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The Biological Foundations of Organizational Behavior$
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Stephen M. Colarelli and Richard D. Arvey

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780226127156

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226127293.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 27 May 2022

The Service-for-Prestige Theory of Leader-Follower Relations:

The Service-for-Prestige Theory of Leader-Follower Relations:

A Review of the Evolutionary Psychology and Anthropology Literatures

(p.169) Eight The Service-for-Prestige Theory of Leader-Follower Relations
The Biological Foundations of Organizational Behavior

Michael E. Price

Mark Van Vugt

University of Chicago Press

This chapter outlines the ‘service-for-prestige’ theory of leadership. According to this theory, the optimal form of leader-follower relationship is one in which leaders provide followers with their expertise and organizational skills, and in exchange, followers provide leaders with prestige. From the perspective of evolutionary psychology, such relationships work well because they involve mutually beneficial reciprocity and thus produce adaptive benefits for both leaders and followers. Reciprocity-based leadership will flourish most when leaders and followers possess relatively equal social bargaining power, and when leaders have low power to exploit followers. However, when leaders’ exploitative power increases—due, for example, to followers’ poor exit options—leader-follower relationships will more likely become based on the leader's ability to dominate rather than benefit followers. The chapter focuses both on the situations that give rise to reciprocity-based leadership and on the risk factors that cause such leadership to degenerate into coercion.

Keywords:   leadership, followership, evolutionary psychology, cooperation, reciprocity, reciprocal altruism

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