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Advances in Psychological Science    2015, Vol. 23 Issue (6) : 1079-1094     DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2015.01079
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The Trickle-Down Effect in Leadership Research: A Review and Prospect
WANG Zhen; XU Haoying; DU Chenduo
(Business School, Central University of Finance and Economics, Beijing 100081, China)
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The inquiry of the trickle-down effect is booming and developing into a new realm in the leadership study. Trickle-down effect refers to a top-down process in which leaders’ trait, cognition, affect, attitude and behavior induce the similar responses of followers and/or groups. Based on 62 independent empirical investigations reported in 50 articles, we found: (1) Trickle-down effect can be classified into six types according to the nature (state-like, affects, cognitions, attitudes, behaviors, relationships) of the transmitted variables; (2)Trickle-down effect can further influence the attitudes, behaviors and performance of followers, teams and other stakeholders; (3)There are mainly five theories explaining the occurrence of trickle-down effect, namely emotion contagion/affective event theory, social learning theory, social exchange theory, social identity theory and social information processing theory; (4) The strength of trickle-down effect depends on some specific leader, follower/team, and contextual attributes.

Keywords leadership effectiveness      trickle-down effect      underling mechanism      boundary conditions     
Corresponding Authors: WANG Zhen, E-mail:   
Issue Date: 25 June 2015
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XU Haoying
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WANG Zhen,XU Haoying,DU Chenduo. The Trickle-Down Effect in Leadership Research: A Review and Prospect[J]. Advances in Psychological Science, 2015, 23(6): 1079-1094.
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