Hubristic leaders over-estimate significantly their own abilities and believe their performance to be superior to that of others; as a consequence, they make over-confident and over-ambitious judgements and decisions. The fact that hubristic leaders tend to be resistant to criticism, and invulnerable to and contemptuous of the advice of others further compounds the problem. In this article, we review conceptual, theoretical and methodological aspects of hubristic leadership research. We examine hubristic leadership from two standpoints: first, from a psychological and behavioural perspective, we review hubris in terms of over-confidence and its relationship to core self-evaluation and narcissism; second, from a psychiatric perspective, we review hubris as an acquired disorder with a distinctive set of symptoms (Hubris Syndrome), the onset of which is associated with the acquisition of significant power. In doing so, we draw distinctions between hubris and several related constructs, such as over-confidence, narcissism, core self-evaluation and pride. Methodologically, we review how hubris and Hubris Syndrome can be recognised, diagnosed and researched, and we explore some of the unique challenges and opportunities hubris research presents. We conclude by offering some directions for future inquiry and recapitulate the practical and pedagogical significance of this vitally important but under-researched leadership phenomenon.
This article critiques key elements of contemporary leadership theory and practice, notably the persistent modernist emphasis on heroic individualism in models of the leader and leadership and the highly instrumental and performative nature of the competence approach to leadership development. Against this, the article draws on the history of jazz as an improvisational art form to develop a view of leadership based on fluidity and adaptability, commitment, creativity and change, community and team enabling and the idea of mastery and wisdom. Leadership-as-practice, in this view, is "collective coherent thinking" based on a lifetime of preparation for exploring the spaces between the notes where creative interpretation meets and responds to uncertainty and unpredictability.
This article expands organization theory about Wicked, Tame and Critical problems and their associated decision-making styles, Leadership, Management and Command, by offering a framework that spans across all three which we call ‘Agonistic Governance’: an approach to decision-making that is premised on the acceptance that complexity generates paradoxes and contradictions and, to be successful, organizational actors must have the agency to positively embrace these, rather than try to eliminate them, recognizing that some failure is the price of overall success. Through an ethnographic study of US Navy SEALs, we suggest that, unlike the cultures of conventional military forces, elite military units can thrive in a leadership environment that is much more subtle, paradoxical and complex, and can be seen as illustrative of Agonistic Governance. Findings reveal that the success of these groups is dependent on the construction of a contradictory decision-making model that recognizes leadership is often as much an art as a science, and an understanding that the willingness to seek out and learn from failure rather than avoid it, is itself part of the solution not the problem. Agonistic Governance offers a way to move from binary thinking rooted in decision-making models that aim to be internally coherent, unilinear and without contradiction, and instead offers a way to accept the irrational and paradoxical prevalent in today’s complex organizational environments. In effect, Wicked Problems can only be addressed by accepting that failure is a prerequisite not a proscription.
Whilst recent years have seen increasingly ethnographic-focussed writings in Organisation Studies, similar developments have not been mirrored within Leadership Studies, where the field is still dominated by positivistic approaches. Various theorists have noted problems with this, often pointing toward ethnography as a way of investigating leadership from new angles. However, to date it remains underrepresented. Potentially, this could be due to the fact that leadership is an ill-defined concept, and this paper suggests developing a clearer understanding of the phenomenon – building on the work of Smircich and Morgan and Fairhurst. That is, understanding leadership as constituted by meaning-making and reality definition, which is performed through discourse (or: intersubjective talk, communication, language and interaction) as well as being influenced by Discourse (or: extrasubjective frames of reference). This paper suggests that ethnographic methodologies are apt for studying both, and may be able to shed new light on leadership practice.
The gender leadership problem is not the underrepresentation of women, but the dominant presence of groups of men and valued forms of masculinities. We argue that critical leadership studies would benefit by considering sport to explain the nuanced relationships between leadership, sport, men and masculinity and the ensuing invisible norms that marginalise women. In doing so, we respond to calls for critical leadership scholars to examine situated power relations in more reflexive and innovative ways. Sport influences, and is influenced by, the inequalities of gender, class, age and race. The intersection of sport, leadership and gender provides an otherwise unavailable insight into what is normalised, men and the masculine subtext of leadership We examine New Zealand’s relationship with Rugby Union to achieve both of these aims. We conclude that Rugby is anything but benign or irrelevant when it comes to understanding gender and leadership in New Zealand.
The paper discusses 21 days of political leadership in the UK following the EU referendum, the publication of the Chilcot Report on the Iraq War, and the appointment of a new cabinet by the new Prime Minister, Theresa May. It begins by modelling four possible approaches to political decision-making by taking into account the intent of the decision-maker, their acceptance or avoidance of responsibility, and the nature of the consequences. It suggests that ‘Dirty Hands’ exists when the decision-maker recognizes the deleterious consequences of what they deem to be necessary action – and intends to engender these – but takes responsibility. ‘Clean Heels’ embodies a decision where the decision-maker recognizes the consequences might be deleterious and intends them to be so, but avoids all responsibility. Mea Culpa describes a decision-maker who did not intend deleterious consequences but having seen them occur takes responsibility. Finally, the Spectator is someone who has no intention of making any difference to anything and thus takes no responsibility, but often plays a destructively critical role from the sidelines. This heuristic – and it is no more than a heuristic – is then illustrated by considering the actions of four decision-makers during this period: Boris Johnson, Tony Blair, Nigel Farage, and Theresa May.
There is currently wide consensus concerning the notion that corporations can and should call on executive incentives, particularly cash bonuses and stock options, to shape executive behaviors and enhance company performance. To be sure, much controversy surrounds the implementation of such incentives, but the lightning rod is typically the matter of how much, not the use of incentives themselves. Contemporary research, by and large, seeks to fine-tune an existing paradigm rather than probe its underlying assumptions. This article calls on the methodology of history to probe the underlying assumptions and construction of executive incentives in order to ask those fundamental questions. By exploring the work of General Motors president Alfred Sloan and McKinsey & Company consultant Arch Patton, both prime movers of the widespread use of such incentives, the article notes that their beliefs were an outgrowth of a particular historical context. The assumptions that emerged as a result of that context have since become embedded into our collective institutional consciousness and have impacted society far beyond the borders of corporations; helping to support an ever-widening gulf between the top 1% of society and the remainder. A reconsideration of the underlying assumptions is encouraged. The impact on organizational performance would be either negligible or positive; and the effect on economic distribution in the company and the host society would be profound. Abandoning the outmoded notion of executive inventive, in other words, would be an act of true leadership.
Considerations of rigour and relevance rarely acknowledge students, learning or the textbooks many of the academic community use to frame education. Here we explore the construction of meaning around rigour and relevance in four leadership studies textbooks – the two most globally popular leadership textbooks and two recent additions to the field – to explore how these ideas are represented. We read the four texts narratively for structure, purpose, style and application. We further embed the analysis by considering the cultural positioning of the textbook-as-genre within leadership studies as a field more generally. This exploration of the textbook raises critical questions about rigour, relevance and the relationship constructed between them. From this, we argue for a re-commitment to the genuine ‘text-book’ written to engage students in understanding leadership as a continuing conversation between practices, theories and contexts, rather than as a repository of rigorous and/or relevant content that lays claim to represent an objective science of leadership studies.
