The great disappearing act: difficulties in doing "leadership"

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


We address ideas and talk about leadership in a research and development (R&D) company. The meaning that middle and senior managers ascribe to leadership is explored. We show how initial claims about leadership values and style tend to break down when managers are asked to expand on how they perceive their leadership and account for what they actually do in this respect. We raise strong doubts about leadership as a construct saying something valuable and valid about what managers do in this kind of setting. We also argue that thinking about leadership needs to take seriously the possibility of the nonexistence of leadership as a distinct phenomenon with great relevance for understanding organizations and relations in workplaces.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Business Administration
  • Economics and Business
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)359-381
JournalLeadership Quarterly
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2003
Publication categoryResearch