Cooperating When “You” and “I” Are Treated Fairly: The Moderating Role of Leader Prototypicality
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We developed a model predicting that leaders are most effective in stimulating follower cooperation when they consistently treat all group members in a fair manner and are prototypical (i.e., representative of the group's values and norms). In support of this idea, we consistently found that group members cooperated most when prototypical leaders treated themselves as well as their coworkers fairly across a laboratory experiment and 3 cross-sectional field studies. These findings highlight the important role of others' fairness experiences and perceptions in influencing one's own reactions and also the role of leaders as representing the group's values and norms. We discuss implications for fairness theory and the leader prototypicality literature.