The self-sacrificial nature of leader identity: Understanding the costs and benefits at work and home. Academic Article uri icon


  • The leader role carries several complexities, suggesting that identifying closely with one's role as a leader might be both beneficial and costly on a day-to-day basis. We integrate theories of leader identity, self-sacrificial leadership, and self-regulation to develop a conceptual model articulating the manner in which strongly identifying with one's leader role on a daily basis yields benefits (i.e., increased task performance and perceived prosocial impact) and costs (i.e., increased depletion and conflict at home) via increased self-sacrificial leader behavior. Further, we theorize and test whether work addiction moderates the indirect effects of leader identity on the aforementioned processes. Using an experience sampling investigation of 80 leaders who completed 3 surveys per day for 10 workdays (Level 1 n = 645), we found that daily leader identity was positively associated with self-sacrificial leader behavior which, in turn, was positively associated with task performance and perceived prosocial impact (leader benefits) and positively associated with resource depletion and conflict at home (leader costs). Moreover, these effects were stronger for leaders who reported higher (vs. lower) levels of work addiction. In an exploration considering the effects of leader identity on daily well-being, results indicated that leader identity also indirectly helped and hindered psychological detachment from work. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).

published proceedings

  • J Appl Psychol

altmetric score

  • 8.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Lanaj, K., Gabriel, A. S., & Chawla, N

citation count

  • 16

complete list of authors

  • Lanaj, Klodiana||Gabriel, Allison S||Chawla, Nitya

publication date

  • March 2021