GCU doctoral grad leads the followership discussion

September 09, 2016 / by / 0 Comment

By Karen Fernau
GCU News Bureau

Volumes have been written on the importance of leadership. Not so much about followership.

“When I speak to any group, I can expect that at least 95 percent have never heard of followership, and it’s just as important as leadership,” said Dr. Rob Koonce, a 2012 College of Doctoral Studies graduate of Grand Canyon University and lead editor and author of a new book on followership. “Ask any followership scholar or practitioner, and they will tell you the same.”

Dr. Rob Koonce

Dr. Rob Koonce

His book, “Followership in Action: Cases and Commentaries” (Emerald Group Publishing, April 2016), makes a strong case that success depends on leaders and followers working together for a common purpose.

“Only a partnership can achieve the common purpose of an organization,” said Koonce, who is scheduled to discuss the followership-leadership paradigm at 6 p.m. Monday during the GCU doctoral residency at the Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort in Phoenix. His appearance also includes a book signing.

His interest for proposing the 256-page book’s 25 case studies and commentaries from Canada, France, India, Malaysia, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the U.S. began with his GCU doctoral dissertation on leader-follower relations.

According to Koonce, an affiliate faculty member at Creighton University in Omaha, Neb., a broken partnership between leaders and followers in an organization results in bad morale, broken trust and a decreased desire to strive for common goals.

This concept applies to families, civic groups, non-profits and multinational corporations. And it applies to executives and entry-level staff. Followers lead, and leaders follow.

“Followership in Action” is both a practical and scholarly book that outlines how to better understand and apply followership theory to everyday situations. It was written with administrators, coaches, consultants, executives, human resource professionals, academic professors and support staff in mind.

According to Edith Eva Eger, a clinical psychologist in California and an Auschwitz survivor, it’s a must-read book.

“As one who has witnessed and experienced the power of followers whose actions have ranged from indifference, harm or goodness, I commend this book because it reminds us we all must act — act with conviction and courage to ensure the betterment of our institutions and society as a whole,” she said.

Koonce has worked as the continuing education director for a state organization, chief executive of a small business and as a medical researcher and educator in pediatric metabolism.

He also is a published author on subjects ranging from leadership to metabolic disease. In addition to his GCU doctorate, his graduate studies include master’s degrees in business administration and organizational learning as well as undergraduate degrees in biology, chemistry and psychology.

Contact Karen Fernau at (602) 639-8344 or [email protected].

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