To read this content please select one of the options below:

Leadership for knowledge organizations

A D Amar (Seton Hall University, South Orange, New Jersey, USA)
Vlatka Hlupic (Westminster Business School, London, UK)

European Journal of Innovation Management

ISSN: 1460-1060

Article publication date: 9 May 2016




The purpose of this paper is to give some theoretical foundation to leadership function and style for managing knowledge workers whose work, by definition, is non-routine, thrives on innovation, and places a special demand on autonomy for its execution.


Extant search of literature to look for evidence supporting successful leadership theories and practices that are shown to improve performance of knowledge workers. Synthesis of findings to structure a framework in the form of major propositions for their testing by future research.


The authors begin with establishing the first finding that states that leadership of knowledge organizations is different from the leadership of traditional organizations. Then the authors build six additional findings for shaping a successful leadership process for knowledge organizations.

Research limitations/implications

Since it is a theoretical paper built on a search of literature in the field of leadership, there is a need to empirically test the findings to give them their final shape. Each of the seven propositions in this paper would result into many hypotheses that should initiate several empirical studies.

Practical implications

The authors consider individual and organizational/group contexts of the leadership proposed here, and also provide recommendations for carrying out this research further. While the paper is written more specifically with regard to the leadership of knowledge organizations where its findings should be fully implantable, however, to some extent, they would apply to all organizations.

Social implications

Leadership is a ubiquitous social phenomenon. It affects not only organizations, but also every aspect of human activity. This paper is an attempt to alter the fundamental thinking of leaders, suggesting to not to use authority, and instead, to allow everyone connected with the task the opportunity to lead. This shift in leadership paradigm will have an impact on the behavior of all involved, and steadily, will bring a change in the norms of social behavior.


This paper is a move toward giving the knowledge organization leadership some theoretical framework, as it is still in a state of flux in spite of attracting a lot of research.



Amar, A.D. and Hlupic, V. (2016), "Leadership for knowledge organizations", European Journal of Innovation Management, Vol. 19 No. 2, pp. 239-260.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Related articles