Please wait a minute...
Acta Psychologica Sinica    2016, Vol. 48 Issue (9) : 1151-1162     DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2016.01151
I will perform effectively if you are with me: Leader-follower congruence in followership prototype, job engagement and job performance
PENG Jian; WANG Xiao
(School of Management, Jinan University, Guangzhou 510632, China)
Download: PDF(537 KB)   Review File (1 KB) 
Export: BibTeX | EndNote | Reference Manager | ProCite | RefWorks    

In organizational settings, scholars have suggested that individuals naturally tend to classify people into two types: leader and follower. While a substantial body of research has established implicit leadership theories (ILTs) in the past three decades, the corresponding notion of implicit followership theories (IFTs) has relatively received little research attention (Sy, 2010). IFTs are defined as individuals’ personal assumptions about the traits that characterize followers, which include followership prototype and anti-prototype. To date, most research focuses on the consequence of followership prototype and suggests that followership prototype could enhance job performance through leader’s performance expectations, leader-member exchange and liking for followers. From these aforementioned studies, however, some research gaps have not been addressed. Firstly, the previous research on followership prototype becomes less convincing for they failed to integrate the follower’s followership prototype into the model for examination. Secondly, prior studies have predominantly focused on the effect of followership prototype on task performance and organizational citizenship behavior, while ingoring contextual performance. Thirdly, very few studies discuss the mediating role of job engagement in the relationship between followership prototype and performance. To fill such research gaps, the present study aims to examine the effects of leader-follower congruence in followership prototype on task and contextual performance, as well as the mediating role of job engagement. Data were collected from 243 leader-follower dyads in 64 teams of nine companies in China. Since our data contained a hierarchical structure in which individual scores were nested within teams, we used hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) to conduct cross level polynomial regression combining with response surface analysis. Based on the results, our research presents four conclusions: (1) In terms of the effects on different performance type, leader-follower congruence in followership prototype is positively related to contextual performance but not task performance. (2) In the case of leader-follower congruence, task and contextual performance is higher when followers and leaders are aligned at a high level of followership prototype than when they are at a low level. (3) In the case of incongruence, task and contextual performance is higher when a follower’s followership prototype is higher than a leader’s as compared to when a leader’s followership prototype is higher than a follower’s. (4) Job engagement mediates the effect of leader-follower congruence in followership prototype on task and contextual performance. Our findings offer several important theoretical and practical implications. With regard to theoretical implications, the present research extends the extant IFTs literature from a single-sided perspective to a leader-follower congruence perspective, supporting the person-supervision fit theory and contributing to the research on IFTs, job performance and work engagement. As far as practical implications, we suggest that managers should consider testing leader-follower IFTs before building or reconstructing a team and arrange the leaders and followers who share similar self-reported IFTs in a team. Finally, limitations and directions for future research are discussed.

Keywords followership prototype      implicit followership theories      task performance      contextual performance      work engagement.     
Corresponding Authors: PENG Jian, E-mail: WANG Xiao, E-mail:   
Issue Date: 25 September 2016
E-mail this article
E-mail Alert
Articles by authors
Cite this article:   
PENG Jian; WANG Xiao. I will perform effectively if you are with me: Leader-follower congruence in followership prototype, job engagement and job performance[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica,2016, 48(9): 1151-1162.
URL:     OR
[1] HU Qiaoting,WANG Haijiang,LONG Lirong. Will newcomer job crafting bring positive outcomes? The role of leader-member exchange and traditionality[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2020, 52(5): 659-668.
[2] PENG Jian, WANG Zhen.  Being a prototypic follower: Burdening or enabling? The paradoxical effect of followership prototype-trait match[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2018, 50(2): 216-225.
[3] LIU Chao, LIU Jun, ZHU Li, WU Shouqiang.  The causes of abusive supervision from the perspective of rule-adaptation[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2017, 49(7): 966-979.
[4] GAO Zhonghua;ZHAO Chen. Does Organizational Politics at the Workplace Harm Employees’ Job Performance? A Person-Organization Fit Perspective[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2014, 46(8): 1124-1143.
[5] LIU Songbo;LI Yuhui. A Longitudinal Study on the Impact Mechanism of Employees’ Boundary Spanning Behavior: Roles of Centrality and Collectivism[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2014, 46(6): 852-863.
[6] ZHANG Huihua. Individual Emotional Intelligence on Task Performance: A Social Network Perspective[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2014, 46(11): 1691-1703.
[7] YAO Ruosong;CHEN Huaijin;MIAO Qunying. An Empirical Analysis of Influences of Personality Traits on Job Performance for Frontline Staff in Public Transportation Industry: With Work Attitude Acting as a Moderator[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2013, 45(10): 1163-1178.
[8] TU Hong-Wei,YAN Ming,ZHOU Xing. The Differential Effects of Job Design on Knowledge Workers and Manual Workers:
A Field Quasi-experiment in China
[J]. , 2011, 43(07): 810-820.
[9] WU Long-Zeng,LIU Jun,LIU Gang. Abusive Supervision and Employee Performance: Mechanisms of Traditionality and Trust[J]. , 2009, 41(06): 510-518.
[10] WEI Hui-Min,LONG Li-Rong. Effects of cognition- and affect-base trust in supervisors on task performance and OCB[J]. , 2009, 41(01): 86-94.
[11] YU Qiong,YUAN Deng-Hua. The Impact of the Emotional Intelligence of Employees and
Their Manager on the Job Performance of Employees
[J]. , 2008, 40(01): 74-83.
[12] Li Ning,Yan Jin. The Mechanism of How Trust Climate Impacts on Individual Performance[J]. , 2007, 39(06): 1111-1121.
[13] Li-Ning,Yan-Jin,Jin-Mingxuan. How does Trust in Organizations Benefit Task Performance[J]. , 2006, 38(05): 770-777.
[14] Li Wendong,Shi Kan,Wu Hongyan,Jia Juan,Yang Min. The Effects of Job Incumbents’ Task Performance on Their Job Analysis Ratings: Evidence From Power Plant Designers and Editors[J]. , 2006, 38(03): 428-435.
Full text



Copyright © Acta Psychologica Sinica
Support by Beijing Magtech