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Dixon Followership Articles

Page history last edited by elisabeth higgins null 10 years, 8 months ago

 

 

 

ARTICLES AND ABSTRACTS ON FOLLOWERS

 

by GENE DIXON

 

 

FORTHCOMING ARTICLE

 

 

Dixon, Gene, Can We Lead And Follow? The Engineering Management Journal, Special Issue on Leadership,  TBA.  This paper contributes to organizational efficacy by exploring the role of followers as part of the leadership process.  The idea of leaders in organizations has been discussed and cussed ad infinitum by practitioners, researchers, and observers.  With a growing recognition of organizational followers as a backdrop, this paper reports on basic research comparing leaders and followers.  Using theories proffered by Sashkin (Visionary Leadership) and Chaleff (Courageous Followers) as an experimental framework, data was collected from technology workers (N = 111) and analyzed to ascertain the nature of correlations of self-ascribed leader-follower attributes.  The analysis indicates the concepts are correlated.  Based on the correlation, recommendations are provided for the leadership development process. Recommendations for enhancing development of the leadership process in engineering organizations. 

 

PARTIAL BIBLIOGRAPHY OF ARTICLES ON FOLLOWERSHIP

 

Barker, W., and Gene Dixon “The Symbiotic Relationship of Leaders and Followers” American Society for Engineering Management Conference Proceedings, Huntsville, AL, 2006.

Beegle, L., and Gene Dixon “Leadership and Followership: Five Recurring Patterns” American Society for Engineering Management Conference Proceedings, Huntsville, AL 2006.
Dixon, G., and J. D. Westbrook, Followers Revealed, Engineering Management Journal, March 2003.

Dixon, Gene, Followers Revealed Redux, American Society for Engineering Management Conference Proceedings, November, Chattanooga TN, November, 2007, in publication.

Dixon, Gene, An Exploration of the Relationship of Organizational Level and Measures of Follower Behaviors, International Journal of Modern Engineering –Intertech Conference Proceedings, October 20-21, 2006. 
Dixon, Gene, Can We Lead and Follow?  American Society for Engineering Management Conference Proceedings, October 26-28, Huntsville AL, 2006.
Dixon G., Leaders and Followers in a Dangerous World, American Society for Engineering Management Conference Proceedings, October 20-23, Alexandria, VA, 2004.
Dixon G., Organizational Followers, American Society for Engineering Management Conference Proceedings, October 15-17, St. Louis, MO, 2003.

Dixon, G., Behind the Leaders, ASEM Practice Periodical, Winter 2004.

Dixon, G., Followers Revealed, American Society for Engineering Management Conference Proceedings, October 2-5, Tampa, FL, 2002, Awarded Merrill Williamson Best Conference Paper.

Dixon, G. and J. D. Westbrook, Dixon, G., An Exploration of the Effects of Organizational Level on Attributions of Followership, American Society for Engineering Management Conference Proceedings, Huntsville, AL, October 11-13, 2001.

Dixon, G. and J. D. Westbrook, Organization Level Related Variations of Attributions of Followership and Leadership—A Research Proposal, American Society for Engineering Management Conference Proceedings, Washington, DC, October 4-7, 2000.

Dixon, G. and J. D. Westbrook, Differences in Leadership-Followership Characteristics and Attributes Between Organizational Levels, American Society for Engineering Management Conference Proceedings, Virginia Beach, VA, October 4-7, 1999

Johnson, James O., Dixon, G. and Tippett, D. T. The Relationship Between Courageous Followers and Organizational Citizenship Behaviors, American Society for Engineering Management Conference Proceedings, October 15-17, St. Louis, MO, 2003

Ray, Linda, and Gene Dixon, “Follow the Leader: Followership in Low Technology Organizations-North Carolina Community Colleges”, 2006 American Society for Engineering Management Conference Proceedings, Huntsville AL, 2006.

 

 

 

ARTICLES AND PRESENTATIONS WITH ABSTRACTS

 

Barker, W., and Gene Dixon “The Symbiotic Relationship of Leaders and Followers” American Society for Engineering Management Conference Proceedings, Huntsville, AL, 2006.  This paper proposes the interdependence of leaders and followers as symbiosis.  First, we define leaders and followers and examine their common traits and correlation.  Leaders and followers are identified by their actions, behaviors, and situations.  Research indicates that the qualities of leaders and followers overlap and the roles of both are interchangeable at different times and given different situations. The research supports the fact that both leaders and followers possess qualities of their counterpart roles. From this we propose that:  1) Followers require effective leaders in order to develop and realize their significance in the organization; 2) Leaders need effective followers in order to achieve the goals and objectives of the organization; 3) Eventually followers become the leaders of tomorrow and then rely upon effective followers to help them reach the new vision of the organization; and, therefore, 4) Leaders and followers have a symbiotic relationship where leaders and followers depend upon each other and mutually benefit when both perform at their highest level.  The extent of symbiosis in the leader/follower affiliation should be explored further in order to enhance the relationship and to develop more effective organizations.  The paper concludes by offering research questions for consideration.
 
