The Elusive Science of Leadership

Michael G. Rumsey

in The Oxford Handbook of Leadership

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

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

The Elusive Science of Leadership


This chapter, which provides some overall comments concerning the current state of leadership research and some thoughts about potentially fruitful directions, explores leadership as a science. The word leadership has been used so broadly as to permeate every aspect of society. A “paradigm shift” has become a popular expression for the process by which one changes one's assumptions about a particular scientific field. Many of the evident points of disagreement between alternative leadership theories may melt away when the terminology used is consistent and clear. The deficiency in a clear definition of the field of study is the fundamental difficulty in advancing leadership science. Effectiveness “is not solely determined by the performance of a particular individual even if that individual is one of the organization's critical leaders.”

Keywords: leadership research; paradigm shift; leadership science; leaders; society

Article.  8666 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Social Psychology

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