The Connecting Leader

Serving Concurrently as a Leader and a Follower

Edited by:
Zahira Jaser, Cass Business School, UK

A volume in the series: Leadership Horizons. Editor(s): Michelle C. Bligh, Claremont Graduate University. Melissa Carsten, Winthrop University.


We are calling for chapters for the latest volume of Leadership Horizons, a series by Information Age Publishing, tentatively titled The Connecting Leader: Serving Concurrently as a Leader and a Follower. The idea of this book was born out of a successful symposium held at the Academy of Management 2017, in Atlanta. The symposium, entitled At the Interface of Leadership and Followership: Exploring the Complexities of Serving as a Leader to Some and a Follower to Others, was co-organized by Zahira Jaser and Melissa Carsten. It attracted a wide audience who could enjoy presentations on the subject from Mary Uhl-Bien, Michelle Bligh, Olga Epitropaki and Zahira Jaser. We are looking to continue that successful exploration of this subject in this book.

A Connecting Leader acts as a bridge to multiple leadership relationships, occupying in one relationship the place of a leader, and in another one the place of a follower (Jaser, 2017). This perspective pushes beyond current leadership conventions, which see leaders and followers researched in their interactions with each other (Uhl-Bien, Riggio, Lowe and Carsten, 2014; Lord, Brown, Freiberg, 1999; Meindl, 1995) as constructors of relationships (Graen & Uhl-Bien, 1995), of each other’s roles (Carsten et al, 2010; Uhl-Bien, 2006), or identities (DeRue & Ashford, 2010), in the mutual effort to achieve leadership outcomes. The Connecting Leader perspective examines one individual embodying both roles, identities, positions, and contributing concurrently to multiple leadership relationships from two different perspectives. Previous literature demonstrates that leader and follower play an equally important role in the achievement of leadership outcomes (Uhl-Bien et al., 2014), and that leadership and followership are fluid in nature such that a single person can find themselves practicing leadership in one situation and followership in another (DeRue & Ashford, 2010). This book stretches our notion of leadership a step further. By exploring the predicament of individuals embodying both roles, identities, and positions of leader and follower concurrently. This book challenges the way we think about leadership by exploring the phenomenon of an individual being both an effective leader and an effective follower.

All proposal formatting should comply to APA guidelines. Please submit all chapters to Zahira Jaser via email:

Topics of interest include (but are not limited to):
How does one individual juggle the dual identity of leader and follower?

How does one create plausibility of meanings between their own leaders and their own followers?

What are the consequences of incompatible constructions (implicit theories) of leadership and followership?

What are the personal characteristics that can predict effective concurrent leading and following?

How do connecting leaders balance the competing demands that come from their own leader and their own follower?

What are the personal costs of being an effective leader and an effective follower?

Do all individuals give equal weights to both roles? Why, why not?

Do all contexts favor an individual to give equal weight to both roles?

Does focusing on connecting leaders help us transcend views of heroic leadership?

Can Connecting Leaders be studies through networks analysis?

Focus on constructionist, realist and critical aspects of the phenomenon of Connecting Leaders

Deadline Schedule:
Abstract Submissions: August 31, 2018
Full Chapter Submission: January 31, 2019
Reviews Sent Back to Author(s): March 31, 2019
Submission of Revised Chapter: May 31, 2019

Send Inquiries to: Zahira Jaser:

Carsten, M. K., Uhl-Bien, M., West, B. J., Patera, J. L., & McGregor, R. (2010). Exploring social constructions of followership: A qualitative study. The Leadership Quarterly, 21(3), 543-562. DeRue, D. S., & Ashford, S. J. (2010). Who will lead and who will follow? A social process of leadership identity construction in organizations. Academy of Management Review, 35(4), 627-647.

Jaser, Z. (2017). Pulled in Two Directions. Being in Concert a Leader to Some and a Follower to Others. In Academy of Management Proceedings (Vol. 2017, No. 1, p. 16660). Academy of Management.

Lord, R. G., Brown, D. J., & Freiberg, S. J. (1999). Understanding the dynamics of leadership: The role of follower self-concepts in the leader/follower relationship. Organizational behavior and human decision processes, 78(3), 167-203.

Meindl, J. R. (1995). The romance of leadership as a follower-centric theory: A social constructionist approach. The leadership quarterly, 6(3), 329-341.

Uhl-Bien, M., Riggio, R. E., Lowe, K. B., & Carsten, M. K. (2014). Followership theory: A review and research agenda. The Leadership Quarterly, 25(1), 83-104