Re-positioning the Follower in the Leader-Follower Relationship: A South African Perspective

Muller, Marlene (2019) Re-positioning the Follower in the Leader-Follower Relationship: A South African Perspective. PhD thesis, University of Gloucestershire. doi:10.46289/LUNC5135

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We are all shaped by our situations, culture and history that drive our thoughts, relationships and actions. This PhD serves as a reminder that we matter and that our contexts matter; and that both followers and leaders are inter-connected with their environments, and with each other. This thesis follows a reflexive and constructivist approach when examining my corpus of published works. With the use of critical discourse analysis I position myself primarily as an outsider, studying the intertextualities of language and social interaction that frequently reveal the discourse of our social and political inequalities. My publications are situated within South Africa’s public sphere, focusing on the situational-bound agential follower and the detached leader, as shaped by pseudoism and change. However, this thesis equally extrapolates the narrative to the workplace environment, creating relevance regarding our workplace experiences and leader-follower relationships. This thesis’ main aim is to re-position the followers within the leader-follower relationships, by re-connecting my publications with current theoretical trends, deconstructing (public) leadership theory and re-emphasising the importance of situations and followers. It provided a more balanced leader-follower relationship paradigm that necessitates effective participatory mechanisms, servant leaders and empowered followers when facing transitions and change. Leader-follower relationships were de-constructed to fit into the public sphere but also re-constructed for organisational purposes. This thesis also acknowledged that both the public and organisational spheres are at best imperfect and dysfunctional, resulting in negative outcomes especially when leaders are de-coupled from their own values and followers. Effective change management thus requires leaders to re-connect with values, laws and followers that will improve organisational citizenship and efficiencies. Nonetheless, change agents can position stakeholders in different contexts to strengthen accountability and good governance, thus moving away from pseudoism. This thesis contributed to new knowledge by re-constructing the leader-member exchange theory in creating a new follower group, the ‘in-betweeners’. By developing a follower relationship model and follower matrix the importance of the followers is established. Serving as an interventionist instrument the follower relationship model allows followers to assess their leaders and to re-position themselves towards them. By acknowledging the imperfectness of their leaders, followers can re-strategise, reinfluence and re-gain access to resources and power. Leaders themselves can now refocus on the follower relationship model’s determinants (lawfulness, values, leadership and social self-defence agents) to ensure improved leader-follower relationships, collaboration, performance and inclusiveness. This thesis finally reinforces the need to re-visit the neglected areas of followers, leaderfollower relationships and contexts in order to avoid defiance, prejudice and patronage, as underscored by social self-defence.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Advisors:
Thesis AdvisorEmailURL
Uncontrolled Keywords: Leader-follower relationships; Follower relationship model; Follower matrix; Social self-defence; ‘in-betweeners’; South Africa; Pseudoism; Change management
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
Depositing User: Susan Turner
Date Deposited: 08 Oct 2021 09:10
Last Modified: 08 Oct 2021 09:45

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