Friday, August 14, 2009

Followship: A 2008 White Paper - Hurwitz

This paper (available at reviews and summarizes followership (I refuse to use his new word!) research, but for some reason, doesn't seem to want to deal much with Chaleff. Hm - interesting. Does he see Chaleff as a competitor?

Hurwitz wants us to use the word "followship" and adopt a new (already trademarked!) model of followership. This new model is based on two core competencies: personal manageability and leader support. Overall, I wasn't hugely impressed with the research. Frankly, this research seems more interested in developing something for use in a commercial consulting business than it does in advancing meaningful followership research.

As I have repeatedly mentioned in this blog, I see little value in simply muddying up terms and word play. For example, in the two tables outlining subskills for each of the trademarked follower skills, care is taken to distinguish between explicitly follower skills and leader skills. Who gets to make this distinction? And doesn't this fly in the face of most other contemporary followership research (Kelly, et al), which seems to imply great similarity between effective follower and leader skills? What is the importance of distinguishing these? This whole paper feels like a lot of "Who Moved My Cheese?" insights... I appreciate the work and the interest in followership conversation, but there isn't a lot I can use here as a followership practitioner and teacher.

There is a lot of good bibliographic information, however, so the paper is worth reviewing for that reason if no other.