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Press releases, updates and important announcements from AOM Beating the Odds-Research Examines How Leaders Use Underdog Stories to Motivate Their Teams

19 Feb 2023
Underdog narratives are a tried-and-true leadership tactic designed to motivate teams and organizations.

Originally found at

Leaders across industries, from telecommunications to sports, love to craft a come-from-behind image to ignite those inspirational hard-scrabble stories where the little guy wins by beating the odds.

Those narratives can become a team's collective identity. For instance, Philadelphia Eagles players embodied the underdog persona by wearing dog masks during their historic run to victory over the perennial "big dogs," the New England Patriots, in Super Bowl LII.

But little is understood about how these underdog stories influence the actions and attitudes of team members.

Does the us-versus-them mentality make team members believe they are being treated unfairly and thus, push them to take more risks or cut corners? Does buying into the underdog identity give workers a higher goal and create a greater sense of well-being?

A newly published article tackles that subject and offers a roadmap—and lists potential potholes—for leaders across all industries to consider when crafting an underdog narrative.

Continue reading the original article at

Read the original research in  Academy of Management Review.

Read the Academy of Management Insights summary.

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