IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

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


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


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

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:jobhdp:v:110:y:2009:i:2:p:118-128. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.