Critical Leadership Studies: Exploring the Dialectics of Leadership

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This chapter explores the growing impact of Critical Leadership Studies (CLS). Covering a diverse set of theories and approaches, critical perspectives hold that, whether for good and/or ill, and whether focussing on individuals and/or collectives, power in all its forms is a central, under-examined issue for leadership studies. Problematizing the dichotomizing tendency in leadership studies, CLS also emphasize the value of analysing leadership power relations through dialectical perspectives. Critical approaches address the asymmetric interplay between leaders, managers, followers and contexts as well as their potentially contradictory conditions, processes and consequences. By addressing the dialectics of power, conformity and resistance, critical perspectives challenge conventional understandings of leader-follower dynamics. In so doing they open up new ways of theorizing, researching and enacting leadership.

Author: David Collinson

Chapter in book: What’s Wrong With Leadership? Improving Leadership Research and Practice. Edited by Ronald E. Riggio (2018). Routledge, New York.

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