Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Business Administration

First Advisor

Ronald Humphrey


Empathy has been shown to be a very powerful social and work ability. This study surveyed 754 employees of a privately held eastern United States company, and incorporated annual performance evaluations to empirically link interactive empathy to leader performance of 102 leaders. Data was collected from the leader’s followers, peers, and supervisors and from self-report personality evaluations. The results of this study show that leaders that are willing to engage their followers with empathic displays are seen as better leaders from their supervisors and have more engaged employees. Other contributions of this study include validation of the interactive empathy scale in a corporate environment and empirical support to show how interactive empathy adds incremental explanatory power of leader’s performance above and beyond that explained by personality. Directions for future research and practical implications of these results are also offered.


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Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

August 2013