Leading through the noise. Exploring the impact of irrelevant information on leadership perceptions

Zakir, Naeem

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URN: urn:nbn:de:bsz:180-madoc-672072
Document Type: Doctoral dissertation
Year of publication: 2024
Place of publication: Mannheim
University: Universität Mannheim
Evaluator: Biemann, Torsten
Date of oral examination: 24 April 2024
Publication language: English
Institution: Business School > ABWL, Personalmanagement u. Führung (Biemann 2013-)
Subject: 650 Management
Keywords (English): Dilution effect , leadership perceptions
Abstract: This dissertation comprises three empirical papers on the influence of irrelevant information on leadership perceptions. Utilizing the theoretical conceptualization of the effect of irrelevant information (enhancement effect and dilution effect) from social psychology and implicit leadership theories from leadership literature, in the first paper, I examined whether irrelevant information influence leadership perceptions if yes in which direction whether it dilutes or enhances ratings and whether this effect varies with who is being rated meaning is the influence of irrelevant information on leadership perceptions moderated by leader’s race and performance. We didn’t find dilution effect rather we found enhancement effect of irrelevant information on leadership perceptions. We didn’t find the interaction effect of our proposed moderators. Our goal in second paper was to offer a more precise picture of the influence of irrelevant information on leadership perceptions by leveraging representativeness heuristic account of dilution effect in explaining the dilution effect on what is being rated meaning its effect on ratings of leadership attribute information of positive and negative nature. Our results indicated no main effect of irrelevant information. A sub-group analysis revealed a combined effect of irrelevant information and leadership attributes. Third essay dealt with exploring the different mechanisms (i.e. perceived complete image, increased cognitive load, perceived similarity) that might have risen out of the irrelevant pieces of information. Inferences from an online experiment revealed that for both leadership effectiveness and leadership prototypicality, the overall moderated mediation model for indirect effect of irrelevant information, mediated by perceived similarity, on leadership perceptions across positive and negative attributes description was supported. We didn’t find support for both perceived complete image and increased cognitive load as potential mediators influencing the effect of irrelevant information on leadership perceptions.

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