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Beyond genetic explanations for leadership: The moderating role of the social environment

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  • Zhang, Zhen
  • Ilies, Remus
  • Arvey, Richard D.

Abstract

Leadership role occupancy has recently been shown to have a genetic basis. We extend prior research by examining the moderating effects of the social environment during adolescence on the genetic influences on leadership role occupancy at work. Utilizing a sample of male twins (89 pairs of identical and 54 pairs of fraternal twins, with a mean age of 36.5Â years), we found that genetic influences are weaker for those reared in enriched environments (i.e., higher family socioeconomic status, higher perceived parental support, and lower perceived conflict with parents). For those twins who had relatively poorer social environments, genetic influences on leadership role occupancy are significantly greater. These results have important implications for early interventions on leadership development inside and outside organizations.

Suggested Citation

  • Zhang, Zhen & Ilies, Remus & Arvey, Richard D., 2009. "Beyond genetic explanations for leadership: The moderating role of the social environment," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 110(2), pages 118-128, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jobhdp:v:110:y:2009:i:2:p:118-128
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Nicos Nicolaou & Scott Shane & Lynn Cherkas & Janice Hunkin & Tim D. Spector, 2008. "Is the Tendency to Engage in Entrepreneurship Genetic?," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 54(1), pages 167-179, January.
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