The role of attachment and leader caregiving in followers' negative affective experiences

Annilee Game, Michael A. West, Geoff Thomas

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

5 Citations (Scopus)


To explore the roles of perceived leader caregiving, and followers’ leader-specific attachment orientations, in followers’ experiences of negative interactions and emotions.

In a qualitative field study, individuals identified as secure and insecure (avoidant or anxious) on a pre-measure of leader-specific attachment, were interviewed regarding perceptions of leader caregiving and experiences of negative affective events in their current leadership dyad.

Followers perceived and interpreted negative interpersonal events and emotions in ways that reflected underlying attachment concerns, and embedded perceptions, of leader caregiving quality.

Research limitations/implications:
The study was small-scale but provides rich relational information on which future researchers can build to further explore the development and impact of leader-follower attachment dynamics.

Practical implications:
Attachment-focused leadership development training may be useful in enhancing leader-follower relationship quality.

This study is the first to demonstrate qualitatively the associations between followers’ leader-specific attachment orientations, their perceptions of leader caregiving, and their experiences of negative affective events in the leader-follower dyad.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEmotions and Organizational Governance
EditorsNeal M. Ashkanasy, Charmine E. J. Hartel, Wilfred J. Zerbe
PublisherEmerald Group Publishing Ltd.
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-78560-997-8
ISBN (Print)978-1-78560-998-5
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Publication series

NameResearch on Emotion in Organizations


  • Negative emotions
  • affective events
  • leadership
  • attachment theory
  • caregiving
  • qualitative

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