Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Leadership and Policy Studies


Educational Leadership

Committee Chair

Larry McNeal

Committee Member

Reginald Green

Committee Member

Charisse Gulosino

Committee Member

Louis Franceschini


Decades of research suggest that leadership holds the reins of an organization. More current research, however, identifies followers as possessing the primary influence within an organization, not leadership. This study takes a follower-centric approach to leadership by surveying and analyzing high school teachers’ followership styles and corresponding motivations to inform principal-leaders. Differentiation of leadership styles builds capacity for enhancement of interdependence and interrelations among the educational environment between teacher-followers and principal-leaders. Specifically, affiliation, autonomy, dominance and achievement are the dominant motivators from which the teacher-followers were categorized, and those motivators were correlated with followership styles as alienated, conformist, pragmatist, passive, and exemplary. This study quantitatively examines teacher-follower followership styles and motivations from survey item analysis and comparisons between groups. The results of item means, standard deviations, and statistics revealed that despite having a sample of respondents that was skewed by style of followership, with far too many “Exemplary” followers than the instrument norms would suggest, links were observed between a respondents’ dominant style, their age categorized, and such age-related concerns as years of teaching and years of formal education. Across all types of teacher followers, the need for Achievement was most pronounced, followed by the need for Autonomy. Compared to these two needs, those for Affiliation and Dominance were significantly less in evidence, but neither of the latter two needs was more or less in evidence than the other. Across groups, “Exemplary” followers express more need for Achievement, Affiliation, and Dominance, but not more need for Autonomy. Understanding teacher-followers’ followership styles and motivations can be used as a framework for assisting principal-leaders in recognizing what leadership styles might appropriately motivate teachers within their school.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.