Effect of leaders’ implicit followership prototypes on employees’ internal and external marketability

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Xin Su
Peng Gao
Ying He
Xuzhen Zhu
Cite this article:  Su, X., Gao, P., He, Y., & Zhu, X. (2019). Effect of leaders’ implicit followership prototypes on employees’ internal and external marketability. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 47(12), e8470.


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To examine if leaders’ implicit followership theory can be transferred from the behavior level to the competence level, we used a social information processing perspective to investigate the effects of leaders’ implicit followership prototypes on employee marketability. Participants were 331 employees of companies in China, who completed measures of their leaders’ implicit followership prototypes, internal and external marketability, and psychological empowerment, and their leaders rated the employees’ in-role performance. Results showed that leaders’ implicit followership prototypes were positively correlated with employees’ internal and external marketability, these 2 effect mechanisms were partly mediated by employees’ psychological empowerment, and employees’ in-role performance negatively moderated both the effects of leaders’ implicit followership prototypes and the mediating effect of psychological empowerment in the relationship between leaders’ implicit followership prototypes and employees’ marketability. Our findings enrich research into implicit theories, marketability as an employee competence, and social information processing within the context of leadership, and have implications for management practice.

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