The Relationship between Social Anxiety and Leadership Emergence: A Resource Perspective
Rau, Katherine Naomi
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Despite its certain prevalence, mental illness has remained largely unstudied in the field of Industrial-Organizational Psychology. The research at hand addresses a widening gap in the literature: what does mental illness mean for leadership, particularly leadership emergence? In attempting to answer this question, I examined the experience of social anxiety as it is the most commonly diagnosed anxiety disorder and has particular relevance to the workplace. By utilizing a resource perspective, I found that controlling for personality, social anxiety did significantly predict emotional exhaustion in terms of both frequency and intensity. Emotional exhaustion and professional self-efficacy significantly predicted leadership emergence but were not found to act as parallel mediators in the relationship between social anxiety and leadership emergence when controlling for personality. Additionally, psychological safety was not found to significantly moderate the relationship between social anxiety and leadership emergence after controlling for personality. Familiarity was found to mitigate the negative effects of social anxiety on professional self-efficacy but only mitigated the negative effects of social anxiety on emotional exhaustion for those with low levels of social anxiety. Future research is needed to further explore the sequential ordering of the burnout facets and investigate what other interventions may reduce the emotional exhaustion experienced by socially anxious individuals.