Chapter 9: HRM and leadership

Journal Article 9.1: Crossman, B. and Crossman, J. (2011) ‘Conceptualising followership – a review of the literature’, Leadership, 7(4): 481–497.

Description: Despite growing attention in professional and academic literature, a commonly accepted definition of followership does not seem to have emerged. The authors nevertheless explore some of the implications of followership definitions to date and build on these to offer one of their own. A review of the literature ensues, highlighting descriptive and prescriptive behavioural typologies, and situational theories. The paper argues that understanding the concept of followership better is likely to improve training and organizational performance and concludes with suggestions for future research and some implications for leadership/followership development.


Journal Article 9.2: Agho, A.O. (2009) ‘Perspectives of senior-level executives on effective followership and leadership’, Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies, 16(2): 159–166.

Description: Using a three-page questionnaire administered to a sample of 302 senior-level executives, this study examined the perceptions of executives on the distinguishing characteristics of effective leaders and followers. Most of the characteristics associated with effective leaders were perceived to be different from those associated with effective followers. A significant number of the respondents agreed that (a) leadership and followership are interrelated roles; (b) leadership and followership skills have to be learned; (c) effective leaders and effective followers can influence work performance, quality of work output, satisfaction and morale, and cohesiveness of work groups; and (d) researchers have not devoted enough attention to the study of followership.


Journal Article 9.3: Larsson, M. and Nielsen, M.F. (2017) ‘The risky path to a followership identity: from abstract concept to situated reality’, International Journal of Business Communication. DOI: 10.1177/23294888417735648, pp. 1–28.

Description: Researchers typically portray followership as a safe alternative to leadership identity, but the author challenges this assumption by using naturally occurring workplace interactions to identify active contributions as well as risks associated with a follower identity.