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Mirror, mirror on the wall: Shifting leader–follower power dynamics in a social media context.

Gilani, P., Bolat, E., Nordberg, D. and Wilkin, C., 2020. Mirror, mirror on the wall: Shifting leader–follower power dynamics in a social media context. Leadership, 16 (3), 343-363.

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Gilani et al. Mirror Mirror 2019 pre-publication.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial.


DOI: 10.1177/1742715019889817


The democratisation made possible by social media presents leadership studies with an opportunity to re-evaluate the often-neglected role of power in leader–follower dynamics. Drawing on Critical Leadership Studies and using a hybrid qualitative methodology, we discover that relationships between social media leaders and followers are co-produced and largely accompanied by continuous shifts and re-negotiation of power between social media leaders and social media followers. We show that social media platforms and their metrics play an important role in such power shifts by granting equal access to communication whilst potentially tilting information asymmetries in favour of the follower. The study also shows how these relationships can affect and even pervert the leaders’ problematic search for a ‘true self’. From this observation we draw attention to wider challenges in the social media context, which poses important questions for the leadership field.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Social media ; Power, identity ; Critical Leadership Studies ; Followership
Group:Bournemouth University Business School
ID Code:33086
Deposited By: Unnamed user with email symplectic@symplectic
Deposited On:28 Nov 2019 16:01
Last Modified:15 Aug 2021 08:20


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