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Description Among the typologies of followership outlined by Northouse (2022), one behavior that defines a follower is exemplified by the


Among the typologies of followership outlined by Northouse (2022), one behavior that defines a follower
is exemplified by the “Zaleznik Typology.”
Zaleznik’s typology identifies four types of followers: the alienated follower, the conformist follower, the
pragmatist follower, and the passive follower. Among these, the behavior of conformist followers stands
out for its significance in organizational dynamics.
Conformist followers are characterized by their tendency to align with the prevailing norms and
expectations within the organization. They prioritize fitting in and adhering to established procedures and
protocols. Conformist followers tend to avoid conflict and dissent, preferring to maintain harmony and
stability in the workplace. They often demonstrate strong loyalty to authority figures and are willing to
follow directives without question (Northouse, 2022).
The transformational leadership style studied this term is best suited for conformist followers’ behavior.
Transformational leaders inspire and motivate their followers by articulating a compelling vision, fostering
innovation, and encouraging individual growth and development. By appealing to followers’ values and
aspirations, transformational leaders can engage conformist followers and align their efforts towards
shared goals. Additionally, transformational leaders emphasize collaboration and empowerment, creating
a supportive environment where conformist followers feel valued and appreciated (Northouse, 2022).
The behavior of conformist followers can have both positive and negative impacts on the organization. On
the positive side, conformist followers contribute to organizational cohesion and stability by adhering to
established norms and facilitating smooth operations. They ensure consistency and reliability in executing
tasks and processes, enhancing overall efficiency and effectiveness. However, excessive conformity can
also stifle creativity and innovation, limiting the organization’s ability to adapt to changing circumstances.
Moreover, conformist followers may be less likely to challenge faulty assumptions or propose alternative
solutions, potentially leading to missed opportunities or suboptimal outcomes (Northouse, 2022).
Leaders can develop followership among conformist followers through several strategies. Firstly, leaders
should communicate a clear and compelling vision that resonates with followers’ values and aspirations,
inspiring them to contribute towards shared goals. Secondly, leaders should foster a culture of
psychological safety where followers feel comfortable expressing their opinions and ideas without fear of
reprisal. Encouraging open dialogue and constructive feedback cultivates trust and mutual respect within
the organization. Additionally, leaders should provide opportunities for skill development and career
advancement, empowering conformist followers to grow and excel in their roles. By recognizing and
appreciating their contributions, leaders can motivate conformist followers to actively engage and invest in
the organization’s success (Northouse, 2022).
Northouse, P. G. (2022). Leadership: Theory and practice (9th ed.). Sage Publications.
Kelley, R. E. (1988). In praise of followers. Harvard Business Review, 66(6), 142-148.
Chaleff, I. (1995). The courageous follower: Standing up to & for our leaders. Berrett-Koehler Publishers.
Kellerman, B. (2008). Followership: How followers are creating change and changing leaders. Harvard
Business Press.
Bass, B. M., & Riggio, R. E. (2006). Transformational leadership (2nd ed.). Psychology Press.
Avolio, B. J., & Yammarino, F. J. (Eds.). (2013). Transformational and charismatic leadership: The road
ahead (10th ed.). Emerald Group Publishing.

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