Handbook of Methods in Leadership Research
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Handbook of Methods in Leadership Research

Edited by Birgit Schyns, Rosalie J. Hall and Pedro Neves

This volume provides an overview of a variety of quantitative and qualitative methods for leadership research, authored by scholars in the areas of leadership and research methodology. Integrating insights from other research areas, it provides novel approaches and multiple techniques for leadership research in a straightforward fashion. Because the volume is designed to help leadership researchers get their first insights into specific methods and their potential application to leadership research, it is appropriate for multiple audiences. These include academics and practitioners wanting to try a new method, as well as advanced undergraduate and graduate students wanting an overview of a variety of techniques. It will also be helpful to readers and reviewers as they endeavour to better understand and assess the quality of existing leadership research.
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Chapter 15: Biographical methods in leadership research

Miguel Pina e Cunha, Marianne Lewis, Arménio Rego and Wendy K. Smith

Abstract

The chapter discusses the role of biographical methods in leadership research. Biographical methods refer to a variety of approaches that include self-narratives, autobiographies, and historical biographies. The authors explore an individual’s life story to elucidate its dynamics over time. Biographical methods engage with the lived experience of leadership and aim to explore the richness of the experience of leading. They aim to generate deep-level and holistic insights into the behaviors, relationships, thoughts, and emotions of leaders, and help to make sense of how such behaviors, relationships, thoughts, and emotions dynamically unfold over time and in context. Biographical methods provide a rich combination of breadth (the dimensions across a leader’s life) and depth (the intimate details about the leader’s life and circumstances over time). Such combination of breadth and depth favors the creation of insight into factors often excluded from leadership research, namely the paradoxical tensions and inconsistencies inherent in leadership processes.

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