The bumpy road to exercising leadership: Fragmentations in meaning and practice

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The present study focuses on a manager’s understanding of leadership and how this guides – or does not guide practice. The paper reports an empirical in-depth study of a middle manager in an international manufacturing company. We link our discussion to both – the mainstream leadership studies, which assume that managers have a solid type of leadership behavior, and authors with a meaning-oriented, linguistic approach to leadership, in which language, self-awareness, and behavior are linked. The present study suggests that leadership attempts can vary, be divisive, and that a manager’s advocacy efforts are driven by a multitude of different, partly opposing, forces, meaning a decoupling of ideas and behavior in leadership practice. The paper raises the question of whether managers’ meanings of leadership correspond with what they do in practice.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Business Administration


  • Identity , managing, qualitative research , practice, relational leadership
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-57
Issue number1
Early online date2016 Apr 19
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Feb
Publication categoryResearch