Abstract thesis Bernd Busen
This study investigates the relationship between followers' personalities and their leadership preferences (implicit leadership theories) and examines whether the resulting relationships can be explained by the similarity attraction hypothesis and by the need-complementary hypothesis. Recent studies in this field usually choose the Big Five to assess the followers' personalities. This study raises the question whether an additional, more specific conceptualisation of the followers' personalities as well as a symmetrical registration of the compared variables (personalities of the followers and their leadership preferences) are useful to receive stronger relationships. Furthermore it is examined whether there exists also a relationship between followers' cognitive abilities (verbal intelligence) and their leadership preferences.
Results support the similarity attraction hypothesis for the Big Five dimensions extraversion, agreeableness and conscientiousness. For openness and verbal intelligence no substantial relationships could be provided. For neuroticism, results indicate that both the similarity attraction hypothesis (for followers low in neuroticism) and the need-complementary hypothesis (for those high in neuroticism) may partially explain the results. By using more specific traits to assess followers' personalities as well as completely symmetrical registration of the compared variables, stronger relationships could be shown.