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Authentic Followership – A Necessity for Successful Leadership

New book from Emerald explores how the increasingly popular topic of followership is essential to effective leadership

United Kingdom, 6 June 2014 – Followers are traditionally seen as employees who concede to a leader’s direction and are passive recipients of orders and guidance. Latest research however, suggests that followers have been severely under-represented. Followership: What is it and why do people follow? is the first collective work on the theories of followership.  The book, from global academic publisher, Emerald Group Publishing, discusses how leaders and followers can inform management theory and work together to achieve common goals. 

For over a century, scholars, psychologists and lifestyle gurus have sought to analyse the characteristics of a leader, how they can influence others and positively change an organization, for example. Meanwhile, few have explored how followers can act as partners, co- contributors and active persons in the leadership process.

In addition to being the first collective work of its kind, it offers historical perspectives and new conceptual frameworks to enhance leadership effectiveness and authentic followers. To gain a better understanding of why people follow, the chapters explain the psychological reasons for followership, how to follow, factors predicting capacity to switch between follower and leader roles and why organizations are now becoming more reliant on followers than in the past.

Laurent M. Lapierre, Editor of the book and Professor of organizational behaviour and human resources management at University of Ottawa’s Telfer School of Management, said: “Followers are a vital part of leadership. Put simply, leaders would not exist without followers and in extreme situations organizations could even fail.

“Followership: What is it and why do people follow? provides a strong foundation on which followership theory can be built and investigated. This book is ideal for academics, followers and leaders alike as a guide on how to work more effectively together and make the transition from a follower into a leader.”              

For more information visit where you can read the sample chapter ‘Why and How Should Subordinates Follow Their Managers?’ by Laurent M.Lapierre, view the table of contents and see the book highlights.  

Notable quotes

“Current literature on followership helps to broaden these early definitions by demonstrating that followers may also be proactive partners in the leadership process, and that these proactive forms of followership may advance organizational objectives” Chapter one, ‘Exploring the Historical Perspectives of Followership: The Need for an Expanded View of Followers and the Follower Role’ by Melissa K.Carsten, Peter Harms and Mary Uhl-Bein P4

“Findings from the applied world suggest that followers high in both organizational knowledge and workplace engagement are more likely to exhibit authentic traits. Further, authentic followers can be divided into two categories: those who do not wish to assume formal leader roles, and those not yet chosen for formal leader roles.” Chapter two, ‘Exploring the “flipside” of the coin: Do Authentic Leaders Need Authentic Followers?’ By Rhonda K. Rodgers and Michelle C.Bligh p27

“Subordinates defer to superiors out of obligation, followers choose to defer to a leader because they believe, based on their evaluation of dimensions such as the leader’s moral character, courage, effort, or ideas, that the leader’s direction is worthy of support.”  Chapter five, ‘Comparing Followers and Subordinates: Accounting for the Effects of Organizational Hierarchy’ p91-92

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About Emerald Publishing:
Nurturing fresh thinking that makes an impact

Emerald Publishing was founded in 1967 to champion new ideas that would advance the research and practice of business and management. Today, we continue to nurture fresh thinking in applied fields where we feel we can make a real difference, now also including health and social care, education and engineering. We publish over 300 journals, more than 2,500 books and over 1,500 case studies, via our dedicated research platform


Nicole Mountain
User Engagement Manager
Emerald Publishing Limited
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