On Friday September 4 Professor Neal Ashkanasy, from the University of Queensland's Business School will deliver a social psychology seminar. His talk is titled "Upward emotional contagion and implications for leadership" (abstract below). Hope to see you there!
Abstract: In two laboratory experiments, we tested the hypothesis that followers can influence leaders' mood and performance through a process of emotional contagion. In Study 1, leaders supervised two-member teams in a team-building exercise. Team members were confederates who were instructed to display specific moods when interacting with the leader. Independent observers rated team and leader affect and performance. Results were that emotional contagion influenced observer ratings of leader's mood and performance. Leaders in effect "caught" the affect of their followers. Moreover leaders of positive affect followers performed more effectively and expediently than leaders who caught negative mood from followers. In Study 2, neurotic leaders were found to be receptive of followers' negative mood and performed less effectively when interacting with negative-mood followers. Collectively, the studies extend emotional contagion and leadership theory by considering how followers may influence leadership processes and outcomes.
Biosketch: After nearly 20 years as a professional engineer, Professor Ashkanasy received his PhD in Social and Organisational Psychology from UQ. He is currently a Professor of Management in the UQ Business School, and his research focuses on the role of emotion in organisational life, as well as leadership, culture, and ethics.