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Workplace Insight: The love of natural born leaders can come at a cost

19 Feb 2020
New AOM research suggests that firms tend to choose leaders over managers regardless of their culture and needs.

Originally found at Workplace Insight, by Neil Franklin

The inherent preference employers have for candidates with natural leadership ability could have a negative effect on their organisation, according to new research by Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM). The study, On Leading and Managing: Synonyms or Separate (and Unequal)? published in the Academy of Management journal suggests that firms tend to choose leaders over managers regardless of their culture and needs.

The authors note that while there is considerable overlap between the behaviours associated with leadership and management, for the purposes of this study the two styles have been clearly separated. A natural, “irrational” love for leadership means that employers automatically go for the candidate with leadership skills even though the job requires someone with management skills.

According to Associate Professor Hannes Leroy: “Decision makers are commonly advised to guard against biases against female or minority candidates, but much less attention is given to the risk of over-valuing candidates with leadership skills. There is a tendency among people to prefer and select the prototypical leader, even for a situation that really calls for prototypical managing activities."

Continue reading the original article at Workplace Insight

Read the original research in Academy of Management Discoveries

This research was also cited in AOM Insights


Learn more about the AOM Scholars and explore their work:

  • Kevin M Kniffin, S. C. Johnson College of Business, Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management
  • James R. Detert, University of Virginia, Darden School of Business
  • Hannes L. Leroy, Erasmus University, Rotterdam School of Management