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The Art of Followership: How Great Followers Create Great Leaders and Organizations by Ronald E. Riggio, Jean Lipman-Blumen, Ira Chaleff

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Chapter 19. Social Identity Processes and the Empowerment of Followers

Michael A. Hogg

This is a book about the role of followers in leadership. Although the majority of leadership research focuses primarily on the leader, there has been a growing interest in "followership" that acknowledges that followers may actually play a key role in leadership.[299]

This latter research tends to view followership as the active engagement of followers in helping the group achieve its goals—a view that was at least partly adopted in order to contrast with the more common view of followers as passive and compliant. Followership research has focused on followership styles (for example, star followers, alienated followers, yes-people) and followership motivations and paths (for example, the apprentice, the disciple, the comrade).

There is, however, another way to approach the role of followers in effective leadership—one that focuses on the fact that leaders and followers are, ultimately, members of the same group.[300] One cannot logically exist without the other, because their relationship is defined by membership in the same group and thus by possession of the same group or social identity. This approach focuses on social cognitive and social interactive processes associated with group membership and collective identity.

In this chapter I describe the social identity theory of leadership—a social psychological theory that focuses on the identity function of leadership. It describes how followers ...

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