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Leadership researchers have traditionally studied leaders with little attention paid to the people they lead. Yet we know that followers play an important role in both affecting leadership outcomes and empowering leaders. This presentation will challenge some of the traditional views of followership by presenting emerging theory and research on the ways in which followers affect leadership processes and outcomes.

This approach addresses the call for a more “balanced view” of leadership as a relational process involving both leaders and followers, and offers new perspectives on the ways in which we can study leadership as a dynamic, fluid, co-produced process. Several paradigmatic perspectives of followership will be presented (e.g., position, role, and co-creation) that allow us to more fully capture the behaviors, interactions, relational dynamics, and processes through which leadership and followership are created and constructed.



Melissa K. Carsten
Professor of Management at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina USA.

Professor Carsten's research focuses on the role that followers play in the leadership process, and the beliefs that individuals hold about the follower role, their relationship to leaders, and how followers affect leadership outcomes. She has published research on both leadership and followership in journals such as The Leadership Quarterly, Journal of Organizational Behavior, Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, Leadership, and Organizational Dynamics. She has won several best paper awards for her research and currently sits on the editorial boards for The Leadership Quarterly, Journal of Organizational Behavior, and Group and Organization Management. She has also contributed several book chapters to edited books on leadership and followership.


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