Contextual Constraints: An Examination of Implicit Followership Theories

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Virginia Tech

This study was designed to assess follower prototypes as dynamic structures. Connectionist theory is a good framework to understand the process by which followership perceptions are altered by contextual factors. Organizational culture, change in immediate leader and follower prototypes were measured in an applied setting across time to assess the dynamism of the cognitive networks of implicit followership theories. Change in culture and immediate leader was measured at three time points, across six months, during the acquisition of one organization by a second. Change scores were created by computing difference scores from surveys completed at the first time point to the second time point, three months later, to the third and final time point, three months later. There were no significant effects of change in culture on reported follower networks. There was, however, a significant effect of leader change at time points two and three when regressed on individual's follower networks. The overall findings of this study suggest that IFT's like leadership prototypes remain fairly stable across time (Epitropaki, 2004), but are subject to organizational change.

context, prototype, connectionist, dynamic, IFT, culture