The Service-for-Prestige Theory of Leader-Follower Relations:

Michael E. Price and Mark Van Vugt

in The Biological Foundations of Organizational Behavior

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print December 2014 | ISBN: 9780226127156
Published online May 2015 | e-ISBN: 9780226127293 | DOI:
The Service-for-Prestige Theory of Leader-Follower Relations:

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This chapter outlines the ‘service-for-prestige’ theory of leadership. According to this theory, the optimal form of leader-follower relationship is one in which leaders provide followers with their expertise and organizational skills, and in exchange, followers provide leaders with prestige. From the perspective of evolutionary psychology, such relationships work well because they involve mutually beneficial reciprocity and thus produce adaptive benefits for both leaders and followers. Reciprocity-based leadership will flourish most when leaders and followers possess relatively equal social bargaining power, and when leaders have low power to exploit followers. However, when leaders’ exploitative power increases—due, for example, to followers’ poor exit options—leader-follower relationships will more likely become based on the leader's ability to dominate rather than benefit followers. The chapter focuses both on the situations that give rise to reciprocity-based leadership and on the risk factors that cause such leadership to degenerate into coercion.

Keywords: leadership; followership; evolutionary psychology; cooperation; reciprocity; reciprocal altruism

Chapter.  13689 words. 

Subjects: Organizational Theory and Behaviour

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