FOLLOWING THE LEADER OR LEADING THE FOLLOWER? THE EFFECTS OF MISSION-DRIVEN VS. LEADER-DRIVEN COMMUNITY PARTICIPATION
University of Kansas
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Emerging in the discussion of leadership is the separate and distinct concept of followership. Previously, followers were discussed more in relation to the leader, as if leaders were entirely responsible for the actions of followers, and the follower role was considered secondary to the success of the leader and the project. This research explores the motivation of followers who are independent actors and actively support the leader and the project. The concepts of and distinctions between mission-driven and leader-driven followership are examined through the lens of citizen engagement. Three hypotheses are tested using data gathered through self-administered surveys from neighbors who attended neighborhood association meetings in Kansas City, Kansas. Survey data give support to the relationship between mission-driven followership and increased citizen engagement. Mission-driven followers are more likely to attend more neighborhood association meetings and give more time to neighborhood activities than leader-driven followers. This research offers both practical and theoretical insights. Practically, mission-driven followers should be sought out and encouraged to volunteer in neighborhood associations and other nonprofit organizations, because they support the mission and are more likely to stay with the organization through changes in leadership. Theoretically, the addition of a quantitative analysis of mission-driven and leader-driven follower motivation to the conceptual discussion of leadership and followership contributes to the emerging scholarship on followership, specifically through neighborhood associations and the engagement of neighbors in them.
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