Leadership Essay

17761 Words Oct 22nd, 2012 72 Pages
LEADERSHIP AND EXPECTATIONS:
PYGMALION EFFECTS AND OTHER
SELF-FULFILLING PROPHECIES
IN ORGANIZATIONS

Dov Eden
Tel Aviv University

The Pygmalion effect is a type of self-fulfilling prophecy (SFP) in which raising manager expectations regarding subordinate performance boosts subordinate performance.
Managers who are led to expect more of their subordinates lead them to greater achievement. Programmatic research findings from field experiments are reviewed, and our present knowledge about the Pygmalion effect in the management of industrial, sales, and military organizations is summarized.
A model is presented in which leadership is hypothesized to be the key mediator through which manager expectations influence
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Leadership Quarterly, 3(4), 271-305.
Copyright @ 1992 by JAI Press Inc.
All rights of reproduction in any form reserved
ISSN: 1048-9843

Faculty of Management,

University

Campus,

272

LEADERSHIP

QUARTERLY

Vol. 3 No. 4 1992

& Rotter, 1985). There is a consensus among scholars that expectations and motivation are positively associated. However, none of these theoreticians has proposed that we apply knowledge of this relationship by purposely raising worker expectations in order to boost work motivation.
Moreover, theory and research have largely ignored the interface between the manager’s expectations of the subordinate and the subordinate’s self-expectations. The manager-as-Pygmalion model is unique in focusing on the interlinking expectations of managers and subordinates as a key to understandingand enhancing-the motivational power of effective leadership. The purposes of the present article are to review the experimental findings demonstrating the power of expectation effects in leadership, to present a model of leader expectation effects, and to propose ways in which expectations can be utilized to improve leadership practice.
The leader expectation effect is a special case of self-fulfilling prophecy (SFP). Merton
(1948) gave us the SFP concept. SFP is the process through which the expectation that an event will occur increases its likelihood of occurrence. Expecting something to happen, we

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