Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Communication and Information

Major Professor

Michelle Violanti

Committee Members

John Haas, Michael Kotowski, Robert T Ladd


In the past decade, followership has increasingly captured the attention of academics. More recently, followership has begun to gain momentum in capturing the attention of practitioners. By far, the questions and demands for understanding effective followership and the ways followers influence leaders outweigh answers and solutions. Because followership, leadership, and follower-leader relationships are intricately connected and an inherently communicative phenomenon, advancing understanding of followership requires examining followers’ influence on leaders from a communication perspective. The purpose of this study was to understand follower effectiveness and followers’ influence on leaders by examining hypothesized relationships among followership characteristics, leader-follower relationship context, followership behaviors, and leader behavior, as evaluated by followers from a communication perspective. Using structural equation modelling methods, the results of this study reveal followership characteristics (i.e., self-regulation, empathy, and positive implicit leadership theories) influence leader-follower relationship quality (i.e., leader-member exchange; LMX) as well as follower communication behaviors (i.e., promotive voice and prohibitive voice). Moreover, results indicate follower prohibitive voice and LMX influence leaders’ attention to followers (as explored through leader feedback-seeking behavior). The results of this study also indicate a need for more rigorous testing in terms of scale validity and reliability.

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