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    Rights statement: The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, Leadership, 14 (4), 2018, © SAGE Publications Ltd, 2018 by SAGE Publications Ltd at the Leadership page: http://journals.sagepub.com/home/lea on SAGE Journals Online: http://journals.sagepub.com/

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The absent follower: identity construction in organizationally assigned leader-follower relations

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/08/2018
<mark>Journal</mark>Leadership
Issue number4
Volume14
Number of pages21
Pages (from-to)483-503
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date17/02/17
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

This article seeks to add to our understanding of processes of identity construction within organizationally assigned leader-follower relations through an exploration of the role of the absent, feminised follower. We situate our work within critical and psychoanalytic contributions to leader/ship and follower/ship and use Lacan’s writings on identification and lack to illuminate the imaginary, failing nature of identity construction. This aims to challenge the social realist foundations of writing on leader-follower constellations in organizational life. We examine our philosophical discussion through a reflective reading of a workplace example and question the possibility of a subject’s identity construction as a follower. If a subject is unable to identify him/herself as follower, he/she cannot validate others as leaders, rendering the leader-follower relationship not only fragile but phantasmic. We highlight implications of our exploration of the absence of follower/ship and endless, unfulfilled desire for leader/ship for future research and practice.

Bibliographic note

The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, Leadership, 14 (4), 2018, © SAGE Publications Ltd, 2018 by SAGE Publications Ltd at the Leadership page: http://journals.sagepub.com/home/lea on SAGE Journals Online: http://journals.sagepub.com/