The Leadership Imagination
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The Leadership Imagination

An Introduction to Taxonomic Leadership Analysis

Donald R. LaMagdeleine

In the interest of reimagining leadership as a highly contextual activity with moral overtones, LaMagdeleine argues for blending sociology and history of religions scholarship in leadership analysis of black swan leadership dilemmas. His analysis introduces the term “leadership imagination” to describe the resulting approach.
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Chapter 8: Parting thoughts on applying the leadership imagination in leadership analysis

Donald R. LaMagdeleine


This chapter recapitulates the book’s core premises by citing examples of how those premises were used in the two case study chapters. As distilled to three core principles for conducting leadership imagination analysis, it should: (1) incorporate normative issues that harbor ethical implications for both the specific organization and others in similar situations; (2) emphasize a qualitative orientation to data collection because to do otherwise prematurely boxes the situation into predetermined categories that do not suit a phronetic form of knowledge; (3) feature systematic checking of the data to unearth metaphors and other non-linear formats for representing the emergent patterns. Finally, while breadth of historical and conceptual analysis is a virtue in taxonomic leadership analysis, it does not substitute for burrowing down to the specifics of potential steps that a leader might successfully take within the specific organization or situation, and why those steps stand a reasonable chance to work.

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