Evolution of Robert Kelley's Followership Theory

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Introduction Order in the society is established and sustained through effective group communication. The most essential being group communication since societies always have a leader-follower dimension within different contexts. Understanding this dimension is key to unlocking cohesive coexistence in societies. Initially, research responded to the need for this understanding by focusing discourses on how people become effective leaders. Confucius, Plato, Lao Zi and Aristotle all discussed the making of a leader. However, recent evolutions in thinking and perception of societies have prompted scholars to focus on strategies and attitudes associated with followers of leaders (Kelley, 1992). Such studies are not only essential in aiding …show more content…
In his works, Kelly does not present a concise definition of the term followership. However, it can be deduced that it followership means the role that an individual plays to show support for another individual who is their leader. Kelley’s theory uses a unique perception of the relationship between leaders and followers. It is often perceived that followers cannot be followers without leaders while Kelley sees that leaders cannot be leaders without their followers.
Leaders can also be followers at particular times in their lives. Managers in organizations are in charge of personnel while at the same time answering to CEOs. People become what they need to be in different organizations and different situations. Hence, rather than look at an individual using a rigid view where one is either a great leader or a sheep (follower), it is essential to view an individual as one with different traits which are ever present and make them a follower. Follower traits include that they are good at managing themselves, and they show commitment to a particular organization they are under, a person, a principle or a purpose that is outside themselves (Kelly, 1992). Other traits include that their efforts towards building competence and focus are aimed at getting maximum results. In addition, they are credible, honest and courageous. These traits are not limited to
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