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The psychophysiological and performance consequences of identity leadership

MILLER, Anthony (2021) The psychophysiological and performance consequences of identity leadership. Doctoral thesis, Staffordshire University.

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Abstract or description

The social identity approach contends that influential processes from within a social group are central to members’ cognition and behaviour. Recent theorising and research into this influence process identifies the importance of a leader who represents and promotes a group in developing a shared social identity. A leader who represents, creates, advances, and embeds a shared social identity is perceived to be more trustworthy, cooperative, effective and is respected by followers. Though this is the case, it is uncertain to what extent identity leadership influences psychological and physiological reactivity to stressful situations (e.g. sports competition, pressurized skills). The theory of challenge and threat states in athletes (TCTSA) proposes that individuals’ psychological and physiological reactions to stressful situations occur dichotomously; one being maladaptive (a threat state), and one being adaptive (a challenge state). A threat state is a result of a perceived inability to cope with the demands of a stressful scenario, leading to maladaptive physiological reactions, being liable to poorer performances and cardiovascular disease. A challenge state is a result of a perceived ability to cope with the demands of the stressful scenario, being conducive to adaptive physiological reactivity and better performances and general health. In the aim to explain the relationships between identity leadership, psychophysiological stress and performance, this thesis presents one cross-sectional (Chapter 2), one longitudinal (Chapter 3) and two experimental studies (Chapters 4 and 5). Overall, the findings indicate that if a leader represents, creates, advances and embeds a group identity, followers are more likely to approach a stressful situation in a challenge state and thus perform better as a result of heightened emotional connections with both a leader and the group. Specifically, identity leadership encourages greater follower efficacy, perceived control over actions, approach focus (wanting to do well rather than wanting not to fail), perceptions of support and athletic performance (Chapters 2 and 3). Extending both leadership and stress theory, the acute enactment of identity leadership was conducive to positive appraisals of stressful scenarios (Chapters 4 and 5), leading to adaptive physiological reactivity and motor performance (Chapter 4). This thesis makes an original contribution to the field of leadership and stress by evidencing that the way in which a leader is perceived has significant implications for psychological appraisal and physiological reactivity towards impending stressful situations, and performance within competitive team sports and pressurized tasks in a laboratory.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Leadership, Stress, Challenge and Threat, Performance
Faculty: School of Life Sciences and Education > Sport and Exercise
Depositing User: Anthony MILLER
Date Deposited: 28 Oct 2021 08:25
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2021 08:25
URI: https://eprints.staffs.ac.uk/id/eprint/7058

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