Stepping into the Breach: Followers Reclaiming Leadership from Formal Leaders

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Recently, DeRue (2011) reconceptualized leadership as a dynamic process in which individuals engage in interdependent and interlocking acts of leading and following called “double interacts.” The behaviors that take place in double interacts are categorized as claims and grants, and they signify the assertion or bestowment of status as leader or follower in interpersonal exchanges. The present study (N = 367) builds upon DeRue’s theoretical model by testing antecedents to claiming and granting. Results show that leader behavior predicts followers’ decisions to claim or grant leader status. Furthermore, followers’ trust perceptions mediate the relationship between leader behavior and claiming and granting, and leader identity magnitude moderates the mediating effect of trust. This study has implications for understanding leader influence, claiming and granting, trust, and leader identity construction.