The contribution of leadership experience and self-efficacy to group performance under evaluation apprehension
This study explored the role of leadership experience, defined both as a content-based activity and a time-based measure, on group performance and leadership self-efficacy. The content-based experiences of task-relevant experience and small group leadership experience were manipulated in Phase 1 of a laboratory study of 140 three-person groups by giving leaders and followers practice in the task-content and/or leadership requirements of the task. In Phase 2, leaders' groups performed under conditions of relatively low or high stress. In addition to manipulated leadership experiences, all subjects indicated their number months of experience in leadership positions to provide a time-based measure of leadership experience.According to Cognitive Resource Theory (Fiedler & Garcia, 1987), it was hypothesized that stress resulting from evaluation apprehension in Phase 2 would differentially moderate the relationship between the two types of experiences and group performance. That is, leaders with task-relevant experience would have lower group performance under stress than leaders not under stress. Conversely, leaders given an opportunity to practice leading a small group (manipulated leadership experience) would have better group performance under stress than leaders not under stress.The results showed that groups in the stress condition generally performed less well than groups not in the stress condition. Also, groups with leaders who had received task-relevant practice performed better than groups with leaders who did not. Additional analyses showed that under stress, months of leadership experience were related to performance when leaders received neither leadership or task-relevant practice.A second set of hypotheses concerned the role of leadership self-efficacy. In general, the results showed only minimal enhancement of self-efficacy from the experience manipulations. As hypothesized, however, stress decreased group performance of leaders with low self-efficacy, but had less of an impact on the performance of groups led by leaders with high self-efficacy. The role of leadership self-efficacy in the Cognitive Resource Theory is discussed.
- Psychology