Leadership and the Humanities

Puzzles, paradoxes, and paradigms: the intellectual legacy of James MacGregor Burns

Richard A. Couto *

Keywords: leader-centric paradigms, leading, empowerment, leadership systems, Montgomery Bus Boycott

Abstract

As much as we might laud the intellectual contribution of James MacGregor Burns to the field of leadership studies, he would be very disappointed if his work did not spur conflict and challenges. Consequently, this article points out puzzles and paradoxes in Burns's work and suggest elements of a new paradigm. Those elements include leaving behind the leader-centrism that haunts Burns's work and clarifying the leadership role, in contrast to followership, of all members of a group.

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