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Followership in Higher Education: Academic Teachers and their Formal Leaders

Billot, Jennie ; West, Deborah ; Khong, Lana ; Skorobohacz, Christina ; Roxå, Torgny LU ; Murray, Shannon and Gayle, Barbara (2013) In Teaching and Learning Inquiry 1(2). p.91-103
Abstract
The concept of followership in higher education has been given limited attention despite the fact that followers are key players in the follower/leader equation and that leadership is increasingly seen as vital to improving the student learning experience. This paper explores this concept, reporting on the findings of a qualitative study underpinned by a socio-constructivist framework. Thirty-eight narratives describing the experience of being a follower and interacting with a formal leader were collected from academic teachers in seven institutions worldwide and analysed using inductive content analysis. The richness of the narratives collected illustrates the intricate relationship formed by the followership/leadership interaction. The... (More)
The concept of followership in higher education has been given limited attention despite the fact that followers are key players in the follower/leader equation and that leadership is increasingly seen as vital to improving the student learning experience. This paper explores this concept, reporting on the findings of a qualitative study underpinned by a socio-constructivist framework. Thirty-eight narratives describing the experience of being a follower and interacting with a formal leader were collected from academic teachers in seven institutions worldwide and analysed using inductive content analysis. The richness of the narratives collected illustrates the intricate relationship formed by the followership/leadership interaction. The results affirm the premise that, just as teachers are defined by their students’ learning, leaders are defined by their followers’ engagement. However, some teachers also display a strong reluctance towards the very idea of being a follower in academia where critical and independent thinking form the backbone of all practices. Negotiation, responsibility, and mutual respect appear essential aspects of any form of followership/leadership interaction as it directly or indirectly influences student learning and personal development. The research presented suggests that, in challenging times, academic leaders must attend to the characteristics and needs of their followers. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
categories
Higher Education
in
Teaching and Learning Inquiry
volume
1
issue
2
pages
91 - 103
publisher
Indiana University Press
ISSN
2167-4779
DOI
10.20343/teachlearninqu.1.2.91
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
1eb4be2a-4ab5-4a85-99d1-94938050e392 (old id 8865056)
date added to LUP
2016-04-01 12:58:38
date last changed
2020-03-27 04:23:47
@article{1eb4be2a-4ab5-4a85-99d1-94938050e392,
  abstract     = {The concept of followership in higher education has been given limited attention despite the fact that followers are key players in the follower/leader equation and that leadership is increasingly seen as vital to improving the student learning experience. This paper explores this concept, reporting on the findings of a qualitative study underpinned by a socio-constructivist framework. Thirty-eight narratives describing the experience of being a follower and interacting with a formal leader were collected from academic teachers in seven institutions worldwide and analysed using inductive content analysis. The richness of the narratives collected illustrates the intricate relationship formed by the followership/leadership interaction. The results affirm the premise that, just as teachers are defined by their students’ learning, leaders are defined by their followers’ engagement. However, some teachers also display a strong reluctance towards the very idea of being a follower in academia where critical and independent thinking form the backbone of all practices. Negotiation, responsibility, and mutual respect appear essential aspects of any form of followership/leadership interaction as it directly or indirectly influences student learning and personal development. The research presented suggests that, in challenging times, academic leaders must attend to the characteristics and needs of their followers.},
  author       = {Billot, Jennie and West, Deborah and Khong, Lana and Skorobohacz, Christina and Roxå, Torgny and Murray, Shannon and Gayle, Barbara},
  issn         = {2167-4779},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {2},
  pages        = {91--103},
  publisher    = {Indiana University Press},
  series       = {Teaching and Learning Inquiry},
  title        = {Followership in Higher Education: Academic Teachers and their Formal Leaders},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.20343/teachlearninqu.1.2.91},
  doi          = {10.20343/teachlearninqu.1.2.91},
  volume       = {1},
  year         = {2013},
}