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Is leadership a visible phenomenon? On the (im)possibility of studying leadership

Spoelstra, Sverre LU (2013) In International Journal of Management Concepts and Philosophy 7(3-4). p.174-188
Abstract
This paper draws on Jean–Luc Marion's notion of non–objective phenomena to discuss the difficulty of studying leadership. Marion conceptualises non–objective phenomena as phenomena that cannot be captured by scientific methods. Attempts to do so result in a poor understanding of the phenomenon as it gives itself. Put differently: non–objective phenomena remain invisible to the gaze of the researcher. The paper shows how leadership scholars are indecisive about the question of whether leadership is to be understood as an objective or as a non–objective phenomenon. Or more precisely they tend to understand leadership as a non–objective phenomenon, but study leadership as if it were objective. This mismatch, the paper suggests, explains why... (More)
This paper draws on Jean–Luc Marion's notion of non–objective phenomena to discuss the difficulty of studying leadership. Marion conceptualises non–objective phenomena as phenomena that cannot be captured by scientific methods. Attempts to do so result in a poor understanding of the phenomenon as it gives itself. Put differently: non–objective phenomena remain invisible to the gaze of the researcher. The paper shows how leadership scholars are indecisive about the question of whether leadership is to be understood as an objective or as a non–objective phenomenon. Or more precisely they tend to understand leadership as a non–objective phenomenon, but study leadership as if it were objective. This mismatch, the paper suggests, explains why leadership studies tends to oscillate between objectivist science and (pseudo) religious image making and why it struggles to find a foothold in either sphere. In light of this problem, the paper suggests 'leadership image studies' as a possible way forward. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
leadership studies, image making, objective phenomenon, non–objective phenomenon, phenomenology, gift, Jean–Luc Marion, social constructionism, leadership traits, visibility, religion, objectivist science, leadership image studies
in
International Journal of Management Concepts and Philosophy
volume
7
issue
3-4
pages
174 - 188
publisher
Inderscience Publishers
ISSN
1478-1484
DOI
10.1504/IJMCP.2013.056499
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
18a075f4-0186-4f3f-8f27-212476152d54 (old id 8302951)
date added to LUP
2016-04-01 10:55:51
date last changed
2018-11-21 19:52:49
@article{18a075f4-0186-4f3f-8f27-212476152d54,
  abstract     = {This paper draws on Jean–Luc Marion's notion of non–objective phenomena to discuss the difficulty of studying leadership. Marion conceptualises non–objective phenomena as phenomena that cannot be captured by scientific methods. Attempts to do so result in a poor understanding of the phenomenon as it gives itself. Put differently: non–objective phenomena remain invisible to the gaze of the researcher. The paper shows how leadership scholars are indecisive about the question of whether leadership is to be understood as an objective or as a non–objective phenomenon. Or more precisely they tend to understand leadership as a non–objective phenomenon, but study leadership as if it were objective. This mismatch, the paper suggests, explains why leadership studies tends to oscillate between objectivist science and (pseudo) religious image making and why it struggles to find a foothold in either sphere. In light of this problem, the paper suggests 'leadership image studies' as a possible way forward.},
  author       = {Spoelstra, Sverre},
  issn         = {1478-1484},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {3-4},
  pages        = {174--188},
  publisher    = {Inderscience Publishers},
  series       = {International Journal of Management Concepts and Philosophy},
  title        = {Is leadership a visible phenomenon? On the (im)possibility of studying leadership},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1504/IJMCP.2013.056499},
  doi          = {10.1504/IJMCP.2013.056499},
  volume       = {7},
  year         = {2013},
}