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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

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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. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0025-1747

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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

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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.

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Article
Publication date: 11 April 2021

Debra L. Finlayson

In today’s rapidly changing workforce environment, organizations seek ways to increase productivity to remain competitive. The central human capital strategy is to attract…

Abstract

Purpose

In today’s rapidly changing workforce environment, organizations seek ways to increase productivity to remain competitive. The central human capital strategy is to attract the best talent and increase individual and team productivity to reach its strategic goals. Human Resources (HR) Professionals are required to attract, retain, train and develop employees to exhibit critical citizenship behaviours. The purpose of this paper is to present organizational-based research on why exemplary followers are considered valuable, as well as contribute to the understanding and discourse of the important role “exemplary followers” have for organizations. Extant followership constructs will be linked to key HR processes to illustrate how organizations can select, develop and retain “exemplary followership” to safeguard organizational sustainability.

Design/methodology/approach

A brief overview of HR systems and processes to enhance exemplary followership in employees is presented for training and development purposes. A range of research and practitioner papers are reviewed with the aim of illustrating the importance of and the key constructs for exemplary followership and to suggest practical applications for its development within organizations’ HR processes.

Findings

By understanding the importance and implications of exemplary followership development, the author will suggest practical HR tools that may be adopted, whole or in part, thus improving organizational sustainability.

Practical implications

Providing ways for HR to increase exemplary followership through learning and growth might help to expand practical followership development programmes in organizations at all levels.

Originality/value

This paper has drawn on limited followership organizational performance research done in the USA and Ghana and overall research in this area. It has discussed the Followership Continuum Model as a prescriptive tool for organizations to use. All Followership research has simply provided foundational constructs to be used in the original work the author developed for increasing exemplary followership in organizations through HR processes. There is no research like this to the author’s knowledge.

Details

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

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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

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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

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Article
Publication date: 14 August 2020

Tim O. Peterson and Claudette M. Peterson

The purpose of this study is to determine to what extent there is a predictive relationship between organizational citizenship behaviors (OCB) and followership behaviors…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to determine to what extent there is a predictive relationship between organizational citizenship behaviors (OCB) and followership behaviors within medical organizations in the USA. This is the second part of a two-part paper. It uses a revised followership instrument and an OCB instrument to determine if there is a predictive relationship between OCB and followership behaviors.

Design/methodology/approach

Part 1 of this quantitative survey-based empirical study used confirmatory factor analysis on an existing instrument and exploratory factor analysis on a revised instrument. Part 2 used regression analysis to explore the predictive relationship between followership and organizational citizenship.

Findings

The overall findings of this two-part paper show that organizational citizenship has a significant predictive impact on followership behaviors.

Research limitations/implications

Participants in this study work exclusively in the health care industry; future research should expand to other industries and other large organizations that have many followers but few managerial leaders.

Practical implications

As organizational citizenship can be developed and there is a predictive relationship between organizational citizenship and followership, organizations can develop professional development for individual followers. Managers and other leaders can learn how to develop OCB, and thus followership in several ways: onboarding, coaching, mentoring and executive development.

Originality/value

Part 2 of this paper demonstrates the predictive impact that OCB can have in developing high performing followers.

Details

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

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Article
Publication date: 7 September 2020

John Basil Read III

The purpose of this paper is to explore the benefits of incorporating the tenants of followership into leadership curriculums as a means of increasing employee engagement…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the benefits of incorporating the tenants of followership into leadership curriculums as a means of increasing employee engagement in the organization’s mission.

Design/methodology/approach

Five years ago, the author reported on the impact instruction in followership had in helping a government agency achieve a significant change in workplace culture. This paper provides an update on the agency’s followership instruction, insights on how development of followership skills can enhance organizational agility, collaboration and engagement and strategies for incorporating followership into a leadership development curriculum.

Findings

The literature suggests that followers can partner with the leader to advance organizational objectives and enhance outcomes through proactive participation. Evidence from three followership programs suggests that indoctrination in followership principles leads to better understanding of the impact follower contributions play in achieving mission-related goals.

Research limitations/implications

Much of today’s leadership instruction leverages industrial-age concepts on treatment of followers in the workplace. This type of instruction limits leader/manager thinking on how to best leverage the knowledge-age talents resident in the workforce. This paper suggests that followership instruction increases the potential for followers to make meaningful contributions that enhance organizational agility and competitiveness while simultaneously improving leader strategies for engaging followers.

Originality/value

Instruction in the principles of followership is gaining momentum in academia and in the public and private sectors. Yet, the number of resources for teaching the subject is limited. This paper provides insights into the impact of teaching followership, suggestions on structuring a followership curriculum and recommends resources for creating meaningful instruction.

Details

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

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Article
Publication date: 12 August 2020

Tim O. Peterson, Claudette M. Peterson and Brian W. Rook

The overall purpose of this paper is to determine to what extent organizational citizenship behaviors predict followership behaviors within medical organizations in the…

Downloads
359

Abstract

Purpose

The overall purpose of this paper is to determine to what extent organizational citizenship behaviors predict followership behaviors within medical organizations in the USA. This is the first part of a two-part article. Part 1 will refine an existing followership instrument. Part 2 will explore the relationship between followership and organizational citizenship.

Design/methodology/approach

Part 1 of this survey-based empirical study used confirmatory factor analysis on an existing instrument followed by exploratory factor analysis on the revised instrument. Part 2 used regression analysis to explore to what extent organizational citizenship behaviors predict followership behaviors.

Findings

The findings of this two-part paper show that organizational citizenship has a significant impact on followership behaviors. Part 1 found that making changes to the followership instrument provides an improved instrument.

Research limitations/implications

Participants in this study work exclusively in the health-care industry; future research should expand to other large organizations that have many followers with few managerial leaders.

Practical implications

As organizational citizenship can be developed, if there is a relationship between organizational citizenship and followership, organizations can provide professional development opportunities for individual followers. Managers and other leaders can learn how to develop organizational citizenship behaviors and thus followership in several ways: onboarding, coaching, mentoring and career development.

Originality/value

In Part 1, the paper contributes an improved measurement for followership. Part 2 demonstrates the impact that organizational citizenship behavior can play in developing high performing followers.

Details

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

Keywords

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