To Lead Is to Err: The Mediating Role of Attribution in the Relationship Between Leader Error and Leader Ratings

Kayla B. Follmer, Brett H. Neely, Kisha Shannon Jones, Samuel Todd Hunter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was threefold: to expand the existing leader error taxonomy to include a third dimension of leader error (i.e., ethical errors), to examine the differential effects of error type on leader ratings, and to test a mediated model in which behavioral attribution mediated the relationship between error type and leader ratings. Results showed that ethical errors were distinct from previously established dimensions. Ethical and relationship errors resulted in lower ratings of leader liking and willingness to follow the leader, as compared to task errors. In addition to showing how error types differentially affected leader ratings, this study provided evidence for how this relationship is transmitted. Across two mediation models, behavioral attribution mediated the relationship between leader error and leader ratings after an error occurred. Theoretical and practical contributions are discussed as well as future directions for research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18-31
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Leadership and Organizational Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2019


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business and International Management
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Strategy and Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Management Science and Operations Research

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