Legitimation and the leader-follower relationship: a review

Legitimacy has been recognized as a key component in the social construction of organizations and leadership development. This review explores the constructs of the process of legitimacy and why people voluntarily obey leaders and authorities. Because the psychology of legitimacy has a relational (and instrumental) component, leaders source part of their legitimacy from the relationship with their followers. The leader-follower relationship often stems from follower perceptions and expectations of the leader. Though this concept does not exist in isolation the significance in how the follower perceives the leader is significant. Followers participate and can contribute significantly to effective leadership. Therefore, effective leaders are typically those who follow effectively. This literature review focuses on influence, the leader-follower relationship and theoretically relevant literature around legitimacy judgments and the willingness to obey authorities.