Date of Award
Bachelor of Arts
This study was initiated as an attempt to understand how personalities affect emergence in a group as the leader. What makes other group members accept one person as the leader over another? Because birth order has been discussed as an influential factor in the development of ones personality, this variable was chosen in order to see if perhaps leader emergence from a group is influenced by the personality, which, in turn, has been shaped by something else.
This study proved that firstborns and firstborn by genders emerge from a leaderless group to guide and direct the other members, and shape the task at hand. It is because of the upbringing they receive as a result of their birth order that these firstborns become driven overachievers who strive to reach a position of leadership with their organized, task-directed behavior. The characteristics which are deeply embedded in them are valued traits of an emergent leader. In this specific instance, a leaderless group in a problem-solving discussion, firstborns hold the valued traits which group members look for in an emergent leader.
However, at the same time, this study should not discourage individuals who are not firstborns from emerging as leaders. As shown, leaderless groups are looking for a person to guide and direct them toward an obtainable goal. Through firstborns are accustomed to this type of role because of their role as model and care-taker of younger siblings and the directed, focused child with parents, these skills which are necessary for emergence may be gained by all. This study does not prove that only firstborns will emerge as leaders, but shows that these valued traits are innate in firstborns and they have the drive to "take the reins" and give direction.
Further studies can be conducted to support this study and extend upon it, indicating how birth order affects emergent leadership in other types of situations.
Bowman, Leanna May, "Birth order and emergent leadership : does one's birth order influence emergence as a leader in a leaderless group?" (1999). Honors Theses. 1255.