Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Norman St. Clair


Audra Skukauskaite


Holly DiLeo


Alfredo Ortiz


Followership has been shown to be a developmental stage of leadership. Yet, there is a lack of followership theory in the health-care context. The purpose of this qualitative action research study was to explore how introducing Chaleff’s dimensions of courageous followership influences the undergraduate nursing students’ views of the follower role and informs their nursing practice. Secondary research questions asked how knowledge of these dimensions influences the nursing students’ views while advocating, collaborating, and addressing lateral violence. Using purposeful sampling, 12 participants were recruited for this study. After attending a followership seminar, they completed online reflections and participated in individual and focus group interviews. Other data collection methods used were field notes and a researcher’s reflective journal. Domain analysis, transcription, memo writing, axial coding, and thematic analysis were used to analyze the data. Brinkmann and Kvale’s stages of validation guided interview validity. And Herr and Anderson’s criteria for action research validity guided design validity. In summary of this study’s findings, learning followership was found to influence students’ views by providing a new understanding of accountability, responsibility, and power to initiate action and engage in exemplary behaviors when advocating and collaborating. Willingness or unwillingness to follow was situational to contextual factors, and influenced students’ sense of engagement. Lived experiences were also seen to influence students’ engagement and sense of power, and provided participants with a sense of certainty to move forward in their advocating and collaborating attempts. Finally, sight was identified as students’ strength when advocating for others.