The Dialogue of Disciplines
New Horizons in Leadership Studies series
Edited by Michael Harvey and Ronald E. Riggio
Chapter 11: Leadership Research and Education: How Business Schools Approach the Concept of Leadership
Susan Elaine Murphy and Stefanie K. Johnson Today’s organizational leaders, whether in the for-profit or not-for-profit world, are under increased pressure from various constituents to perform well. Direct pressure emanates from shareholders, boards of directors, customers, government regulators and the courts. Indirectly, business magazines put pressure on CEOs whose successes are celebrated with cover stories and whose failures are dissected with long, detailed exposés. Moreover, in times of crisis, many pundits point to corporate leaders as the source of good or evil, and the salaries and bonuses commanded by these leaders often take center stage. Beginning in fall 2008, an increasing number of leaders were blamed, and subsequently removed, to underscore to the US stock markets and the world that leaders were the source of many of the problems facing companies such as Chrysler, Merrill Lynch, Lehman Brothers, Countrywide and Bank of America. Throughout US industrial history, for better or for worse, organizational leaders have enjoyed a type of celebrity status. Because of this emphasis, leaders’ actions, both positive and negative, have been offered as exemplars of what leaders should and should not do to succeed, and are discussed in business schools across the US and abroad. Learning from CEOs who have turned a company around, or who have enjoyed years of increasing stock prices, is part and parcel of how management is understood in business schools and how business students are educated. After the business scandals of 2000 and those of fall 2008 shook the financial markets, many...
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