In this article, we examine how being assigned the role of leader affects behaviour in resource sharing tasks. Previous research has shown that group members anchor their decision on the equal division rule prescribing that resources should be distributed equally. Following notions of equity theory and the literature on role schemas, we expected that adherence to the equal division rule would be moderated by role assignment. In particular, we expected leaders to take more than followers from a common resource and that this effect would be explained in terms of feelings of entitlement. The results of two experimental studies corroborate this reasoning. Study 1 demonstrated that leaders took more than followers and that leaders deviated more strongly from the equal division rule. In Study 2, it was found that legitimate leaders took more from the resource and deviated more strongly from the equal division rule than non-legitimate leaders. Additional analyses suggest that the leaders' tendency to make higher allocations to the self can be explained by feelings of entitlement.

ERIM Article Series (EAS)
European Journal of Social Psychology
Erasmus Research Institute of Management

de Cremer, D., & van Dijk, E. (2005). When and why leaders put themselves first: Leader behaviour in resource allocations as a function of feeling entitled. European Journal of Social Psychology, 35(4), 553–563. doi:10.1002/ejsp.260