Bolden, R., Hawkins, B., Gosling, J. and Taylor, S. (2012), "Exploring Leadership: Individual, Organizational and Societal Perspectives", Human Resource Management International Digest, Vol. 20 No. 7. https://doi.org/10.1108/hrmid.2012.04420gaa.013Download as .RIS
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Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Exploring Leadership: Individual, Organizational and Societal Perspectives
Article Type: Suggested reading From: Human Resource Management International Digest, Volume 20, Issue 7
Richard Bolden, Beverley Hawkins, Jonathan Gosling and Scott TaylorOxford University Press, 2011, ISBN: 9780199547661
Richard Bolden, Beverley Hawkins, Jonathan Gosling and Scott Taylor identify the ways in which they believe that Exploring Leadership differs from some other leadership books on the market. They include its broadly critical perspective on leadership, and interdisciplinary, multi-level and balanced perspectives.
The first two are self-explanatory. The balanced perspective occurs as the authors attempt to balance the pros and cons of the various perspectives of leadership.
The need to investigate leadership from a multi-level perspective has gained momentum in the past decade. This is partly because of the availability of tools – such as hierarchical-linear modeling and structural-equation modeling – necessary to explore multi-level effects. The main reason, however, is to move the discipline past the theoretical block it came up against in the 1980s and 1990s.
A common question then was “Does leadership matter?” Substitutes and neutralizers were offered to explain leadership, as were attribution theories.
Exploring Leadership contains seven chapters. An introduction is followed by five chapters exploring theoretical, individual, organizational, societal and emerging leadership. The close of each chapter contains a list of notes that clarify statements made throughout the chapter. A short conclusion provides a succinct yet satisfying overview.
The first chapter contains three points supporting the necessity of reframing how academics and business people investigate leadership. First, the authors assert the necessity of balancing the focus not solely on a single leader, but on the many individuals involved in the collective process of leading. Next, the authors point out that how leaders are developed is being reframed. They call for a reassessment of the methods used to study leadership.
Theoretical perspectives comprise chapter 2. The chapter might be aptly labeled “historical perspectives” because it is an overview of leadership study preceding this book. Similarly, chapter 3 (individual perspectives) explores the history of trait theories, for example.
Next, contextual and organizational perspectives are offered. Chapter 5 explores societal perspectives. Here the authors begin to address the importance of leadership beyond organizations, armies and governments.
Emerging perspectives are addressed in the sixth chapter, in which ethics and spirituality, among other new-genre leadership perspectives and topics, are briefly discussed.
The authors conclude with a call for leadership scholars to frame their contemporary thinking based on an understanding of the history of the discipline.
Exploring Leadership provides today’s take on a decades-long history of leadership study.
Reviewed by Larry Hughes, Nebraska Wesleyan University, USA.
A longer version of this review was originally published in Leadership & Organization Development Journal, Vol. 33 No. 3, 2012.