Date of this Version


Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Details

Published version

Mitchell, M. (2016). Authentic leadership in illness blogs: What we can learn from jaw surgery bloggers. Cogent Social Sciences, 2(1), 1-13.

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© 2016 The Author(s)

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.




This paper argues that authentic leadership theory provides a useful model for explaining the communication of orthognathic or jaw surgery bloggers. Previous studies concluded that illness blogs can empower patients, but no research considered any leadership theory as a model for blogging. For this study, 24 publicly available blogs were analyzed to find expressions that demonstrated each of the four components of authentic leadership, which are self-awareness, relational transparency, communication based upon an internalized moral perspective, and balanced processing of information. The research also analyzed blog comments to find expressions that demonstrated followers’ development of the positive psychological capacities of confidence, hope, optimism and resilience. The research points towards a new model of how this group of bloggers helps themselves and their community transit a time of change and uncertainty. The bloggers appear to be delivering positive socio-emotional leadership to similar others. To confirm the model, researchers need to run interviews and surveys with bloggers and commenters.



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