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Taking the initiative. What characterizes leaders?

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  • Lisa Bruttel
  • Urs Fischbacher

Abstract

Taking the initiative is a crucial element of leadership and an important asset for many jobs. We assess leadership in a game in which it emerges spontaneously since people have a non-obvious possibility to take the initiative. Combining this game with small experimental games and questionnaires, we investigate the motives and personality characteristics that entail leadership. We find efficiency concerns, generosity, and attention seeking as important determinants of leadership. Response time patterns and the results from the cognitive reflection test show that cognitive resources are relevant in the decision to lead.

Suggested Citation

  • Lisa Bruttel & Urs Fischbacher, 2010. "Taking the initiative. What characterizes leaders?," TWI Research Paper Series 61, Thurgauer Wirtschaftsinstitut, Universität Konstanz.
  • Handle: RePEc:twi:respas:0061
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    Cited by:

    1. Matthias Collischon, 2020. "The Returns to Personality Traits Across the Wage Distribution," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 34(1), pages 48-79, March.
    2. Gürerk, Özgür & Lauer, Thomas & Scheuermann, Martin, 2018. "Leadership with individual rewards and punishments," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 57-69.
    3. Pablo Hernandez-Lagos & Dylan Minor & Dana Sisak, 2017. "Do people who care about others cooperate more? Experimental evidence from relative incentive pay," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 20(4), pages 809-835, December.
    4. Wolff, Irenaeus, 2019. "The reliability of questionnaires in laboratory experiments: What can we do?," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 74(C).
    5. Lau Lilleholt, 2019. "Cognitive ability and risk aversion: A systematic review and meta analysis," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 14(3), pages 234-279, May.
    6. Gächter, Simon & Renner, Elke, 2018. "Leaders as role models and ‘belief managers’ in social dilemmas," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 154(C), pages 321-334.
    7. Lisa Bruttel & Irenaeus Wolff, 2018. "Incentives and Random Answers in Post-Experimental Questionnaires," TWI Research Paper Series 110, Thurgauer Wirtschaftsinstitut, Universität Konstanz.
    8. van der Heijden, E.C.M. & Moxnes, E., 2011. "Leading by Example to Protect the Environment; Do the Costs of Leading Matter?," Discussion Paper 2011-043, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    9. Lopera Baena, Maria Adelaida, 2016. "Evidence of Conditional and Unconditional Cooperation in a Public Goods Game: Experimental Evidence from Mali," VfS Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145797, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    10. Eisenkopf, Gerald, 2014. "The impact of management incentives in intergroup contests," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 42-61.
    11. Gerald Eisenkopf, 2013. "The Impact of Management Incentives in Intergroup Contests," Working Paper Series of the Department of Economics, University of Konstanz 2013-26, Department of Economics, University of Konstanz.
    12. van der Heijden, E.C.M. & Moxnes, E., 2011. "Leading by Example to Protect the Environment; Do the Costs of Leading Matter?," Other publications TiSEM 38dda6d2-3270-44cb-be09-7, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    13. Gerald Eisenkopf, 2013. "The Impact of Management Incentives in Intergroup Contests," TWI Research Paper Series 87, Thurgauer Wirtschaftsinstitut, Universität Konstanz.
    14. Ju, Ying & Kocher, Martin G., 2020. "Leading by example in a public goods experimentwith benefit heterogeneity," IHS Working Paper Series 25, Institute for Advanced Studies.
    15. Eisenkopf, Gerald, 2013. "Management Impact in an Experimental Intergroup Contest," VfS Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79863, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    leading-by-example; social preferences; experiment;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness

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