Vol. 1 No. 11 (2018): Journal of Leadership and Management

Demographic Factors Influencing the Formation of Informal Leadership

Kyung Chool Joe
Kyung Chool Joe, Ph.D. Assistant Professor Archie W. Dunham College of Business, Houston Baptist University, 7502 Fondren Rd, Houston, TX 77074, USA email: kjoe@hbu.edu
Published May 15, 2018
How to Cite
Joe, K. C. (2018). Demographic Factors Influencing the Formation of Informal Leadership. Journal of Leadership and Management, 1(11). Retrieved from http://leadership.net.pl/JLM/article/view/117


Although informal leadership can play a critical role in organizational functioning, empirical research concerning this issue is scarce. I con- ceptualized informal leadership as a continuous variable, and tested the relationship between informal leadership and the demographic va- riables. This study advanced our understanding of how demographic factors (i.e., age, gender, educational background, and work experience) contribute to shaping informal leadership. In addition, T-test was chosen to test whether informal leadership is more noteworthy in women than men. Informal leadership was more noteworthy in men than women. Educational background and work experience influenced the formation of informal leadership positively. However, age was not counted as factor affecting the formation of informal leadership.

Keywords: informal leadership, age, gender, educational degree, seniority


  1. Antonakis, J., B. J. Avolio, and N. Sivasubramaniam. (2003). “Con- text and Leadership: An Examination of the Nine-Factor Full-Range Leadership Theory Using The Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire MLQ Form 5X.” The Leadership Quarterly, 14, pp. 261–295.
  2. Barbuto, J. E., S. M., Fritz, G. S., Matkin, and D. B Marx. (2007). “Effects of Gender, Education, and Age Upon Leader’s Use of Influ- ence Tactics and Full Range Leadership Behaviors.” Sex Roles, 56, pp. 71–83.
  3. Book, E. W. (2000). Why the Best Man for The Job is a Woman. New York: Harper Collins.
  4. Borman W. C, M. A. Hanson, S. H. Oppler, E. D. Pulakos, and L. A. White. (1993). “Role of Early Supervisory Experience in Supervisor Performance.” Journal of Applied Psychology, 78, pp. 443–449.
  5. Bowen, C. E., C. M. G. Noack, and U. M. Staudinger. (2010). Aging in the Work Context, in: K. W. Schaie, and S. L. Willis (eds.). Handbook of the Psychology of Aging, San Diego: Elsevier Academic Press, pp. 263–287.
  6. Brass, D. J. (1992). Power in Organizations: A Social Network Per- spective, in: G. Moore, and J. A. Whitt (eds.). Research in Politics and Society, Greenwich: JAI Press, pp. 295–323
  7. Cheng, B. S., L. F. Chou, M. P. Huang, T. Y. Wu, and J. L. Farh. (2004). “Paternalistic Leadership and Subordinate Responses: Establishing a Leadership Model in Chinese Organizations.” Asian Journal of So- cial Psychology, 7, pp. 89–117.
  8. Cole, M. S., H. Bruch, and B. Shamir. (2009). “Social Distance As a Moderator of the Effects of Transformational Leadership – Both Neutralizer And Enhancer.” Human Relations, 62, pp. 1697–1733.
  9. Conger, J. A., and C. L. Pearce. (2003). A Landscape of Opportunities: Future Research in Shared Leadership, in: C. L. Pearce, and J. A. Con- ger (eds.). Shared Leadership, Thousand Oaks: Sage, pp. 285–303.
  10. Dirks, K. T., and D. L. Ferrin. (2002). “Trust in Leadership: Meta-An- alytic Findings and Implications for Research and Practice.” Journal of Applied Psychology, 87, pp. 611–628.
  11. the relationships between informal leadership and the variables affected by culture can be an agenda for future research.
  12. Secondary data containing 582 variables allowed us to analyze data from various angles. However, all of the variables came from the individual (employee) level, even though the subjects assessed organizational support for development company levels. There are limitations in cre- ating new scales instead of using currently existing scales. To make up the weaknesses, several procedures were ad- opted for this study. First, for each construct, one popular existing scale was chosen. The selected scale was examined carefully. Based on this observation, a group of items were sorted from the Age and Generations Study and were com- bined as initial scales. Initially selected measures were re- viewed by the advisory committee for face validity. After this review, irrelevant items were eliminated. For all scales, Cronbach’s alpha was calculated to check internal consis- tency between items. The estimate of .7 indicates an ac- ceptable level of internal consistency (George and Mallery, 2003). Every scale exceeded this criteria.
