Revisiting followership through a social identity perspective: The role of collective follower emotion and action

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Revisiting followership through a social identity perspective: The role of collective follower emotion and action
The Leadership Quarterly

We review the concept of followership with a specific focus on how followers actively influence leadership outcomes. We examine in particular research from four key areas: social identity perspectives on leadership intergroup emotion theory collective action and reciprocal affect within leader–follower interactions. Our central proposition is that followers engage in actions driven by both cognitive and affective-based processes which affect leadership outcomes. Moreover because leaders are part of the groups they lead and therefore embedded within the social context of a group we propose that any action that affirms or threatens the salient group will trigger both cognitive and emotional responses from followers towards leaders. These include the extent to which a leader engages in actions that are perceived as (1) self-sacrificial (2) procedurally fair and (3) expressing emotions congruent with that of their group. We also propose that the extent to which followers translate their perceptions and emotions towards collective action towards their leaders will be moderated by individual-level group identification and group-level shared identity. To conclude we highlight theoretical implications in light of these propositions and suggest areas for further research on followership.

Citation: 
The Leadership Quarterly 24 (2013) 902 – 918

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