The biology of leadership

Richard ARVEY, Nan WANG, Zhaoli SONG, Wendong LI

Research output: Book Chapters | Papers in Conference ProceedingsBook ChapterResearch


Scholars are beginning to recognize important biological elements that may influence those who move into leadership positions and who are effective in such roles (Arvey, Rotundo, Johnson, Zhang, & McGue, 2006; Balthazard, Waldman, Thatcher, & Hannah, 2012). Although consistent with the general “trait” model of individual differences as influencing leadership emergence and effectiveness, other biologically based influences also may play a similar role in determining those who move into and are effective in such leadership capacities. A growing literature on the role of biological factors has not yet been abstracted and summarized. It is the aim of this chapter to provide a succinct and useful summary of the various biological factors that have been identified as being associated with various leadership criteria and to provide directions for future research in these areas.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe oxford handbook of leadership and organizations
EditorsDavid DAY
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages20
ISBN (Print)9780199755615
Publication statusPublished - May 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • leadership
  • biology
  • evolution
  • gene
  • environment
  • hormones
  • cognitive neuroscience


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