When do leaders sacrifice? The effects of sense of power and belongingness on leader self-sacrifice

Niek Hoogervorst, D (David) De Cremer, Marius van Dijke, D M Mayer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)


Past research on leader self-sacrifice has focused entirely on the effects of this leader behavior on followers and its implications for organizations. The present research focused on antecedents of leader self-sacrifice. We argued that self-sacrifice is positively influenced by leaders' sense of belongingness to the group they supervise. Furthermore, leaders' subjectively sensed power can serve as a moderator of this effect. We expected this because a high sense of power is known to facilitate goal pursuit. Given that organizational goals often prescribe serving the interests of the organization, leaders' sense of belongingness should promote self-sacrifice particularly among leaders low in subjective power; leaders high in subjective power should display self-sacrifice regardless of their sense of belongingness. Two field studies supported these predictions. A final experiment supported a critical assumption underlying our argument in showing that the sense of power × sense of belongingness interaction is restricted to situations that prescribe cooperative goals. When situations prescribe competitive goals, this interaction was absent.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)883-896
Number of pages14
JournalThe Leadership Quarterly
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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