So close and yet so far away: A psychological distance account of the effectiveness of leader appeals

Gijs Houwelingen, Daan Stam, Steffen Giessner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Contradictory recommendations persist on how leaders best communicate goals to followers. Whereas scholars of visionary leadership recommend emphasizing the desirability of preferred end?states, scholars of goal setting argue that the perceived feasibility of a goal determines motivation. This paper proposes and tests a synthesis based on construal level theory. Under relatively high (i.e., abstract) levels of construal, such as when leader–follower distance is relatively large, leader appeals that emphasize desirability (i.e., desirable appeals) are more likely to be effective than appeals that emphasize feasibility (i.e., feasible appeals). Under relatively low (i.e., concrete) levels of construal, such as when leader–follower distance is relatively small, feasible appeals are more likely to be effective. Two experimental studies in two different countries provide support for our predictions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)665-676
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Applied Social Psychology
Volume47
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 5 Oct 2017

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