ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2021, Vol. 29 ›› Issue (6): 967-977.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2021.00967

• Conceptual Framework • Previous Articles     Next Articles

The bottom-up effect of followers' proactive work behavior: An implicit followership perspective

PENG Jian, CAO Bingbing()   

  1. School of Management, Guangzhou University, Guangzhou 510006, China
  • Received:2020-05-27 Online:2021-06-15 Published:2021-04-25
  • Contact: CAO Bingbing


Proactive work behaviors, which are crucial for the long-term development of organizations, have become a hot topic in the organizational behavior research field. However, prior studies have indicated that followers' proactive work behaviors may exert a mixed-blessing effect on their leaders, such that these behaviors sometimes trigger leaders' positive evaluation but sometimes evoke leaders' negative treatment. To reconcile these conflicting findings, this theoretical paper draws upon implicit followership theory to develop a model of the bottom-up effect of followers' proactive work behavior. This model proposes that whether proactive followers evoke their leaders' positive or negative reaction depends on leaders' implicit followership. This paper first discussed the definition and dimension of leaders' proactive implicit followership and then illustrated how the congruence level between followers' proactive work behavior and leaders' proactive implicit followership shapes leaders' reactions and identified the mediating role of core emotions (e.g., happiness, tension, disappointment, and satisfaction). This paper provides a theoretical framework for future research to conduct empirical investigations on proactive work behavior.

Key words: proactive work behavior, implicit followership, leadership behavior, person-supervisor fit, emotion

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