Fantasies of leadership: Identity Work

Stefan Sveningsson, Magnus Larsson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

92 Citations (SciVal)


This article explores middle managerial talk and practice connected to expectations of leadership in a planned corporate cultural change programme. Here we explore how a middle manager positions him or herself in relation to contemporary discourse on leadership. We discuss how managerial claims of leadership in practice seem inconsistent with the actual practice. Based on these findings we suggest that leadership ideas could be seen as a kind of fantasy related to identity work, rather than actual practice. We investigate this fantasy in terms of its various sources and relate the fantasy construction to management education and to the planned cultural change in particular.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-224
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2006

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Business Administration
  • Psychology


  • fantasy
  • identity control
  • identity work
  • leadership
  • managerial work


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