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Acta Psychologica Sinica    2018, Vol. 50 Issue (1) : 58-68     DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2018.00058
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 The double-edge sword effects of leader group prototypicality in the multi-team context
 LIANG Yongyi1; YAN Ming2; CHU Xiaoping1
 (1 Lingnan College, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China) (2 Management School, JinanUniversity, Guangzhou 510632, China)
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Abstract   Leader group prototypicality refers to the subordinates’ perception of the extent to which a team leader was representative of the collective identity. A number of studies have investigated the positive consequences of leader group prototypicality, while some scholars proposed that leader group prototypicality probably induced negative results. Whether leader group prototypicality simultaneously leads to both positive and negative effects, however, is far less clear to date. Drawing from the self-categorization theory and the social identity theory, we argued that leader group prototypicality not only facilitated subordinates’ self-categorization into their teams, but also engendered their social-categorization tendencies in the multi-team context. With this argument, we examined the distinct mechanisms simultaneously and independently occurring between leader group prototypicality and intra-team collective citizenship behavior via the subordinates’ intra-team identification. We also inspected the relationship between leader group prototypicality and inter-team collective deviance via the subordinates’ perception of inter-team distinctiveness. To test our model, we conducted a survey on 257 subordinates and 72 team leaders from 4 companies in the Guangdong province. The survey questionnaires were distributed and coded on an online survey system. All respondents were informed of the confidentiality of their responses. In an attempt to avoid the common method bias, we collected multiphase multisource data from the subordinate and the team leader. In phase 1, subordinates were invited to report their evaluation on the leader group prototypicality and control variables. In phase 2, subordinates were invited to self-report their intra-team identification and their perception of inter-team distinctiveness. Similarly, team leaders were invited to report their intra-team collective citizenship behavior, their inter-team collective deviance as well as other related variables. Empirical results supported our postulation that leader group prototypicality was a double-edge sword in the multi-team context. Specially, with respect to the intra-team process, leader group prototypicality was positively related to subordinates’ intra-team identification, and subordinates’ intra-team identification was positively related to intra-team collective citizenship behavior. Subordinates’ intra-team identification mediated the indirect effect of leader group prototypicality on intra-team collective citizenship behavior. Meanwhile, with respect to the inter-team process, leader group prototypicality was also positively related to subordinates’ perception of inter-team distinctiveness, and subordinates’ perception of inter-team distinctiveness was positively related to inter-team collective deviance. Subordinates’ perception of inter-team distinctiveness mediated the indirect effect of leader group prototypicality on inter-team collective deviance. Moreover, intra-team self-categorization and inter-team social categorization represented unique systems. In other words, intra-team identification was not significantly related to inter-team collective deviance, nor perception of inter-team distinctiveness was significantly related to intra-team collective citizenship behavior. With these findings, we make several contributions to the literature and management practice. First, we addressed the question whether leader group prototypicality could simultaneously cause beneficial and damaging results. Second, we identified the differential indirect effects of leader group prototypicality on subordinate behavior. Third, our work provided evidence and complemented the traditional focus on intra-team context by drawing our attention to the underlying inter-team process of leader group prototypicality. Finally, our work helped to build a comprehensive framework for understanding the double-edge sword effects of leader group prototypicality in the multi-team system. From a practical point of view, our study raised our attention of the co-existed positive and negative effects of leader group prototypicality, and recommended managers to adopt remedies in promoting the positive effects while prohibiting the negative ones.
Keywords leader group prototypicality      intra-team identification      perception of inter-team distinctiveness      intra- team collective citizenship behavior      inter-team collective deviance     
ZTFLH:     
  B849:C93  
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Corresponding Authors: YAN Ming, E-mail: ymnick@live.cn   
Issue Date: 28 November 2017
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LIANG Yongyi
YAN Ming
CHU Xiaoping
Cite this article:   
LIANG Yongyi,YAN Ming,CHU Xiaoping.  The double-edge sword effects of leader group prototypicality in the multi-team context[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2018, 50(1): 58-68.
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http://journal.psych.ac.cn/xlxb/EN/10.3724/SP.J.1041.2018.00058     OR     http://journal.psych.ac.cn/xlxb/EN/Y2018/V50/I1/58
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