Leadership Processes and Follower Self-Identity

Leadership Processes and Follower Self-Identity

Leadership Processes and Follower Self-Identity

Leadership Processes and Follower Self-Identity

Synopsis

Presenting a follower-centered perspective on leadership, this book focuses on followers as the direct determinant of leadership effects because it is generally through follower reactions and behaviors that leadership attempts succeed or fail. Therefore, leadership the needs to be articulated with a theory of how followers create meaning from leadership acts and how this meaning helps followers self-regulate in specific contexts. In this book, an attempt is made to develop such a theory, maintaining that the central construct in this process is the self-identity of followers. Due to its broad theoretical focus, this book is relevant to a number of audiences.

Excerpt

This book presents a follower-centered perspective on leadership. We focus on followers as the direct determinant of leadership effects because it is generally through followers' reactions and behaviors that leadership attempts succeed or fail. Leadership theory, therefore, needs to be articulated with a theory of how followers create meaning from leadership acts and how this meaning helps followers self-regulate in specific contexts. In this book we attempt to develop such a theory. We maintain that the central construct in this process is the self-identity of followers. Many conscious and more automatic self-regulatory processes depend on one's currently active self-identity, and many powerful forms of leadership are thought to influence the identity of followers.

In developing this theoretical perspective, we draw heavily from several areas of research and theory. The most critical constructs do not come directly from the leadership literature, but rather from social and cognitive theory pertaining to followers'self-identity, self-regulatory processes, motivation, values, cognitions, emotions, and perceptions of social justice. Leaders may have profound effects on these aspects of followers, and it is by analyzing such indirect, follower-mediated leadership effects that we develop most of our ideas regarding leadership theory and practice.

Due to its broad theoretical focus, this book is relevant to a number of audiences. Our principal concern is with the development of leadership theory and the practice of leadership. Thus, the book is relevant to audiences in management, applied psychology, and social psychology. We tried to define key constructs clearly and provide practical examples so that the book could be accessible to advanced undergraduate students. However, the diversity of the underlying theoretical literatures and the complexity of the framework we develop also make the book appropriate for graduate courses in management, applied psychology or social psychology, and for readers with a professional interest in leadership theory or leadership practice.

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