In support of followership: An exploration of the relationship between organizational role and self -attribution of courageous follower behaviors

by McClure, Susan B., Ph.D., CAPELLA UNIVERSITY, 2009, 187 pages; 3344532


The purpose of this non-experimental, ex post facto, quantitative study was to investigate whether a relationship exists between organizational role and self-attribution of courageous follower behaviors. Simply stated, are those who manage others more likely to self-ascribe that they demonstrate the behaviors of courageous followers than employees who do not manage others? This dissertation sought to extend the body of knowledge around followership, specifically, operationalizing courageous follower theory. A survey was developed which was comprised of five demographic questions and 21 courageous follower-specific items. This study found a statistically significant relationship between organizational role, specifically, the role of manager, and self-attribution of courageous follower behaviors. Rejection of the null hypothesis, there is no relationship between organization role and courageous follower behaviors, is possible as regression analyses indicated that management experience (role) was significantly and positively correlated, at the .05 confidence level or better, with all five courageous follower dimensions: courage to serve, courage to assume responsibility, courage to challenge, courage to participate in transformation, and courage to take moral action (Chaleff, The Courageous Follower, 1995) And, after controlling for the intervening variables of age, gender, years of experience with Company A, years as a manager with Company A, and total years as a manager in and outside Company A, managerial experience (role) significantly predicted responses on all 5 dimensions. Further, in support of this study’s hypothesis, none of the intervening variables proved as predictive of follower behavior as organizational role. While it can be asserted that a portion of variance in responses remains unaccounted for, there is clear support for the hypothesis that a relationship between role and self-attribution of courageous followership behaviors does indeed exist. As empirical data in support of followership theory is limited, at best, there are significant opportunities to further extend the scope of this study, as well as the operationalization of followership theory.

AdviserBarbara A. Bailey
Source TypeDissertation
Publication Number3344532

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