Follower Behaviour in the German Service Industry: Research Constructs and Lived Experiences Juxtaposed

Kugler, Maike ORCID: 0000-0002-2818-9760 (2023) Follower Behaviour in the German Service Industry: Research Constructs and Lived Experiences Juxtaposed. PhD thesis, University of Gloucestershire. doi:10.46289/9YW7P88Q

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The aim of this social constructionist research is to explore practitioners’ understanding of follower behaviour in terms of its conceptualization, process, and sense-making in the German service industry, and to provide an agenda for future research. A hybrid approach, combining a narrative and systematic review is implemented to achieve richness. The narrative review reveals that followership research, as an emerging field of investigation, is gaining a growing academic community. In organizational contexts, voluntariness has been proposed to distinguish between formal and informal followership. The latter is linked to followers’ beliefs about traits, attitudes, and behaviours associated with their responsibilities. The systematic literature review in this thesis problematizes the missing understanding of the meaning and conceptualization of follower behaviour. To address this, the data from 40 narrative interviews with formal managers and employees are analysed with template analysis. Findings indicate that follower behaviour is contextsensitive, meaning that voluntariness and expectations vary across organizations, cultures, and individuals. The informality of follower behaviour suggests that it can be exhibited not only towards formal line managers, but also towards organizations, immaterial concepts, groups, or individuals. The follower role can be adopted by all individuals in the organization, regardless of their formal position, if they have the potential and opportunity to do so. Follower behaviours serve as a source of psychological contract maintenance, selfaffirmation, and organizational success. Furthermore, they constitute a platform for selfpresentation. The findings provide insights to the lived experiences of a relatively small number of participants and, therefore, need to be viewed in light of moderatum generalization. Nevertheless, this thesis makes several contributions. First, it offers a conceptualization of follower behaviour and voluntariness in organizational contexts demarcating follower behaviour from other concepts. Second, it offers future research directions by revealing a plurality of process and meaning layers and suggesting the psychological contract, selfenhancement, and self-verification as explanatory theories.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Advisors:
Thesis AdvisorEmailURL
Uncontrolled Keywords: Follower behaviour; Service industry; Germany; Psychological contract; Self-enhancement; Self-verification
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > HF5001 Business > HF5549 Personnel management. Employment management
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Business, Computing and Social Sciences
Depositing User: Susan Turner
Date Deposited: 26 Jan 2024 16:23
Last Modified: 26 Jan 2024 16:23

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