Traditional research in leadership has largely relegated followers to the role of passive recipients or at best moderators of leader influence and behaviors. However recent work in the area of followership has begun shifting this focus and emphasizing the possibility that followers actively have an influence over leaders in particular leader behavior. This paper revisits traditional areas of the leadership literature and builds on the emerging followership literature to reintroduce followers as part of the social context of leaders. In an attempt to build theoretical rationales for how followers influence leader behavior we draw on the social influence (e.g. Social Impact Theory Latane 1981) and the power literature to suggest individual (e.g. strength and immediacy of followers) and group level (e.g. number of followers and unity of the group) characteristics that influence leader behaviors as a function of a leader's informational and effect dependence on followers.
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