 
Beegle, L., and Gene Dixon “Leadership and Followership: Five Recurring Patterns” American Society for Engineering Management Conference Proceedings, Huntsville, AL 2006.  Citrin and Smith’s (2003a) five patterns of extraordinary careers mirror the key attributes of Kelley’s (1992) followership theory.   Kelley focuses on the role of the leader on development of great followers, while Citrin and Smith focus on the features of successful executives.  This paper discusses Citrin and Smith’s (2003a) patterns of leadership and compares those patterns to Kelley’s (1992) attributes of followers.  The underlying question becomes, are the leader skills praised by Citrin and Smith (2003a) simply the ability to leverage Kelley’s exemplary followers?  In this paper, we examine each of the ‘Five Patterns’ espoused by Citrin and Smith (2003a), and compare them to the concepts of Kelley’s (1992) followership theory.  The paper proffers that the same attributes that Citrin and Smith claim are actively being recruited and sought after in the highest-level leaders are also the attributes that create great followers.  The paper proposes research to explore any correlation. 

 

 

Dixon, Gene, Followers: The Rest Of The Leadership Process, Society of Automotive Engineers, SAE Technical Paper Series, 2008-01-0549, Detroit MI, April 2008.  For every leader there are many non-leaders—followers—who benefit the organization’s competitive position.  While leaders seem to dominate management research, thinking, and practice, in reality, followers permeate all organizations and make them effective.  While the many are ignored, the few receive attention.  Chaleff has developed a model describing key behaviors of effective followers in an organizational setting.  Chaleff’s model implies that followers are recognizable at all levels of the organization.    Results from an empirical study of Chaleff’s model indicate that followers are evident and their characteristic behaviors are measurable within organizations.  This paper explores the implications for leaders and organizations that are led and furthers the concept that leaders and followers comprise the leadership. 

 

Dixon, Gene, Followers: the Rest of the Leadership Process, Institute of Industrial Engineers Conference Proceedings, Vancouver, BC, May, 2008.  For every leader there are many non-leaders—followers—who benefit the organization’s competitive position.  While leaders seem to dominate management research, management thinking, and management practice, in reality, followers permeate all organizations and make them effective.  While the many are ignored, the few receive attention.  Chaleff has developed a model describing key behaviors of effective followers in an organizational setting.  This paper describes refinement of a survey instrument developed to assess Chaleff’s model as a measuring tool for the follower behaviors within organizations.  The results indicate that the instrument, The Follower Profile, is robust across populations in discriminating follower behaviors.  The paper also recommends leadership development implications and concludes by introducing a new paradigm for thinking about the leadership process


Dixon, Gene, Followers Revealed Redux, American Society for Engineering Management Conference Proceedings, November, Chattanooga TN, November, 2007, in publication.  Followers have been recognized in leader theory as a structural part of the leadership process.  Without followers there can be no leaders.  This paper reexamines a previous study of follower behaviors in technology fields and compares these results to a sample from a non technical population as an on-going effort to broaden follower research.  The resulting analysis shows similarities across technical and non-technical population samples.  Several statistical tools were employed including inter-item correlation and confirmatory factor analysis to test model factor validity.  Means analysis was conducted to compare the samples based on a refined model. The results show similarity between the responses from the technical and non technical samples and suggest model improvements for future studies.

 

 

Dixon, Gene, An Exploration of the Relationship of Organizational Level and Measures of Follower Behaviors, International Journal of Modern Engineering –Intertech Conference Proceedings, October 20-21, 2006.  For every leader there are many non-leaders—followers—who benefit the organization’s competitive position.  In reality, followers permeate all organizations, but it is leadership that seems to dominate management research, thinking, and practice.  While the many are ignored, the few get attention.  Chaleff’s theory implies that followership should be recognizable at all organizational levels.  This implication requires empirical verification; i.e., if followership exists, how does it represent itself across organizational levels?  A sample (N = 263) was taken from the population of engineering and technology workers in multi-level organizations to answer the question.  The sample included 53 organizations including government agencies/departments (53%), government contractors (31%) and industry (53%).  Results indicated that while followership is evident within the organizations, statistically significant differences exist in self-attributions of followership as a function of organizational level for three of the characteristic behaviors. 

