Predicting Leader Emergence with Bright and Dark Traits

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Peer-Reviewed Article

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Leader emergence was regressed on five factor model (FFM; NEO Five-Factor Inventory) traits and four additional traits (achievement, dominance, aggression, and Machiavellianism) in a sample of 280 undergraduates (229 women (82%), 51 men; M age = 19.7 (SD = 1.4). The Jackson Personality Research Form (Jackson, Personality research form manual (3rd ed.). Port Huron, MI: Sigma Assessment Systems, Inc.) measured achievement, dominance, and aggression. Christie and Geis’ (Studies in machiavellianism. San Diego: Academic Press) Mach IV scale measured Machiavellianism. In an independent groups analysis, six of the nine traits showed significant differences, indicating that leaders are less neurotic and Machiavellian, and more extroverted, open, agreeable, and dominant. However, in a logistic regression analysis, which controlled for shared variance among traits, only extraversion, openness, and dominance predicted leader emergence. Previous studies that did not use regression models showed significant differences for a large number of traits. Results from the present study indicate the importance of accounting for shared variance when analyzing personality traits in order to develop parsimonious models.


Published online: 25 July 2019.



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