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Article
Publication date: 11 January 2018

Giambattista Bufalino

The leadership industry has experienced an unprecedented growth in popularity, and business management effectiveness has become synonymous with leaders’ roles. However, in…

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Abstract

Purpose

The leadership industry has experienced an unprecedented growth in popularity, and business management effectiveness has become synonymous with leaders’ roles. However, in this egalitarian twenty-first century little mention has been made of followership due to its negative stereotype. The purpose of this paper is to contribute to the understanding of followership by presenting a “balanced” approach that views both leaders and followers as co-producers of leadership. Specific practical implications for followership development are discussed as well as barriers to create high levels of follower commitment.

Design/methodology/approach

A brief case study of active followership is presented for training purposes. A range of research and practitioner papers are reviewed with the aim of reigniting dialogue on followership, and to suggest a practical implication for its development.

Findings

By understanding the benefits of followership development, the author will suggest that followership and leadership skills be built as an integrated package, thus improving innovation and efficiency in organisations. Organisations need to be aware of the important role followership plays in organisational success.

Practical implications

Bringing followership out of the closet may help to introduce practical followership development programmes.

Originality/value

This paper highlights the importance for an organisation to focus in nurturing the environment to allow active followership to flourish.

Details

Industrial and Commercial Training, vol. 50 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0019-7858

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 5 October 2018

Mary Uhl-Bien and Melissa Carsten

Through his call to “reverse the lens” in leadership, Shamir (2007) helped trigger the emergence of followership theory as a new field of study in leadership research…

Abstract

Through his call to “reverse the lens” in leadership, Shamir (2007) helped trigger the emergence of followership theory as a new field of study in leadership research. While followership theory brings exciting new opportunities to leadership studies, it also introduces theoretical and conceptual challenges for researchers. In this chapter we address these challenges by showing how followership can be positioned fully within the leadership construct. We extend Shamir’s (2007) call for a balanced view in leadership by showing how followership theory adds new perspectives on the ways in which we can study leadership as a dynamic, fluid, relational process. The alternative views we present (e.g., position, role, identity, constructionist, and co-creation) approach leadership study from a range of paradigmatic perspectives that allow us to more fully capture the behaviors, interactions, relational dynamics, and processes through which leadership and followership are created and constructed. We conclude by reflecting on Shamir’s legacy as a scholar, and the contributions he made through his willingness to not only open his mind, but also to constructively challenge alternative perspectives and views.

Details

Leadership Now: Reflections on the Legacy of Boas Shamir
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78743-200-0

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 9 August 2016

Yulia Tolstikov-Mast

For the past several decades, the field of global leadership has made noteworthy theoretical and empirical progress. The role of a global follower, however, has not been…

Abstract

For the past several decades, the field of global leadership has made noteworthy theoretical and empirical progress. The role of a global follower, however, has not been addressed to date. This chapter focuses on global followers and global followership as vital elements of a global leadership process supporting a traditional followership view that “leadership can only occur if there is followership” (Uhl-Bien, Riggio, Lowe, & Carsten, 2014, p. 83). Two assumptions ground the arguments: global leaders and global followers are engaged in a partnering process of global leadership, and followers and global followers have distinctive characteristics influenced by their specific environments. To explore those assumptions, we start by introducing the followership theory and relevant followership characteristics. Subsequently, we address the role of context in global leader–follower dynamics, extrapolate global followership characteristics from relevant multidisciplinary literature, and offer an example of a global leader–follower partnership. Next, we examine mentions of global followers and global followership in academic and nonacademic literature, and define a global followership construct. The conceptual framework, global followership model, research agenda, and practical implications conclude the manuscript.

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 17 May 2022

Tumeka Matshoba-Ramuedzisi, Derick de Jongh and Willem Fourie

Over time, the role of followers within leadership discourse has gained greater status, leading to followers being acknowledged as significant actors in the leadership…

Abstract

Purpose

Over time, the role of followers within leadership discourse has gained greater status, leading to followers being acknowledged as significant actors in the leadership process. This has led to the development of follower-centric leadership studies, as well as the more emergent research area of followership, with followership research having the specific intention to find out about followers from the perspective of followers. In this paper, the authors provide a review of role-based followership approaches, and implicit leadership and followership theories as a basis to build a case for follower implicit followership theories (FIFTs) as a focus area for future research.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors conducted a review of seminal and current role-based followership literature, with a specific focus on FIFTs and followership studies conducted within the African context.

