Followership among secondary school teachers

Francis, Andrew Frank (2016). Followership among secondary school teachers. University of Birmingham. Ed.D.

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Today, it is encouraging that followership is regarded as a factor within the leadership equation. However, research attention on followership overall is limited and within the field of education, its study remains firmly in the shadows. Indeed, a search for published followership-centric research carried out in this field revealed just 17 studies worldwide, with Thody’s contribution (2003) the sole point of reference within the UK.

This study contributes to this limited body of research by exploring the followership of schoolteachers working in the secondary education sector. Using Gronn’s Career Model (1999) as a framework to understand why teachers follow, the study used biographical-style interviews (n=15) to reveal factors that have shaped the agency of schoolteachers, influencing their journeys to followership. In addition, the study administered Kelley’s (1992) Followership Questionnaire in order to understand how teachers follow (n=69).

Factors found to influence why teachers follow included the role of parents, schooling and of key people and these findings align with research carried out on the career journeys of senior educational leaders. In addition, the combined insight drawn from the quantitative and qualitative data revealed a predominance of exemplary followership among the teachers. The study suggests that this approach to followership is dominant among teachers due to them being engaged in leadership practice, both within and beyond the classroom. Further, that teachers’ commitment to task, enhanced through working in a profession that enables them to satisfy important personal values and beliefs, also encourages the practice of exemplary followership.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ed.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ed.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
School or Department: School of Education
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)


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