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Journal Article

Developing a new Perspective on Leadership Theory: From a Tree of Knowledge to a Rhizome of Contingencies  pp55-66

Chris Mortimer

© Dec 2009 Volume 7 Issue 1, ECRM 2009, Editor: Ann Brown, Joseph Azzopardi, Frank Bezzina, pp1 - 116

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Abstract

Does the discursive formation of leadership theory hinder the development and practise of alternative leadership styles in the UK? This research question is in response to the issues summarised in the PriceWaterhouseCooper's 2008 report on Key Trends in Human Capital. Eight years into the new millennium, leadership is still at the top of the human capital agenda. Although companies invest considerable amounts of money in leadership development, the report suggests that there is limited evidence of leadership programmes delivering value for money, and that three in every ten leaders in the UK do not demonstrate essential leadership qualities. This indicates issues with the practical application of leadership research. The common denominator of all leadership research and application is the leadership theories. The theories are an easily comprehensible, continuous series of events that lead into the present of leadership, supporting all leadership research. Unquestioned assumptions support the theory framework, becoming commonly accepted truths. These suppositions include; the grounding of theory and research in reality; leadership is a fundamental component of the human condition; that social and economic progress has only been possible due to leadership, together with the unquestioned dismissal of alternative voices. Finally there is a notion that leadership theory evolves, drawing on a Darwinian event of natural selection, by evoking biological empirical science to explain a discursive structure. The research and the subject of this paper is to challenge the assumptions and framework of leadership theory through the creation of a research strategy based on Foucault's methods, creating a rhizome of contingencies rather than a progressive tree of knowledge. The paper will address definitions of the archive, archaeology and genealogy, as contextualised within the research.

 

Keywords: leadership theory, Foucault, methodology, philosophy, research strategies

 

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Journal Issue

Volume 7 Issue 1, ECRM 2009 / Dec 2009  pp1‑116

Editor: Ann Brown, Joseph Azzopardi, Frank Bezzina

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Editorial

The 8th European Conference on Research Methods in Business and Management attracted a wide range of papers. The conference fell naturally into four main themes: introducing relatively new techniques, in depth description of application of accepted research methods, overview of the whole research process and attempts to deal with intractable problems. The final selection of papers was agreed both the editor of the Journal and the editors of the conference proceedings, Joseph Azzopardi and Frank Bezzina. The comments of session chairs were taken into account in making the final selection of papers for this issue of the EJBRM.

The quality of the papers was particularly high and the selection of those papers for the Journal presented a difficult choice. The papers selected were chosen for their quality of writing, their relevance to the Journal’s objective of publishing papers that offer new insights or practical help in the application of research methods in business research and to represent the four major themes of the conference.

The papers dealt with the problems facing management researchers in a variety of ways. The papers proposed a number on new and unusual methods, including Psychogeography ( Knowles) and webometrics (Romero‑Frias). Both of these papers focused on explaining the technique and its appropriateness to business research. Techniques dealt with in previous issues were also well represented including mixed methods (Ryan); Grounded Theory (Noel & Kamyangale); REP Grid (Klaus). Several papers offered some valuable insights into key steps of the research process including audit trail (Carcary) and data collection problems and interpretation ( Iacono, Brown and Holtham; Rasmussen, and Heiko; Heiro and Reetta). The paper by Brooke and Parker introduced a new dimension (spirituality) to the philosophy of business research. One paper offered an intriguing review of leadership research (Mortimer).

 

Keywords: brand identity, brand personality, business intelligence, business management, business survey, critical management, essential self, fact-based, feminist research methods, focus groups, Foucault, grounded theory, health care professionals, higher education, information systems, information technology, internet studies, interpretivist paradigm, interview, leadership theory, London, longitudinal case work, luxury brand, meaning and work, methodology, multicultural data collection, nonresponse, organisations, organisations audit trail, organizational culture, participant observation, philosophy, Protestant Ethic, psychogeography, qualitative data, qualitative online research, qualitative research, qualitative research methods, regional development, religion, Repertory Grid Method, research confirmability, trustworthiness, research design, research methods , research strategies, safety in the field, self-selection, SMEs, spirituality, steel trading case, transferability, Web 2.0, Web minin

 

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