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Contemporary Critical Perspectives

Brigid Carroll, Jackie Ford, Scott Taylor, Brigid Carroll, Jackie Ford, Scott Taylor

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📖 eBook - ePub


Contemporary Critical Perspectives

Brigid Carroll, Jackie Ford, Scott Taylor, Brigid Carroll, Jackie Ford, Scott Taylor

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About This Book

Written from a global and critical perspective with a diverse range of cases and examples throughout, this is an inspiring read for developing leaders operating within global and multicultural work settings. 'Power' is taken as central theme for this book, opening up discussion about issues that are often neglected in leadership texts i.e. fairness, equity, justice, resistance, conflict, emancipation, oppression, rationality, politics, globalization, the natural environment, and knowledge. New to this edition:

  • A new prologue: 'An Unconventional History of Leadership Studies?
  • A new epilogue on 'Embodied Leadership, Ethics, and its Affects' written by David Knights, one of the authors of Embodied Research Methods (pub April 2019)
  • 3 new topical integrative case studies, based on current events: Jacinda Ardern's pregnancy when PM; #MeToo; and Suma Foods co-operative
  • Updated research and pedagogical features throughout, including the 'Leadership on Screen' feature

The book is complemented by a range of online resourcesincluding PowerPoint slides, videos of the book's authors providing an overview of the chapter and discussing why the topic is important, access to journal articles discussed in the book, and links to additional relevant material.

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Part I Classical Theories of Leadership

1 Leadership, Management and Headship Power, Emotion and Authority in Organizations

A musician and philosopher by background, Donna’s research into the aesthetics of leadership and organizations combines these orientations to question and refresh well-worn assumptions within leadership studies. In this chapter she brings philosophical precision to unravelling the dynamics at play within key organizational relations.

What this chapter is all about …

The main idea is that leadership, management and headship are not necessarily synonyms – they highlight different kinds of influence, authority and power.

The key questions this chapter answers are:

  • How are leadership, management and headship different, and why is that important?
  • What kinds of power are related to each?
  • How is leadership related to hierarchy and authority?


The difference between management and leadership has been debated by scholars as well as practitioners over the last fifty years. Indeed, many leadership development courses open with participants reeling off the differences between the two, a list that often looks something like the one shown in Table 1.1. Such a discussion often ends with the flourish of: ‘management is about doing things right’, whereas ‘leadership is about doing the right things’!
Table 1.1
Table 2
Rather than formulating the definitive distinction between these two activities, this chapter enquires into questions lurking beneath the preoccupation with the difference between them, such as:
  • Why might it be important to separate them conceptually?
  • Does each have a unique purpose?
  • Are there times when it is appropriate to lead rather than manage or manage rather than lead?
  • How is it possible to decide which activity better suits the context?
There are broader questions to ponder too, such as:
  • Where has each arisen within the organizational field more broadly?
  • What accounts for the current near obsession with leadership?
  • Is it permissible in today’s twenty-first-century organizational context to be a mere manager, rather than a ‘leader’?
Additionally, the chapter introduces a third concept in order to add further sophistication (or confusion!) to the discussion – that of ‘headship’. In brief, ‘headship’ refers to the situation in which an individual occupies the hierarchical ‘head’ of their organization, team or group. The chapter will elaborate on this term in more detail in the pages to come, but for now it’s fine to know it’s waiting in the wings.

Why are these distinctions important?

From the academic viewpoint definitional clarity (i.e. being clear about what a term means and how you are using it) is a critical aspect of knowledge. Agreement about what a term means provides precision about how it can be investigated. Scholars working in different contexts can have some sense of surety that they are, indeed, studying the same phenomenon once the academic community agrees on such definitions. This may seem obvious but once you begin to think about concepts critically, you will quickly discover that some of the most important concepts that we take for granted are very difficult to define exactly. For instance, think of concepts such as ‘love’ or ‘justice’, or even ‘truthfulness’ or ‘beauty’. Certainly agreeing on definitions for material objects, such as toothpicks or lawn mowers, might be easier but even concrete ‘things’ can be tricky to define without question (for instance, is a tomato a fruit or a vegetable?). When research is being conducted into a particular phenomenon it is essential that there is a fundamental understanding of what that phenomenon is – or how it is being constructed for the purposes of the research. From a scholarly perspective, then, being clear about the distinctions between concepts such as ‘management’ and ‘leadership’ is an essential aspect of theory development.

