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When ‘Good’ Leadership Backfires : Dynamics of the leader/follower relation

Einola, Katja LU and Alvesson, Mats LU (2019) In Organization Studies
Abstract

This paper contributes to the understanding of relational aspects of leadership and followership. Our in-depth empirical study of the leader/follower relation uncovers how and why assigning team members into ‘leader’ and ‘follower’ positions may sometimes be a double-edged sword and lead to unintended consequences undermining both the team’s potential and member satisfaction. We report on a multi-voiced story of one team that at first looked like a well-performing one with effective, ‘good’ leadership and satisfied team members. However, a closer investigation revealed frictional understandings, unresponsiveness and dynamics of immaturization as the followers overly relied on the elected leader. Leadership seen as ‘good’ may indeed... (More)

This paper contributes to the understanding of relational aspects of leadership and followership. Our in-depth empirical study of the leader/follower relation uncovers how and why assigning team members into ‘leader’ and ‘follower’ positions may sometimes be a double-edged sword and lead to unintended consequences undermining both the team’s potential and member satisfaction. We report on a multi-voiced story of one team that at first looked like a well-performing one with effective, ‘good’ leadership and satisfied team members. However, a closer investigation revealed frictional understandings, unresponsiveness and dynamics of immaturization as the followers overly relied on the elected leader. Leadership seen as ‘good’ may indeed backfire and encourage satisfied, trustful followers to relax and focus on limited roles. Our study further shows the need to conduct rich empirical studies that capture views of all parties in a relation.

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author
and
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
epub
subject
keywords
followership, immaturization, leadership, process study, relational leadership, shared meanings, teams
in
Organization Studies
publisher
SAGE Publications
external identifiers
  • scopus:85075005984
ISSN
0170-8406
DOI
10.1177/0170840619878472
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
66c6249d-61f9-4654-bef1-11f40e3d8137
date added to LUP
2019-12-10 10:30:30
date last changed
2020-10-07 06:48:49
@article{66c6249d-61f9-4654-bef1-11f40e3d8137,
  abstract     = {<p>This paper contributes to the understanding of relational aspects of leadership and followership. Our in-depth empirical study of the leader/follower relation uncovers how and why assigning team members into ‘leader’ and ‘follower’ positions may sometimes be a double-edged sword and lead to unintended consequences undermining both the team’s potential and member satisfaction. We report on a multi-voiced story of one team that at first looked like a well-performing one with effective, ‘good’ leadership and satisfied team members. However, a closer investigation revealed frictional understandings, unresponsiveness and dynamics of immaturization as the followers overly relied on the elected leader. Leadership seen as ‘good’ may indeed backfire and encourage satisfied, trustful followers to relax and focus on limited roles. Our study further shows the need to conduct rich empirical studies that capture views of all parties in a relation.</p>},
  author       = {Einola, Katja and Alvesson, Mats},
  issn         = {0170-8406},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {11},
  publisher    = {SAGE Publications},
  series       = {Organization Studies},
  title        = {When ‘Good’ Leadership Backfires : Dynamics of the leader/follower relation},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0170840619878472},
  doi          = {10.1177/0170840619878472},
  year         = {2019},
}