This article draws on historical explorers’ accounts, ethnography and organisational approaches to examine practices, discourses and perceptions of leadership in 12 prototypical indigenous communities in West and Central Africa. By so doing, it highlights how leadership meanings from this context differ from Anglo-centric thinking and writings. Key to this contribution is an unravelling of ways in which historical cultural hegemonies impose particular discursive formations, constructed practices and mind-programming in a non-Anglo-Saxon socio-cultural context. Dramaturgical power arrangement, lucid role substitution and the notion of leadership as non-human emerge as dominant themes in the analysis. Also, featuring significantly are representations of leadership in symbols, mythology and as transcendental and metaphysical. These conceptualisations are different from predominant Anglo-Saxon writings that frequently present leadership as linear hierarchies, dyadic (leader-follower) relationship, acts and behaviours of heroic figures and as an essentially human action. An Afro-centric indigenous concept of leadership reflecting the context is proposed which challenges heroism, linearity, individualism and objectivism.
What, if anything, does opera tell us about leadership, leaders and followers, that social research or indeed other art forms do not tell us? This is the question I address here. I argue that opera is a highly political genre, able to depict political events involving leaders and followers in sharply illuminating ways. In particular, through the device of the chorus it is able to represent the political actions and sentiments of large multitudes of people in their complexity and ambiguity. It is also capable of portraying many of the contradictions of leadership in a critical light. In particular, I argue that opera offers powerful insights into the psychology of leaders confronted by crisis and strife. It highlights the sacrifices they make, the distance and isolation that frequently afflicts them, the different ways in which they wield power and handle conflicts and the tensions between their private and public lives. In showing them meting out favours and punishments, opera warns of rulers’ perennial temptation to abuse their power and highlights some of the dark sides of leadership.
Discussions on the nature of leadership—and, specifically, the nature of kingship or sovereignty—are ubiquitous to most historical overviews of leadership studies. This paper suggests that leadership studies would benefit from the use of complex literary and historical analyses, which can then be applied to aid in the understanding of appropriate modern-day corollaries. In particular, the paper presents an interrogation of Shakespeare’s late romance Pericles to examine how early moderns saw the development of proto-democratic ideals. In addition, this paper suggests that Pericles was an open critique of the Union between England and Scotland proposed by King James I in the early seventeenth century. To the early modern English, Union represented the abuse of royal prerogative and the potential loss of English national identity. Finally, the paper concludes by using Pericles and Union to examine the traditions and concerns facing the present-day United Kingdom in the immediate aftermath of the referendum to withdraw from the European Union.
Reimagining organisational change leadership requires revisiting the seminal work of Kurt Lewin and James M Burns. Being the 20th century’s most influential organisational change and leadership scholars, both radically reimagined their respective fields. However, often misinterpreted, misunderstood and even misrepresented, their true recommendations were largely ignored. In this article, we discuss why this is so. Despite three decades of transformation and organisational change leadership discourse, leadership is still in crisis. Working towards an alternative to the current orthodoxy, we reimagine organisational change leadership as a utilitarian consequentialist process.
‘Leader’ and ‘follower’ are increasingly replacing ‘manager’ and ‘worker’ to become the routine way to frame hierarchy within organizations; a practice that obfuscates, even denies, structural antagonisms. Furthermore, given that many workers are indifferent to (and others despise) their bosses, assuming workers are ‘followers’ of organizational elites seems not only managerialist, but blind to other forms of cultural identity. We feel that critical leadership studies should embrace and include a plurality of perspectives on the relationship between workers and their bosses. However, its impact as a critical project may be limited by the way it has generally adopted this mainstream rhetoric of leader/follower. By not being ‘critical’ enough about its own discursive practices, critical leadership studies risk reproducing the very kind of leaderism it seeks to condemn.
This paper responds to recent calls in the leadership studies literature for anthropologically informed empirical research on leadership phenomena in non-Western and non-Anglophone settings. The authors have worked extensively on rural development projects in Laos and draw on ethnographic ‘observant-participation’ and interview data to explore how leadership is construed in a contested terrain where traditional concepts intersect with those of official government and international development agencies. A theoretical discussion of linguistic relativity and the socially constitutive nature of language in general is offered as background justification for studying the language of leadership in context. The anthropological distinction between etic and emic operations is also introduced to differentiate between various interpretative positions that can be taken in relation to the fieldwork and data discussed in this paper. The study shows how difficult it can be for native Lao speakers to find words to describe leadership or give designations to ‘leaders’ outside of officially sanctioned semantic and social fields. A key finding of the study is that, viewed from the perspective of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party, authority and leadership are coextensive. This social fact is reflected in the linguistic restrictions on what can and cannot be described as leadership in Laos.
In 2014, leadership studies saw the retraction of a number of journal articles written by prominent researchers who are closely associated with popular concepts such as transformational leadership, authentic leadership, ethical leadership and spiritual leadership. In response, The Leadership Quarterly published a lengthy editorial that presented these retractions as a sign of health in a mature scientific field. For the editors of The Leadership Quarterly, there is no crisis in leadership studies. In this paper, we suggest that the editorial is a missed opportunity to reflect on positivist leadership studies. In our view, leadership ought to be in crisis because this would stimulate the community to question its guiding assumptions and reconsider its methods and objectives. We therefore hope to open up a critical discussion about the means and ends of mainstream leadership studies – not least of all its scientific pretensions.
This article expands organization theory about Wicked, Tame, and Critical problems and their associated decision-making styles, Leadership, Management, and Command, by offering a framework that spans across all three which we call "Agonistic Governance": an approach to decision-making that is premised on the acceptance that complexity generates paradoxes and contradictions and, to be successful, organizational actors must have the agency to positively embrace these, rather than try to eliminate them, recognizing that some failure is the price of overall success. Through an ethnographic study of US Navy SEALs, we suggest that, unlike the cultures of conventional military forces, elite military units can thrive in a leadership environment that is much more subtle, paradoxical and complex, and can be seen as illustrative of Agonistic Governance. Findings reveal that the success of these groups is dependent on the construction of a contradictory decision-making model that recognizes leadership is often as much an art as a science, and an understanding that the willingness to seek out and learn from failure rather than avoid it, is itself part of the solution not the problem. Agonistic Governance offers a way to move from binary thinking rooted in decision-making models that aim to be internally coherent, unilinear and without contradiction, and instead offers a way to accept the irrational and paradoxical prevalent in today’s complex organizational environments. In effect, Wicked Problems can only be addressed by accepting that failure is a prerequisite not a proscription.
In some democratic contexts, there is a strong aversion to the directive, individualistic and masculine expressions of leadership that have come to dominate the study of political leadership. Such leadership is antithetical to consensus democracies in parts of continental Europe, where the antipathy to leadership has linguistic, institutional as well as cultural dimensions. Political-administrative and socio-cultural contexts in these countries provide little room for heroic expressions of leadership. Consequently, alternative forms of leadership and associated vocabularies have developed that carry profound practical relevance but that have remained underexplored. Based on an in-depth mixed-methods study, this article presents the Dutch mayoralty as an insightful and exemplary case of what can be called ‘bridging-and-bonding leadership’; it provides a clear illustration of how understandings of democratic leadership can deviate from the dominant paradigm and of how leading in a consensus context brings about unique practical challenges for office holders. The analysis shows that the important leadership task of democratic guardianship that is performed by Dutch mayors is in danger of being overlooked by scholars of political leadership, as are consensus-oriented leadership roles in other parts of the world. For that reason, a recalibration of the leadership concept is needed, developing an increased theoretical sensitivity towards the non-decisive and process-oriented aspects of the leadership phenomenon. This article specifies how the future study of leadership, as a part of the change that is advocated, can benefit from adopting additional languages of leadership.
