Research Handbook of Global Leadership
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Research Handbook of Global Leadership

Making a Difference

Edited by Lena Zander

The Research Handbook of Global Leadership is an exciting new Handbook that brings together an international, prominent group of scholars to take a fresh look at global leadership, and query why and how global leaders can make a difference in our world both today and in the future.
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Chapter 3: Global leadership: sustaining classic managerialism

Stefan Sveningsson and Mats Alvesson


This chapter critically discusses the currently celebrated and seemingly successful trend of global leadership. We claim that part of the answer to why global leadership has become so successful lies in how it is framed and presented as an all-embracing and intuitively good discourse closely aligned with the traditional leader-centered view on leadership in general. While this makes the discourse of global leadership appealing and seductive it also maintains what the chapter suggests to be classic managerialism – emphasis on the manager as the central hub of which everything else in organizations revolves – inherent in much general leadership research. The chapter aims at problematizing this orientation and demystifying global leadership by conceptualizing much of it as an ideological project. In contrast to this the chapter offers a more practice-oriented view on global leadership that includes a much stronger focus on relations, interactions and processes. The latter also suggests that leadership is a socially constructive influencing process involving meaning, ideas, values and feelings.

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