notice the positive role that interruptions can play, or that speaking more may not necessarily be seen as overbearing.
Appears in Collections:Applied Social Sciences - Undergraduate Final Year Projects - Psychology

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