Interface of Leadership and Teams Lab (ILT)

Faculty Director
Williams Hall
Blacksburg, VA, 24061

About Us

ilt logo 2
Logo designed by Keith Action

The Interface of Leadership and Teams (ILT) lab is dedicated to conducting scholarly work relating to leadership and team issues facing today’s organizations from a scientist-practitioner perspective.

 Lab Mission 

The ILT lab focuses on how leadership and leader-follower relationships develop. What are the cognitive and relational processes involved in coming to see oneself, and being seen by others, as a leader or a follower?

Here are some examples of our current research projects:

  • How does similarity in expectations between leaders and followers impact their cooperation on a joint task? 
  • How does a change in leader or a change in organizational climate impact expectations of followers?
  • How does identity and self-perception impact whether women seek out leadership roles?
  • How do self-perception and cognitive expectations influence judgments about leadership?
  • What are the difference in networks of leadership traits for males and females?

Congratulations to our lab's newest Ph.D. -- BRYAN ACTON!!

Congrats Bryan!

Bryan will be an Assistant Professor of Management at Binghamton University beginning August 2022



Laboratory Coordinator:

  • Yasmine Elfeki

Graduate Students:

 Undergraduate Research Assistants:

  • Nicole Gray
  • Anagha Kesarinath
  • Vincent Le

Current Research Projects

Leadership Perceptions

How do we identify an individual as a leader or a follower?  Theory and research has established that individuals have preconceived notions – implicit theories – about which traits and behaviors typically are associated with leader and follower categories.  We study the content and structure of implicit theories and their importance for the leadership process.

Leadership Emergence

We take a process-oriented perspective of examining how one or more individuals are recognized as leaders in groups.  By conceptualizing leadership as a fundamentally dyadic phenomenon emerging over time, we investigate the interplay of individual actors, dyads, team, network, context and time in the co-production of leadership.  

Team Dynamics

We use a multilevel, longitudinal, pattern-oriented approach to study team states, such as cohesion. We focus on projects that study newly formed teams over time, with a specific emphasis on the role that individual differences play in this dynamic process.

Gender & Leadership

We investigate the impact of gender on leadership perceptions. as well as ways to enhance women’s leadership outcomes when faced with “Think Leader, Think Male” stereotypes. Such stereotypes undermine women’s beliefs in their own leadership abilities and may prevent them from seeking out leadership opportunities. The ILT lab investigates processes of countering these stereotypes and methods of encouraging women to engage in leadership activities. For instance, providing female role models is one way to counter these leader stereotypes and encourage women to take up leadership role.


An emerging trend has been to consider how leadership is experienced, as a whole, from the perspective of individual leaders and/or followers.  The person-oriented approach examines combinations, patterns, or profiles of attributes – within individuals – and the implications for leadership process.  

Leadership & Measurement

As the field of leadership research changes over time, the measurement of leadership constructs and theories also adapt. We are working to continually improve how leadership perceptions and other processes are measured to keep up with the dynamic nature of the leadership field. Specifically, we are adapting leadership scales to more precisely align with conceptual definitions of leadership and followership processes. 

Investigating Interdisciplinarity

We couple the field of I/O Psychology with the study of interdisciplinarity. Relevant projects focus on predictors and outcomes associated with employing interdisciplinary and diverse individuals, teams, and networks within (educational) organizations.