This paper takes Mary Parker Follett's ideas of power-with and explores them within a contemporary context. Three illustrative case studies from a technology company, innovative manufacturer, and nuclear submarine are offered as ways of exploring the phenomenon. We find that in spite of being hailed for their revolutionary management styles, power-with is still challenging to operationalize especially given the tendency and culturally prevalent expectations to revert to hierarchical, leader-centric forms of guiding organizations. We propose a way forward based on power-with practices which organizations may adopt.
This article has been crafted to evoke the sound of leadership. It represents the hum and sigh and pounding of leadership as it appeared, disappeared and reappeared each time looking and sounding different in an extraordinary undertaking where senior citizens, many with no acting experience performed T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land. The metaphor of a hunt and an episodic form represents our experience and we have sought to suggest sound by using principles of montage, Gestalt theory, and the poetic devise of enjambment that leave one reaching after meaning rather than being comforted by end points. This article represents research that we very nearly abandoned, because it simply did not ring true when we wrote in conventional ways. As a result, we advocate different ways of writing not only because we love good writing but because for us, different writing was the only way that we could do justice to this story.
We offer an "ensemble" theory of leadership that emerges from contemporary indigenous scholarship and also from the archeology of the prehispanic southwest. We see ensemble leadership theory as starting from a different origin: the indigenous world-view. It provides an emphasis in the leadership context, which is largely missing in traditional leadership literature. First, the ensemble leadership theory casts leadership as a collective phenomenon, and privileges the collective rather than the individual. This moves away from the "hero" leadership views and instead, connects with the recent "relationality" and "shared" views of leadership, breaking new ground in collective leadership. Second, the ensemble leadership theory is dynamic rather than static, as revealed using storytelling and "antenarrative" analysis. Third, the ensemble leadership theory assumes a social structure, which is decentered as well as multi-centered and nonhuman-centric. Fourth, the combination of dynamism and multi-centeredness yields a structure which storytelling scholars call "rhizomatic" and archeologists term "heterarchical." These ensemble leadership theory qualities of collectivist, relational, dynamic, and heterarchic are all drawn from indigenous cultures. In particular, archeologists have found heterarchical leadership structures in the prehispanic southwest portions of North America. In sum, ensemble leadership theory offers a time-tested model of a more relational and collectivist view of leadership.
Management and health care literature is increasingly preoccupied with leadership as a collective social process, and related leadership concepts such as distributed leadership have therefore recently gained momentum. This paper investigates how formal, i.e. transformational, transactional and empowering, leadership styles affect employees’ perceived agency in distributed leadership, and whether these associations are mediated by employees’ perceived organizational efficacy. Based on large-scale survey data from a study at one of Scandinavia’s largest public hospitals (N = 1,147), our results show that all leadership styles had a significant positive impact on employees’ perceived agency in distributed leadership. Further, organizational efficacy related negatively to employees’ perceived agency in distributed leadership; however, a mediatory impact of this on the formal leadership styles-distributed leadership relationship was not detected. These results emphasize the importance of formal leaders to enhance employee involvement in various leadership functions; still, employees might prefer to participate in leadership functions when they perceive that the organization is struggling to achieve its goals.
The present study focuses on a manager’s understanding of leadership and how this guides – or does not guide practice. The paper reports an empirical in-depth study of a middle manager in an international manufacturing company. We link our discussion to both – the mainstream leadership studies, which assume that managers have a solid type of leadership behavior, and authors with a meaning-oriented, linguistic approach to leadership, in which language, self-awareness, and behavior are linked. The present study suggests that leadership attempts can vary, be divisive, and that a manager’s advocacy efforts are driven by a multitude of different, partly opposing, forces, meaning a decoupling of ideas and behavior in leadership practice. The paper raises the question of whether managers’ meanings of leadership correspond with what they do in practice.
In this article, we refine and extend the conceptualization of collective leadership by examining how institutional work can play a central role in the emergence of collective leadership success or failure through conflict. Specifically, based on historical traces collected from the first African American town in Mississippi, Mound Bayou, which was founded and led by a group of ex-slaves, we conceptualize collective leadership as a compilational process and elucidate the development of collective leadership amid the relational and inspirational aspects of conflict that arose among this cadre of historical collective leaders. We selected the case of Mound Bayou because the specifics of the case allowed us to explore how collective leadership emerged, and over time, led to conflict engendered by issues that arose within the institutional processes of formation, maintenance, and transformation of the town. We used interpretivist epistemology into which we incorporated and utilized historiometric methodology to code and interpret salient archival data. Based on this analysis, we inductively theorize the process by which the leaders of Mound Bayou collectively forged and led, in both cooperative and conflicting manner, the first African American community in the Mississippi Delta.
Historically examining the cultural foundation for traditional leadership within the Blackfoot Confederacy, composed of the Blackfeet (Pikuni or South Piegan) in Montana, USA, and the North Piegan, Blood (Kainai), and Blackfoot (Siksika) in Alberta, Canada, reveals that authority for leadership is grounded in tribal spirituality. This spiritual authority is integrated within traditional and complex structures that organize the social structures of the Blackfeet, a structure of extended family, bands, and societies that all influence leadership. Traditional leadership authority arises through medicine bundle rituals, ceremonial rites, and protocols that exist within the Niitsítapi (Blackfeet people) worldview. Understanding the complex foundations of traditional tribal leadership facilitates future research and understanding of Indigenous leadership, especially when international borders separate tribes.
The contribution this paper makes to leadership studies is to advance leadership theory towards a process based perspective based on an appreciation of art. The article does this by using a narrative on art in Russia. The narrative forms the basis for discussing the role that symbolism and aesthetics play in (re)interpreting rebel leadership. The article also explores James Downton’s work alongside the narration to develop a socially constructed process based interpretation of rebel leadership. Building on this interpretation fundamental aspects of process-based leadership so far missing from the literature are highlighted. One such aspect is the ridicule (in this case through caricature) of existing leaders and leadership by the incumbent leader and/or leadership process – a pre-stage to the emergence of rebel leadership. Other aspects include stages of social and organizational liminality and introspection. From here suggestions are made for further theoretical and empirical enquiry and practical implications are highlighted.
The world is a turbulent space for leaders and organisations. Leadership scandals and failures have changed views on leadership behaviour in the West. There is increased demand for more ethical leadership, inspired by ideas of humanness, and care of the well-being of all stakeholders. This article offers our conceptualisation of two emerging domains in leadership – servant leadership and Indigenous Māori leadership. Both not only have strong resonance with each other but also reflect a common concern with individual and collective morality that draws us to the significance of human relationships and, context-specificity specifically as derived from worldview. We suggest these two leadership domains offer transformative realisation of leadership development that accepts alternative ontologies, epistemologies and worldviews, providing for richer and more meaningful understanding of leadership for the 21st century.
Although the idea of leadership being a process is clearly stated in leadership definitions, most researchers focus on individuals rather than observing and studying processes. This contradiction has been highlighted by a number of scholars turning to leadership processes and practices, thereby drawing attention to the interactional and social aspects of the phenomenon. Such contributions mostly take process perspectives in which entities still play an important role. In this article, I therefore aim at contributing to leadership studies based on a process ontology by exploring one central aspect of leadership work, the production of direction, processually. I do so by building on geographer Massey’s conception of space, thus adding a spatial dimension that enables me to conceptualize direction as the development of an evolving relational configuration. In order to empirically explore such a conceptualization, two constructs are proposed: the construction of positions and the construction of issues. The reading of leadership work thus produced leads me to suggest ‘clearing for action’ as a means of conveying the spatio-temporal and constructive (reality constructing) character of leadership work.
