Followers and following in early childhood education workplaces: A narrative review of the followership literature

Melinda Brooker, Tamara Cumming, Helen Logan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Typically, leadership is identified as a key to constructing high-quality early childhood education services and creating provisions to promote children's successful outcomes. However, leadership does not occur in isolation. Organisational management scholars point out that success in organisations is mostly reliant on effective followers. Despite a long tradition of attention to the value of followership in organisational management literature, little attention is given to followership in early childhood education literature. This article reviews conceptualisations of followership from a broad body of literature from organisational management and higher education studies, and a small number of studies in early childhood education literature that mentioned followership. This small body of early childhood education literature is critiqued in connection with the broader body of literature. The analysis reveals three key themes concerning followership in early childhood education literature: the dominance of leader-centric ideas; a lack of conceptual clarity about the role and practices of followership; and early childhood educators’ qualifications typically determine who follows and who leads. This review contributes to increased understandings of the potential value of followership theories and practices in early childhood education.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)325-341
Number of pages17
JournalEducational Management Administration and Leadership
Issue number2
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Dec 2021


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