Self-Sacrificial Leadership and Follower Self-Esteem: When Collective Identification Matters
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In the present research, we examine whether leader's self-sacrifice positively influences followers' self-esteem and whether followers' identification with the collective plays a role in this process. It was predicted that leader self-sacrifice would influence followers' self-esteem, but particularly so when followers exhibited strong (vs. weak) collective identification. Results from an organizational survey showed that leader self-sacrifice and collective identification interacted in predicting follower self-esteem, such that followers' self-esteem was higher when they identified strongly with the collective and when the leader was self-sacrificial (vs. self-benefiting). An experimental scenario study replicated this interactive effect between collective identification and leader's self-sacrifice on followers' self-esteem and also showed that this effect was (at least partly) mediated by followers' perceptions of whether the leader respected and valued the group. Implications with respect to the relationship between self-sacrifice and self-esteem are outlined, and possible integrations of leader self-sacrifice, identity, and empowerment are discussed.