Academic research Imperial College

Published Research

Authors: Evita Liu, Cassandre Chambers & Celia Moore

Journal: The Leadership Quaterly

One of the most important things leaders do is communicate. Though research on leaders’ communication has been active for half a century, to date there has been little effort to review it comprehensively and systematically. In this paper we review 260 articles that use leaders’ actual communication (textual, aural, and video) as data. We group these studies into four broad categories as a function of whether they focus on the (1) content and style, (2) antecedents, or (3) outcomes of leader communication, or (4) use leaders’ communication data to infer leader attributes that are unrelated to communication. We document how empirical methodologies to analyze verbal and nonverbal communication have advanced over time, with early labor-intensive coding methods joined by more automatic and computer-based approaches, including Machine Learning. We conclude by discussing how this research has extended and enriched dominant leadership theories and suggest future opportunities for studies that use leader communication as a focal construct or input

Authors: Jo-ellen Pozner, Aharon Mohliver and Celia Moore

Journal: Research in the Sociology of Organisations

We investigate how firms’ responses to misconduct change when the institu- tional environment becomes more stringent. Organizational theory offers conflicting perspectives on whether new legislation will increase or decrease pressure on firms to take remedial action following misconduct. The dominant perspective posits that new legislation increases expectations of firm behav- ior, amplifying pressure on them to take remedial action after misconduct. A more recent perspective, however, suggests that the mere necessity to meet more stringent regulatory requirements certifies firms as legitimate to relevant audiences. This certification effect buffers firms, reducing the pressure for them to take remedial action after misconduct. Using a temporary, largely arbitrary exemption from a key provision of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, we show that firms that were not required to meet all the regulatory standards of good gov- ernance it required became 45% more likely to replace their CEOs following the announcement of an earnings restatement after Sarbanes-Oxley. On the other hand, those that were required to meet all of Sarbanes-Oxley’s provi- sions became 26% less likely to replace their CEOs following a restatement.





Authors: Celia Moore, David Mayer, Flora Chiang, Craig Crossley, Matthew Karlesky and Thomas Birtch

Journal: Journal of Applied Psychology

There has long been interest in how leaders influence the unethical behavior of those who they lead. However, research in this area has tended to focus on leaders’ direct influence over subordinate behavior, such as through role modeling or eliciting positive social exchange. We extend this research by examining how ethical leaders affect how employees construe morally problematic decisions, ultimately influencing their behavior. Across four studies, diverse in methods (lab and field) and national context (the United States and China), we find that ethical leadership decreases employees’ propensity to morally disengage, with ultimate effects on employees’ unethical decisions and deviant behavior. Further, employee moral identity moderates this mediated effect. However, the form of this moderation is not consistent. In Studies 2 and 4, we find that ethical leaders have the largest positive influence over individuals with a weak moral identity (providing a “saving grace”), whereas in Study 3, we find that ethical leaders have the largest positive influence over individuals with a strong moral identity (cata- lyzing a “virtuous synergy”). We use these findings to speculate about when ethical leaders might function as a “saving grace” versus a “virtuous synergy.” Together, our results suggest that employee misconduct stems from a complex interaction between employees, their leaders, and the context in which this relationship takes place, specifically via leaders’ influence over employees’ moral cognition.

Authors: Burak Oc, Michael Bashshur & Celia Moore

Journal: Journal of Applied Psychology

Research on power often treats the recipients of powerholders’ decisions (i.e., subordinates) as an undifferentiated group, overlooking how their responses to powerholders’ decisions might vary and how those responses might affect powerholders’ later decisions. In this article, we examine the role of lone dissenting subordinates (individuals whose feedback differs from that expressed by other group mem- bers) in shaping powerholders’ allocation decisions, and explore the consequences those subordinates face for their dissent. In 3 experimental studies, we show that even as a lone voice, the feedback of a dissenting subordinate influences powerholders’ decisions. Powerholders make more self-interested allocations when a lone subordinate provides consistently positive feedback, even when others provide mostly negative feedback. However, powerholders regulate their allocations when a lone subordinate provides candid feedback that points out the self-interested nature of their allocations, even when others provide consistently positive feedback. We further show that lone dissenting subordinates’ influence is stronger when they share a salient group membership with the powerholder (e.g., their school or political affiliation). Finally, we find that powerholders reward lone subordinates who provide them with positive feedback, but only punish lone candid subordinates if they do not share a salient group membership with them. Overall, our results suggest that subordinates who risk putting their head above the parapet can improve outcomes for their group members, and can avoid being punished for doing so, as long as they share a salient group membership with the powerholder.

Authors: Celia Moore, Sun Young Lee, Kawon Kim, Daniel Cable

Journal: The Journal of Applied Psychology

In this paper, we explore whether individuals who strive to self-verify flourish or flounder on the job market. Using placement data from 2 very different field samples, we found that individuals rated by the organization as being in the top 10% of candidates were significantly more likely to receive a job offer if they have a stronger drive to self-verify. A third study, using a quasi-experimental design, explored the mechanism behind this effect and tested whether individuals who are high and low on this disposition communicate differently in a structured mock job interview. Text analysis (LIWC) of interview transcripts revealed systematic differences in candidates’ language use as a function of their self- verification drives. These differences led an expert rater to perceive candidates with a strong drive to self-verify as less inauthentic and less misrepresentative than their low self-verifying peers, making her more likely to recommend these candidates for a job. Taken together, our results suggest that authentic self-presentation is an unidentified route to success on the job market, amplifying the chances that high-quality candidates can convert organizations’ positive evaluations into tangible job offers. We discuss implications for job applicants, organizations, and the labor market.

Authors: Mark Weber

Journal: Organisational Psychology Review

Drawing on several theoretical traditions in the social sciences, we offer a theory of the social facilitation of charismatic leadership by introducing the concept of squires. Squires are key fol- lowers who serve four social facilitation functions: liberating and legitimizing, modeling, buffering, and interpreting and translating. Liberating and legitimizing builds on social conformity research. Modeling is based in the social learning and social influence literatures. Buffering, and interpreting and translating, draw on insights from the psychology of power and organizational theory. These functions help resolve two central charismatic leadership paradoxes: (a) the need to be different from followers, though followers prefer to be led by leaders who are like them, and (b) the need to be personally inspiring to followers while being socially distant from them. In specifying squires’ functions, we also address three weaknesses in conceptions of followership and contribute to understandings of how charismatic leadership emerges, works, and endures.