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  • 2017LewisPhd

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Encouraging leaders to be followers too: strengthening young women's leadership in a global, intergenerational, women's organisation

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

Publication date2017
Number of pages349
Awarding Institution
  • Lancaster University
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This thesis starts by exploring an under-researched area, young women’s leaders and returns a potentially unexpected answer – to strengthen young/er women’s leadership we need old/er women to be willing to follow them. Or more broadly, to see more non-traditional leaders emerge and be recognised, we need more people to realise a practice of emancipatory and critical followership that can influence who is recognised as a leader in their groups.
Rather than considering youth as a time of preparation for a future practice of leadership, this thesis argues there is a need to recognise young people, and particularly young women, as leaders now and that building this recognition may not be about doing more indiviudal leader development work, but about collective leadership development which includes work with followers.
Building on the frameworks that have been used explain and promote work within organisations to increase the numbers of women leaders, this research draws particularly from work on followership, which has questioned both the lack of focus on followers within leadership research and the lack of recognition of the agency that followers possess. Doing so allows the argument to be built that to ensure non-traditional leaders emerge and are recognised in organisations, we need to develop a practice of critical and emancipatory followership which would purposively seek to support the emergence and recognition of non-stereotypical leaders.