Self-sacrificial leadership and follower self-esteem: When collective identification matters

D. De Cremer, D. Van Knippenberg, M. Van Dijke, A.E.R. Bos

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    In the present research, we examine whether leader's self-sacrifice positively influences followers' self-esteem and whether followers' identification with the collective plays a role in this process. It was predicted that leader self-sacrifice would influence followers' self-esteem, but particularly so when followers exhibited strong (vs. weak) collective identification. Results from an organizational survey showed that leader self-sacrifice and collective identification interacted in predicting follower self-esteem, such that followers' self-esteem was higher when they identified strongly with the collective and when the leader was self-sacrificial (vs. self-benefiting). An experimental scenario study replicated this interactive effect between collective identification and leader's self-sacrifice on followers' self-esteem and also showed that this effect was (at least partly) mediated by followers' perceptions of whether the leader respected and valued the group. Implications with respect to the relationship between self-sacrifice and self-esteem are outlined, and possible integrations of leader self-sacrifice, identity, and empowerment are discussed.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)233-245
    Number of pages13
    JournalGroup Dynamics
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Sept 2006


    • Collective identification
    • Leadership
    • Self-esteem
    • Self-sacrifice


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