Monash Business School researcher awarded Fulbright Scholarship

27 May 2021

Dr Nathan Eva

Research into gender beliefs surrounding ‘follower-first’ leaders has led to selection as a 2021 US Fulbright Postdoctoral Scholarship for Dr Nathan Eva from Monash Business School’s Department of Management.

Dr Eva is part of Monash Business School’s MINT Thriving at Work Network of Excellence, which is currently working with large Australian organisations to analyse how they lead, their leadership development, and the effects of leadership on both leaders and followers.

The Fulbright Program is the flagship foreign exchange scholarship program of the United States, aimed at increasing binational research collaboration, cultural understanding, and the exchange of ideas.

A Fulbright Scholarship enables outstanding Australian scholars, postdoctoral and doctoral candidates to undertake research in the United States. Dr Eva is expected to take up the award in 2022.

Since its establishment, the Fulbright Program has grown to become the largest educational exchange scholarship program in the world, operating in over 160 countries.

As part of the four month scholarship, Dr Eva will work with researchers at the prestigious University of Illinois at the Chicago (UIC) Business School, examining the “asymmetrical pressures on and contrasting implications for women and men in engaging in ‘follower-first’ leadership”.

His research changes the conversation with respect to how people lead, challenging profit-first paradigms of leadership through demonstrating credible follower-first leadership approaches that deliver organisational performance combined with inclusive and supportive workplaces.

Read more about Dr Eva’s research topic in Monash Business School's Impact.

With its emphasis on supporting staff, the follower-first approach inspires positive feedback but can lead to a counterintuitive phenomenon where leaders sacrifice their own wellbeing and career progression, says Dr Eva.

There are also gendered expectations that women spend more time investing and developing their team members, compared to men.

“The project should provide significant benefits including the organisational changes required to support leaders in developing the next generation of leaders,” Dr Eva says.

Head of Monash Business School Professor Simon Wilkie says Dr Eva’s selection is particularly impressive as the scholarships are generally dominated by researchers in the fields of medicine.

“Dr Eva’s research addresses an increasingly urgent issue in workplaces in terms of the sustainability of our management cultures, which are particularly under pressure due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Professor Wilkie says.

“We are delighted with this award and look forward to Dr Eva being able to take up the Scholarship next year.”