This article introduces a critical approach to follower/ship studies through exploring the unarticulated but highly influential implicit academic theory of follower/ship that informs dominant paradigms of leadership. Research into follower/ship is developing apace but the field lacks a critical account. Such an absence of critical voice renders researchers unaware of the performative effect of their studies, that is, how their studies actively constitute that of which they speak. So, do studies of followers (and leaders, it follows) constitute that very actuality they are studying? Analysis of seminal papers in three major categories of leadership, leader-centric, multiple leadership and leader-centred, shows that leadership theory is underpinned by the desire for power and control over the potentially dangerous masses, now labelled ‘followers’. The etiolated perspective of the people called ‘followers’ undermines leadership theory, and we recommend the wisdom of leaving follower/ship unexplored.
Drawing on the experiences of 29 Australian Indigenous artists and arts leaders, this article explores the way these individuals provide leadership by expressing and resisting cultural identities of Aboriginality. Scholars have shown how a key activity in leadership is ‘identity work’, or negotiating a sustainable leadership identity, yet much of the scholarship to date neglects context and cultural dimensions of identity work in leadership. Our research draws on the extensive theorising on social identity, but we take a critical perspective, arguing that public discourses of Aboriginality mean that leadership identities in Indigenous communities have a complex, sometimes contested status. We begin the article showing the way in which Aboriginality as an identity is constructed in the public domain. We then explore three categories of identity practice enacted by our sample of arts leaders: contesting essentialisation, containing trauma and creating belonging. The discussion argues that these practices of interrogating and re-shaping stereotypic cultural identities often constitute acts of leadership. We contribute to scholarship by providing new insights on identity work; and to practice, highlighting the potential significance of leadership identity work to the self-determination and flourishing of Aboriginal peoples.
The primary aim of this article is to offer an indigenous perspective of relational leadership as a way-of-being and doing leadership. It is based on a longitudinal qualitative investigation of Māori leaders and practitioners in the screen industry. The findings revealed three distinct themes; embodying relational leadership, enacting relational leadership and macrocontextual influences in relational leadership. This study affirmed the ways in which culture and worldviews shaped the identity of Māori leaders, confirming that relational leadership is a process of social construction, which emerges from the dynamic interaction between ontology (ways of being) and praxis (ways of doing). This contribution charts new territory in leadership theory contributing new ways of understanding relational leadership from an indigenous Māori perspective. It highlights the importance of holistic theorisations of leadership that examine culture, identity and the macro-contextual dimensions that influence leadership.
Metaphors enable us to understand organisations in distinctive ways and explain the paucity of women in leadership positions, and yet, when gender discrimination is addressed via metaphor, women’s responses, resistance and agency are rarely included in such analyses. In this article, I employ a narrative writing practice inspired by the work of Hélène Cixous as a way of exploring how we might research and write differently in leadership studies. Cixous invites women to reclaim their sexuality and subjectivity through a feminine mode of women’s writing and what she defines as l'ecriture feminine can be interpreted as a liberating bodily practice that aims to release women’s repressed creative agency and transform phallogocentric structures. Using the Greek mythology of the Minotaur and the Labyrinth, this article weaves together these seemingly disparate concepts of myth, metaphor and feminist writing practices with leadership discourse to explore the ways in which academic women experience the university organisation as a labyrinth, how they navigate pathways to promotion and practice leadership. This creative analytic operates as a metanarrative that offers new ways of researching and writing leadership studies from the body, and reveals how myths continue to influence present experiences and structures in unexpected ways.
How and to what extent can individual leaders affect policy making during and after violent political conflicts? Why are some motivated to prioritize settlement and reconciliation? The article addresses these questions through a case study of Xanana Gusmão, who led the 24-year struggle against Indonesian military occupation in East Timor and became president. It assesses Gusmão’s influence on conflict and post-conflict policy takes a trait-based approach to understanding the motivations and capabilities of Gusmão and other "reconciliation-oriented leaders."
This research draws on interviews with 18 Māori leaders from various leadership positions within business, community, political and marae organisations, to garner an understanding of how their leadership roles interact with their own well-being. Analysis of interviews revealed that cross-cultural developments in self-determination theory could be gained by incorporating Māori tikanga and values into a model of well-being for Māori leaders. Largely, the principles of tino rangatiratanga (autonomy and self-determination), mana (respect and influence), whānau (extended family), whakapapa (shared history) and whanaungatanga (kin relations, consultation and engagement), were united into a model of leader well-being. This ensured that mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge) informed our model of Māori leader well-being, while also drawing on the burgeoning Western research in the area of well-being, specifically self-determination theory. Overall, we find that similarities exist with self-determination theory and Māori tikanga and values. However, in contrast to self-determination theory, autonomy and competence are developed within relationships, which means that ‘others’ underpin Māori leaders’ well-being. From this perspective, we present a view of the psychological and well-being resources that Māori leaders draw on to guide them through complex times.
This article explores dilemmas in middle manager work through the perspective of leadership-as-practice. An autoethnographic account is outlined of how a dilemma is addressed by a middle manager. The account shows how a dilemma faced by a middle manager needs to be understood as situated within the flow of activity that is itself nested in a context of roles and relationships as well as the strategic context. The authors show how the outcome of the dilemma became accommodated within the emergent practice in the organization with no sense of recognition of the dilemma’s impact. The notion of middle manager agency within leadership-as-practice is explored through aspects of moral disengagement. The article problematizes two aspects: firstly, that normative ethical theorizing has been unable to cater for the complexity of middle manager work seen through the practice lens; second, that notions of leadership as ‘leader’ appear absent from the narrative describing middle manager work when seen through the lens of traditional leadership theory. Finally, the article gives insight and structure to researching leadership-as-practice.
This paper takes a fresh look at Maori women and leadership through individual and collective storytelling. Stories or pubar;rākau about Maori women leaders involved in environmental sustainability, employment rights, and sport are used to reveal the often silenced realities of Maori women’s leadership and challenge dominant leadership discourse. Findings suggest mana wahine/the power and authority of women is a critical element of Maori women’s leadership as well as values and concepts that feature in traditional purakau and cultural roles for women. The holistic nature of Maori leadership was captured by considering three interrelated and fluid spheres – leadership as influence, leadership in context and the performance of leadership. These stories are a preface and we invite others to join the dynamic process of storytelling so that the plurality of Indigenous women’s leadership perspectives, experiences and performances are recognised and celebrated.
In Western society, the foundation of what was once a more traditional way of thinking about leadership has been replaced by focusing more on gaining and using power, influencing people, and maintaining an appearance of control. These paradigms that often advise management policies, practices, and decisions have generally reflected the structures and cultures from a more White, heterosexual male perspective. This perpetrates the systemic issue in that minorities in the United States continue to remain underrepresented, and this is particularly true for Indigenous peoples. Unfortunately cross-cultural research has not helped the problem in that differences have often been ignored or negated. Adding gender differences to the mix complicates things even further, as leadership has traditionally been studied using masculine norms as behavioral standards. In addition, colonization is acknowledged as having had a destructive effect on indigenous gender relations and cultural dynamics. Therefore, to address this gap in understanding, the purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore leadership from a gender and Indigenous perspective. From interviewing Lakota women leaders, findings indicate that Indigenous women’s leadership is not invariable with dominant mainstream leadership theories, and that further research is needed on Indigenous, as well as Indigenous women leadership perspectives and practices.
