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Positive effects of laissez-faire leadership: conceptual exploration

Inju Yang (EDC Paris Business School, Paris, France)

Journal of Management Development

ISSN: 0262-1711

Article publication date: 12 October 2015




The dominant view of laissez-faire leadership has so far been avoidant or regarded as zero leadership. Consequently, it has been suggested that laissez-faire leadership is likely to lead to negative consequences in subordinates’ performance and attitudes. The purpose of this paper is to argue that this conventional view is biased from the start as it is burdened with the concept that laissez-faire leadership is non-strategic and therefore implies negative consequences. This paper further argues that to be able to unveil the real outcomes of laissez-faire leadership, focus should shift to the behavioral aspect of laissez-faire leadership, or non-involvement of a leader/leadership.


This conceptual presentation and presented propositions could stimulate the examination of laissez-faire leadership in more balanced ways.


Shifted focus to the behavioral aspect of laissez-faire leadership, or non-involvement of a leader/leadership allows this paper to explore possible positive outcomes, especially with consideration with dynamics of time. While extant studies about laissez-faire leadership have been partial to negative consequences, this paper explores different contexts in which laissez-faire leadership could be positive.


This paper is one of the first attempts to tease out possible outcomes of laissez-faire leadership, which could be not just negative, by adapting the behavioral aspect of non-involvement of a leader.



Yang, I. (2015), "Positive effects of laissez-faire leadership: conceptual exploration", Journal of Management Development, Vol. 34 No. 10, pp. 1246-1261.



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