All-inclusive and all good: the hegemonic ambiguity of leadership

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This paper examines the reasons behind the popularity of leadership and leadership studies. We claim that at least part of the answer to why leadership is so celebrated and ubiquitous – in academia as well in society at large – can be found in how the term typically is (not) defined and presented. Leadership discourses are almost always persuasive; constructed to appeal and seduce audiences of the value and significance of leadership. Given their ambiguity, almost everything can be squeezed in and benefit from the aura of leadership. We propose the concept of hegemonic ambiguity to capture this and point at some basic problems associated with it, and argue for a more reflexive approach in relation to the signifier.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Business Administration


  • Leadership, Leadership studies, Followership, Reflexivity
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)480-492
JournalScandinavian Journal of Management
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Publication categoryResearch