Talking yourself into a leader role? Using interaction analysis to advance leadership research



Although leadership researchers often claim to measure behaviors, they actually measure post-hoc perceptions of behaviors. This survey-based approach comes with many drawbacks, such as construct traveling and construct deficiency, broad and tautological measurement instruments or endogeneity concerns. My presentation seeks to provide a short overview about interaction analysis as one way out of the disarray. I discuss research questions that can be explored with this approach, and give a concrete example from my research on emergent leadership. Specifically, emergent leadership—the ascription of informal leadership responsibilities among team members—is a dynamic phenomenon that comes into place through social interactions. Yet, theory remains sparse about the importance of verbal behaviors for emergent leadership in self-managed teams over a team’s lifecycle. I present our development of a temporal account that links changes in task-, change-, and relations-oriented communication to emergent leadership in early, middle, and late team phases.