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PublicationHelp when leaders need somebody? Positive reactions to leader work-family conflict( 2022)
; ;Braun, Susanne ;Hoobler, JennyPeus, ClaudiaType: conference paper
PublicationHELP WHEN LEADERS NEED SOMEBODY? POSITIVE FOLLOWER BEHAVIORAL REACTIONS TO LEADER WORK-FAMILY CONFLICT( 2023-05)
; ;Braun, Susanne ;Hoobler, JennyPeus, ClaudiaPerceptions of others’ work-family conflict (WFC) have typically been studied as a top-down phenomenon grounded in gender role theory; this work generally reveals negative career consequences for followers ascribed higher WFC—particularly women. However, we know less about how those lower in organizational hierarchies (e.g., followers) notice and behave in response to leaders’ WFC, and if these reactions differ for male and female leaders. Integrating prosocial motivation theory, we propose that followers perceive leaders’ WFC and respond to it positively because they want to help these leaders. We argue that this effect is especially pronounced for male leaders, because higher WFC positively violates gendered stereotypes surrounding care and communality. Results from a multi-source field study of leaders and followers (144 matched dyads from 144 followers and 268 leaders; total N = 412) showed initial support for our model, which we then causally replicated and extended via an experimental recall study (N = 468) and a behavioral vignette experiment (N = 420). This research marks a theoretical integration between WFC and prosocial motivation, highlighting a new behavioral bonus wherein leaders’ ostensibly negative state—WFC—elicits arguably unintentional positive behavioral effects in the form of more interpersonal helping from their followers. This research fits well with the conference theme by integrating a darker side of leadership and examining how it (arguably unintentionally) stimulates positive follower behaviors, thereby exposing a critical leader-follower dynamic between leaders at the work-family interface.