Why Do High Self-Monitors Emerge as Leaders in Small Groups? A Comparative Analysis of the Behaviors of High Versus Low Self-Monitors1


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    The authors thank Angela Hendrix and Amanda Gettler for their assistance with data collection. An earlier version of this paper was presented at the 1999 annual meeting of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Atlanta, Georgia.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Lillian T. Eby, Applied Psychology Program, The University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602. E-mail: leby@uga.edu


The current study examined the relationship between self-monitoring and leader emergence focusing on the specific observable behaviors that differentiate high and low self-monitors in small decision groups. Consistent with previous research, high self-monitors were more likely to emerge as leaders than were low self-monitors. Further, observational ratings of task-oriented and relationship-oriented leader behaviors made by trained raters blind to the purpose of the study indicated that high self-monitors emerged as leaders by engaging in significantly more task-oriented leader behaviors. In contrast, no differences were found in relationship-oriented leader behaviors between high and low self-monitors. The findings are discussed in the context of behavioral approaches to the study of leadership and research on self-monitoring. Implications for research on leader emergence, group process, and research methods are also provided, along with directions for future research.