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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 22. Conformist, Resistant, and Disguised Selves

A Post-Structuralist Approach to Identity and Workplace Followership

David Collinson

This chapter seeks to contribute to the emerging interest in followership by exploring the construction of follower identities in the workplace from a post-structuralist perspective. Reviewing the literature on followership and identity, the chapter argues that followers are frequently more knowledgeable and oppositional than has often been acknowledged either by the vast majority of studies that focus on leaders or even by the growing number that examine followers. It considers a wider repertoire of follower selves and practices, exploring, in particular, the workplace enactment of conformist, resistant, and disguised identities. The chapter concludes that studies of leadership need to develop deeper understandings of follower and leader identities and of the complex ways that these selves may interact in dialectical ways within asymmetrical organizational processes.

FOLLOWERSHIP AND FOLLOWER IDENTITY

Critiques of leadership romanticism have been particularly influential in developing the growing interest in followership. As early critics of overly heroic views that exaggerate the impact of leaders on organizational performance, Meindl, Ehrlich, and Dukerich suggested that leadership romanticism provides a simplified way of understanding important but causally ambiguous organizational processes.[357] Arguingthat leaders' contribution to a collective ...

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