Women’s political leadership has been ignored both in actual political scene of world’s democracies and by the studies of political leadership. The common perception in both areas has long been that gender difference makes women unfit leaders. More recent studies of gender and leadership as well as various women politicians, on the other hand, emphasized women’s fitness for leadership due to their gendered characteristics. This paper argues that using gender as a determining factor for good or bad political leadership endangers future leadership opportunities for women. An exploration of the experience of Turkey in the 1990s with a woman political leader, Tansu Ciller, and her leadership style in relation to her gender, demonstrates that while gender stereotypes make women’s political leadership to be perceived as ineffective, any argument that is made in its favor in gendered terms faces the risk of being refuted by actual experience hence delegitimizing women’s leadership altogether. Using Crosby and Bryson’s leadership model as an analytical framework to dissect Ciller’s political and ethical leadership and her use of gender in the Turkish context, we can see that gender itself does not make a leader more democratic or ethical and arguing so works against potential women leaders.
The concept of self-leadership is known and accepted, but still under-researched. By considering the reflexive work involved in the process of self-leadership, we seek to understand what factors are relevant for managers to be effective in a sustainable and productive way. We ask how managers engage in self-leadership. Empirically, we find that self-leadership is a process that can be translated into the capability of handling and sustaining four dualities: challenge and routine; self and others; nonwork and work; mind and body.
This paper analyzes how collective leadership develops from more individualistic leadership through ethnographic analysis of the rise of urban environmental stewardship in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Longitudinal analysis of a 30-year period reveals how leadership shifted from being highly individualistic, to become more pluralistic, and ultimately more collective. I demonstrate how specifying the location of leadership action in the case addresses ambiguity regarding the definitions of and distinctions among collective, plural, and integrative leadership. I identify two processes that helped to relocate leadership from more individualistic to increasingly collective, emergent spaces, namely fueling a public imaginary and organizing inclusively. These processes were central to connecting and mutually advancing collective leadership and collective impact.
This research sought to demonstrate how institutional complexity within the field of college athletics in the United States offers conflicting prescriptions for ethical leadership. With college athletics serving as the context for this investigation, data were collected from 14 athletic administrators at four universities. Participants suggested that ethical leadership in college athletics consisted of prioritizing the institution while integrating servant leadership. We discussed how these two logics are conceptually incompatible, thereby creating conflicting perspectives as to what it meant to be an ethical leader. By incorporating an institutional logic perspective, we demonstrated that conceptions of ethical leadership are subjected to engrained ideals that may not always be compatible as they lend themselves to differing ethical frameworks. The contextual implications as well as the broader discipline implications of this research are discussed.
Interest in ethical leadership has been spurred by the widespread reporting of corporate malfeasance and corruption in the last decade. Although ethical leadership theories have highlighted the importance of ethical considerations in leadership, the dominant discourses of this field tend to treat ethical leadership as individualised, decontextualised and power-neutral. The purpose of this article is to address these limitations of the mainstream literature through a reimagination of ethical leadership research, development and practice grounded in a feminist, communitarian and corporeal ethic. This approach, I propose, has the potential to reorient leadership as a collective ethico-political project exercised towards the goals of equality, justice and emancipation.
This paper attempts to relate the critical analysis of religious or "sacred" metaphors in leadership to the theory of askēsis, the idea of leader as an incarnation of a virtue defined as "the formation of a full, perfect, complete and self-sufficient relationship with oneself." A model of leadership based on askēsis, it is argued, is established by means of the form of rhetoric called the exemplum, by means of which leaders derive authority from their being held to be a living (or dead) incarnation of an ideal of perfection, and their life being narrated as a "perfectionist vita." The principal means of communication of this exemplarity is the hagiography, which finds its contemporary equivalent in the popular CEO (auto-) biography, which can be interpreted as a reactivation of ancient hagiographic archetypes. In readings of three leader hagiographies, focusing on the narrative, rhetorical, and discursive strategies employed, it is shown how the dubious moral exemplarity of such individuals is established. The paper concludes with a discussion of the differences and analogies between the medieval hagiography and the contemporary CEO (auto-) biography, and a discussion of the relationship between asceticism and charisma in the light of these examples.
The persona, influence, and modi operandi of Israel’s first PM, David Ben-Gurion, have been central in studies on the history of Israel. Relatively few studies, however, focus on the patterns of Ben-Gurion’s leadership in an attempt to decode his personality and the sources of his influence. This article seeks a better understanding about one pattern in Ben-Gurion’s leadership—his communication with "the public" or, to be more precise, with his followers. Below, using Ben-Gurion as a case study, a model is proposed that applies current leadership theories that view the leadership phenomenon as "a relationship that is jointly produced by leaders and followers."
The article proposes an analysis of Ben-Gurion’s leadership through the conceptualization of leader–follower interrelations, following Sheer’s conceptualization, as a "two-way interaction process [by which] the leader and the member co-contribute to the leadership process".
Traditionally leadership studies have focussed on psychological and quantitative approaches that have offered limited insights into the achievement of leader identity as an interactional accomplishment. Taking a discursive approach to leadership in which leaders emerge as those who have most influence in communicatively constructing the organisation, and using transcripts of naturally occurring decision-making talk, the purpose of this paper is to make visible the seen but unnoticed discursive resources by which leader identity emerges in talk. More specifically, using actor network theory as a methodology, this paper focusses on how the director of an organisation ventriloquises (i.e. makes another actor speak through the production of a given utterance) other entities to do leadership. Findings indicate that leadership is achieved by making relevant to the interaction hybrid presences of actants that allow certain organisational players to influence the communicative construction of the organisation and so manage the meaning of organisational reality. In this way, social actors talk into being a ‘leader identity’, which is not necessarily a purely human physical presence, but can also be a hybrid presence of human and nonhuman actants, which are dislocated across time and space. The hybrid production of presence(s) also allows leaders to enact authority as a way of influencing others to accept their version of organisational reality.
As the body of research around diversity and leadership in the workforce continues to grow and develop, so does research around the queer experience in the workforce. Thus far, a great deal of research on the queer experience focuses on the costs and benefits of disclosure in the workplace. However, little work explores the intersection of leadership and sexual orientation. The aim of this qualitative paper is to focus on the specific work and/or volunteer leadership experiences of queer leaders within the context of their organizations. In particular, we focus on how queer leaders perceive the impact of their sexual orientation on their ability to relate to followers. Among the identified themes, issues of disclosure, advocacy, and temporal placement were the most consistent areas perceived to be impacted by sexual orientation. The implications and limitations of this study for future research are discussed.
This paper reviews peer-reviewed research on leadership in Africa published from 1950 to 2009. The review has a dual purpose. On the one hand, it provides scholars with an entry point to the relatively large body of historical literature by means of a descriptive diachronic analysis of the literature. On the other hand, it also applies a synchronic analysis, and concludes with four interpretative statements on the scholarship on leadership in Africa. These statements are: (i) Scholarship on leadership in Africa has changed, and the change is lopsided; (ii) Female scholars are increasing, and they work on different themes from male scholars; (iii) Legitimacy remains a key issue, and continues to evolve; (iv) Authenticity has become a key issue and is now closely related to reclaiming African values.
Both fascinating and perplexing for scholars and managers, dual executive leadership (DEL) is also challenging for the two leaders at the top level of the organization whose roles cut across professional and managerial functions and logics. Conflict may often be present in such duos and can undermine DEL success in the organization. Scholars of plural leadership suggest that trust is a key success factor for DEL relationships, although it has not been closely studied with history and context in mind. This research on DEL in eight non-profit arts organizations provides insights on how past history casts a shadow that influences trust development over time within a DEL relationship and can influence the effectiveness of leadership on the organization. Implications are drawn for research in trust and plural leadership, as well as for boards of directors and current duos in practice.
