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Durham e-Theses
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The Double-Edged Sword Effects of Leader Self-Complexity on Leadership Adaptability:
The Cognitive Pathway and Affective Pathway

FAN, LANYUE (2024) The Double-Edged Sword Effects of Leader Self-Complexity on Leadership Adaptability:
The Cognitive Pathway and Affective Pathway.
Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

Full text not available from this repository.
Author-imposed embargo until 28 May 2027.
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY).


This thesis aims to develop a leader self-complexity measure in a general working context and examine the dual effect of leader self-complexity on leadership adaptability. The leader self-complexity theoretical framework, integrated with conservation of resources (COR) theory, was used to uncover two distinct processes linking leader self-complexity to adaptability—a cognitive pathway (i.e., cognitive flexibility) and an affective pathway (i.e., role conflict and well-being). Pilot studies were conducted among participants from the UK (N = 239), the US (N = 241), and China (N = 239) to develop a trait sorting task to measure leader self-complexity. This task was then used to validate a newly developed leader self-complexity scale. Four empirical studies were conducted to validate the scale and test the proposed model. Study 1 was conducted among 15 industrial/organizational (I/O) psychology experts to test the content validity of the leader self-complexity scale. Studies 2, 3, and 4 were conducted among 321 UK leaders, 330 US leaders, and 281 Chinese leaders, respectively, to further validate the newly developed scale and explore the proposed dual effect model. Studies 3 and 4 demonstrated that different components of leader self-complexity influence adaptability via cognitive and affective pathways differentially. The number of roles did not show any positive or negative effect on adaptability via either pathway. Differentiation among roles increased role conflict and decreased well-being, which further negatively influenced cognitive flexibility and adaptability. Integration among roles only showed positive effects on adaptability through the two pathways.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Leader self-complexity; Leader self-complexity scale; Leadership adaptability; conservation of resources (COR) theory; cognitive flexibility; Well-being.
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Business > Management and Marketing, Department of
Thesis Date:2024
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:29 May 2024 13:45

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