Followers' attachment styles and their preference for social or for personal charismatic leaders

Alon Shalit, Micha Popper, Dan Zakay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Psychological research on leadership deals mainly with the effect of leadership styles on workers' attitudes and performance. This paper seeks to focus the attention to patterns of preference of followers to different types of leaders. Design/methodology/approach: In the two studies presented in the paper, followers classified on the basis of attachment theory as having secure attachment style or avoidant attachment style were asked to indicate their preference for a personalized charismatic leader or for a socialized charismatic leader. Findings: Subjects with a secure attachment style preferred a socialized charismatic leader, while those with an avoidant attachment style preferred personalized charismatic leaders. Practical implications: The study adds knowledge regarding compatibility between leaders' and followers' personality characteristics. This knowledge could serve processes of selection and assignments to teams and missions. Oriiginality/ value: This study provides a relatively new angle for looking at leader-led dynamics and is an attempt to examine the initial (unconscious) attractions of followers to different types of leaders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)458-472
Number of pages15
JournalLeadership and Organization Development Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2010


  • Attitudes
  • Leadership
  • Performance management
  • Psychology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


Dive into the research topics of 'Followers' attachment styles and their preference for social or for personal charismatic leaders'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this