Assessing transformational leadership from a followership perspective: An inquiry into employees’ perspectives of leader legitimacy as a result of a transformational leadership style in the case of CEO succession

No Thumbnail Available
Issue Date
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
The aim of the present study is to qualitatively explore the influence of a transformational leadership style on employees’ perception of leader legitimacy in the case of CEO succession. It is proposed that the legitimacy of a new leader is positively perceived by all groups of employees by virtue of the new leader’s transformational style. By conducting 14 semi-structured interviews with employees of a Dutch organization, the present study was able to formally assess the leadership style of the new CEO as being transformational and verify or reject the established propositions. The results of the present study indicated employees having a positive perception of leader legitimacy as a result of the transformational leadership style. However, in the cases of the new CEO’s perceived trustworthiness and perceived fairness, CEO succession played a role in the negative perception of several employees. The present study provides results beneficial for the existing field of leadership and followership studies. Since most extant research does not incorporate the perception of employees especially in the case of CEO succession the present study provides both practical and scientific relevancy. The present study provides a basis for further study on the subjects of followership and CEO succession and the awareness of organizations to the nuances prevalent when initiating the process of CEO succession.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen