Follower Motivation: Review and Prospect

Hongdan Xu, Yuankun Cao


Followership is becoming the focus and hot issue in contemporary management research. Along with the research came the question of follower motivation: Why do people follow? Discussions on the issue mainly evolved around the four categories of individual need, leader influence, obedience to authority, and adaptation to environment. Different typologies were used to group these motivations, and a measurement scale was developed. Future research should shift from the surface motivation study of following to deep psychological understanding of follower motivation. More efforts should be exerted to develop and improve a measurement tool with good reliability and validity. Antecedents and outcomes should also be incorporated to the research.


Followership, leadership, following, follower, motivation

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