New research on followers as fundamental participants in the development, impact,
and maintenance of leadership processes
The vast majority of studies of leadership are cross-sectional comparisons of leadership
styles and followers’ perceptions of leaders’ styles; however, within the last
two decades scholars have begun to study the other side of the proverbial coin,
focusing on followers’ styles and the processes of followership.
The studies in this volume examine what it means to “reverse the lens” in leadership
research by studying how followers perceive and enact their own roles in the
co-production of leadership. The contributions highlight new research on followers’
needs, motivations, and attributions as critical aspects of the leadership relationship.
They present new theories and perspectives on the study of leadership and
followership as well as potential directions for further research.
The followercentric approach to leadership covers questions such as:
• How do followers perceive followership, i.e., construct and enact their roles in
relation to leaders?
• What does it mean to be labelled a follower?
• How do individual characteristics and qualities of followers influence the development
• What roles do followers’ needs, values, wants, and preferences play in their
tolerance or affinity for certain leadership styles?
• What types of leadership help in developing effective followership and what
types of followership help in developing effective leadership?