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The power of we in followership: strategies for enabling collaborative practices

Special issue call for papers from Industrial and Commercial Training

Dr. Rachael Thompson, Dr. Marc Hurwitz, and Dr. Stephanie Colbry.
Special Issue Title:
The power of we in followership: strategies for enabling collaborative practices.

Special Issue Theme:

This special issue will focus on the collaborative nature of followership, with an emphasis on partnership approaches to working within organisational contexts. As a field that is growing conceptually yet lacking empirical exploration, we aim, in this issue, to address this gap by collating and sharing stories of followership practices. The issue will introduce and encourage readers to consider contemporary constructions of followership, and understand ways in which this can be realised. The special issue will incorporate selected papers presented at the 1st Global Followership Conference, taking place in July 2019 (Toronto, Canada). Through bringing together practitioners, trainers, students, and academics this issue will be a collection of papers focused on sharing knowledge and passion for followership with audiences of the Industrial and Commercial Training journal. Through this we will enable contemporary, practice-informed, and apt training and development initiatives for followership.
Adopting a critical stance, the issue will challenge assumption-based constructions of followership and question power imbalances associated with followers and leaders. The new discipline of followership, explored within this special issue, will illustrate the interplay of power when working with others, as opposed to for others. If we are to consider followership as a complementary and essential role in the creation of effective partnerships at work, it is important to consider more deeply the different types of followers that transpire in our organizations based on a more in-depth consideration of the laws of human nature that influence social environments. Drawing out learnings from empirical research, this issue will
provide strategies to enable collaborative contexts, to embed the we into existing leadership programmes, and to create followership development initiatives.
Through the focus of the issue, we argue, practitioners and academics will benefit from:

  •  A critical perspective for followership and leadership, encouraging readers to challenge their own and others thinking.
  •  A collection of contemporary, empirical insights into followership practices across a range of contexts.
  •  Insights into contemporary followership and leadership training programmes in practice, to inspire the creation of new followership development initiatives.
  •  A series of strategies and tools to enable collaborative practices, applicable across a range of contexts.

Alignment with Industrial and Commercial Training journal:

We recognise Industrial and Commercial Training as a high-quality resource for individuals, organisations, communities and society more broadly. The emphasis on training in the journal aligns strongly with our intent for the conference and subsequent special issue, which we are proposing. As outlined in the call for papers for the 1st Global Followership Conference, “we are looking to share practical takeaways- with fresh ideas, best practices and field-tested supports that can be applied to develop the leadership-followership dynamic”. In collating a selection of papers from the conference, we will then bring this knowledge and expertise to readers of Industrial and Commercial Training.
As previously outlined in the proposal, and recognised within the field, followership remains under-explored empirically in comparison to leadership. Likewise, the extent to which followership is focused on for training and development within practice once again falls significantly short when compared to leadership. Our focus on collaboration and the notion of we as being at the heart of followership, brings a new perspective and outlook that will enable applicability and relatability across organisations, regardless of positioning. Our reach, we
argue, is therefore wide and our empirical focus will provide unique, useful evidence-based and theory-based strategies for collaborative followership.
Our issue will continue the conversation of followership within Industrial and Commercial Training, drawing on the previously published papers that have provided insightful discussions around the need to enable followership to “flourish” (Bufalino, 2018, p.55), that have developed models to shed light on effective follower behaviours (Manning & Robertson, 2016) and training tools for HR solutions (Hurwitz & Hurwitz, 2009 – as part of a series of three articles in the Journal that have garnered over 60 citations since publication). This issue would extend the followership focus, and continue the bridging between theory and practice as a fundamental aim of the journal.

