IACMR Research Seminar Series Session #34

Title: Genetics, Personality, and Leadership: Implications for Leader Development and Well-Being
Speaker: Wen-Dong Li, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
When: 9:00- 10:15 am, March 23, 2023 (China Time, UTC+8) 
Language: Chinese

The great man theory of leadership highlights the significance of individual differences (e.g., personality and genetics) in shaping leadership emergence and effectiveness. In this talk, I will briefly introduce our two recent studies that challenges and complements this perspective. In the first study, we examined whether becoming a leader will alter one’s personality traits, probing the possibility of reverse causality in the personality—leadership relationship. We found in two national longitudinal studies that becoming a leader from an employee enhanced one’s conscientiousness—an important form of leader development, and the influence was channeled through change of job demands. In the second study, we examined the possibility of so-called “leadership genes” based on a large UK dataset (N = 248,640). We found that the so-called “leadership genes” were also positively related to bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and alcohol consumption, as well other positive well-being indicators. I conclude with a discussion of the implications of our findings to future leadership research. 

Wen-Dong Li is an associate professor at the Department of Management, the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Prior to joining CUHK, he worked as an assistant professor at Kansas State University. His research and teaching interests focus on leadership, proactivity, work design, individual differences, and recently change-related issues in organizational research. 

His work has been published in leading management and general science journals including the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), Journal of Applied Psychology, and Annual Review of Organizational Psychology and Organizational Behavior, and has also been covered in media outlets such as the EconomistUSA TodayLA Timesand South China Morning Post. His research has won several awards including the Hogan Award for Personality and Work Performance from the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, andInternational HRM Scholarly Achievement Award from the Academy of Management. He is an associate editor for Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, a senior editor for Management and Organizational Review, and Asia Pacific Journal of Management, and a contributing editor for Journal of Applied Psychology. He is also an editor for an upcoming special issue at Journal of Organizational Behavior (From Personality Traits to Personality Dynamics: New Approaches to Personality Research in Organizational Settings).