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Leadership and followership identity processes: A multilevel review

Epitropaki, O.; Kark, R.; Mainemelis, C.; Lord, R.G.

Leadership and followership identity processes: A multilevel review Thumbnail


R. Kark

C. Mainemelis


A growing body of leadership literature focuses on leader and follower identity dynamics, levels, processes of development and outcomes. Despite the importance of the phenomena, there has been surprisingly little effort to systematically review the widely dispersed literature on leader and follower identity. In this review we map existing studies on a multilevel framework that integrates levels-of-the self (individual, relational and collective) with the levels-of-analysis (intrapersonal, interpersonal and group) on which leader or follower identity work takes place. We also synthesize work from multiple research paradigms, such as social psychology experimental studies, narrative accounts of leaders' identity work and field studies on antecedents, outcomes, mediating mechanisms and boundary conditions. Finally, we outline implications for leadership development and call attention to key themes we see ripe for future research.


Epitropaki, O., Kark, R., Mainemelis, C., & Lord, R. (2017). Leadership and followership identity processes: A multilevel review. The Leadership Quarterly, 28(1), 104-129.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 4, 2016
Online Publication Date Oct 26, 2016
Publication Date Feb 1, 2017
Deposit Date Oct 31, 2016
Publicly Available Date Apr 26, 2018
Journal Leadership Quarterly
Print ISSN 1048-9843
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 28
Issue 1
Pages 104-129
Public URL


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