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

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The bumpy road to exercising leadership : Fragmentations in meaning and practice. / Alvesson, Mats; Jonsson, Anna.

In: Leadership, Vol. 14, No. 1, 02.2018, p. 40-57.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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TY - JOUR

T1 - The bumpy road to exercising leadership

T2 - Fragmentations in meaning and practice

AU - Alvesson, Mats

AU - Jonsson, Anna

PY - 2018/2

Y1 - 2018/2

N2 - 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.

AB - 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.

KW - Identity

KW - managing

KW - qualitative research

KW - practice

KW - relational leadership

U2 - 10.1177/1742715016644671

DO - 10.1177/1742715016644671

M3 - Article

VL - 14

SP - 40

EP - 57

JO - Leadership

JF - Leadership

SN - 1742-7169

IS - 1

ER -