Date of Award

Spring 2018

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

First Advisor

Todd A DeMitchell

Second Advisor

Jade C Lee

Third Advisor

Bruce Mallory


This study explores followership theory and practical application in schools, extending Robert Kelley’s previous research from business to education. The study investigates three questions: 1) What is the distribution of Kelley’s five followership types in schools? 2) What is the relationship between teachers’ followership types and their demographic characteristics? 3) What leadership functions support teacher followership? These questions were explored using a modified 20-item version of Kelley’s The Followership Questionnaire and open-ended responses from teachers. A total of 559 New Hampshire public high school teachers completed the survey. Results were analyzed for associations between teacher demographic characteristics and followership types. Teachers were selected for their expertise as educators, their existing leadership roles in classrooms, and their potential for positive impact on school-wide leadership from a follower position. This study provides research to support strengthening teacher followership as a means to improving school effectiveness and student achievement. The study found most teachers to be exemplary followers and recommends developing a new school-specific followership model and instrument to clarify teacher followership types compared to those in other industries.