Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

First Advisor

Daniel Robinson

Second Advisor

Leslie Bloom

Third Advisor

John Schuh


The purpose of this study was to examine the follower experiences of five nursing educators led by servant leaders in two institutions of higher education. One institution was a small, private, religiously-affiliated college and the other was a large public university. The data collected provided insight into the phenomenon of followership, focusing on the meaning of what it is like to be a follower who is led by a servant leader.;An interpretive research methodology was used for the qualitative study which included interviews with five nursing educators who shared their experiences of being led by a servant leader. The participants were asked to discuss their experiences in terms of how they described themselves as followers; how they were influenced by their leader, their peers, and the organizational environment in which they worked; and how they defined followership.;The participants described their leaders and themselves as caring, open, authentic, and respectful individuals who possessed a high degree of trust, honesty, and integrity. These behaviors were not only between the leader and follower, but also with colleagues, students, and the community. Participants exhibited characteristics of exemplary followers who felt empowered by their leader and valued their freedom to self-manage their work without leader interference. They valued their numerous opportunities to learn and grow in their roles as leader and follower. Service was a common value among participants, who served their leader, but placed primary importance on serving others in the institution and the community. Participants embraced innovation and change and were encouraged by their leader to take risks and pursue innovative solutions. The servant-led participants from both institutions exhibited similar follower characteristics.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Shirley Ruth Oetjen Beaver



Proquest ID


OCLC Number




File Format


File Size

191 pages