This research is focused on understanding the ethical implications of conflicting expectations faced by leaders in the media industries. Though the "blended leadership" approach proposed by Collinson and Collinson discusses the existence of these conflicting expectations, we argue that work remains to be done on how this impacts leaders’ authenticity and accountability. Can leaders who respond to these varied demands still consider themselves authentic and accountable to a broad range of stakeholders? As our analysis of data gathered through an empirical study in Europe and the USA shows, the pursuit of profit does not always sit comfortably with the insistence on journalistic integrity, and decisiveness does not always foster openness toward experimentation. We explore the literature on authentic leadership to argue that its references to relational transparency make it difficult to deal with the "blended" nature of leadership reality. In response, we propose that relational accountability could be a more appropriate way to remain authentic despite conflicting demands.
This paper extends research on ethical leadership by proposing a responsibility orientation for leaders. Responsible leadership is based on the concept of leaders who are not isolated from the environment, who critically evaluate prevailing norms, are forward looking, share responsibility, and aim to solve problems collectively. Adding such a responsibility orientation helps to address critical issues that persist in research on ethical leadership. The paper discusses important aspects of responsible leadership, which include being able to make informed ethical judgments about prevailing norms and rules, communicating effectively with stakeholders, engaging in long-term thinking and in perspective taking, displaying moral courage, and aspiring to positive change. Furthermore, responsible leadership means actively engaging stakeholders, encouraging participative decision making, and aiming for shared problem solving. A case study that draws on in-depth interviews with the representatives of businesses and nongovernmental organizations illustrates the practical relevance of thinking about responsibility and reveals the challenges of responsible leadership.
Using Social Practice Wisdom (SPW) as a conceptual lens, we shed new light on destructive, selfish leadership and its negative effects. Our study highlights the negative effects on followers of leaders' selfishness, as well as lack of empathy and inauthenticity. Our work also sheds light on new cross-cultural leadership challenges in emerging economies like Indonesia. Analysis reveals deep tensions between Indonesian leaders' tendency to position themselves in self-serving discourses of feudalism and family, and what young, western educated Indonesian professionals now expect of leaders. Selfish leadership discourse and lack of leader wisdom jeopardize Indonesia's economic development. We argue that wise dialogical communication enhances wise leadership.
This article explores the leadership of Australian Indigenous artists and arts leaders. We advance the idea of ‘territories’ to convey the overlapping contexts in which Indigenous artistic leaders work, and through this framework seek to highlight the embodied ways individuals enact leadership across country and community. Thematic, narrative and discursive analysis of 29 in-depth interviews with diverse Indigenous artists identify four territories and multiple practices of leadership in which our participants engage. The four territories are: authorisation in a bi-cultural world (cultural authorisation and self-authorising); identity and belonging (both fearless and connected); artistic practice (innovative and custodian of cultural values); and history, colonisation and trauma (expressing and containing trauma, empowering and generating hope). The article builds on emerging research on Indigenous leadership to argue that the experiences of Indigenous artists and a framework designed to reflect their embodied and spatially anchored practices, has broader applicability – revealing new insights about leadership.
In his influential book Capital in the 21st Century Thomas
In this article I look at the immense pressures on the function of leadership, on leaders and their followers, from an organisational, ontological and personal perspective. I try to demonstrate that there are three areas of conflict: the projections and expectations put upon leaders, the confusion of misleading definitions of leadership, and an internal conflict which always emerges when taking up a leadership role. I describe and explore the emergence of a splitting phenomenon called the leadership shadow which is a common consequence of these pressures, and suggest a few local solutions to this great societal leadership predicament.
This article draws on critical race theory to interrogate whiteness in dominant discourses of leadership. We conducted a discourse analysis of the media representations of 12 business leaders engaged in philanthropy in Australia to demonstrate how white practices of normalisation, solipsism and ontological expansiveness underpin the construction of white leaders as speaking for society, mastering all environments and self-sacrificing for the greater good. Our analysis suggests that ‘doing leadership’ is inextricably linked to ‘doing whiteness’, while the invisible presence of whiteness in leadership discourses sustains white power and privilege. By ‘naming’ whiteness and its practices, we aspire to unhinge it from its location as transparent, dominant and ordinary, and begin theorising leadership in ways that are conducive to the goals of racial equality.
We respond to the call for a more balanced view of agency (Tourish, 2014: 88) by presenting an account of the forced resignation of Jean-Marie Messier as CEO of the major French company, Vivendi Universal, in 2002. Messier’s ousting arose from a struggle for board control involving an exercise of power that was influenced strongly by kinship relationships, interlocking directorships, and business alliances; and by the interplay between a nouveau riche (Messier), an influential old guard shareholder family (the Bronfmans), and an established elite (of prominent representatives of French business). Collusion between the French business establishment and the Bronfman family created a coalition of interest and a locus of control that managerial and agency theories explain inadequately. We highlight the potential for a reading of class relationships in terms of structuration to foster better understanding of the complexities involved when the board of a major corporation decides to support, or withdraw support for, their CEO. We highlight several context-specific structures and mechanisms that were influential in determining corporate control and CEO agency.
This paper critiques contemporary leadership theory through a historiography of anthropological accounts. Through this review, the paper highlights a number of nuances in the conceptualisation of leadership from differing indigenous cultures using historical and geographical perspectives. The paper contributes to the leadership literature by taking a longitudinal perspective and providing further evidence of a history of notions akin to distributed leadership. This longitudinal perspective enables the paper to uncover an individualistic focus of leadership studies that appear to override sociologically orientated and distributed perspectives within a particular period of the twentieth century. The review of these studies also seems to point towards a pluralistic paradigm of leadership evidenced early on in the twentieth century.
This paper examines the moral standing of leaders not from any particular philosophical or political vantage point, but rather from that of the followers. Followers expect leaders to be competent just as they expect professionals and others; but they also expect leaders to provide moral leadership. Followers frequently judge leaders by standards of morality that are considerably harsher than those by which they judge other people; they may also forgive leaders sins that they would not forgive in others. As a result, leaders are often cast in black and white terms as either saints or devils. The paper argues that criteria used to judge leaders are rooted in fantasy and myth as well as early life experiences, and goes on to highlight the archetype of the caring leader. This is a leader who offers personalized attention to his/her followers and is willing to go beyond the call of duty in dispatching his/her responsibilities. The paper then links the ethical archetype of the caring leader with some current discourses on the ethics of care and the obligations it creates for a caring leader. Using some illustrations from hospital leadership, the paper concludes by identifying some of the difficulties that leaders face in meeting the exigencies of an ethic of care.
There is a great deal of suffering in the world. Through an examination of suffering and compassion, the author suggests that the servant-leader is in a position to address this suffering, but only if an attitude of compassion is added to the concept of servant-leadership. To that end, the author calls for an exploration of compassion and how it addresses suffering. By examining the nature of compassion, its history among religious traditions and some defining features, as well as the universal nature of suffering, the author suggests that compassion would be a worthy addition to the skills of the servant-leader in responding to suffering.
Several problems have persisted in the voluminous body of leader–member exchange (LMX) literature. The most salient problem is the absence of an explicit conceptual definition of LMX in earlier theoretical works and later research. In general, LMX is treated as attributes of the leader and the leader–member relationship rather than interaction-based exchange behavior. The lack of clarity in conceptual definition has led to LMX instruments that measure a hodgepodge of leader and relationship attributes other than LMX. Consequently, findings gleaned with different LMX measures cannot be synthesized meaningfully. This essay introduces a reconceptualization of LMX as a behavior-based construct that consists of four exchange aspects: tangible work, tangible social, work communication, and social communication. A systematic approach to creating a valid measure (LMX-Behavior) is proposed for future research.
