Faculty Publications - College of Business

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Leadership research is plentiful and multifaceted yet followership, an essential component in leadership, attracts little research attention. This research paper measures followership styles in two cultural contexts: American and Rwandan. Although cultural aspects of followership have been studied to some extent, the literature in this area is lacking. Data are collected from two organizations of similar size and function, one in Rwanda, and the other in Oregon, USA. It is hypothesized that Americans’ cultural preferences influence followers to favor critical thinking and active engagement while Rwandan cultural preferences predispose followers to less critical thinking and less active engagement. Results of the research show no significant difference between the cultures on critical thinking and active engagement. However, followership type is significantly different by country. Kelley’s (1992) followership survey and the organizational contexts are probed for possible reasons that no significant differences were found between critical thinking and active engagement, while power distance is seen as the main reason for the difference in followership type. Presently little research has been dedicated to the cultural effects on followership and organizations that work internationally would benefit greatly from a deeper understanding of cultural effects on followership.


Originally published in the Journal of Leadership Education, 13(4), 124-135.

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