Ideals (or ideal values) help people to navigate in social life. They indicate at a very fundamental level what people are concerned about, what they strive for, and what they want to be affiliated with. Transferring this to a leader-follower analysis, our first study (n = 306) confirms that followers' identification and satisfaction with their leaders are stronger, the more leaders match followers' ideal leader values. Study 2 (n = 244) extends the perspective by introducing the novel concept of counter-ideals (i.e., how an ideal leader should not be) as a second, non-redundant point of reference. Results confirm that a leader's match on ideal and on counter-ideal values have independent effects in that both explain unique variance in followers' identification and satisfaction with their leader. Study 3 (n = 136) replicates the previous results in an experimental scenario study and provides evidence for the proposed causal direction of the underlying process. We conclude that counter-ideal values might be an additional point of reference that people use to triangulate targets above and beyond ideal values and discuss the implications of our findings for value research and management.

fit, followership, ideals, identification, leadership, positive and negative forces, satisfaction, values
Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior (jel L2), Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting (jel M), Business Administration: General (jel M10), Personnel Management (jel M12),
ERIM Top-Core Articles
Journal of Business Ethics
Erasmus Research Institute of Management

van Quaquebeke, N, Kerschreiter, R, Buxton, A.E, & van Dick, R. (2010). Two Lighthouses to Navigate: Effects of Ideal and Counter-Ideal Values on Follower Identification and Satisfaction with Their Leaders. Journal of Business Ethics, 93(2), 293–305. doi:10.1007/s10551-009-0222-x