Leadership, more or less? A processual, communication perspective on the role of agency in leadership theory

Tourish, Dennis (2014) Leadership, more or less? A processual, communication perspective on the role of agency in leadership theory. Leadership, 10 (1). pp. 79-98. ISSN 1742-7150

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Abstract

‘More’ or ‘better’ leadership remains a popular panacea for business failure, climate change, educational underachievement and myriad other world problems. Yet there has been a growing concern that traditional approaches to the subject have naturalised oppressive power relationships, particularly in the workplace. Scholars have therefore put more stress on the creative contribution of ‘followers’ as co-creators of organisational reality. It is now normal to find calls for shared leadership, less leadership or no leadership. This article argues that even when couched in emancipatory terms, many of these perspectives still tend to diminish the contribution of organisational actors who do not occupy formal leadership roles. Communication and process theories of organisation are employed to suggest that leadership could be more usefully envisaged as those practices which see leaders occupying transitory roles within fluid social structures, in which there is no essence of leadership apart from the discursive constructions of organisational actors and in which the facilitation of disagreement and dissent holds the same importance as a traditional stress on the achievement of cohesion and agreement.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Business, Management and Economics > Business and Management
Depositing User: Stacey Goldup
Date Deposited: 05 Jun 2017 13:10
Last Modified: 05 Jun 2017 13:10
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/68321
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