Chapter 18. Followers' Cognitive and Affective Structures and Leadership Processes

Robert G. Lord

Contrary to the claims that followers have been ignored, the leadership literature has a long tradition of recognizing the importance of followers. Dyadic relations between leaders and followers have been viewed as a mutual influence process,[247] with leader behavior reflecting responses to subordinate performance levels as well as the attributions for subordinate performance made by leaders.[248] The potential of leaders to influence followers also depends on the idiosyncratic credit he or she has earned in followers' eyes[249] and the extent to which followers see the leader as fitting their image of what good leaders should be.[250] Some researchers, such as Meindl,[251] have even argued that leadership is a construction of followers, spawning numerous follower-centered studies of leadership.[252] Indeed, social psychologists have typically viewed leaders and followers as being engaged in a mutual exchange or transaction, in which both parties benefit and in which both parties are active contributors.[253] However, as noted by Hollander, the popularity of more recent transformational leadership approaches has tended to overemphasize the leader and underemphasize the follower contribution to this exchange process.[254] By reemphasizing followers' role in leadership processes, this book makes an important contribution, for particularly with the movement toward flatter administrative ...

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