Images of Leadership

Research Cluster

Speaker:Sverre Spoelstra, University of Lund
Date: Wednesday 20 October 2010
Time: 4.00pm
Location: Streatham Court D

Further details

Leadership studies has since the early 1980s shown more interest in creating images of leadership than in developing theories. By substituting theory with image, leadership studies has become more ‘relevant’ and is demonstrably ‘excellent’ in terms of top-ranked journal articles hosting image-advancing theories. Part of the reason for this lies in leadership scholars’ realization that leadership studies is, at best, ‘loosely coupled’ to leadership development – in other words, an increasing understanding of leadership may not always be beneficial for the development of leadership. The turn to image provides a remedy: images of leadership provide a more direct way of stimulating leadership development than ideas such as the transformational leader, the servant leader, the authentic leader or shared leadership. However through images would-be leaders are stimulated to behave in particular ways that no theory of leadership could possibly realize.