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Jon Aarum Andersen

Leadership scholars tend to conflate managerial leadership with leadership of political, humanitarian or religious movements. Thus, definitions of formal leadership (management) versus political leadership are called for. For theoretical development and empirical research, it is imperative to distinguish managerial leadership from political leadership. What properties must exist for leadership to exist and to be what it is? The argument here is that leader, subordinates and tasks are the properties that must exist for managerial leadership to exist. Political leadership, however, contains the properties of leader, leader's goals and followers. The political leadership concept does not specify any tasks assigned to the followers. Additionally, some leadership researchers argue that we need to rethink leadership by making or changing leadership into a question of the science of philosophy, as though questions of ontology and epistemology were especially imperative or crucial for leadership research. Some argue that leadership scholars should be philosophers and supreme experts on scientific methods. Finally, an answer is given to those few researchers who have questioned the very existence of leadership.

Open access

Jon Aarum Andersen

The aim of this article is to enhance the understanding of the present state of leadership scholarship by describing similarities between leadership theories and underlining significant differences between them. Based on four criteria, two broad groups of leadership theories are identifiable. These two groups are fundamentally different with respect to the conceptions of both organisations and leadership. While one group of theories concentrates on descriptions and understandings of leadership processes, the other group emphasises causal relationships between leadership and organisational outcomes. A critical result of the divergent emphases is that the theoretical relationships between these two groups of scholarship appear to have ended. Advancements in one area may no longer be beneficial to other areas. This article stresses that it is necessary to come to grips with the consequences of the present fissured state in leadership research.