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Followership: an undervalued concept in effective teams within the military and NHS


Introduction Leadership is accepted as a crucial component of effective working within teams. Followership’s contribution to successful performance is increasingly recognised but understudied. This study evaluated followership levels in military doctors at different stages of their careers and made recommendations for how followership concepts can be used to develop the self and better understand the challenges of small team working.

Methods A self-report study in which Kelley’s followership questionnaire was distributed to 64 military doctors in three cohorts. 53 results were assessed using Kelley’s followership framework. Subgroup analysis was undertaken to look at differences depending on service, age, gender and career stage.

Results The study demonstrated a predominant exemplary followership style within military doctors. No statistical difference was identified at the 0.05 level in followership by career stage, age, gender or service in the sample group.

Conclusion This study gives insight into the attributes of doctors within the Defence Medical Services and laid out a methodology for further cohort evaluations of followership. It made recommendations on the areas of the field that require further research and how followership concepts may be included in further development courses and reporting for military medical personnel.

  • EDUCATION & TRAINING (see Medical Education & Training)
  • Organisational development
  • Quality in health care

Data availability statement

Data are available on reasonable request.

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