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Analysis of Personal Traits and Values Based on Attribution Theory and Implicit Leadership Theories

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Personal traits and values are significant psychological characteristics, serving as crucial predictors of many aftermaths. However, they are often studied separately, which gives little understanding of their relationships. In spite of the fact that personality traits have been frequently seen as important in understanding a person, the opinion of personal values has mostly been more tangential. Some scholars have proposed the incorporation of values in an integrative framework of the characteristics of a person and furthermore, theoretical and empirical work from theories such as Attribution Theory and Implicit Leadership Theory has been brought into existence by various scholars to accomplish this goal.

Attribution Theory

Attribution theory seeks to give an explanation of the world and find out the cause of a behavior or an event, such as why people behave the way they do. In addition, it is interested in the way people explicate and comprehend events and how this impacts their behavior and thoughts. If you have ever done something only to question why you did it, then the way you answered that question is reliant upon your belief about what brings about a certain event or behavior. Attribution is the process of explicating the cause of an event or behavior. It is part of attempting to understand and comprehend our behaviors, other people’s behaviors, and our experiences. Any time we question our actions, we are attributing them to our own behavior. In1974, an American social psychologist by the name of Bernard Weiner developed this theory and his theoretical framework has become predominant in social psychology today.

Attribution theory presumes that people try to determine why other people act the way they do, that is, understand the causes to certain behaviors or events. According to Bernard Weiner, the processes that highlight an attribution entail that behavior should be observed and recognized, it must be established to be purposeful and it must be assigned to internal or external causes. Attribution theory is to a large extent concerning accomplishment. As stated by Weiner, the most crucial aspects affecting attributions are determination, chance, capability, and assignment difficulty. Attributions are classified along causal dimensions. The first dimension is a locus of control, which has two poles and can either be internal or external. The second is stability, which looks at whether or not causes change, and the final one is controllability, which entails causes one can handle such as skills versus causes one cannot handle such as luck.

When a person thrives, they attribute the successes internally. However, when a rival prospers, people are inclined to credit external attributes such as luck. When a person fails, they are likely to use external ascription, attributing causes to circumstantial reasons instead of criticizing themselves. Furthermore, when other people are unsuccessful, internal attribution is frequently used, saying it is because of their internal personality factors.

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Implicit leadership theories (ILTs)

Implicit leadership theories (ILTs) describe cognitive structures constituted by people’s conceptions of the behaviors and traits that characterize a leader. As stated by ILT scholars, the actual behavior of a leader is less significant in finding out what leadership is than our notion about what leaders are and what behaviors they are supposed to portray. It is obvious that people have the ability to come up with general ideas about leaders without referring to a leader they are familiar with. As an inherent part of followers’ sense-making, they illustrate a process that starts with social awareness, advances through causal judgments and social assumptions, and ends with behavioral outcomes. ILTs significance to leadership depends on the assumption that followers use these structures as a benchmark to categorize others as leaders. This process of categorization influences followers’ attitudes and behavior toward leaders.

Research has shown that the general compatibility between followers’ implicit leadership theories and the recognized attributes in leaders is ultimately related to organizational outcomes, such as well-being, job satisfaction, and organizational commitment. When a prospective leader fails to match followers’ expectations, that leader might be reluctantly accepted, regardless of leadership capabilities. A study was conducted that asked four hundred employees to compare their ILTs to their managers and found that a person whose ILT matches their actual leader is most likely to experience more satisfaction with their position and be more committed to their group. ILTs are resistant to change and stable over time with no connection derived from organizational tenure. While culture influences leader prototypes, research indicates that there are some original behaviors that are comprehensive across all cultures. An individual’s well-being is positively imposed when there is a match between an individual’s ILT and the actual leader.


If we take into consideration that individuals have several social identities, which are characterized by different behaviors, then we should also consider the fact that people may change their behavior.

We can see that individuals can come up with new behaviors or beliefs based on their own explanations through the Attribution Theory. However, they are less likely to change their attitudes if they make external attributions. But if an internal one is made, then they will most likely view themselves differently.

On the other hand, Implicit Leadership Theories are in existence, meaning that people have certain beliefs about leaders and apply these beliefs to a person who is a leader. Furthermore, this theory develops fast and varies with individuals from different cultural backgrounds.

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Analysis of Personal Traits and Values Based on Attribution Theory and Implicit Leadership Theories. (2022, September 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 29, 2023, from
“Analysis of Personal Traits and Values Based on Attribution Theory and Implicit Leadership Theories.” Edubirdie, 27 Sept. 2022,
Analysis of Personal Traits and Values Based on Attribution Theory and Implicit Leadership Theories. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 29 May 2023].
Analysis of Personal Traits and Values Based on Attribution Theory and Implicit Leadership Theories [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Sept 27 [cited 2023 May 29]. Available from:
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