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Reflexive Leadership

Reflexive Leadership
Organising in an imperfect world

First Edition

Other Titles in:

November 2016 | 248 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
Making a case for a reflexive approach to leadership, the authors draw upon decades of carrying out in-depth studies of professionals trying to “do” leadership. Through interviews with managers and their subordinates, getting a good understanding of organizational context, and critically interpreting their observations considering both leadership theories and a wealth of other perspectives, their celebration of reflexivity is used to question dominant leadership thinking.

Considering and challenging various departures from lines of reasoning results in a book that draws upon rich empirical material and which has a number of new, provocative, critical and constructive ideas that help to develop sharper and more thoughtful thinking and practice - both in academic and practical contexts.

Suitable for leadership and organisation courses at upper-level undergraduate and upwards (including MBA-classes and Executive Education) and a thought provoking read for practitioners and management development professionals interested in leadership thought.
Chapter 1: Leadership: The Need for a Reflexive Approach
Chapter 2: On Reflection and Reflexivity
Chapter 3: Perspectives on Leadership
Chapter 4: Leadership Beyond Ideology, Harmony and All-inclusiveness: The Case for a More Nuanced View
Chapter 5: Leadership and Organizational Culture
Chapter 6: Followership and Its Alternatives
Chapter 7: Modes of Organizing
Chapter 8: Leadership Varieties: The 5P Framework
Chapter 9: Constraints on Leadership in Managerial Work
Chapter 10: Alignment or Misfit in Leadership Constructions?
Chapter 11: Reflexive Group Work on Leadership and Its Alternatives
Chapter 12: Reflexive and Unreflexive Leadership
Chapter 13: The Reflexive Follower (LIP)
Chapter 14: Conclusions: Reflexivity, Trap-awareness and a Suggested Way Forward

There are not many books on leadership that combine critical reflection, rigorous scholarship and a wide range of material. There are even fewer from authors that have actually studied leadership in situ and have something innovative to say on the topic. This book is one of those rare creatures: a treasure trove for the uninitiated and the expert alike: read it!

Keith Grint
Professor of Public Leadership & Management, University of Warwick

 This book on reflexive leadership by three deeply-experienced scholars challenges the taken-for-granted assumptions and language of the leadership industry. The authors call for careful, critical thought about how to organize workplaces is a refreshing departure from the “unreflective mindlessness” that characterizes much of the celebratory literature on leadership.

Robert Jackall
Willmott Family Professor of Sociology & Public Affairs, Williams College

Reflexive Leadership challenges you to think differently about leadership. It is a refreshing break from the shibboleths of today's leadership approaches. It challenges you to clarify what leadership is and is not--and motivates you to respond in kind. An excellent read for scholars and practitioners alike!

Gail Fairhurst
Professor of Organizational Communication, University of Cincinnati

This is an exceptionally well written book. It takes us beyond the impossible fantasies about leadership that we so often find in the literature. Using fascinating examples throughout it offers insights that are often surprising and always useful. Highly recommended!

Professor Dennis Tourish
Royal Holloway University of London

The book is a very good reading for students interested in a critical perspective on leadership. The book provides many real-life examples from organizations in Sweden and other countries that can be used in class for analysis of and discussion about leadership perspectives and concepts. Authors' call for thoughtfulness and reflection can help students (future leaders) in all settings think more deeply about their roles.

Dr Horia Moasa
Communications, Transilvania University of Brasov
April 28, 2022

Reflexive leadership is needed more than ever to jointly construct meaning within rapidly evolving and transforming contexts that we see today. The way in which we consciously manage for emerging issues becomes a key practice. Towards this aim, the book provides a cornerstone of reflective engagement with the topic and will create the basis for many students, practitioners and scholars to discuss what kind of leadership we want for developing organisational and societal futures.

Dr Sven-Ove Horst
Faculty of Media, Bauhaus University, Weimar
February 5, 2019

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