  13. Druskat, V. (1994). “Gender and Leadership Style: Transformational and Transactional Leadership in The Roman Catholic Church.” The Leadership Quarterly, 5, pp. 99–119.
  14. Eagly, A. H. (1987). Sex Differences in Social Behavior: A Social-Role Interpretation. Hillsdale: Erlbaum.
  15. Eagly, A. H., and L. Carli. (2007). Through the Labyrinth: The Truth About How Women Become Leaders. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.
  16. Eagly, A. H., and S. J. Karau. (1991). “Gender and the Emergence of Leaders: A Meta-Analysis.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychol- ogy, 60, pp. 685–710.
  17. Eagly, A. H., and S. J. Karau. (2002). “Role Congruity Theory of Prejudice Toward Female Leaders.” Psychological Review, 109, pp. 573–598.
  18. Eagly, A. H., and W. Wood. (1982). “Inferred Sex Differences in Sta- tus As a Determinant of Gender Stereotypes About Social Influence.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 43, pp. 915–928.
  19. Eagly, A. H., and W. Wood. (1999). “The Origins of Sex Differenc- es in Human Behavior: Evolved Dispositions Versus Social Roles.” American Psychologist, 54, pp. 408–423.
  20. Eagly, A.H., and B. T. Johnson. (1990). “Gender and Leadership Style: A Meta-Analysis.” Psychological Bulletin, 108, pp. 233–256.
  21. Eisenberger, R., J. Cummings, S. Armeli and P. Lynch. (1997). “Per- ceived Organizational Support, Discretionary Treatment, and Job Satisfaction.” Journal of Applied Psychology, 82, pp. 812–820.
  22. Eisenberger, R., R. Huntington, S. Hutchison, and D. Sowa. (1986). “Perceived Organizational Support.” Journal of Applied Psychology, 71, pp. 500–507.
  23. Gallagher, S. (2014). “Yes, Master’s: A Graduate Degree’s Moment in the Age of Higher Education Innovation.” The New England Journal of Higher Education, 5 August 2014.
  24. George, D., and P. Mallery. (2003). SPSS for Windows Step By Step: A Simple Guide and Reference. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
  25. Gronn, P. (2002). “Distributed Leadership As a Unit of Analysis.” The Leadership Quarterly, 13, pp. 423−451.
  26. Hiller, N., D. Day, and R. Vance. (2006). “Collective Enactment of Leadership Roles and Team Effectiveness: A Field Study.” The Lead- ership Quarterly, 17, pp. 387−397.
  27. Hochwarter, W. A., C. Kacmar, P. L. Perrewe, and D. Johnson. (2003). “Perceived Organizational Support As a Mediator of the Relation- ship Between Politics Perceptions and Work Outcomes.” Journal of Vocational Behavior, 63, pp. 438–456.
  28. Howell, J., C. Shea, and C. Higgins. (2005). “Champions of Prod- uct Innovations: Defining, Developing, and Validating a Measure of Champion Behavior.” Journal of Business Venturing, 20, pp. 641−661.
  29. Hoyt, C. L. (2010). “Women, Men, and Leadership: Exploring the Gender Gap at the Top.” Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 4, pp. 484–498.
  30. Hunt, J. G., and G. E. Dodge. (2000). “Leadership Déjà Vu All Over Again.” The Leadership Quarterly, 11, pp. 435−458.
  31. Hurtz, G. M., and K. J. Williams. (2009). “Attitudinal and Motiva- tional Antecedents of Participation in Voluntary Employee Devel- opment Activities.” Journal of Applied Psychology, 94, pp. 635–653.
  32. ICPSR website: http://www.icpsr.umich.edu/icpsrweb/ICPSR/stud- ies/34837.
  33. Javidan, M., P. W. Dorfman, M. S. de Luque, and R. J. House. (2006). “In the Eyes of the Beholder: Cross-Cultural Lessons in Leadership from Project GLOBE.” Academy of Management Perspectives, 20, pp. 67–90.
  34. Kent, R. L., and S. E. Moss. (1994). “Effects of Sex and Gender Role on Leader Emergence.” Academy of Management Journal, 37, pp. 1335–1346.
  35. Kraimer, M. L., and S. J. Wayne. (2004). “An Examination of Per- ceived Organizational Support As a Multidimensional Construct in the Context of an Expatriate Assignment.” Journal of Management, 30, pp. 209–237.
  36. Lee, S. (2004). “Seniority As an Employment Norm: The Case of Lay- offs and Promotion in the US Employment Relationship.” Socio-Eco- nomic Review, 2, pp. 65–86.
  37. Maertz, C. P., Jr., R. W. Griffeth, N. S. Campbell, and D. G. Allen. (2007). “The Effects of Perceived Organizational Support and Per- ceived Supervisor Support on Employee Turn-Over.” Journal of Or- ganizational Behavior, 28, pp. 1059–1075.
  38. Masterson, S. S. (2001). “A Trickle-Down Model of Organizational Justice: Relating Employees’ and Customers’ Perceptions of and Re- actions to Fairness.” Journal of Applied Psychology, 86, pp. 594–604.