Findings

Implicit theories have been an area of leadership research that has added much value, and as such could do the same for development of followership research. FIFTs as a research area are nascent and, as such, should continue to be explored in order to expand our understanding of followership.

Originality/value

To the best of the authors' knowledge, this is one of the first literature reviews to have a specific focus on FIFTs, as well as on followership research conducted within the African context.

Details

Leadership & Organization Development Journal, vol. 43 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-7739

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 11 November 2021

Yiming Wang, Yuhua Xie and Hua Qing Xie

The existing research rarely explains the value of authoritarian leadership in small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The purpose of this study is to explore how…

Abstract

Purpose

The existing research rarely explains the value of authoritarian leadership in small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The purpose of this study is to explore how authoritarian leadership facilitates employee followership behaviors of the SMEs in China by considering the moderating effects of cooperative goal interdependence and leader behavioral integrity.

Design/methodology/approach

This research tested hypotheses with a two-wave survey from a sample of 258 respondents from SMEs in China. Hypotheses are tested using hierarchical regression analyses.

Findings

Findings of the study have indicated the instrumental function of authoritarian leadership in facilitating employee followership behavior in SMEs. In particular, this study shows that the influence of authoritarian leadership on followership behavior was positively related when employees have high cooperative goal interdependence with authoritarian leaders, and when employees perceive a leader's high behavioral integrity.

Practical implications

The study will help SMEs to understand that authoritarian leadership should seek optimal levels of cooperative goals with employees and integrate achievement goals into their career development strategy to enhance their followership behavior. In addition, authoritarian leadership should strive to take actions consistent with their words to guarantee the relationship between achieving goals and sharing mutual goals with employees.

Originality/value

The study contributes to the literature by addressing an important yet under-researched area, i.e. the effectiveness of authoritarian leadership in SMEs. Authoritarian leadership, a demanding and controlling leadership style, is often criticized by scholars. This study elaborates on a three-way interaction implied by self-determination theory in predicting followership behavior. It specifies the different roles of two situational factors (cooperative goal interdependence and leader behavior integrity) in affecting employees' followership behavior.

Details

Management Decision, vol. 60 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0025-1747

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 12 May 2020

Yongyong Yang, Wendian Shi, Beina Zhang, Youming Song and Dezhen Xu

The purpose of this paper is to explore the structure, implicit attitude and consequences of followers' implicit followership theories in the Chinese cultural context…

Abstract

Purpose

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.

Design/methodology/approach

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.

Findings

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.

Research limitations/implications

The psychology and behaviour of employees can be better understood by exploring followers' implicit followership theories.

Practical implications

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.

Originality/value

The paper is one of the few studies to explore followers' implicit followership theories in the Chinese cultural context.

Details

Leadership & Organization Development Journal, vol. 41 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-7739

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 2 January 2018

Giambattista Bufalino

Business schools, executive training programs, and best-selling books all recognize the importance of leadership, while followership has received limited attention in…

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Abstract

Purpose

Business schools, executive training programs, and best-selling books all recognize the importance of leadership, while followership has received limited attention in management training. The purpose of this paper is to present a brief questionnaire, which might be particularly useful for followership development.

Design/methodology/approach

A brief questionnaire is presented.

Findings

Part of the answers will establish the view that many of us are followers. This will help recognize that both followership and leadership roles are important for organizational success

Originality/value

It is a major challenge to bring followership out of the closet and this tool may help to introduce practical followership development programs in organizations

Details

Development and Learning in Organizations: An International Journal, vol. 32 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1477-7282

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 11 April 2016

Myung Jin, Bruce McDonald and Jaehee Park

– The purpose of this paper is to explicate the role of followership behavior on employee job satisfaction as well as the conditions that may moderate its impact.

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explicate the role of followership behavior on employee job satisfaction as well as the conditions that may moderate its impact.

Design/methodology/approach

This study uses a large n survey data from federal agencies and investigates an additive moderation model in which two situational factors, perceived supervisor support (PSS) and performance-oriented culture (POC), interact with followership behavior.

