The Double-Edge of Leaders' Resource-Seeking: Curvilinear Effects on Humility, Competence, and Effectiveness

Zoom Research Seminar / 5th Floor EE Lecture 2

Orange paper ship in front of black paper ships

Past event — 16 November 2022

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Julia Rieg

PhD Candidate

Kühne Logistics University - KLU

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The extant literature on the consequences of leaders' resource-seeking has produced inconsistent results on whether it helps or hurts leaders' humility, competence, and ultimately effectiveness perceptions. We resolve these by proposing that the frequency with which leaders ask their followers for resources plays a crucial role. In contrast to previous literature, which has predominantly focused on linear effects, we argue for a too-much-of-a-good-thing logic and emphasise that leaders who seek resources too infrequently or too frequently are appraised as less effective. We explain this nonmonotonic relationship using a competitive mediation model where perceived leader humility and competence act as two mediators with opposite curvilinear directionalities of influence. Results of a vignette study and a two-wave field survey support our theorising that humility premiums mediate a positive relationship between resource-seeking and perceived leadership effectiveness at low to medium levels of frequency, while competence penalties mediate a negative relationship when frequency exceeds medium levels. In consequence, our study offers integration for prior empirical inconsistencies and allows for better advice to practitioners, who often are rightfully wary of the double-edged sword of asking followers for resources.


Julia Rieg has been a PhD student at KLU since September 2019 under the primary and secondary supervision of Prof. Dr. Niels Van Quaquebeke and Prof. Dr. Prisca Brosi, respectively. Her research is based in the field of organisational behaviour and leadership, with a particular focus on leader-follower communication. Julia graduated in 2018 with a BSc Joint Honours from the University of St Andrews, where she studied the combination of Economics and Psychology. As part of an academic exchange, she spent a year at Queen's University in Kingston, Canada. Julia developed a strong interest in the field of leadership while working on her Bachelor's thesis, in which she applied a social identity approach to analyse how women invoked and warranted the claim of a personal relationship to Hitler as a political leader during the Third Reich. Before coming to KLU, Julia completed her MSc Psychology of Economic Life at the London School of Economics and Political Science. In addition to her studies, Julia gained practical experience in Global Talent Sourcing and Market Management at the Mercedes-Benz Group AG (formerly Daimler AG).



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Bärbel Wegener

Assistant to Resident Faculty