  39. Maurer, T. J., H. R. Pierce, and L. M. Shore. (2002). “Perceived Ben- eficiary of Employee Development Activity: A Three-Dimension- al Social Exchange Model.” Academy of Management Review, 27, pp. 432–444.
  40. McCall, M. W. (2010). “Recasting Leadership Development.” In- dustrial and Organizational Psychology: Perspectives on Science and Practice, 3, pp. 3–19.
  41. Neubert, M. J., and S. Taggar. (2004). “Pathways to Informal Leader- ship: The Moderating Role of Gender on the Relationship of Individ- ual Differences and Team Member Network Centrality to Informal Leadership Emergence.” The Leadership Quarterly, 15, pp. 175–194.
  42. Ng, T. W. H., and D. C. Feldman. (2008). “The Relationship of Age to Ten Dimensions of Job Performance.” Journal of Applied Psychology, 93, pp. 392–423.
  43. Oh, Se-Hyung. (2012). “Leadership Emergence in Autonomous Work Teams: Who is More Willing to Lead.” Social Behavior and Personality, 40, pp. 1451–1464.
  44. Ohlott, P. J., M. N. Ruderman, and C. D. McCauley. (1994). “Gender Differences in Managers’ Developmental Job Experiences.” Academy of Management Journal, 37, pp. 46–67.
  45. Pearce, C. L., and H. P. Sims. (2002). “Vertical Versus Shared Lead- ership As Predictors of The Effectiveness of Change Management Teams: An Examination of Aversive, Directive, Transactional, Trans- formational, and Empowering Leader Behaviors.” Group Dynamics: Theory, Research, and Practice, 6, pp. 172−197.
  46. Pescosolido, A. T. (2002). “Emergent Leaders As Managers of Group Emotion.” The Leadership Quarterly, 13, pp. 583–599.
  47. Powell, G. N. (1990). “One More Time: Do Female and Male Manag- ers Differ?” Academy of Management Executive, 4, pp. 68–75.
  48. Raymo, J. M., J. R. Warren, M. M. Sweeney, R. M. Hauser, and J.- H. Ho. (2010). “Later-Life Employment Preferences and Outcomes: The Role of Midlife Work Experiences.” Research on Aging, 32, pp. 419–466.
  49. Rhoades, L., and R. Eisenberger. (2002), “Perceived Organizational Support: A Review of the Literature.” Journal of Applied Psychology, 87, pp. 698–714.
  50. Ridgeway, C. L. (1992). Gender, Interaction, and Inequality. New York: Springer-Velag.
  51. Sarros, J. C., B. K. Cooper, and A. M. Hartican. (2006). “Leadership and Character.” Leadership and Organization Development Journal, 27, pp. 682–689.
  52. Schein, E. H. (1978). Career Dynamics: Matching Individuals and Or- ganizational Needs. Boston: Addison-Wesley.
  53. Schneer. J. A., and F. Reitman. (1990). “Effects of Employment Gaps on the Careers of M.B.A.’s: More Damaging for Men Than for Wom- en?” Academy of Management Journal, 33, pp. 391–406.
  54. Schneier, C. E., and J. R. Goktepe. (1983). Issues in emergent leader- ship: The contingency model of leadership, leader sex, leader behav- ior, in: H. H. Blumberg, A. P. Hare, V. Kent, and M. F. Davies (eds.), Small groups and social interaction, Chichester: Wiley, pp. 413−421.
  55. Shanock, L. R., and R. Eisenberger. (2006). “When Supervisors Feel Supported: Relationships with Subordinates’ Perceived Supervisor Support, Perceived Organizational Support, and Performance.” Jour- nal of Applied Psychology, 91, pp. 689–695.
  56. van Engen, M. L., R. van der Leeden, and T. M. Willemsen. (2001). “Gender, Context and Leadership Styles: A Field Study.” Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 74, pp. 581–598.
  57. van Iddekinge C. H., G. R. Ferris, and T. S. Heffner. (2009). “Test of a Multistage Model of Distal and Proximal Antecedents of Leader Performance.” Personnel Psychology, 62, pp. 463–495.
  58. Vecchio, R. P. (1993). “The Impact of Differences in Subordinate and Supervisor Age on Attitudes and Performance.” Psychology and Ag- ing, 8, pp. 112–119.
  59. Vecchio, R. P. (2002). “Leadership and Gender Advantage.” The Leadership Quarterly, 13, pp. 643–671.
  60. Walter, F., and S. Scheibe. (2013). “A Literature Review and Emo- tion-Based Model of Age and Leadership: New Directions for the Trait Approach.” The Leadership Quarterly, 24, pp. 882–901.
  61. Wilson, E. O. (1992). Sociobiology. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
  62. Zacher, H., and M. Frese. (2009). “Remaining Time and Opportuni- ties at Work: Relationships Between Age, Work Characteristics, and Occupational Future Time Perspective.” Psychology and Aging, 24, pp. 487–493.
  63. Zacher, H., K. Rosing, and M. Frese. (2011). “Age and Leadership: The Moderating Role of Legacy Beliefs.” The Leadership Quarterly, 22, pp. 43–50.