New leaders from outside organizations are often stuck in all kinds of troubles and challenges after they arrive in the organizations. And the biggest challenge is that even if they have the title of leader, their subordinates don’t recognize their ability and identity, thereby hindering their managerial role. Thus, to achieve the effectiveness of leadership, they need to construct their leader identity. According to previous research on the theme of leader identity construction, on the one hand, they can’t find the mental characteristics that fit in with the environment and challenges that new leaders from outside organizations are confronted with; on the other hand, most of previous studies investigate new leaders’ identity construction mechanism from the perspective of new leaders and they ignore the role of the interaction between new leaders and their subordinates. Even if few studies begin paying attention to the interaction between new leaders and their subordinates, the interaction is abstract instead of concrete, a part that must be clarified if we want to investigate how new leaders construct their leader identity. As a result, considering the limitations above, to investigate how new leaders get themselves out of trouble and construct leader identity, we make a case study of five new leaders from Wowprime’s young lion plan. By multiple case study method, we firstly show that they are faced with the challenging environment, including high exterior pressure, high risk, previous problems and anti-acceptance and anti-recognition form their subordinates. And the environment clues motivate their ego-resilience and further the ego-resilience has the influence on the proactive behaviors. Those new leaders who have high ego-resilience have the urgent wish to change the negative environment, so they will take the proactive behaviors positively. Then the three proactive behaviors including feedback seeking, social networking and information seeking have the influences on the results of leader identity construction, which include the promotion time, leadership effectiveness, recognition from the subordinates, and the appraisals from the higher level. Also, based on the interactive perspective of leader identity construction, we know that leaders’ benevolence and ability that subordinates perceive also have the influences on the results of leader identity construction. When a subordinate has the perception that the new leader is kind and capable, he will form a good impression of the new leader and project the impression on the proactive behaviors of the new leader, thus producing positive interpretation results and then bringing effective identity construction results. In conclusion, we induce a mechanism model of the influence of leaders’ mental characteristics on identity construction from the interaction perspective to show the relationship among ego-resilience, proactive behaviors, perception of benevolence and ability, and the results of leader identity construction. The theoretical innovation is that we choose ego-resilience as the antecedent which is more related with the study context and introduce and quantize the participation of subordinates in the process of new leaders’ identity construction. The conclusions above are theoretically valuable to expose the managerial challenges that new leaders are confronted with and investigate the identity construction tactics. At the same time, the research has some limitations. The similarities of new leaders’ education background and age are not good for the generalization of the conclusions. We don’t talk with the young lions that have left the organization and future research can emphasize on this part. We ask the young lions and their subordinates to recall the process of new leaders’ identity construction process, which may not describe the moment precisely and would result in recall and narrative deviation. Researchers can adopt the tracking investigation to record the whole process of new leaders’ identity construction precisely in time so as to get more scientific and precise conclusions.
A Case Study of New Leaders’ Identity Construction Process from an Interaction Perspective
Foreign Economics & Management Vol. 40, Issue 04, pp. 69 - 83 (2018) DOI:10.16538/j.cnki.fem.2018.04.006
Cite this article
Huang Peiyi, Jing Runtian. A Case Study of New Leaders’ Identity Construction Process from an Interaction Perspective[J]. Foreign Economics & Management, 2018, 40(4): 69-83.
Previous: A Theoretical Framework for Counterfactual Thinking in the Context of Entrepreneurial Failure