Rethinking Leadership
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Rethinking Leadership

A New Look at Old Questions, Second Edition

Donna Ladkin

This thoroughly revised and extended second edition of Rethinking Leadership offers an entirely new approach to understanding leadership as a lived experience rather than a checklist of traits or behaviors. Alongside selected expert contributors, Donna Ladkin makes complex ideas accessible by illustrating them with practical examples drawn from a broad experience of both academic leadership and management across a range of commercial, political and not-for-profit organizations.
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Chapter 2: Why are there so many different theories of leadership?

Donna Ladkin


This chapter argues that the fact that there are so many different theories of leadership points to something significant about leadership as a phenomenon. By drawing on phenomenological concepts of ‘The Lifeworld’, as well as ‘sides’, ‘aspects’ and ‘identity’, the case is made that leadership looks very different depending on the context in which it is being enacted, as well as the position from which it is being regarded. From a phenomenological perspective, leadership is classified as a ‘moment’ of social relations, which is wholly dependent upon the situation in which it arises, as well as the perceptions of leaders and followers about their joint purpose. Understanding leadership as this kind of socially constructed event indicates the need for leadership theorizing to develop further, rather than retract backwards into more unitary views of what ‘counts’ as leadership.

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