The present study tests a model of moderated mediation in the relationship between transformational leadership and follower emotional strain. Based on the job demands-resources model, we suggest that transformational leaders may be able to decrease follower emotional strain by providing social support. It is also proposed that a protective effect of social support from a transformational leader will depend on the employees’ level of professional ambition. Mediation by social support may be stronger for ambitious employees, such that transformational leadership may be associated with less emotional strain for these employees (moderated mediation). A sample of 199 employees participated in a cross-sectional study in Germany. Results confirmed the hypothesized moderated mediation indicating a health-promoting effect of supervisory social support for ambitious employees (not found for low levels of ambition). The study suggests that the idea of a general positive effect of transformational leadership on followers’ emotional strain is not appropriate.
This paper addresses a new perspective how leadership can be conceptualized in times of dispersed and team working structures. The dispersed leadership theory in teams proposes three distinguishing types of leadership, which include interactional leadership exerted by leaders; team leadership provided by team members; and structural leadership influenced by work and organizational factors (i.e., task, organizational structures, and customers). It is assumed that these three types of leadership simultaneously exert influence on follower’s attitudes and behaviors in teams. We outline the theory, review empirical evidence based on the model and discuss the strengths and limitations. In conclusion, we discuss relevant emerging topics for future studies.
Recent theoretical and empirical research focused on the role of affect in the process of leadership. It was proposed that followers’ interpersonal affect toward their supervisor biases the assessment of transformational leadership. In order to extend this work, the present study focused on other important, additional leadership constructs (i.e. transactional, laissez-faire, consideration, initiating structure, leader–member exchange, and ethical leadership). Utilizing data from eight empirical studies (total sample size N = 2213), it was found that liking considerably impacted the assessment of all of these leadership constructs. In addition, the convergence between these leadership constructs was biased by liking. Overall, the role of liking in the leadership process was highlighted.
This study explores whether the internalization of emotional regulation affects well-being and examines further whether authoritarian leadership can moderate the relationship between such internalization of emotional regulation and employee well-being. A total of 271 working adults who were employed by Chinese enterprises in Taiwan participated in this study. All hypotheses were tested using hierarchical regression analyses. The study showed that controlled emotional regulation through external regulation is significantly negatively associated with such indicators of well-being as mental and physical health, whereas autonomous emotional regulation through integrated regulation is significantly positively associated with such indicators of well-being as mental and physical health. The study also found that authoritarian leadership may moderate the relationship between autonomous emotional regulation through identified or integrated regulation and the well-being indicators.
In this article, we explore the phenomenon of willpower in acts of leadership, a capacity that has been largely overlooked by leadership research. It is argued that leadership is a social process where someone assumes leadership by taking and earning a right to lead, and we investigate whether willpower is important for leadership. We do this by conducting three studies. Even though the research is still in need of further work, the conclusions from these studies combined indicate that willpower may be an important capacity in acts of leadership. We also find that willpower is a process phenomenon to which certain generic principles apply, and we suggest a set of strategies for this available to leaders, and to others who want to better use and develop their willpower. We also think that some of the recommendations provided are of interest to other than leaders, given the suggested importance of willpower.
The author contextualizes recent developments in sociocognitive approaches to leadership by drawing on psychoanalytic conceptions of self-identity. It is argued that psychoanalytic views of the self are complementary to contemporary social-cognitive approaches, although historical divergences in these literatures have impeded mutual dialogue. This initiative at dialogue examines charismatic, schema, and self-identity theories of leadership within a psychoanalytic framework, arguing that when self-identity is viewed broadly, convergences between these approaches become apparent. A broad view of the self makes notions of authority central to the construction of personal identities, underscores the ambivalence and relationality of self-processes, and highlights the normative assumptions underlying followership that may be difficult to theorize with contemporary sociocognitive approaches.
This study analyzed data from the US Army’s Reserve Officer’s Training Corps (ROTC) leader development and assessment course (LDAC) leader development program. A quantitative analysis using data spanning 11 years and over 47,000 leadership assessments using 16 leader dimensions allowed for a multivariate logistic regression analysis that determined the nature and duration of activities that had the greatest influence on the overall leader development rating. A descriptive analysis using frequency distributions provides insights to the influences of gender, race, and age on the leadership assessments. Current and future leader development programs can adjust or incorporate findings from this study to enhance programs and more effectively achieve stated outcomes.
This paper examines the inherent tension between a Green political party’s genesis and official ideology and the conventional forms and practices of party leadership enacted in the vast bulk of other parties, regardless of their place on the ideological spectrum. A rich picture is painted of this ongoing struggle through a case study of the Australian Greens with vivid descriptions presented on organisational leadership issues by Australian state and federal Green members of parliaments. What emerges from the data is the Australian Green MPs’ conundrum in retaining an egalitarian and participatory democracy ethos while seeking to expand their existing frame of leadership to being both more pragmatic and oriented towards active involvement in government.
In our investigation of emotion management in organizations, we shift the focus from leadership to followership. To maintain their leadership identity in leader–member relationships, leaders have to elicit emotions that are contingent on the identity of the member. As such, members play a key role in defining leadership. We apply the symbolic interactionist approach of affect control theory and its operationalization in computer simulations to investigate the emotion management of leaders. To do so, we determine which emotions are most normative for leaders to show during their interactions with members that assume identities as passive followers versus active colleagues. The results reveal that the identity of a passive follower elicits emotions that are relatively negative (e.g. defiant, mad, shocked, alarmed, anxious) from leaders, whereas the active colleague identity generates comparatively positive emotions (e.g. pleased, delighted, glad, amused, thankful, relaxed, serene).
This paper explores how moral neutralisation techniques can be employed by business leaders in their moral reasoning. It presents results from leadership training with participants from a Norwegian financial institution. Each participant faced the challenge of being a reference person for an employee who had created social unrest at work. The option of lying about the problems to get rid of the employee initially appeared to conflict with the participants’ moral convictions. Nevertheless, some of them managed to overcome the dissonance by applying moral neutralisation techniques. Focus on moral reasoning of this kind among business leaders is shown to be part of a more general shift in attention from moral character to circumstances in explanations of and countermeasures against moral wrongdoing.
Using in-depth interview material, this article explores the socially constructed and locally mediated nature of authentic leadership. The findings illustrate an irony of authentic leadership: while leaders claim that it is their true and natural selves that make them good leaders; simultaneously, they must restrain their claimed authenticity in order to be perceived as good leaders. This generates tensions that undermine the construction of a more stable and coherent leader identity. The study finds that in order to resolve these tensions, the managers develop metaphorical selves—Mother Teresa, messiah and coach—as a way of trying to accommodate conflicting identity claims while remaining true to the idea of themselves as authentic leaders exercising good leadership. These findings contribute to a constructed, situational and contested notion of leadership by showing how authenticity is an existential project of ‘essentialising’ fragmented and conflicting selves.
This paper explores how globally endorsed leadership behaviors affect women’s involvement in leadership by empirically examining the impact of Project GLOBE’s culturally endorsed implicit leadership theories on a sample of female business and political leaders. The study examines two continuous dependent variables provided by the World Bank: Female Seats in National Parliaments (%) and Self-employed Females (% of Total Self-employment). Regression analysis was used to test the viability of the culturally endorsed implicit leadership theories as possible predictors of women’s participation in leadership. The results indicate that charismatic leadership and self-protective leadership are predictors of women’s leadership participation but in different ways; the former has a positive effect for participation in both leadership (political and business) contexts, and the latter has a negative effect only on political leadership participation.
