Jo Gibson: Leadership Followership

IMG_1260I am delighted that my role at the University of Canberra makes it possible for me to supervise research students.
One of the students I am working with is Jo Gibson.
Jo presented her PhD Confirmation Seminar today. The title was intriguing:
Leadership followership: A storied process study of entanglement and nursing practice.
These are the slides Jo used to frame her seminar and stimulate questions 140827 Jo Gibson CS.
Jo’s research aims to challenge what we know about how leadership and followership occurs in nursing practice. It will draw upon a range of qualitative theoretical and methodological insights to investigate the dynamic relationship between leadership and followership.
Jo shared some of her extensive reading of the literature in the seminar.
Five research questions will focus her investigations into leadership followership:

  1. How is followership and leadership really known in the ‘messiness’ of nursing practice?
  2. How are agency, impact, care, responsibility and connection, all key aspects of fundamental nursing care, understood in relation to following and followership, leading and leadership in nursing?
  3. How is an ethic of care known in leadership followership in the healthcare context?
  4. How do we come to know each other when our own being is uncertain and developmental?
  5. How do followers facilitate different viewpoints that may be different from an organisational view that originates in the values and perspectives of those in formal leader or manager roles?

This will be a qualitative study that explores the rich affordances of story telling in sharing the lives of the leaders and followers in Jo’s research. She will be writing an autoethnography of her experiences as a researcher.
Jo’s research will raise some profound second order issues around ontology and epistemology.
I am looking forward to exploring leadership and followership as “a complexity of relationships and intertwined processes involving identities that are non-binary but rather, ambiguous and dynamic” that will take me outside of the comfort of discussions about charismatic and transformational leaders championed in the literature.
I will be joined in this endeavour by Jo’s other supervisor, Catherine Hungerford.


  1. Followship, something I’ve been working on with a small group of middle managers in the UK Rail Industry.
    My worry is that staff get the manager they want, rather than the manager they need. My guess is that its the same in sport

    • Gordon
      It is wonderful that our paths cross in so many different ways. Thank you for commenting on this post. I am keen to learn more about your work with your group.
      I am keen to learn about how you deal with the wants and needs as a facilitator of reflection on practice.
      Best wishes

      • OK – Am just off to Newcastle to tutor for the weekend so will try and put down some thoughts when I get some quiet moments and then send you something early next week.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here