Managerial leadership: identities, processes, and interactions

Stefan Sveningsson, Johan Alvehus and Mats Alvesson

in The Work of Managers

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780199639724
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191738661 | DOI:
Managerial leadership: identities, processes, and interactions

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Three perspectives of leadership are discussed: the transformative (i.e. the heroic), the post-heroic, and the mundane. The chapter concludes that if we want to understand managerial leadership as an empirical phenomenon and as a work practice, we need to base our understanding of leadership on ordinary managers’ work. In order to understand leadership as a work practice, we need more theories that are grounded in managers’ behaviours rather than in the theoretical and ideological underpinnings researchers and other societal actors assign them. A muddling-through manager who is occupied with various administrative, relational, and ill-specified work tasks can do excellent work, while the manager who takes the role of the heroic leader may cause serious problems. Management research should avoid the heroic and post-heroic misconceptions of what managers do or should do.

Keywords: transformative leadership; post-heroic leadership; mundane leadership; work practice; empirical phenomena; managerial behaviour

Chapter.  8391 words. 

Subjects: Organizational Theory and Behaviour

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