Read Case 12.1 in Ch. 12, “Followership,” of Leadership: Theory and Practice.
Provide a detailed response to questions 3, 4, 5, and 6 presented at the end of the case.
Format your answers according to APA guidelines using the APA Paper Template.
Include APA-formatted in-text citations, a title page, and a references page.
Submit your paper.
CASE STUDIES The following three case studies (Cases 12.1, 12.2, and 12.3) present followership in three different contexts. The first case, Bluebird Care, describes a home health care agency and the unique ways followers contribute to the work of the agency. The second case, Olympic Rowers, discusses a renowned rowing team and the way the followers worked together to create cohesiveness and a magical outcome. The last case, Penn State Sexual Abuse Scandal, examines the role of followership in the circumstances that brought down a well-regarded collegiate football program and the university’s leadership. At the end of each case, there are questions that will help you to analyze the case utilizing the principles of followership discussed in the chapter.p.318
Bluebird CareRobin Martin started Bluebird Care, an in-home health care agency, 20 years ago with a staff of 2 and 5 clients. The agency has grown to a staff of 25 serving 50 clients.
Robin started in elder care as an aide at a reputable assisted living facility. She liked caring for patients and was good at it. When she began running Bluebird Care, Robin knew all her staff members and their clients. But as the demand for in-home health care has increased, Bluebird Care has grown as well—hiring more staff and expanding its service area. For Robin, this means less time with the company’s clients and more time managing her growing agency. She admits she feels as if she is losing her connections with her clients and staff.
When asked to describe a time when the agency was really running smoothly, Robin talks about when Bluebird Care had just 10 employees. “This was a good time for us. Everyone did what they were assigned and did not complain. No one called in sick; they were very dependable. But, it was different then because we all lived in the same area and I would see each of our employees every week. On Tuesdays they had to hand in their time sheets, and every other Thursday they stopped to pick up their paycheck. I enjoyed this.”
Because the agency’s service area is much larger now, encompassing many of the city’s suburbs, Robin seldom sees her employees. Time sheets are emailed in by employees, and paychecks are sent through the mail or directly deposited into employees’ bank accounts. Robin says, “Because they never see us, the staff feels like they can do what they want, and management has nothing to say about it. It’s not the same as when we were smaller.”
There is a core of agency staff that Robin does interact with nearly every day. Terry, a staff member who has been with Robin since the beginning, is Robin’s go-to person. “I trust her,” Robin says. “When she says, ‘Robin—we need to do it this way,’ I do what she says. She is always right.” Terry is very positive and promotive of the agency and complimentary of Robin. When other staff members challenge the rules or procedures of the agency, Terry is the person to whom Robin goes to for advice. But, Terry also challenges Robin to make Bluebird Care the best agency it can be.
Terry is a direct contrast to Belinda, another employee. A five-year staff member, Belinda is dogmatic and doesn’t like change, yet frequently challenges Robin and the rules of the agency. Robin describes Belinda as “a bully” and not a team player. For example, Belinda and Robin had a conflict about a rule in the agency’s procedural manual that requires staff to work every other weekend. Belinda argued that it was unfair to force staff members to work every other weekend and that other similar agencies don’t have such policies. To prove her point, Belinda obtained a competing agency’s manual that supported her position and showed it to Robin.
Robin, who does not like confrontation, was frustrated by Belinda’s aggressive conflict style. Robin brought up the issue about weekends with Terry, and Terry supported her and the way the policy was written. In the end, Belinda did not get the policy changed, but both Belinda and Robin are sure there will be more conflicts to come.
Two other key staff members are Robin’s son, Caleb, who hires and trains most of the employees, and her son-in-law, James, who answers the phone and does scheduling. Robin says as a manager James does his work in a quiet, respectful manner and seldom causes problems. In addition to handling all the hiring and training, Robin relies on Caleb to troubleshoot issues regarding client services. For both James and Caleb, the job can become stressful because it is their phones that ring when a staff member doesn’t show up to a client’s for work and they have to find someone to fill in.
Caleb also says he is working hard to instill a sense of cohesiveness among the agency’s far-flung staff and to reduce turnover with their millennial-age staff members. Caleb says while the agency’s growth is seen as positive, he worries that the caring philosophy his mother started the agency with is becoming lost.
- Using the roles identified in Chaleff’s follower typology ( Figure 12.4 ), what roles do Terry, Belinda, Caleb, and James play at the agency?
- Using the “reversing the lens” framework ( Figure 12.6 ), explain how Caleb and James’s characteristics contribute to the followership outcomes at Bluebird Care.
- Terry and Robin have a unique relationship in that they both engage in leading and following. How do you think each of them views leadership and followership? Discuss.
- If you were an organizational consultant, what would you suggest to Robin that could strengthen Bluebird Care? If you were a followership coach, how would you advise Robin?
(#3) Figure 12.4
Chaleff Follower Typology
SOURCE: Adapted from “Creating new ways of following” by I. Chaleff, in R. E. Riggio, I. Chaleff, and J. Lipman-Blumen (Eds.), The Art of Followership: How Great Followers Create Great Leaders and Organizations (p. 71), 2008; permission conveyed through Copyright Clearance Center, Inc. Republished with permission of John Wiley & Sons.
- Resource (lower left quadrant), which exhibits low support and low challenge. This is the person who does just enough to get by.
- Individualist (lower right quadrant), which demonstrates low support and high challenge. Often marginalized by others, the individualist speaks up and lets the leader know where she or he stands.
- Implementer (upper left quadrant), which acts with high support and low challenge. Often valued by the leader, implementers are supportive and get the work done but, on the downside, fail to challenge the leader’s goals and values.
- Partner (upper right quadrant), which shows high support and high challenge. This style of follower takes responsibility for him- or herself and the leader and fully supports the leader, but is always willing to challenge the leader when necessary.
The Kellerman Typology
Kellerman’s (2008) typology of followers was developed from her experience as a political scientist and her observations about followers in different historical contexts. Kellerman argues that the importance of leaders tends to be overestimated because they generally have more power, authority, and influence, while the importance of followers is underestimated. From her perspective, followers are subordinates who are “unleaders,” by which she means they have little power, no position of authority, and no special influence.
(4). Figure 12.6
Reversing the LensSOURCE: From “Followership Theory: A Review and Research Agenda,” by M. Uhl-Bien, R. R. Riggio, R. B. Lowe, and M. K. Carsten, The Leadership Quarterly, 25, p. 98. Copyright 2014 by Elsevier. Reprinted with permission.
A hypothetical example of how the reversing the lens framework might work is the research a team is doing on employees and followership in a small, nonprofit organization. In this situation, researchers might be interested in how followers’ personality traits (e.g., introversion–extraversion, dogmatism) relate to how they act at work—that is, their style and work behavior. Researchers might also examine how employees’ behavior affects their supervisor’s leadership behavior or how the follower–leader relationship affects organizational outcomes. These are just a sample of the research questions that could be addressed. However, notice that the overriding purpose and theme of the study is the impact of followers on the followership process.
The Leadership Co-Created Process
A second theoretical approach, the leadership co-created process, is shown in Figure 12.7. The name of this approach almost seems like a misnomer because it implies that it is about leadership rather than followership. However, that is not the case. The leadership co-created process framework conceptualizes followership as a give-and-take process where one individual’s following behaviors interact with another individual’s leading behaviors to create leadership and its resulting outcomes. This approach does not frame followership as role-based or as a lower rung on a hierarchical ladder; rather, it highlights how leadership is co-created through the combined act of leading and following.