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The Romance of Leadership: Rekindling the fire through replication of Meindl and Ehrlich.

Hammond, M. and Schyns, B. and Vogelgesang, G. and Thomas, J. S. and Clapp-Smith, R. (2021) 'The Romance of Leadership: Rekindling the fire through replication of Meindl and Ehrlich.', Leadership Quarterly .


Given changes in business and society, the romance of leadership theory, which describes a glorification of the perceived influence of leaders on organizational outcomes, is arguably more relevant than at its conception over thirty years ago. This paper presents four studies aimed to replicate Meindl and Ehrlich (1987) early experiment on the romance of leadership, specifically considering the effect of leadership attributions on company evaluations. Studies 1 and 2 are close replications, whereas Studies 3 and 4 provide a conceptual replication drawing from a broader sample in age and work experience and include additional experimental conditions. These conditions vary the gender of the leader and including both success and failure situations, as well as including additional outcomes variables of participants’ behavioral intentions to support, invest, seek employment, or purchase from the company. Taken together, these studies do not support Meindl and Ehrlich’s findings that organizations are viewed more favorably when such outcomes are attributed to leadership. We discuss implications for the romance of leadership theory.

Item Type:Article
Full text:Publisher-imposed embargo until 24 December 2022.
(AM) Accepted Manuscript
Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives 4.0.
File format - PDF
Publisher Web site:
Publisher statement:© 2021. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license
Date accepted:28 May 2021
Date deposited:05 July 2021
Date of first online publication:24 June 2021
Date first made open access:24 December 2022

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