Toward an exploration of follower's implicit followership theories of Mashhad's large organizations using a qualitative approach

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Binaloud Higher Education Institute, Mashhad, Iran

2 Faculty of Economic and Administrative Sciences, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran


Followership is a developing paradigm in organizational behavior which focuses
mainly on followers. The goal of this study is to explore follower’s implicit
followership theories (IFTs) which entail an analysis of follower’s views and
perception about followership. For this purpose, based on a phenomenological
approach, semi-structured interviews with employees of large public and private
organizations, in Mashhad were analyzed by exploratory content analysis. A total of
25 categories of implicit theories were detected in 5 prototypes and 5 antiprototypes.
Followership prototypes consist of constructive perception of work, job
competencies, mighty arm of leader, moral virtues and initiation pattern; five antiprototypes
were named as role deviances including destructive behaviors,
obedience, incompetency, indifference and blue color. Reflecting on the findings, a
5 dimensional model was identified, with each dimension having its prototypes and
anti- prototypes. Results showed that follower's IFTs differ from leader's follower's
implicit followership theories.


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