Followership as a complement to leadership: An analysis of the relationship between leader member exchange and followership types

by Woods, Charles R., Ph.D., CAPELLA UNIVERSITY, 2009, 154 pages; 3356367


This study looks at the relationship between leader member exchange (LMX) quality (Dansereau, Graen, & Haga, 1975) and followership types as prescribed by Robert E. Kelley (1988, 1992). The working premise is that it is not unreasonable to expect that certain followership styles are more in keeping with or even promote high LMX than others. It is proffered that active engagement on the part of the follower is more likely to lead to high LMX and that passive engagement is more likely to lead to low LMX and that the level of critical thinking will moderate the impact of engagement. An online survey was utilized to collect information regarding the LMX quality at work and the followership styles of a pool of working graduate students. This study found support for the statement that knowing followership type or its subcomponents, level of engagement and independent critical thinking, was useful in predicting LMX and concluded that there was a positive though not necessarily strong relationship between LMX and followership type. The principle conclusions of this study are (a) that LMX and followership are related though not as strongly as anticipated, (b) that engagement has a greater influence on LMX quality than thinking though not by as much as anticipated, and (c) that the error in predicting LMX is reduced more based on knowing that the followership type is pragmatic than knowing that the type is exemplary. A caveat and extension to the last conclusion is that the exemplary type is more likely to have high LMX, though being the exemplary type does not guarantee high LMX, and pragmatic types are unlikely to have high LMX. A caveat to the study is that it was based essentially on the pragmatic and the exemplary followership types and their relationship to LMX because the other followership types were not found in numbers sufficient to support statistical analysis.

AdviserKeith B. Grant
Source TypeDissertation
SubjectsManagement; Labor relations
Publication Number3356367

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