Findings

Employees high on active followership perceived greater job satisfaction when PSS was high, rather than low. On the other hand, employees high on active followership perceived greater job satisfaction when POC was low, rather than high.

Research limitations/implications

This is, to the knowledge, the first empirical study based on a cross-sectional survey that tests how the effects of active followership on employee job satisfaction may vary depending on the different types of situational factors. As such, more studies are needed to validate the causal directions of the findings.

Practical implications

The present findings show that active engagement had greater association with job satisfaction when leader involvement was high and performance orientation was low. For highly engaged employees, leaders are encouraged to show higher degree of involvement in their work but with less emphasis on the performance orientation of the organization.

Originality/value

This study contributes to the broader literature in public sector leadership in two ways. First, research on the relationship between followership and job satisfaction has been sparse. Second, and most importantly, this study is the first empirical study that tests the moderating roles of situational (organizational) factors on the relationship between followership and employee attitude (job satisfaction).

Details

International Journal of Public Sector Management, vol. 29 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3558

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 18 September 2020

Susan Grant, Susan Willsie and Garima Gupta

The purpose of this paper is to highlight the significance of the role of followership by raising self-awareness of those in organisational hierarchies through the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to highlight the significance of the role of followership by raising self-awareness of those in organisational hierarchies through the followership intelligence activity. As practitioners, we intentionally spotlight the importance of followership learning and link followership development to the future needs of a thriving organisation through the facilitation of our activity.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper outlines the proposed followership intelligence activity (FIA), which includes a progression of questions, group discussions and linkages to adult learning principles, experiential learning and followership theory.

Findings

Feedback from authors’ workshops and general observations indicate that once “learning” leaders understand the importance of followership and identify as both followers and leaders, they begin to build and promote work environments open to conversations about the behaviours and skills of exemplary followers.

Practical implications

People cannot change behaviour that they do not notice. However, when leaders begin to identify as both leaders and followers, their openness to learning, developing (self and others) and having followership conversations increases, which promotes both personal awareness and growth. As leaders model and create conversations about exemplary followership skills, they can promote and inspire these behaviours in others within the organisation.

Originality/value

The intention of embedding the FIA into our leadership development programme is to legitimise, honour and promote life-long learning of both leadership and followership. Both roles are vital for a thriving workplace, and they need to be performed with strength, accountability and pride.

Details

Industrial and Commercial Training, vol. 53 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0019-7858

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 4 July 2016

Tony Manning and Bob Robertson

While there is an extensive body of theory and research on leadership, less attention has been paid to other work roles, including follower roles. The purpose of this…

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Abstract

Purpose

While there is an extensive body of theory and research on leadership, less attention has been paid to other work roles, including follower roles. The purpose of this paper is to explain and justify a three factor model of followership as a basis for exploring the role of followers, establishing what makes an effective follower and discussing the training and development of followers. This is the first part of a three part paper. It reviews previous theory and research on followership, before describing the three factor model of leadership and considering how it can be applied to followership.

Design/methodology/approach

The first part of this paper consists mainly of a literature review on followership, and a description of the three factor model of leadership. The second and third parts of the paper outline the approach to the empirical research.

Findings

The overall findings of this three part paper: provide empirical evidence to support the three factor model of leadership; justify the extension of the model to other work roles, including follower roles; allow the development of a three factor framework of follower behaviours.

Research limitations/implications

The three factor model of followership shows that followership and leadership are not fundamentally different. Indeed, the skills that leaders need in their roles develop out of and build on those needed in follower roles. The essential difference is in the contrasting roles of leader and follower in which they are used. The research findings are based mainly on individuals in the public sector in the UK. Further research on other populations would be useful.

Practical implications

Effective organisations need effective followers and effective leaders. Moreover, the skills of the effective leader develop out of and build on those of the effective follower.

Social implications

The view of followership expressed in this paper is a challenge to the widely held pre-occupation with leadership and, more generally, to the cult of leadership.

Originality/value

This is the first published attempt to apply the three factor model of leadership to followership. Evidence is presented on the internal reliability and external validity of measures of leadership and followership. Scales were developed to distinguish between leader and follower roles and used to describe behaviours characteristic of such roles, as well as behaviours valued in these roles, based on 360 degree assessments.

Details

Industrial and Commercial Training, vol. 48 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0019-7858

Keywords

1 – 10 of over 1000