This experiment develops an integrative, path-analytic model for the endorsement accorded formal leaders. The model contains four independent variables reflecting aspects of group structure (i.e., group success-failure, the payoff distribution, the degree of support by others members for the leader, and the vulnerability of the leader). Also included are two intervening variables reflecting perceptual processes (attributed competence and attributed fairness), and one dependent variable (endorsement). The results indicate that endorsement is greater when the group's success is high, when the payoff distribution is flat rather than hierarchical, and when the leader is not vulnerable to removal from office. Other support had no significant impact on endorsement. Analyses further demonstrate that the effect of success-failure on endorsement is mediated by attributed competence, while the effect of the payoff distributed is mediated by attributed fairness. These results suggest that moral and task evaluations are distinct bases of endorsement.
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