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Durham e-Theses
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Indirect Contact with Leaders: Context, Process and Social Influence

HABJAN, KRISTINA (2020) Indirect Contact with Leaders: Context, Process and Social Influence. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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This thesis examines the influence that leaders can have on follower identification and engagement through the medium of indirect contact. Drawing upon a theoretical integration of the Social Identity Theory of Leadership and Intergroup Contact Theory, I tested whether and how leaders, through on-line, text-based and imagined forms of contact, can promote a shared identity and instil greater organizational identification. In Chapter 3, four experiments examined the impact of indirect contact on organizational identification by observing a video message of a leader either alone, or in the presence of other followers. In Chapter 4, three experiments tested whether leaders who communicated through emails, using either individualistic or collectivistic rhetoric, elicited different levels of organizational identification and turnover intention. Finally, in Chapter 5, I investigated whether or not imagined contact can be used as a pre-contact tool within the organizational context to enhance organizational identification via an imagined interaction with the leader, with or without other followers present. Here, additional variables such as interactional justice and trust were examined. Overall, the findings from these ten experiments did not reveal clear support for the tested hypotheses; however, a review of findings enabled the development of a new theoretical approach. Specifically, in Chapter 6, I propose that followers have a need for leader distinctiveness under certain conditions, and that under such conditions attempts to elicit greater closeness between leaders and followers will backfire. Predictions derived from this theory are discussed.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:indirect contact, leadership, distinctiveness theory, social identity theory
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Science > Psychology, Department of
Thesis Date:2020
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:10 Nov 2020 10:32

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