Leadership in Context and Context in Leadership Studies

Boas Shamir

in The Oxford Handbook of Leadership

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780195398793
Published online December 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

Leadership in Context and Context in Leadership Studies


This chapter evaluates the “state of the science” of leadership studies with respect to the issue of context, describes some of the limitations of studies of leadership in specific contexts, and offers some suggestions about the incorporation of context into leadership theories. Studies of leadership in specific contexts, especially when they are written by authors who are highly informed about general leadership theories, have the potential to contribute to general theories. The group context identifies the characteristics of the elected or endorsed leader. Leadership aims to obtain acceptance of the interpretation favored by the leader. The general point is that studies of leadership in specific contexts or roles have to be complemented by theory-based comparative studies of leadership in different contexts, whether such studies explore hypotheses derived inductively from context-specific studies or hypotheses derived deductively from extensions of leadership theories.

Keywords: leadership; group context; elected leader; endorsed leader; leadership theories

Article.  9399 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Social Psychology

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