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A productive clash of cultures : injecting economics into leadership research

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  • Zehnder, Christian
  • Herz, Holger
  • Bonardi, Jean-Philippe

Abstract

Research on leadership in economics has developed in parallel to the literature in management and psychology and links between the fields have been sparse. Whereas modern leadership scholars mostly focus on transformational and related leadership styles, economists have mainly emphasized the role of contracts, control rights, and incentives. We argue that both fields could profit from enriching their approach with insights from the other field. We review and synthesize the economics literature on leadership in organizations and discuss how leadership scholars in management and psychology can benefit from the detailed understanding of transactional methods that economists have developed. We link the contributions in economics to a broad set of topics including the foundations of leadership, leader emergence, and leader effectiveness. At the same time, we also point out limitations of the economic approach and outline how the integration of leadership research and economics would broaden the scope of future studies.

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  • Zehnder, Christian & Herz, Holger & Bonardi, Jean-Philippe, 2016. "A productive clash of cultures : injecting economics into leadership research," FSES Working Papers 478, Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences, University of Freiburg/Fribourg Switzerland.
  • Handle: RePEc:fri:fribow:fribow00478
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    Keywords

    Leadership; Economics; Foundations; Emergence; Effectiveness;

    JEL classification:

    • D3 - Microeconomics - - Distribution
    • D21 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Theory
    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • M50 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - General

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