Date of Award

Fall 2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Joshua D. Henson

Second Advisor

Dr. Bethany D. Peters

Third Advisor

Jolene A. Erlacher


The aim of this qualitative study was to understand the leader and follower development experiences of middle-level managers in the Nigerian banking industry regarding developing followers into leaders. I used two research questions to explore the perception and treatment of followers and the levels of leader and follower development as influences on the development of followers into leaders. The research was set in Nigeria, with a purposive sample of middle-level managers in the Nigerian banking industry. I used a descriptive phenomenological technique to conduct long, deep interviews with 12 middle-level managers via Zoom video and then transcribed them with software. My findings indicate that followers are treated very poorly in the Nigerian banking sector and are perceived as work tools and people with no choice by industry leaders. In addition, leader development is prioritized over follower development, which has been relegated to academic and job-specific training programs that lack leadership skills development. Followers are not intentionally and strategically developed into leaders but rather leaders emerge from those who meet deposit mobilization targets. Banks use the funds mobilized to build their asset base and for trading and lending. Leader development is prioritized, and despite being undertaken through expensive offshore executive training programs, outcomes of the learning points from these programs are not being applied to improve organizations in the industry and their staff because of the leaders’ lackadaisical attitude toward training attendance. The followers, however, attain valuable outcomes from their training programs, which help with performance appraisal and service improvement processes.