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

Zhen Zhang, Remus Ilies, Richard D. Arvey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

36 Scopus citations

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 36.5 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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)118-128
Number of pages11
JournalOrganizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes
Volume110
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2009

Keywords

  • Gene-environment interaction (G × E)
  • Leadership role occupancy
  • Nature versus nurture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

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