When does self-sacrificial leadership motivate prosocial behavior? It depends on followers’ prevention focus

By: David De Cremer, David M. Mayer, Marius van Dijke, Barbara C. Schouten, Mary Bardes


De Cremer, D., Mayer, D. M., Schouten, B. C., Bardes, M., & van Dijke, M.(2009). When does self-sacrificial leadership motivate prosocial behavior: It depends on followers’ prevention focus. Journal of Applied Psychology, 94, 887-899.

Abstract:

In the present set of studies, the authors examine the idea that self-sacrificial leadership motivates follower prosocial behavior, particularly among followers with a prevention focus. Drawing on the self-sacrificial leadership literature and regulatory focus theory, the authors provide results from 4 studies (1 laboratory and 3 field studies) that support the research hypothesis. Specifically, the relationship between self-sacrificial leadership and prosocial behavior (i.e., cooperation, organizational citizenship behavior) is stronger among followers who are high in prevention focus. Implications for the importance of taking a follower-centered approach to leadership are discussed.