New Horizons in Leadership Studies series
Edited by George R. Goethals and Georgia L.J. Sorenson
The chapters in this book tell the story of an intellectual journey of nearly five years’ duration. Early in the year 2001 James MacGregor Burns, to whom this book is dedicated, asked the two of us, first Georgia Sorenson and then Al Goe thals, whether we would like to join him and others in writing an integrative theory of leadership. We accepted the challenge, knowing that the chances of any group of scholars actually producing such a theory were, quite frankly, low. There were two difficulties. One, coming up with an integrative, or what we came to call a general, theory was daunting in itself. Few if any intellectual dis ciplines or fields have a widely accepted overarching theory. There are highly influential theories in many disciplines, such as plate tectonics in the geosciences, but few comprehensive models. Two, trying to get a group of scholars from dif ferent disciplines to come up with a single theoretical statement of any kind, or quality, seemed foolhardy. Theories are not generally formualted by groups. Nor are most essays, stories, novels, treatises or briefs. One might argue that parts of some of the founding documents of the United States of American were pro duced by groups, but we may judge that the better parts were largely produced by individuals, such as Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. Nevertheless, we proceeded, and through a process described in the opening chapter of the present volume, we engaged a stellar group of scholars to work on the...