The impact of leader communication on free-riding: An incentivized experiment with empowering and directive styles
© 2019 Elsevier Inc. Organizations often appoint leaders to foster cooperation. This paper studies the effect of leader communication on free-riding behavior using controlled and incentivized experiments. Leaders are asked to choose public messages from a set that induces a particular leadership style and to send them to subjects matched in groups to play a repeated, finite-horizon public good game. Using a between-subjects design, empowering and directive message sets are studied. Treatments are implemented with and without opportunities for two-way leader follower communication to study the impact of free-form communication. In the absence of opportunities for two-way leader follower communication, leaders assigned to the empowering messages treatment are more effective in mitigating free-riding than leaders assigned to the directive messages treatment. In its presence, contributions in both treatments are higher. The design allows for the study of a more interactive form of directive leadership by combining directive public messages with two-way leader follower communication.
Boulu-Reshef, Béatrice; Holt, Charles A.; Rodgers, Matthew S.; and Thomas-Hunt, Melissa C., "The impact of leader communication on free-riding: An incentivized experiment with empowering and directive styles" (2020). Faculty Articles Indexed in Scopus. 78.