The aim of this study is to illustrate the rich potential of using a phenomenological lens to forefront leader–follower interactions in an intercultural and dangerous context, thus providing a more situational, relational, and integral understanding of leadership practices. An interdisciplinary approach that used a phenomenological ontology and a leadership practice epistemology was applied to re-analyze a competency framework previously identified in a larger case study of Australian military advisers during the Vietnam War. We demonstrate the rich promise of an embodied perspective through the words of the practitioner and their own (bodily) interpretations of leading. In so doing, we challenge the Cartesian mind–body dichotomy and acontextual approach that underpins most mainstream leadership studies. The (re)analysis locates two "leaderful practices" and identifies the influence of in situ context in which leader–follower relations are situated. Our results signal the explanatory potential of embodiment and the related influence of context on the processual nature of leadership.
Transformational leadership research investigating the identification processes of followers has mostly focused on social identification. In contrast, empirical evidence on the role of followers’ personal identification with their leader is still scarce. Furthermore, there has been no attempt to test the links between personal identification and other proposed mediators of transformational leadership. This study examined how a group’s identification with and trust in its leader sequentially combine to mediate the relationship between transformational leadership and supervisor-rated group performance. Using a sample of 343 employees and their supervisors (N = 80), we tested a model in which trust functions as a proximal mediator and personal identification as a distal mediator in the leadership–performance relationship. Results support the hypothesized three-path mediation model. Our findings indicate the importance of trust for the development of personal identification in the leadership process and provide evidence that the group’s identification with the leader results in positive outcomes for organizations.
We study leadership using anthropological and visual methodological viewpoints, starting from Lévi-Strauss’ association of ritual and mythology. We explore the private fishing ritual of the Cold War era President of Finland, Urho Kekkonen and his political elite ‘tribe’ using visual discourse analysis. We show how the emergent leadership mythology was communicated both within and outside this tribe. The qualitative dataset consists of one primary and two secondary data types: photographs, and correspondence exchanges and media material fragments. We report our analysis through a photo-essay, in which the development of ritual and mythology is presented over time. Our theoretical contributions include showing the association of ritual and myth in the leadership context and how they are intertwined and how they also may separate, as well as the description of a primal leadership archetype, that of the hunter.
Research attests to the perils of hubristic leadership in politics, the military and business organizations, however whilst researchers have identified hubris’ correspondences with personality disorders and various organizational and individual level factors, the cognitive and affective antecedents of hubris have been largely overlooked. In this paper we argue that intuition, existing as it does at the nexus of cognition and affect, is a central factor and that when intuition becomes misunderstood, unchecked or unbridled within the ‘cognitive economy’ of a powerful individual hubristic behaviour is more likely to appear. In what follows we will: review the concepts of hubris, Hubris Syndrome and intuition; propose intuition as an overlooked cognitive and affective source of leaders’ hubris; discuss the relationship between unbridled intuition and hubris; suggest how the perils of hubristic leadership stemming from unbridled intuition might be avoided or mitigated.
Managerial discretion is generally seen as a leadership capacity that affects organizations’ ability to adapt to new and changing demands and circumstances. The aim of this article is to examine this traditional view. Based on a review of the literature, I will argue: Both too little and too much managerial discretion might be disadvantageous to appropriate organizational adaptiveness. Based on findings from a pilot study of top leaders as "change agents," I will make the argument: It is difficult for top leaders as change agents to have both discretion and power.
The current study used a sample of full-time employees of local governments in South Korea to examine whether transformational leadership (TFL) has a significant positive effect on procedural justice (PJ) and organizational affective commitment (OAC) and whether PJ is positively related to OAC. The study also examined whether PJ mediates the effect of TFL on OAC and whether the four culture types (clan, advocacy, hierarchy, and market) moderate the effect of TFL on OAC. The results indicated a positive relationship of TFL with PJ and OAC and a significant relationship between PJ and OAC. Thus, the results demonstrated that PJ partially mediates the relationship between TFL and OAC while hierarchy and market culture type fully moderate the effect of TFL on OAC. However, clan and adhocracy culture type did not moderate the effect of TFL on OAC. Theoretical and practical implications of these findings are discussed and suggestions for future research are made.
Transformational leadership has undergone a critical reassessment. Rather than examining the state of the science or the conceptual confusion and contradictions inherent in the ongoing stream of transformational leadership research, this article adopts an historical perspective, looking back on the founding era of this influential concept. In particular, the article evaluates the use of Lee Iacocca, who became the personification of the transformational leadership ideal. While placing Iacocca's appeal into a particular socio-historical context, the article offers a critical weighing of that devise. This use of Iacocca as a personification and embodiment of the transformational leadership construct was, at best, a highly romanticized take on an individual. At worse, the use of Iacocca was misleading and disingenuous. The article concludes that two core flaws of transformational leadership—over-attribution and romanticizing traditional leadership behaviors—were present from the inception.
Over five years ago, The Leadership Quarterly published a special issue on complexity to advance a new way of thinking about leadership. In shifting attention away from the individual to the organizing process itself, complexity added an important focus on process and context to leadership and management research. Yet, the complexity approach creates challenges for researchers who must combine or replace individual level constructs—like those built through surveys or factor analysis—with richer theories that investigate networked meso dynamics, multilevel phenomena, emergent processes, and organizational outcomes. To address this challenge, the present analysis draws on theoretical and empirical work over the last several years to identify five specific areas where complexity inspired research has led to new insights about the mechanisms that enable the organization to perform and adapt. It suggests propositions that describe how leadership and management, defined holistically, might activate complexity mechanisms to perform five essential organizing functions.
Multi-national corporations (MNCs) appoint Chinese managers at middle management level locally and make extensive efforts to develop their leadership capabilities, yet the number of Chinese managers progressing to senior global level leadership positions lags behind the expectations of both MNCs and local managers. MNC leadership models, often represented in leadership competency frameworks (LCFs), reflect implicit ideas of leadership largely common to executives who share similar (western) cultural backgrounds. This is reinforced by leadership literature that is also strongly influenced by a western perspective. Local managers from non-western cultural backgrounds may hold different conceptions of leadership and struggle to understand MNC leadership requirements. This study explores the leadership constructs of 31 senior global executives and those of 59 local Chinese managers in MNCs operating in China by means of repertory grid methodology. The differences between the two groups and between each group and the LCFs used in their organizations revealed important differences: half the key constructs of leadership used by the senior global leaders were not identified as important or commonly used by the Chinese managers. Most of the ‘missing’ constructs reflect charismatic and transformational leadership characteristics. When compared with the MNCs’ leadership frameworks, differences between the senior global leaders constructs and their company LCFs were found. The gaps between the Chinese managers’ constructs and the same frameworks were even greater. These findings have implications for global leadership theory and practice.
A crucial point of debate around the construct of self-leadership is its supposed lack of distinctiveness from other theoretically related constructs. We empirically investigate in professionals with leadership experience (N = 374) with a bifactor structural equation modeling approach to what extent self-leadership (a) is distinct from related classic motivation constructs (need for achievement, self-regulation, self-efficacy) and (b) harbors incremental predictive validity over and above these motivation constructs in predicting individual job performance and leadership behavior styles (transformational leadership, transactional leadership, laissez-faire leadership). Findings yielded that self-leadership (a) generally showed only moderate associations with constructs of classic motivation literature and was sufficiently distinct from them and (b) could incrementally predict outcomes above and beyond related classic motivation constructs, alluding to its uniqueness. We discuss self-leadership as a unique and useful construct worthy of own systematic research.