This research explored why strongly identifying followers endorse prototypical leaders by addressing the role of procedural fairness in this process. We introduced the distinction between procedural fairness rules relating to leader benevolence (i.e., whether the leader supports the group’s interests) and follower control (i.e., whether followers can influence the leader’s decisions). We predicted that strongly identifying group members endorse prototypical leaders because they perceive such leaders as acting in line with benevolence related fairness rules rather than because such leaders are perceived as giving followers control. An organizational field study and a laboratory experiment revealed support for these ideas. Our results thus provide insights into why prototypical leaders are endorsed among strongly identifying followers. They also have implications for the procedural fairness literature in showing that frequently studied procedural fairness rules (e.g., voice) do not explain endorsement of leaders believed to support the group’s interests.

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Keywords identification, justice, leadership, legitimacy, procedural fairness, prototypicality
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Series ERIM Article Series (EAS)
Journal Journal of Experimental Social Psychology
van Dijke, M.H, & de Cremer, D. (2010). Procedural fairness and endorsement of prototypical leaders: Leader benevolence or follower control?. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 46(1), 85–96. doi:10.1016/j.jesp.2009.10.004