Building on theoretical accounts like fairness heuristic theory, we argued that strongly identifying group members view leaders who are prototypical of the group as procedurally fair. Because procedural fairness affects group members' self-perceived status, leader prototypicality should also enhance strongly identifying followers' self-perceived status. Study 1 was an organizational field study. Employees high in organization identification viewed prototypical leaders as procedurally fair and thought higher of their own status in the organization. Moreover, perceptions of the leaders' procedural fairness mediated the effect of leader prototypicality (among high identifiers) on employees' self-perceived status. These results were replicated in Study 2, a scenario experiment, in which leader prototypicality and group identification were manipulated orthogonally. These studies further highlight the role of procedural fairness in the social identity analysis of leadership and more generally, the importance of studying issues of fairness and leadership in their connectedness.

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ERIM Article Series (EAS)
European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology
Erasmus Research Institute of Management

van Dijke, M., & de Cremer, D. (2008). How leader prototypicality affects followers' status: The role of procedural fairness. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 17(2), 226–250. doi:10.1080/13594320701743491