 

 

Dixon, Gene, Intrapersonal Leader-Follower Modalities: Can We Lead And Follow? American Society for Engineering Management Conference Proceedings, October 26-28, Huntsville AL, 2006.  With the growing recognition of organizational followers as a back drop, this paper reports on basic research comparing attributes of leaders and attributes of followers.  Using theories proffered by Sashkin (Visionary Leadership) and Chaleff (Courageous Followers) as an experimental framework, data collected (N = 111) from technology workers is analyzed using non-parametric methodologies to ascertain the existence of linking correlations in an effort further explore intrapersonal leader-follower modalities.  Because all organizations are primarily comprised of followers (Kelley, 1992), the paper concludes with recommendations for engineering managers within organizations as well as opportunities for further studies in this emerging field.

 

 

Dixon G., Leaders and Followers in a Dangerous World, American Society for Engineering Management Conference Proceedings, October 20-23, Alexandria, VA, 2004.  This paper outlines an area of inquiry relative to the role of leaders and followers in that part of a security management related to incident or emergency response.  The objective of this paper to encourage further research relating leader/follower behaviors to mitigation of acts, conditions and situations that lead to a dangerous world.  The paper begins with a broad scope but is written specifically for application within the industrial organization.  The paper concludes with implications for research and practice for the engineering manager within the industrial setting.

 

 

Dixon G., Followers in Organzations, American Society for Engineering Management Conference Proceedings, October 15-17, St. Louis, MO, 2003.  Every organization has followers and yet little attention, investment, or recognition, is given to followers, followership or follower development.  Using Chaleff's theory of courageous followership (Chaleff, 1995), 364 representatives of 59 organizations evaluated their organizations for evidence of five follower behaviors.  The results indicate that followership is generally recognized in all organizations.  The question is then begged, why isn’t more effort directed at developing followership?  In answering this question, this paper concludes by recommending strategies that the practicing engineering manager can develop to improve followership within the organization.

 

 

Dixon, G., Followers Revealed, American Society for Engineering Management Conference Proceedings, October 2-5, Tampa, FL, 2002, Awarded Merrill Williamson Best Conference Paper.  An organization of all leaders, all the time, just doesn't make sense but does sell as management literature at the corner bookstore.  Every organization has followers and yet little attention, investment, or recognition, is given to followers, followership or follower development.  This paper describes dissertation research directed at understanding how engineer/technology workers attribute followership characteristics to themselves relative their hierarchical position within technology centric organization.  Using Chaleff's theory of courageous followership (Chaleff, 1995), 255 participants from 17 organizations evaluated themselves for evidence of five characteristics of followership.  Data was collected using 50 Likert scaled items representing elements of the characteristics: assume responsibility, serve, challenge, transform and act/leave.  When analyzed using non-parametric statistics, the responses demonstrated no significant difference in self-attribution of followership across organizational level, i.e., attributions of courageous followership are independent of organizational level.  The results indicate that followership is generally recognized in all organizations.  The question is then begged why isn’t more effort directed at developing followership?  In answering this question, the paper concludes with strategies, tactics and operational objectives the engineering manager practitioner can develop to improve followership within organizations in a global economy.  The paper also discusses why implementation may have been resisted in the prior era of national market economy.

 

Dixon, G. and J. D. Westbrook, Dixon, G., An Exploration of the Effects of Organizational Level on Attributions of Followership, American Society for Engineering Management Conference Proceedings, Huntsville, AL, October 11-13, 2001.  This study found that expectations of followers characteristics and attributes differ with organization layer.  Similar results were found for leaders. A sample of published characteristics and attributes was presented to 112 people. The respondents were from several companies and varying organizational layers. Answers to two questions were sought: Do people's expectations of followership change with organizational level? Do people's expectations of leadership qualities change with organizational level? The research found that some characteristics and attributes apply across all levels. Some however, vary across organizational levels.

Dixon, G. and J. D. Westbrook, Organization Level Related Variations of Attributions of Followership and Leadership—A Research Proposal, American Society for Engineering Management Conference Proceedings, Washington, DC, October 4-7, 2000.  This paper describes a research proposal to examine attributed variance in visionary leadership and courageous followership as a function of organizational level.  Ira Chaleff argues that followers are different than subordinates. He describes a theory of followership based on a description of a courageous follower.  Visionary leaders, developed by Marshal Sashkin, is a triune approach using the elements of personal capabilities, behavior, and organizational effect to describe leaders.  This paper briefly describes the concepts of courageous followership and visionary leadership and proposes a course of research. The proposed research will determine if a correlation exists between visionary leadership, courageous followership and organizational level.  This study will attempt to determine that if existing pools of courageous followers are the source of visionary leaders then a commonality of personal capabilities and behaviors should be identifiable

 

 

Dixon, G. and J. D. Westbrook, Differences in Leadership-Followership Characteristics and Attributes Between Organizational Levels, American Society for Engineering Management Conference Proceedings, Virginia Beach, VA, October 4-7, 1999.  This study found that expectations of leader characteristics and attributes differ with organization layer.  Similar results were found for followers.  A sample of published characteristics and attributes was presented to 112 people.  The respondents were from several companies and varying organizational layers.  Answers to two questions were sought: Do people’s expectations of leaders change with organizational level?  Do people’s expectations of followership  qualities change with organizational level?  The research found that some characteristics and attributes apply across all levels.  Some however, vary across organizational levels.  Attribute variation was more pronounced than characteristic variation.