Editing Team Overview:

Dr. Rachael Thompson: Rachael is a Senior Lecturer within Newcastle Business School. Rachael leads on the school's flagship UG work-based programme and MSc in Strategic Leadership, as well as leading and teaching on leadership, followership, personal development, reflective practices, and research methods-based modules. Rachael’s doctoral research was based on followership, and she has published her research in the Journal of Business Ethics, the Journal of Leadership Education and the Journal of Leadership Studies, as well as a chapter in the text ‘Followership in Action: Cases and Commentaries’. She is currently co-chair of the 1st Global Followership Conference (Toronto, July 2019) and is chair for the Followership Learning Community as part of the International Leadership Association (ILA). Rachael’s expertise in followership has been further recognized through her winning of best paper at the ILA Followership Symposium (San Diego, 2014), and featuring on a discussion panel (The Challenges and Rewards of Teaching Followership) at the 2017 ILA Annual Global Conference (Brussels, 2017).

Dr. Marc Hurwitz: Marc is a Lecturer and Associate Director, Undergraduate Studies, Conrad School of Business & Entrepreneurship at the University of Waterloo. He has published two books, four book chapters, and six refereed articles on followership. From 2015-19, he was the Chair of the Followership Learning Community at the International Leadership Association.
Marc is the co-founder of a two followership-leadership businesses and has been active as a practitioner since 2005. In that time, he has been a frequent keynote speaker on followership at professional conferences and events, and delivered programs to clients including the U.S. Government, U.S. Military, Government of the Cayman Islands, Government of Canada, Global Project Management Institute, CPA Canada, Association for Talent Development, Microsoft, University of Delaware, Desire2Learn, and many more. He is the co-creator of the first online followership course and is currently working (as Chair) on the first global Followership Conference, to be held in July, 2019 at the University of Waterloo. Marc holds master’s degrees in physics, mathematics, and business for which he won the gold medal. He obtained a PhD in cognitive neuroscience from U. Waterloo (2010) and is regularly recognized for being one of the top teachers at the school.

Dr. Stephanie Colbry: Stephanie is an assistant teaching professor and faculty lead for the Bachelor of Science in Leadership program. She has more than 15 years of experience providing consulting services in change management, business process improvement, facilitation, financial management, and leadership coaching. Dr. Colbry has worked with several large nonprofit organizations and universities. For the past nine years, Dr. Colbry has also taught and directed programs in leadership, business, and finance. At Northeastern, she provides oversight for curriculum and best teaching practices, engage in faculty recruitment and development, and work to integrate experiential learning into the Leadership programs. Dr. Colbry’s current research emphasis is on collaborative leadership practices focused on sustainable leadership transformation within global conflict regions. She has developed and expanded a tool to understand what a dynamic relationship is and how effective relationships occur within high-risk environments to promote governance and public policy changes in conflict regions.

Potential Papers:

The issue will be targeted at presenters at the 1st Global Followership Conference (Toronto, 2019), with authors invited to submit their papers to be considered for the special issue. The selection of papers will take place following the conference, with further details regarding the special issue being communicated to authors in the lead up to and at the conference too.
Details of indicative papers can be provided during the review of proposals (February 2019), with confirmation of authors and paper titles being provided after the conference. In addition we would look to include an introductory commentary as below:

  •  The power of we in followership- introductory commentary (Thompson, Hurwitz & Colbry). The opening paper will provide a critical discussion of the special issue theme, an outline of the papers included, and our reflections from the conference. Furthermore, in this paper we will outline the main implications and pose a series of critical questions arising from the issue, before outlining directions for future research that we now consider to be of priority.


Proposed timelines:

The conference, from which this special issue will be derived, will take place July 2019. It is anticipated that the below timescales will take place, however these can be adjusted to align with current scheduling.

  •  Feb-July: Conference presenters are advised of the special issue- this will be done before and during the conference, if approval is confirmed by the journal Editors.
  •  September: Full draft papers submitted to special issue editing team.
  •  October: Reviewing of papers by editing team.
  •  November: Final drafts of papers submitted to special issue editing team.
  •  January: Editing team to finalise issue.
  •  January: Issue provided to journal Editors.
  •  February/March: Online publication of issue.