The purpose of this paper is to explore the structure, implicit attitude and consequences of followers' implicit followership theories in the Chinese cultural context through three studies. Study 1 explores the structure of followers' implicit followership theories. Study 2 examines the implicit attitude of followers towards followers' implicit followership theories. Study 3 verifies the impact of followers' implicit followership theories on the quality of collegial relationships.
The data for study 1 (n = 321) and study 3 (n = 243) were collected through an online self-report questionnaire, and the data for study 2 (n = 30) were collected through the go/no-go association task.
The structure of followers' implicit followership theories includes two dimensions: positive followership prototypes and negative followership prototypes. Followers' implicit attitudes were more likely to match positive followership prototypes than negative followership prototypes. Positive followership prototypes had a significantly positive impact on the quality of collegial relationships, whereas negative followership prototypes had a significantly negative impact on the quality of collegial relationships.
The psychology and behaviour of employees can be better understood by exploring followers' implicit followership theories.
Employees hold a relatively positive implicit attitude towards followers. Therefore, managers should provide positive feedback to improve employees' positive self-cognition so that employees can better serve the organization and better promote its development.
The paper is one of the few studies to explore followers' implicit followership theories in the Chinese cultural context.
This study was supported by grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Number 31160201).
Yang, Y., Shi, W., Zhang, B., Song, Y. and Xu, D. (2020), "Implicit followership theories from the perspective of followers", Leadership & Organization Development Journal, Vol. 41 No. 4, pp. 581-596. https://doi.org/10.1108/LODJ-05-2019-0225
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