Select Publications and Presentations

  • * indicates student co-author
  • Hansbrough, T.K., Lord, R.G., Schyns, B., Foti, R.J., Liden, R.C., & Acton, B.P. (2020). Do you remember? Rater memory systems and leadership measurement. The Leadership Quarterly.
  • *Acton, B.P., Braun, M.T., & Foti, R.J. (2020). Built for unity: assessing the impact of team composition on team cohesion trajectories. Journal of Business and Psychology, 35, 751-766.
  • Schyns, B, Kiefer, T, & Foti, R.J. (2020). Does thinking of myself as leader make me want to lead? The role of congruence in self-theories and implicit leadership theories in motivation to lead. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 122,
  • Lord, R.G., Epitropaki, O., Foti, R. J., & Hansbrough, T. K (2020). Implicit Leadership and Followership Theories and Dynamic Processing of Leadership Information. Annual Review of Organizational Psychology and Organizational Behavior, 7, 49-74.
  • *Abraham, E. K., *McCusker, M. E., & Foti, R. J. (2019). Competing Conversations: An Examination of Competition as Intra-Team Interactions. Frontiers in Psychology: Organizational Psychology.
  • McCusker, M.E., Foti, R. F., *Abraham, E. K. (2019). Leadership research methods: Progressing back to process. In R. Riggio (Ed)., What Wrong with Leadership: Improving Leadership Theory, Research, and Practice. New York, NY: Routledge.
  • *Acton, B.P., Foti, R. J., Lord, R. G., & *Gladfelter, J. A. (2019). Putting emergence back in leadership emergence: A dynamic, multilevel, process-oriented framework. The Leadership Quarterly, 30, 145-164.
  • Foti, R. J., Hansbrough, T. K., Epitropaki, O., & Coyle, P. T. (2017). Special issue: Dynamic viewpoints on Implicit Leadership and Followership Theories. The Leadership Quarterly, 28, 261-267.
  • Foti, R. F., & McCusker, M. (2017). Person-Oriented Approaches to Leadership: A Roadmap Forward. In B. Schyns, R. Hall & P. Neves (Eds.), Handbook of Methods in Leadership Research. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing.
  • Foti, R. F., & Boyd, K. B. (2016). Leadership, Followership, and AC4P. In E.S. Geller (Ed.). Applied Psychology: Actively Caring for People. New York: Cambridge University Press.
  • Coyle, P. T. & Foti, R. J. (2015). If you’re not with me, you’re…? The role of congruence and cooperation in leader-follower relationships. The Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies. 22,161-174
  • Bray, B. C., Foti, R. J. Thompson, N. J., & Wills, S. F. (2014). Disentangling the effects of self leader perceptions and ideal leader prototypes on leader effectiveness using loglinear modeling with latent variables. Human Performance, 27, 393-415.
  • Foti, R. J., Allgood, S. F., & Thompson, N. J. (2013). Trait theory of leadership. In E. Kessler, (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Management Theory. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
  • Hayes, H. & Foti, R. J. (2013). The impact of shared leadership on teamwork mental models and performance in self-directed teams. Group Processes and Intergroup Relations, 16, 46-57.
  • Foti, R. J., Bray, B. C., Thompson, N. J., & Allgood, S. J. (2012). Know thy self, know thy leader: Contributions of a pattern-oriented approach to examining leader perceptions. The Leadership Quarterly, 23, 702-717.
  • Williams, F., & Foti, R.J. (2011). Formally developing creative leadership as a driver of organizational innovation. Advances in Developing Human Resources, 13, 279-296.
  • Foti, R. J., Thompson, N. J., & Allgood, S. F. (2011). The pattern oriented approach: A framework for the experience of work. Industrial and Organizational Psychology: Perspectives on Science and Practice, 4, 122-125.
  • O'Shea, P. G., Foti, R. J., Hauenstein, N. M. A., & Bycio, P. (2009). Are the best leaders both transformational and transformational? A pattern-oriented analysis. Journal of Leadership, 5, 237-259.
  • Rueb, J. D., Erskine, H. J., & Foti, R. J. (2008). Intelligence, dominance, masculinity, and self-monitoring: Predicting leadership. Military Psychology, 20, 237-247.
  • Foti, R. J., Knee, R., & Backert, R. G. (2008). Multi-level Implications of Framing Leadership Perceptions as a Dynamic Process. Leadership Quarterly, 19, 178-194.

Recent Graduates

Graduate Students

  • Patrick T. Coyle (Ph.D., 2015). Assistant Profession of Management and Leadership, School of Business, LaSalle University, Philadelphia PA

  • Yashna Jitendra Shah (Ph.D., 2017). Associate Research Analyst, Organizations & Team, Independent Project Analysis Group, Washington, DC

  • Maureen E. McCusker (Ph.D., 2018). Senior Research Analyst, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA

  • Weiwen Nie (Ph.D. 2021). Research Consultant at Hogan Assessment Systems