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SA Journal of Industrial Psychology

On-line version ISSN 2071-0763
Print version ISSN 0258-5200


GREYVENSTEIN, Henk  and  CILLIERS, Frans. Followership's experiences of organisational leadership: A systems psychodynamic perspective. SA j. ind. Psychol. [online]. 2012, vol.38, n.2, pp.1-10. ISSN 2071-0763.

ORIENTATION: Followers' experiences of leadership in their organisations were qualitatively explored and described from a systems psychodynamic perspective. The findings revealed a very negative view on how leadership treats followership, and that leadership is seen as inconsistent. RESEARCH PURPOSE: The purpose of the research was to describe followership's experiences of organisational leadership from a systems psychodynamic perspective. MOTIVATION FOR THE STUDY: Organisational leadership is under tremendous pressure to perform and often under attack, especially if they do not appear to be caring and supportive. The research was planned to better understand the unconscious nature of this phenomenon. RESEARCH DESIGN, APPROACH AND METHOD: Qualitative, descriptive research was used. Data was collected through psychodynamic Listening Posts and analysed using discourse analysis. Working hypotheses were formulated per theme and integrated into the research hypothesis. MAIN FINDINGS: Six themes manifested, namely a negative leadership view; idealisation of the past and blaming the present; obsession with race and gender; constantly changing identity; unfinished business and the future; and cope and hope. PRACTICAL/MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS: Leadership seem to focus more on business than followership issues which leads to followers feeling disregarded and de-authorised. As a result followers withhold authorisation from leadership which may be instrumental in leaderships' difficulties to manage change and transformation effectively. Leadership development needs to incorporate the self-authorisation of leaders as well as the invitation of authorisation by leaders. CONTRIBUTION/VALUE-ADD: The data would be useful to leadership towards understanding, repairing and optimising their relationships and organisational impact through people.

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