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    The ideal and the counter-ideal follower –Advancing implicit followership theories

    Research on implicit followership theories – that is, individually held assumptions about how followers are and how they should be – is still in its infancy. The few existing approaches differ in what they define as the object of these theories. We consider the lack of two aspects in the existing literature: first, we consider it important to not only focus on effective but also on ideal followers – which allows investigating follower characteristics that go beyond just performance; second, we demonstrate the importance of the study of characteristics which leaders explicitly see as undesirable for followers (i.e. counter-ideal follower prototypes). We aim to fill these gaps and to extend the literature by introducing the concept of implicit followership theories as assumptions of ideal followers.
    We first present three studies conducted to develop a scale to measure ideal and counter-ideal follower prototypes, respectively. In a fourth study, we apply this scale and compare it to existing measures of implicit followership theories regarding their value for predicting leaders’ follower ratings.
    Results show that our newly developed measure is reliable and valid, and comprises a useful tool for future research.


    Junker, N.M., Stegmann, S., Braun, S., & Van Dick, R. (2016). The ideal and the counter-ideal follower –Advancing implicit followership theories. Leadership and Organizational Development Journal, 37, 1205 – 1222.

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