Academic Leadership: The Online Journal


The field of leadership studies is overflowing with discussions and explorations of leadership contribution and influence (Winston & Patterson, 2005; Miller, 2007). Unfortunately, as some researchers such as Frye, Kisselburgh & Butts (2007) point out, discussions and research on the full capacity and capabilities of followership are scarce. This lack of research limits our understanding about the impact of followership in organizations. The lack of research derives from a leader-centered approach that has traditionally dominated the field of leadership studies (Lord and Brown, 2003). Also, out of the academic circles society still tends to focus on leadership as positions contained by one person within the organization (Bennis, 1999; Frisina, 2005). However, a few years ago some researchers and scholars began to question if traditional top-down leadership theory is still relevant, or whether new types of leadership are possible (Hollander, 1992). On this regard, Bennis (1999) said that top-down understanding of leadership “was not only wrong, unrealistic and maladaptive but also, given the report of history, dangerous” (p. 71).