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Leadership theory: past, present and future

Melissa Horner (University of North Texas, Denton, USA)

Team Performance Management

ISSN: 1352-7592

Article publication date: 1 December 1997


Organizations have changed over the past several decades with regard to the structuring of work methods and processes. Moving away from the traditional hierarchical design, most organizations are developing flatter, leaner structures that support a more empowered, team‐based workforce. The nature of leadership has also changed significantly over time. Building on the body of work that has been done to understand leadership, the current paper explores the various theories of leadership and how these theories have changed over time. Starting with a review of work done on leadership, the trends and changes over time are discussed. In addition, characteristics of successful leaders are identified. Given current developments in organizations, a call for change is presented in the context of teams and team leadership. A modified view of leadership is proposed that may be more appropriate in team‐based structures.



Horner, M. (1997), "Leadership theory: past, present and future", Team Performance Management, Vol. 3 No. 4, pp. 270-287.




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