Contemporary Issues in Leadership

Contemporary Issues in Leadership

Contemporary Issues in Leadership

Contemporary Issues in Leadership


This new edition of Contemporary Issues in Leadership speaks directly to the central points of change: leadership vs. management; leadership and followership; and especially, the diversity of leadership styles and pathways.


With the last edition of this book, we thought that we might have explored all of the possible aspects of leadership. But leadership studies continue to capture the minds of a wide variety of people in universities, corporate training programs, and the popular press. Since the previous edition, nearly 2,000 articles and scores of books have been published on the topic. Traditional academic disciplines, religious organizations, the military, and businesses continue to explore the secrets and mysteries of effective leadership.

Whereas we once believed that the multidisciplinary writings were providing a broader and deeper understanding of the topic, there is now even more confusion on how to define, describe, and analyze leadership. Perhaps this is because there are so many perspectives and contradictions or because we may be on a quest to define a concept as complex as leadership in terms that are simple and easy to understand. We are not disturbed, however, by the absence of consensus. Rather, we are finding that the differences in leadership writing reflect the many differences in people, organizations, and societies. The excitement is in finding emerging themes that are common in the interdisciplinary study of a topic that continues to give us energy and satisfaction. Clearly, the need to understand leadership continues and the passion for the topic is greater than ever.

Study of the development of leadership theory is a useful reminder of how far (and how little) we have traveled over the past five decades. Several views of leadership have been advanced with many common characteristics. Yet as our world has become more global than local, communication gives us access to events instantly, technological change is dominating our lives, and social differences challenge existing institutions, the need for effective leadership is stronger than ever. Thus a review of leadership assumptions leads us to a new vision that we believe captures the essence of effective leadership in the modern world.

Followership has become a more acceptable topic as scholars explore models of the dynamic, reciprocal relationships between those who lead and those who are led. Complex exchanges and multiple responses char-

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