Organizational Psychology

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Ludmila Pochebut1, Elena Gazogareeva
  • 1 St. Petersburg State University, Russian Federation, 199034, St. Petersburg, Universitetskaja nab., buld.7/9

Social representations of informal leadership in organizations

2015. Vol. 5. No. 2. P. 46–61 [issue contents]
Purpose. The maim aim of the present study is to discover how the personal qualities andbehaviors of informal leaders correspond to the social representations of their followers. Methodology.Methodology based on Social Representation Theory by S. Moscovici and general findings of Americanscholars regarding personality and behavior of the leaders in organization. Findings. The structure ofsocial representations of leadership has been revealed, it includes the nucleus (an idea of the leaderas a self-confident person) and the periphery, consisting of such qualities as activity, courage and resoluteness.Also gender differences and status differences in social representations about leadershiphave been found. The differences and similarities of social perceptions, attitudes and stereotypes havebeen analyzed. Conclusions. The results enrich theoretical understanding of scientific knowledge aboutsocial representations. As a result of the study both differences and similarities between social representations,attitudes and stereotypes were detected. Thus social representations, in comparison toattitudes, are more stable mental formations that are more deeply rooted in the collective unconscious.They accumulate energy in preparation for action, and provide for a community feelings of unity andsolidarity. Social representations differ from stereotypes by diversity and depth of knowledge aboutthe object. The similarities of the social representations and stereotypes are based on the phenomenaof attribution. Both core and peripheral components of social representations of leadership in organizationwere brought to light. Based on the results of content-analysis, the majority of respondentsevaluate self-confidence as the most important leadership quality. It is evidence that self-confidence isthe core component of social representations about personal qualities of a leader in organization. Valueof the results. It has been proven that leaders in organizations aim to comply with the expectations oftheir followers. Furthermore, managers and employees have similar social representations about leadership,but have different requirements of the leader.

Citation: Pochebut L., Gazogareeva E. (2015) Sotsial'nye predstavleniya o neformal'nomliderstve v organizatsii [Social representations of informal leadership in organizations]. Organizacionnaâ psihologiâ (Organizational Psychology), vol. 5, no 2, pp. 46-61 (in Russian)
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