Incorporating temporality into implicit leadership and followership theories: Exploring inconsistencies between time-based expectations and actual behaviors

Kent K. Alipour, Susan Mohammed, Patricia N. Martinez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Scopus citations


Given that time is such a critical contextual variable in organizations and effectiveness indicators rarely exclude timeliness, we argue that temporal individual differences are an unfortunate omission from implicit leadership theories (ILTs) and implicit followership theories (IFTs). Both implicit theories and time-based individual differences are commonly undiscussed, but their subtle effects can manifest explicitly in behaviors and consequences that have real implications for leaders and followers in organizations. Therefore, in this conceptual paper, we draw attention to time patience (the extent to which individuals are unconcerned with or unfocused on deadlines and the passage of time), time perspective (the relative importance of past, present, and future events in ongoing thought processes and decision-making), polychronicity (the preference for multitasking), and pacing style (the manner in which individuals distribute their effort over time in working toward deadlines) as neglected, but research-worthy components of followers' ILTs and leaders' IFTs. By infusing time-related characteristics into leadership research, we not only consider the content and structure of temporal ILTs and IFTs, but also draw attention to potential inconsistency in leaders' temporal IFTs and followers' actual behaviors, as well as followers' temporal ILTs and leaders' actual behaviors. Further, we offer propositions that have prescriptive value in specifying the conditions under which temporal ILT and IFT inconsistency will be more or less detrimental to leader-follower coordination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)300-316
Number of pages17
JournalLeadership Quarterly
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business and International Management
  • Applied Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

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