The present article examines to what extent leader-follower similarity moderates the effect of procedural justice on followers' cooperation. Using subjective operationalizations of similarity in a vignette study, a field study and an experimental lab study, we demonstrated that the enactment of fair procedures elicits the highest levels of cooperation when followers perceive the leader as similar. This was true when similarity was framed in broad, deep-level terms (Study 1 and 2) or in terms of a single, specific characteristic, i.e., the need to belong (Study 3). In the discussion we elaborate on possible explanatory mechanisms and on the broader context of an integrative approach to leadership research.

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Keywords Justice, Leadership, Need to belong, Procedural fairness, Similarity
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Series ERIM Article Series (EAS)
Journal European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology
Cornelis, I, van Hiel, A, & de Cremer, D. (2011). Birds of a feather: Leader-follower similarity and procedural fairness effects on cooperation. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 20(3), 388–415. doi:10.1080/13594321003630055