 

 

Johnson, James O., Dixon, G. and Tippett, D. T. The Relationship Between Courageous Followers and Organizational Citizenship Behaviors, American Society for engineering Management Conference Proceedings, October 15-17, St. Louis, MO, 2003.  Engineers and technology specialists are key collaborators in the quest to improve the competitive position of many organizations.  In this paper, two theories of behaviors are examined and contrasted in an exploratory research study of technical employees.  Chaleff’s theory of courageous followers (CF) is contrasted with Podsakoff’s organizational citizenship behaviors (OCB).  Data from 45 engineers and technology workers show that the concept of OCB and CF are correlated.  An explanation of the correlation is presented along with recommendations to engineering managers in applying the concepts of follower behaviors and organizational citizenship behaviors to improve organization effectiveness and competitive positioning.

 

Radziwill, Nicole M.,  Tricia M. Payne, Michael H. Fleenor and Gene Dixon, Who are the Courageous Followers? A Predictive Model to Examine the Role of Personality in Determining Followership, Unpublished Manuscript.  While the notion of leadership dominates management theory and practice, the concept of followership is emerging as a research theme as investigators increasingly acknowledge that there can be no leaders without followers. Who are the courageous followers? To determine whether followership can be predicted, this research applies The Followership Profile (TFP), a survey instrument developed by Dixon to enable empirical studies using Chaleff’s “courageous follower” model, and Gosling’s TIPI survey of Big Five personality traits. The results indicate that although Big Five traits could not be used to reliably distinguish courageous followers within the research population, Chaleff’s behaviors of serving and taking moral action can, and the model is independent of the sample demographics considered.

 
Ray, Linda, and Gene Dixon, “Follow the Leader: Followership in Low Technology Organizations-North Carolina Community Colleges”, 2006 American Society for Engineering Management Conference Proceedings, Huntsville AL, 2006.  As an extension of earlier research, this paper describes a proposed study of followership behaviors in a higher education organization.  The research will seek to generalize findings and instrument applicability beyond high technology organizations.  The proposal focus is on administrative personnel across a statewide community college system.  The conclusions will provide insights into the trans-population applicability of The Followership Profile as well as specific findings from the population.  The pragmatic examination and  its implications is provided for other academic systems caught up in the doing-more-with-less economic struggle.

 

DISSERTATION

 

Dixon, Eugene N. (2003). An Exploration of the Relationship of Organizational Level and Measures of Follower Behaviors. A Dissertation.  The University of Alabama, Huntsville.

Abstract: Every organization needs followers and yet organizations seem to give little attention or recognition to the development of followers.  Understanding followers as contributors to an organization implies that followers have equal status with leaders in sustaining organizational viability.  Chaleff (1995) describes five behaviors that characterize followers: courage to assume responsibility, courage to serve, courage to challenge, courage to participate in transformation and courage to leave.  Chaleff's theory implies that both leadership and followership should be recognizable at all organizational levels.  This implication requires empirical verification; i.e., if followership exists, how does it represent itself across organizational levels?   In answering this question, this dissertation provides an empirical process for measuring followership.   
The research was conducted by survey.  The survey, The Followership Profile, was found to be statistically valid and reliable.  A sample was taken from the population of engineering and technology workers in multi-level government agencies, government contractors, and industrial concerns (N = 364).  Survey results indicated that followership is evident within the organizations represented by participants.  Analysis indicates that statistically significant differences exist in self-attributions of followership as a function of organizational level for four of the characteristic behaviors.  
Several conclusions were drawn from the research.  Follower behaviors are measurable. Followers exist within technology-based organizations and are discernable at all organizational levels.  Attributions of followership are related to organization level, with increasing measures of followership at higher levels in the organization.  This implies that leaders are followers and that follower roles can be described according to organization level.
Recommendations for the organization include training to develop organizational-wide understanding of the value of followership; personal and organizational assessments of the followership skill base; structuring of reward mechanisms to support development of followership within organizations; and development of structures that recognize, empower, and profit from followers and followership.  Recommendations for the technical manager include deployment of a supportive group culture, establishing expectations for followership through a supportive appraisal system, and developing of followers through the use of The Followership Profile.

Gene Dixon
Director, Team ECU Engineering
East Carolina University
Department of Engineering
Slay 205
Greenville, NC 27858-4353
2527371031 (O)
2527371041 (F)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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