From Radical to Mainstream? How Followercentric Approaches Inform Leadership

Document Type



Behavioral and Organizational Sciences (CGU), Drucker School of Management (CGU)

Publication Date



Leadership Studies


While the prevalent approach in leadership studies has focused on the leader figure, a growing number of studies challenge the implicit assumption that leaders are always singularly most central and critical to the leadership process. In this article, we review the development of follower-centered approaches that challenge the study of leadership without a concomitant emphasis on the importance of followership. From its roots as a critical challenge to the “mainstream” leadership tradition, the study of followership has helped to sharpen the focus of both leader and follower roles. Follower-centered approaches deepen almost any leader-centric analysis, for when the view is shifted from leaders to followers, assumptions are challenged, new perspectives are developed, and new questions are raised. Here, we provide an overview of followercentric approaches which either directly or indirectly challenge the study of leadership as primarily the study of leaders.

Rights Information

© 2016 Hogrefe Verlag