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Intellectual Failure and Ideological Success in Organization Studies : The Case of Transformational Leadership

Alvesson, Mats LU and Kärreman, Dan LU (2016) In Journal of Management Inquiry 25(2). p.139-152
Abstract

This article discusses the current self-confidence and apparent success—at least by market/popularity measures—of leadership studies (LS) in general and transformational leadership (TFL) in particular. An alternative interpretation is offered, suggesting that it is the ideological character of these approaches that account for their “success,” at least in quantitative terms. Their wide appeal needs to be understood against the background of the fragmentation in the field before the entrance of these much more popularly appealing, but theoretically questionable ideas which lack credible empirical support. The article concludes that the currently popular streams are strongly structured by ideology—drawing on hero and religious... (More)

This article discusses the current self-confidence and apparent success—at least by market/popularity measures—of leadership studies (LS) in general and transformational leadership (TFL) in particular. An alternative interpretation is offered, suggesting that it is the ideological character of these approaches that account for their “success,” at least in quantitative terms. Their wide appeal needs to be understood against the background of the fragmentation in the field before the entrance of these much more popularly appealing, but theoretically questionable ideas which lack credible empirical support. The article concludes that the currently popular streams are strongly structured by ideology—drawing on hero and religious mythologies—and suggests some ways to reduce the ideological overtone and the resulting tendency to produce tautologies and biased results.

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Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
leadership, philosophy of science, power and politics
in
Journal of Management Inquiry
volume
25
issue
2
pages
14 pages
publisher
SAGE Publications Inc.
external identifiers
  • Scopus:84959084188
ISSN
1056-4926
DOI
10.1177/1056492615589974
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
220ed93c-e46e-4dde-a060-a1e69b5729c6
date added to LUP
2016-06-08 07:56:09
date last changed
2016-10-27 09:21:53
@misc{220ed93c-e46e-4dde-a060-a1e69b5729c6,
  abstract     = {<p>This article discusses the current self-confidence and apparent success—at least by market/popularity measures—of leadership studies (LS) in general and transformational leadership (TFL) in particular. An alternative interpretation is offered, suggesting that it is the ideological character of these approaches that account for their “success,” at least in quantitative terms. Their wide appeal needs to be understood against the background of the fragmentation in the field before the entrance of these much more popularly appealing, but theoretically questionable ideas which lack credible empirical support. The article concludes that the currently popular streams are strongly structured by ideology—drawing on hero and religious mythologies—and suggests some ways to reduce the ideological overtone and the resulting tendency to produce tautologies and biased results.</p>},
  author       = {Alvesson, Mats and Kärreman, Dan},
  issn         = {1056-4926},
  keyword      = {leadership,philosophy of science,power and politics},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {04},
  number       = {2},
  pages        = {139--152},
  publisher    = {ARRAY(0x8eb0728)},
  series       = {Journal of Management Inquiry},
  title        = {Intellectual Failure and Ideological Success in Organization Studies : The Case of Transformational Leadership},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1056492615589974},
  volume       = {25},
  year         = {2016},
}