Barbara Kellerman

in Professionalizing Leadership

Published in print April 2018 | ISBN: 9780190695781
Published online February 2018 | e-ISBN: 9780190874452 | DOI:

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Given that leadership remains an occupation, the chapter explores the nature of occupations. It asks what it is about the exercise of leadership that makes us think it can be learned quickly and easily—and taught superficially and haphazardly to many people in many different situations. Part of the problem is leadership theory, which is inconsistent, almost incoherent. Again, leadership is compared to medicine and law, each of which benefits from having a coherent body of knowledge that students in professional schools are expected to master. In contrast, two experts describe leadership as a “vast and sprawling field with no clear contours or boundaries, which has been pursued in fits and starts across different disciplines and intellectual traditions.” No surprise that leadership pedagogies are similarly disparate, unregulated, and undisciplined. Small wonder that leadership has stayed stuck—an occupation not evolved even to a vocation, not to speak of a profession.

Keywords: leadership; management; leadership practice; leadership theory; leadership pedagogy; leadership curriculum; occupation; profession

Chapter.  8914 words. 

Subjects: Political Economy ; Business Strategy

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