Follow the Leader? Rethinking Leadership and Hierarchy in the Workplace – UROP Spring Symposium 2021

Follow the Leader? Rethinking Leadership and Hierarchy in the Workplace

Helen Devine

Helen Devine

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Research Mentor(s): Elizabeth Trinh, PhD Student
Research Mentor School/College/Department: Management and Organizations, Ross School of Business
Presentation Date: Thursday, April 22, 2021
Session: Session 3 (1pm-1:50pm)
Breakout Room: Room 3
Presenter: 1

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Previous research has demonstrated that information sharing is important to group and organization functioning and performance. However, leaders and managers often have the option to withhold information from their subordinates or other lower-level employees. Leaders and managers are privy to information about organizational issues, challenges, successes, and opportunities that their subordinates are not. Although this information might be useful or beneficial to disseminate, leaders often keep information from their subordinates, especially in times of crisis. In this research, we explore leader information withholding, which we define as the intentional suppression of information from a subordinate that a leader has on group, organizational, or other contextual circumstances. For this project, our objectives are to explore (1) what types of information do leaders withhold (2) when and why leaders withhold information, specifically in times of crisis, and (3) the effects of leader information withholding on group or organizational dynamics and performance. We will conduct, transcribe, and codify interviews with various organizational leaders and managers, in conjunction with analyzing preexisting research to determine when leaders withhold information, placing emphasis on information dissemination during times of crisis. We hope to observe whether there is a difference between what leaders tend to do and what is actually beneficial to organizational performance.

Authors: Elizabeth Trinh, Mitchell Davidson, Helen Devine
Research Method: Survey Research

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