Case Study: Authority and Leadership


After working 8 years as a staff nurse on a general medical-surgical unit, Julie Davis was appointed nurse manager of that unit. Following a staff meeting at which her promotion was announced, Julie found herself surrounded by three long time coworkers offering their congratulations and making other observations and comments.

“I’m really happy for you,” said Sarah Johnson. “This sounds like a terrific career step. But I suppose this means our carpool is affected, since your hours are bound to be a lot less predictable from now on.”

Elaine Rowe said, “And I guess that shoots the lunch bunch, too. Management commitments, you know.” The emphasis on management was subtle though undeniable, and Julie was not at all sure that she was pleased with what she was hearing.

Jane Davidson offered, “Well, maybe now we can get some action on a few age-old problems. Remember, Julie, you used to gripe about these things as much as the rest of us.”

“We’ve all complained a lot,” Sarah agreed. “That’s been sort of a way of life around here.” The tone of her voice shaded toward a suggestion of coolness and her customary smile was absent when she added, “Now Julie’s going to be in a position where she can do something, so let’s hope she doesn’t forget who her friends are.”

Elaine and Jane looked quickly from Sarah to Julie. For an awkward 10 seconds or so, no one spoke. At last someone passing by said something to Julie and as Julie turned to respond, Elaine, Jane and Sarah went their separate ways.

Case Study: Authority and Leadership  
Review the details of the case Authority and Leadership: Rising From the Ranks from your course text, and respond to the following questions:

Identify the potential advantages Julie might enjoy in becoming manager of a group of which she has long been a member, and contrast these with the possible disadvantages that might present themselves because she has long been a member of this group.
Describe how Julie will have to proceed in establishing herself as the legitimate possessor or supervisory authority on the unit, and describe the sources and forms of Julie’s authority.

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