Implicit Theories of Leader-Follower Relationships



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In order to make sense of the social stimuli encountered on a daily basis, individuals employ implicit theories, which are knowledge structures or cognitive frameworks that encompass information about the stability or malleability of the nature of a thing. Implicit theories provide individuals with a relatively stable, grounded framework of knowledge, experience, and assumptions through which to understand, interpret, and create meaning from social information and to predict the social world. A growing body of social psychological research has identified individuals’ beliefs about the nature of relationships (separate from beliefs about relationship partners) as an important driver of relationship-directed affect, cognition, and behavior (e.g., Knee, 1998). The goal of this dissertation is to develop a valid, psychometrically sound measure of implicit theories of leader-follower relationships (ITLFRs), which are defined as the implicit beliefs one holds about the malleability or fixedness of leader-follower relationships. A series of five studies were undertaken to test various forms of validity and reliability, in order to provide organizational researchers with a useful tool to enhance understanding of leader-follower relationships.



Leadership, Followership, Implicit theories, Scale development, Social cognition, Workplace relationships