A three factor model of followership, part 2: research on the three factor model and its application to team roles

Tony Manning, Bob Robertson
  • Industrial and Commercial Training, September 2016, Emerald
  • DOI: 10.1108/ict-01-2016-0004

A review of the three factor model of leadership and its application to followership.

What is it about?

There is an extensive body of theory and research on leadership, while followership is a relatively neglected. One way of thinking about leadership is the three factor model. This describes three broad sets of leadership behaviours, namely, relations, task and change behaviours. It is an attractive model because it is both comprehensive and simple. The first part of the article outlines previous research on leadership and followership, including the three factor model of leadership. It considers how the three factor leadership model might be extended and applied to the study of followership. In this the second part of the article, evidence is presented showing that the three factor leadership model can indeed be extended and applied to followership. The third part of the article goes on to apply the three factor leadership model to followership. It contrasts leader and follower roles and details three major groups of follower behaviours.

Why is it important?

Organisations need effective leaders and effective followers. This research illustrates the clear parallels between the skills of the effective leader and those of the effective follower. This view of followership and its relationship to leadership challenges the widely held pre-occupation with leadership and the cult of leadership.


Mr Tony Manning

Our backgrounds are in the behavioural and social sciences. We have spent our entire working lives in management education, training and development. It is our aim to produce evidence-based ideas that can be applied in practice. We believe that theory, research and practice can and should be closely inter-connected. We believe that our ideas on leadership and followership can be applied in practice. Both leadership and followers can be usefully thought of as learnable skills. Thus, what may appear an abstract and theoretical subject is relevant to everyone at work, irrespective of their organisational level. We have enjoyed co-operating in the production practical, evidence-based ideas that are of relevance to everyone at work.

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