The susceptible circle: A taxonomy of followers associated with destructive leadership

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The susceptible circle: A taxonomy of followers associated with destructive leadership
The Leadership Quarterly

While leadership scholars increasingly acknowledge the influence of followers in the leadership process less attention has been paid to their role in the destructive leadership process. Specifically the current debate lacks a broad-based understanding of different susceptible follower types that synthesizes related research across academic domains. Expanding on Padilla Hogan and Kaiser's (2007) toxic triangle model of destructive leadership we integrate research and theory across various academic literatures to derive a cohesive taxonomy of vulnerable followers that we call the susceptible circle. We describe the core characteristics of each follower type drawing on Barbuto's (2000) theory of follower compliance to highlight the psychological processes that motivate each follower to comply with destructive leaders. We then conclude by discussing theoretical and practical implications as well as avenues for future research.

Citation: 
The Leadership Quarterly 23 (2012) 897 – 917

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