An Investigation of Leader Emotional Unpredictability and Follower Self-Interest on Intrateam Power Struggles and Team Performance



Emotionally unpredictable leaders, or leaders who exhibit emotions in ways that followers do not always expect, may be effective leaders. They can create fear in opposing groups and help their own group dominate in intergroup competition and conflict. However, what consequences do such leaders have on the followers within their own group? Here we examine in two studies – an experiment and a field study-  the impact of leader emotional unpredictability on the teams they lead. We propose that the culture of uncertainty and fear elicited by emotionally unpredictable leaders heightens power struggles among their followers. These power struggles in turn reduce effective team functioning and performance. Follower self-interest (such as from individual reward structures or tasks with low interdependence) is proposed to exacerbate these effects. In Study 1, we investigate individual-level effects in a controlled laboratory environment using a video-taped confederate portraying an emotionally (un)predictable leader. In Study 2, we test team-level effects in a multi-source field study of 250 bank branch offices and investigate the impact of manager emotional (un)predictability and follower self-interest on intrateam power struggles and the financial performance of the bank branch office.
Contact  information:
Prof.dr. Daan van Knippenberg