The Development of Implicit Followership Theories in Organizational Change Processes

Annemiek Van Der Schaft, Omar Solinger, Riku Ruotsalainen, W Van Olffen, Xander Lub, Beatrice Van Der Heijden

Research output: Chapter in Book / Report / Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review


Successful organizational change requires substantial efforts from both change leaders and followers. After a long tradition of focusing on change leadership, academics increasingly focus on the role of followership. However, understanding the diverse responses of followers in change processes is complex, as a clear understanding of the underlying mechanisms that trigger followers’ heterogeneous interpretations seems missing. Using a standardized process interview protocol, we content-analyzed 60 individual experience narrations of major organizational changes in eight different organizations and industries. These narrations appeared to map in six prototypical stories (i.e. the ‘Warrior Story’) that are proposed to explicate yet uncharted temporal pathways of change followership. We highlight several similarities and differences between those stories and interpret them as reflections of Implicit Followership Theories in change context. By adding to the understanding of interpretive processes grounded in mental schemas, this study could help leaders of change to anticipate their followers’ diverse responses to supposedly similar experiences."
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAcademy of Management Proceedings
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020

Publication series

NameAcademy of Management Proceedings
PublisherAcademy of Management
ISSN (Print)0065-0668

Bibliographical note

Academy of Management Best Paper Proceedings


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