Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Idiosyncrasy Credit

Idiosyncrasy Credit is a concept developed by Hollander (1958). Leaders earn idiosyncrasy credits from their followers based on perceptions of competence and group loyalty. These credits are an index of status. When a certain level of credits has been accumulated, leaders have some leeway to pursue group goals in ways that deviate from the group norms. This deviation from the norms ultimately requires that the leader deliver results.

Leaders lose status when they behave outside the accepted range of behavior. It is the boundaries of acceptable behavior that are proposed to vary with the amount of credits a leader has accumulated. A leader who operates on the boundaries of acceptable group behavior and consistently delivers desirable results, earns additional credits to operate within a wider range of deviation from group norms. Thus, the boundaries of what is acceptable are relaxed.

Leaders can earn idiosyncrasy credits by a long term adherence to group norms, demonstrating group oriented motivation, demonstrating competence, or being assigned to a high status role. Some leaders may "import" credits from external sources.

Idiosyncrasy credits is abbreviated as ISC and is referred to as ISC theory in some literature.

Leaders can also accumulate debts, which can lead to a loss of status and influence.

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Hollander, E. P. (1958). Conformity, status, and idiosyncrasy credit. Psychological
Review, 65, 117-127.

Provaznik, B., Hughes, L.W., & Avey, J.B. (2009). Pushing the margins: A dynamic model of idiosyncrasy credit in top management team. Journal of Business & Leadership: Research, Practice, and Teaching, 5, 2, 1-9. Link 


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