IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Looking for the key to leadership under the lamp post

Listed author(s):
  • Sims, David
Registered author(s):

    Summary The proliferation of books on leadership continues to be fed by a widespread anxiety about leadership. When in doubt, wicked problems in organizations are often defined as leadership problems, and every new offering from the leadership 'alchemists' is seized on in the hope that at last there may be technique which enables us to turn everything to organizational gold. The flow of books on leadership shows no sign of diminishing, and we do not seem to be much closer to having a practical grasp of the subject. How much progress are we making? If we look harder under the lamp post where most of the work has been done and therefore where the light is, will we find out about leadership? Or are we seeking answers in the wrong place? This paper argues that we have indeed been looking for answers in the wrong place, and suggests new areas to search instead. In particular, it argues that: - Leadership is an activity, not a role. - To understand leadership we need to look at activities, not at individual named leaders. - We need new and better metaphors for the activities of organizational leadership, such as the poet in residence, contemplation, narrative, and dialogue.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal European Management Journal.

    Volume (Year): 28 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 4 (August)
    Pages: 253-259

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:eee:eurman:v:28:y:2010:i:4:p:253-259
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    Order Information: Postal:

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:eurman:v:28:y:2010:i:4:p:253-259. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.