Handbook of Methods in Leadership Research
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Handbook of Methods in Leadership Research

Edited by Birgit Schyns, Rosalie J. Hall and Pedro Neves

This volume provides an overview of a variety of quantitative and qualitative methods for leadership research, authored by scholars in the areas of leadership and research methodology. Integrating insights from other research areas, it provides novel approaches and multiple techniques for leadership research in a straightforward fashion. Because the volume is designed to help leadership researchers get their first insights into specific methods and their potential application to leadership research, it is appropriate for multiple audiences. These include academics and practitioners wanting to try a new method, as well as advanced undergraduate and graduate students wanting an overview of a variety of techniques. It will also be helpful to readers and reviewers as they endeavour to better understand and assess the quality of existing leadership research.
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Chapter 6: Behavioral genetics and leadership research

Wen-Dong Li, Remus Ilies and Wei Wang

Abstract

Behavioral genetics approaches to the study of individual differences have been widely applied in various disciplines in social sciences to investigate the “nature versus/and nurture” issue through disentangling influences from genetic factors (i.e., influences from nature) and environmental factors (i.e., influences from nurture). However, leadership research has only recently embraced such approaches. This is unfortunate considering the long-standing debate on whether leaders are born or made, and the more recent emphasis on person–environment interplay in leadership research. In this chapter, the authors first discuss the importance of the behavioral genetics approach to organizational research. They then introduce two types of behavioral genetics research that have been adopted so far: classic twin studies and molecular genetic research capitalizing on specific DNA information. Specifically, they explain how univariate biometric analyses, and bivariate biometric analyses based on twin studies can be applied to study important issues in leadership research. With respect to molecular genetic research, they discuss the candidate gene approach and genome-wide association studies, and how they can be useful in advancing leadership research. They also provide brief research examples based on previous research in which such approaches can be employed in addressing critical questions in leadership.

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