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Taking the initiative. What characterizes leaders?

  • Bruttel, Lisa
  • Fischbacher, Urs

Taking the initiative is a crucial element of leadership and an important asset for many jobs. We assess this element of leadership in a game in which it emerges spontaneously since people have a non-obvious possibility to take the initiative. We can show that leadership in this game correlates with real life activities associated with taking the initiative. Combining this game with other experimental games and with questionnaires, we investigate the personality characteristics that entail leadership. We find efficiency concerns and generosity to be important determinants of leadership. Leaders have an internal locus of control and are more patient than non-leaders, but they are not different from the non-leaders with respect to risk attitude. Response time patterns and the results from the cognitive reflection test show that cognitive resources are relevant in the decision to lead.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal European Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 64 (2013)
Issue (Month): C ()
Pages: 147-168

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Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:64:y:2013:i:c:p:147-168
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/eer

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