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The authentic self is soul made visible.
-Sarah Ban Breathnach
Researchers have emphasized the value of authenticity, but not much is known about what makes a person authentic in the eyes of others. Our research takes an interpersonal perspective to examine the determinants of followers’ perceptions of leader authenticity. Building on social identity theory, we propose that two fundamental self-identifications–a leader’s sense of uniqueness and sense of belongingness–interact to influence followers’ perceptions of a leader’s authenticity via perceptions of a leader’s self-concept consistency. In a field study conducted among leader–follower dyads and in a controlled laboratory experiment, we find that when a leader feels a low sense of belongingness, there is a positive relationship between a leader’s sense of uniqueness and perceptions of leader authenticity. When a leader feels a low sense of uniqueness, there is a positive relationship between a leader’s sense of belongingness and perceptions of leader authenticity. This is because followers perceive this leader as having high self-concept consistency.
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- The Interactive Effect of a Leader’s Sense of Uniqueness and Sense of Belongingness on Followers’ Perceptions of Leader Authenticity
Michelle Xue Zheng
Marius van Dijke
David De Cremer
Alain Van Hiel
- Springer Netherlands
Journal of Business Ethics
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