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Durham University

Research & business

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Publication details for Professor Susanne Braun

Braun, S. & Hornuf, L. (2018). Authentic leadership and followers’ cheating behaviour: A laboratory experiment from a self-concept maintenance perspective. In Authentic Leadership and Followership: International Perspectives. Cotter-Lockard, D. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan. 215-244.

Author(s) from Durham


This chapter presents insights into the question whether followers’ perceptions of authentic leadership attenuate cheating. From the perspective of self-concept maintenance theory, followers will cheat so long as they can maintain a positive self-concept. We suggested that authentic leadership lowers the perceptual threshold under which followers can still consider themselves honest. A laboratory experiment combined video-based variations of authentic leadership with a cheating-of-mind experiment. We collected data from 343 students at a German university. Results indicate that participants cheated, but not to the fullest extent possible. Authentic leadership did not affect the extent to which participants cheated. These results held when moderating variables were tested (e.g., cheating norm, victimization). Hence, the findings do not support the notion that a short-term authentic leadership intervention attenuates cheating.