behavioral variability effects

As we have illustrated in Fig. 1, it is clear that variability in trait–outcome relations, c, needs to be decomposed into two parts: (a) be- havioral variability effects and (b) behavior–outcome effects. In other words, concerns with moderators of the overall relationship, c, needs to specify whether it is the path from traits to behaviors, a, or the path from behaviors to outcomes, b, that is affected by moder- ators. This distinction is crucial because the dynamics related tomoderationmay differ depending onwhether the focus is path a or path b. As an example of this distinction, consider the dynamics associated with path a. Individuals may assume different roles and identities when specific experiences activate different portions of one’s self-concept, which facilitates access to different knowledge structures and ways of processing contextual information (Kuhnen, Hannover, & Schubert, 2001; Lord & Hall, 2005; McConnell, 2011). For example, by incorporating inclusive pronouns into a leader’s speech (e.g., ‘we’ rather than ‘me’), leaders can activate semantic knowledge structures associated with a collective or an interdependent self-identity (vs. an independent self-identity) that encourages holistic rather than context-independent forms of information processing (Kuhnen et al., 2001). Holistic interpretive processing can in turn, help broaden one’s perspective to include context, fostering the generation of innovative behavioral responses to different contexts. In the same way, followers may influence how leaders behave by activating different leadership self-identities and knowledge structures through their interactionswith their leader. Indeed, the literature on leader–member differentiation suggests that there are qualitative differences in the relationship quality leaders can have with different members (i.e., high or low quality) (Chang & Johnson, 2010; Erdogan & Bauer, 2010). Consequently, because leaders employ very different social identities when interacting with particular individuals (Andersen & Chen, 2002), how leaders behave may also vary with whom they are interacting. Referring to Fig. 1, this process represents moderation at path a (traits→behaviors).

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