Date of Paper/Work


Type of Paper/Work


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Sharon Radd, Ed.D.


Organizational Leadership, Strategic Management



In most research, scholarly writings, and popular literature about leadership, it is presented as a given that there must be followership to achieve leadership outcomes. However, followership scholarship significantly trails its leadership counterparts; what does exist either attempts to define or describe followership or discusses it only in relation to leadership outcomes. Very little centers on how the person in the follower role experiences followership and even less on defining a theory of followership. The purpose of this research is to add to the knowledge of followership as an intentional act that can build skills and create opportunities. A qualitative study of workers or members of organizations aged 18-40 endeavors to discover how followers understand and evaluate their own experience working or acting in a follower role, with special attention paid to their understanding of followership and how they describe its significance. A survey of both closed- and open-ended questions provided opportunities to analyze responses by participant category; the most interesting finding was the differences in construction and effectiveness by those who “mostly lead” and those who “mostly follow.” The value of followership to organizations and individuals was affirmed, and followership was defined in active, intentional ways.