Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Research Seminar: Prof. Margarete Boos (University of Göttingen, Germany)

Date: Thursday 14th April 
Location: Town Hall Committee Room 3 
Time: 12:00-13:00

Title: "Followership and the Emergence of Leadership"

Traditional leadership theories in psychology focus on traits and behavioural styles of leaders. Newer approaches award strong situational contingency to leadership. Remarkably, traditional and newer psychological approaches neglected the impact of followers on leadership. In contrast, biological leadership theory, with its strong focus on open behaviour, incorporates follower behaviour and associated feedbacks on leaders.

Our aim is to contribute a novel approach that connects both disciplines showing how leaders in a human group emerge and how they depend on followership. We use an experimental paradigm - the HoneyComb© computer-based multi-client game (Boos, Pritz, Lange & Belz, 2014) - where initiating of and leading as well as following in a group’s collective movement can be measured.

We investigated ten-person-groups moving on a virtual playfield where each participant was represented as an avatar. We ran several experiments in order to compare the impact of different situational conditions on the leader-follower behaviour of participants.

Our method was to determine whether group members showed leader- or follower profiles (L-F profiles) during group movement, whether these profiles can be clearly defined and whether individuals switch their behaviour from leading to following and vice versa during group movement.

Boos, M., Pritz, J., Lange, S. & Belz, M. (2014). Leadership in moving human group. PLOS Computational Biology.

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