“Doing Distance”: The Role of Managers’ Enactment of Psychological Distance in Leader–Follower Relationships

Moran Anisman-Razin, Ronit Kark, Blake E. Ashforth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


While many aspects of the leader–follower relationship have been studied, we know very little about the role of leader–follower distance in relationships and organizations. In particular, we propose to go beyond the current definition and examine distance as malleable and enacted by leaders. We explore this as acts of “doing distance” via two studies. In the first, we utilized the Critical Incident Technique to collect events of enacted distance from 97 managers working in diverse sectors and organizations. Drawing on the qualitative findings, we develop a conceptual model of the context, goals, and behavioral practices of enacted distance. In the second study (N = 543), we tested the proposed model using an experimental manipulation to examine the role of identity processes and levels (individual, relational, and collective) in leaders’ doing distance. We identify specific managerial practices of doing distance and their related antecedents in terms of individuals’ experiences and relationships, and discuss implications for theory and practice regarding distance in leader–follower relationships.

Original languageEnglish
JournalGroup and Organization Management
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2023.


  • Leadership
  • doing distance
  • identity construction
  • identity threat
  • individual-relational-collective selves


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