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Understanding the categories of leader traits in socialization: the case of Haier group’s CEO in China

Liguo Xu (School of Management, Xi’an Jiaotong University, Xi’an, China)
Dalong Pang (Xi’an Jiaotong University, Xi’an, China)
Jing Ge (School of Management, Xi’an Jiaotong University, Xi’an, China)
Youmin Xi (School of Management, Xi’an Jiaotong University, Xi’an, China)

Nankai Business Review International

ISSN: 2040-8749

Article publication date: 7 August 2017

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to explore the categories of leader traits, their generation and their relationships in leaders’ socialization.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors take the case study method, which is the most suitable method to answer research questions on why and how to fulfill the study purpose on the basis of the case of Ruimin Zhang.

Findings

Leader traits are classified into four categories with respect to socialization, namely, root trait, driving trait, thinking trait and affair trait. The root trait and the driving trait form from the leader’s insight with the impact of key events, mutually promote and consolidate each other, and together derive the thinking trait and the affair trait on the basis of critical events, culture, family, education, etc. The thinking trait is the premise of the affair trait to be expressed in leadership behavior. The root trait and the driving trait together determine a leader’s growth direction and efficiency and can distinguish leaders from non-leaders. The thinking trait and the affair trait together determine the pattern and effectiveness of leadership behavior and can distinguish effective leadership from ineffective leadership.

Research limitations/implications

This study transcends prior integral leader trait research by categorizing leader traits from the socialization perspective, makes a clear delineation on the interrelationships among categories of leader traits, analyzes their holistic functions on the leaders, reveals the formation and relationship mechanism of leader traits and identifies the types of leader traits that can work as the standards for distinguishing effective leaders from ineffective leaders or non-leaders.

Originality/value

This study promotes the development of the leader trait theory in the classification, formations, relationships and overall effect of leader traits.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This paper was part of five projects that were funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (71232014), China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (2015M582682; 2016T90932), the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (SK2017015) and Shaanxi province Natural Science Foundation (2014JM2-7132).

Citation

Xu, L., Pang, D., Ge, J. and Xi, Y. (2017), "Understanding the categories of leader traits in socialization: the case of Haier group’s CEO in China", Nankai Business Review International, Vol. 8 No. 3, pp. 344-366. https://doi.org/10.1108/NBRI-11-2016-0039

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited