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(Un)easy Lies the Head that Wears the Crown: Leadership Selection and Group Performance Among Undergraduate Women

Journal of Organisation and Human Behaviour

Volume 8 Issue 1

Published: 2019
Author(s) Name: Kanika K. Ahuja, Garima Srivastava, Priyanka Padhy, Nirupuma Yadav | Author(s) Affiliation: Associate Prof., Department of Psychology, Lady Shri Ram College for Women, Univ. of Delhi, Delhi.
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The present study investigated the effect of the process of leader selection (formal, random, and no leader/control) on the group performance of college students, measured through goal achievement and team maintenance, using an experimental design. A sample comprising 119 female undergraduate students at women’s college in Delhi in the age range of 18–21 years was randomly assigned to one of the three leadership selection conditions. Each condition comprised of seven sub-groups each (a total of 21 sub-groups), containing five to six participants each. After the appointment of the leader (formally or randomly), the groups participated in a desert survival task. One-way analysis of variance revealed that the group where the leader was randomly selected outperformed the group with a formally appointed leader and the group with no leader, in terms of goal achievement and team maintenance, respectively. Our findings suggest that under certain circumstances, the systematic selection of leaders may have a deleterious impact on group performance. These counterintuitive findings are discussed in the light of past and current body of organizational research.

Keywords: Leadership Selection, Formal/Random/No Leader, Team Maintenance, Goal Achievement

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