The Study of Leadership

The Study of Leadership

The Study of Leadership

The Study of Leadership

Excerpt

Since written language is the distinguishing characteristic of a human being's humanness, the world is full of literature. Human behavior also is full of leadership, and a sizeable portion of the world's literature relates to leadership. The beginnings of human attempts to record experiences include some designations of the phenomenon now referred to as leadership, many of these attempts being just simple picture carvings in which some figures are given a separate status through size or position in relationship to other figures in a group. Through all of the subsequent history of man's attempts to record human experiences, leadership has been recognized to an increasingly greater extent as one of the significant aspects of human activity. As a result, there is now a great mass of "leadership literature" which, if it were to be assembled in one place, would fill many libraries. The great part of this mass, however, would have little organization; it would evidence little in the way of common assumptions and hypotheses; it would vary widely in theoretical and methodological approaches. To a great extent, therefore, leadership literature is a mass of content without any coagulating substances to bring it together or to produce coordination and point out interrelationships.

For approximately 50 years, and particularly during the past 25 years, psychologists and sociologists have been increasingly active in attempting to introduce the methods and knowledge of the human sciences into the study of leadership. The theoretical framework of these human disciplines still is in the developmental stages, but it is being utilized in the leadership area, and it well may be that leadership studies will contribute eventually to the general theory of human science. It is too soon, however, for any highly effective coagulation of these more recent scientific attempts to study leadership. No successful attempt . . .

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