Explain the role, as seen by Kerr and Jermier (1978), of follower’s professional orientation in the leadership process.


The leadership theory developed by Kerr and Jermier (1978) mainly focus on a substitute for leadership. This theory focuses on various factors that can effect real leadership.  As per Kerr and Jermier (1978), the follower’s professional orientation on leadership process will certainly affect the leadership role and duty. This is all due to the two leadership concepts which are as follow:

  1. leadership substitutes
  2. Leadership neutralizers.

Leadership substitutes:

The substitute for leadership theory focuses mainly on factors that effects followers and leadership behavior and roles and in return the two factors affect leader-follower behavior. The theory states that the follower’s professional orientation in the leadership process affects the leadership control, acceptability in the workplace, follower’s behavior and attitude toward leadership ability.

In leadership substitute, a person or thing is used in place of another as a substitute, which will yield or results in interference with the leader-followers relationship. Hence, substitutes effort to render relationship or task-oriented leadership is deemed not only impossible but also unnecessary given the indirect effects that the workers adapt. Ry6r76utrutu

Leadership neutralizers.

In leadership Neutralizers; will only demolish, paralyze or destroy the effectiveness of something. Hence in this concept, the phenomenon is therefore known as leadership process. Such roles affect the follower’s job attitude, performance, role perception and even focus. Thus, a substitute lowers the leader’s ability to connect his subordinates. However, the leadership substitutes are often responsible for providing explanations, for as to why the direction of causality, given that they are sometimes linked to the leader’s behavior and subordinate’s outcome, while vice versa is true.

So, in this way, the follower’s professional orientation affects leadership process and can affect leadership roles as well. The role of follower’s professional orientation in leadership process diminishes leadership perception and its justification in a workplace environment. The use of the professional orientation of followers determines if the leadership is according to environments needs and the requirement of the workplace and it also represents if the leadership is required or not.



  1. Identify several factors that may serve as leadership substitutes and comment on how their substitution effect may occur.


Leadership substitutes factors and their effects

In ‘substitutes for leadership’ theory by Kerr and Jermier in 1978 some situational factors make leaders’ behaviors uncertain and redundant in influencing followers. These situational factors are known as substitutes for leadership. The  authors identify a total of thirteen substitutes for leadership which are as follow:

  • Four under the head of subordinates’ characteristics
  1. Ability, experience, training, and knowledge
  2. Need for independence
  3. Professional orientation
  4. Indifference towards organizational rewards
  • Three under task characteristics
  1. Task provided feedback
  2. Routine tasks
  3. Intrinsically satisfying tasks
  • Six under organizational characteristics
  1. Organizational formalization
  2. Organizational inflexibility
  3. Group cohesiveness
  4. Advisory and support staff
  5. organizational rewards out of leaders’ control
  6. Spatial distance between leader and subordinates


The substitute for a cause to neutralize the leadership capacity and the role that prevents the leader from taking any actions. The little motivation and control are coming from the leader that when the job design and job structure are clear with given an accurate set of objectives. In this case, the leader is substituted, and there is less control.

The cohesion of the group and the team member also reduces the leadership control and substitute it. The team member’s don’t have to follow the leadership to make sure they are on track because they are aligned regarding their activities and preferences.

The leadership role is also get substituted when the leaders have no previous control over the workplace, and it promoted to new authority without any real authority on the workplace. In such case the follower’s are aware of previous roles leadership and their current circumstances, reducing the effects of their leadership control and place in the hierarchy.



Ismail, Wan, Ghulam Hussain, Siti Rashid, and Noor Mohamad. “Followers’ ability as a substitute for leadership.” Academic Journals – Home. N.p., 2011. Web. 21 Oct. 2017. <http://www.academicjournals.org/article/article1380547393_Ismail%20et%20al.pdf>.