Stop and Reflect 1.1

Image 11
As a starting activity, reflect on your own experience of being led or being managed in organizations. To what extent have you observed others moving between what you experience as ‘managing’ and what you experience as ‘leading’? In your experience are there contexts in which it is more appropriate to ‘manage’ rather than to ‘lead’? What distinguishes those contexts? In an organization that you have been familiar with, is there more emphasis on ‘leading’ or ‘managing’? Why might that be?
From a practical point of view, when working in organizations it can be helpful to perceive the range of behaviours available within any particular circumstance. Merely understanding that ‘managing’ and ‘leading’ can be conceived as different activities is useful when attempting to find effective responses to organizational issues. Adding the concept of ‘headship’ to the mix affords yet another way of thinking about organizational roles and the expectations that accompany them. From a practitioner’s viewpoint, then, an awareness of these three different modes of operating increases the level of choice available in responding to different organizational demands. Of course, having more choices may not always seem like a good thing! However, another aim of this chapter is to reveal some of the underlying dynamics to be considered when trying to discern which activity might be best suited to a specific circumstance. In this way the suitability of either depends upon the particular situation, and indeed the choice to ‘lead’, ‘manage’ or ‘head’ could be seen as ‘contingent’ on a range of factors, a notion that will be explored in greater depth in Chapter 3, which examines contingency theory.
This chapter is set out as follows. First, the historic development of the terms ‘management’ and ‘leadership’ will be charted, in order to better understand the purposes each activity was originally intended to fulfil. The next section considers how a number of key scholars have distinguished between the two terms. The concept of ‘headship’ is introduced, which leads into a discussion of power and how it operates within each of the three concepts. This opens into a broader discussion of the emotional and psychological implications of manager and leader relations with subordinates or followers, respectively. The chapter ends by inviting you to apply what you have learned to the case study of Natalie Chan, a manager within a public sector organization who is grappling with the demands of being promoted from a middle-manager role to that of a senior role in which she is expected to display ‘leadership’. Natalie is a fictional character, but the difficulties she faces are a compilation of actual issues that coaching clients with whom I have worked have faced. Her story aims to bring to life the ideas offered by the chapter in a way which will help you relate to them and to your own study and practice of managing and leading.
Before launching into the historic development of the concepts of ‘manager’ and ‘leader’, you are invited to take a moment to reflect on your understandings of these terms and where this understanding has come from.

Stop and Reflect 1.2

Image 11
As a starting activity, write your own definitions of ‘management’ and ‘leadership’. Based on the brief description above, you are also invited to put into your own words your starting idea about what ‘headship’ is.
  • My definition of management is:
  • My definition of leadership is:
  • My definition of headship is:
Perhaps more importantly – can you write something about where your ideas about these concepts come from?

Historic underpinnings

For the purposes of this textbook, management and leadership will be explored as they have been researched and theorized within the larger domain of Organization Theory (OT). It is important to clarify this point because leadership, particularly, has been theorized by a range of subject disciplines including philosophy, history and politics as well as from the OT domain. OT is an umbrella term used for distinguishing the body of research which has been developed in response to the rise of commercially focused organizations, particularly in the aftermath of the Industrial Revolution. Certainly, prior to the Industrial Revolution people had worked together in large organizations – most notably in the military, the Church and government – but in the wake of the Industrial Revolution there were new problems of organizing to be solved.
Definition: Organization Theory
Organization Theory (OT) refers to a broad range of different theories concerning organizations and how they have come to be. They include theories about how organizations are structured, how they change and how people work within them, as well as about the very nature of ‘organizing’ itself and the political, cultural and technical systems which interact with them. There are many ‘Organization Theory’ textbooks, but for a thorough account of the history of OT itself, see William Starbuck’s chapter in the Oxford Handbook of Organization Theory published in 2003.

New organizational forms and the need for managers

Within organizations striving for replicability of quality and efficiency of production, new questions arose about how to best structure and co-ordinate production. Concurrently, the rise of the new social science disciplines of psychology and sociology brought new languages and perspectives about how to meet these challenges. In fact, one of the grandparents of OT, William Starbuck (2003), suggests that it was through the intersection of industrial progress and scholarly interest that the term ‘organization’ was indeed born. Prior to this intersection the activity of people working together in the pursuit of particular purposes was still conceived as the verb ‘organizing’.
With the increase in complexity of operations, as well as the growing number of people working within industrial settings, new roles were required. Bureaucratic forms of organizing created the need for an entirely new class of organizational member beyond that of ‘owner’, ‘worker’ or ‘overseer’, namely the ‘manager’. The word ‘manager’ has French and Italian roots, with the Italian maneggiare literally coming from the Latin word for ‘hand’, manus (Skeat, 1995: 358). A literal rendering thus equates the words ‘to manage’ and ‘to handle’ (and in its original sense was used particularly in regard to the handling of horses!). The need for managers of people, rather than horses, arose from the structures predominant in these new organizations. Put most simplistically, with goods no longer produced as ‘wholes’ but separated and created in component parts, someone was needed to co-ordinate and monitor production activities.
Many of the early studies into what management is, or should be, identified key aspects of the role. One of the first theorists to focus on these roles was the French engineer Henri Fayol who developed his ideas through working in a French coal mine. He identified six roles managers needed to perform: forecasting, organizing, planning, communicating, co-ordinating and controlling (Fayol, 1949). His ‘administrative’ approach to managing differed from the ‘scientific’ approach to management being championed by Frederick Taylor in the United States, which focused primarily on optimizing worker outputs through tight managerial control (Taylor, 1911). Taylor’s work spawned a raft of studies which sought to identify and measure variables that would determine the optimal relationships between managers and those they managed. For instance, research was conducted into questions such as:
  • What is the optimal ‘span of control’ of a manager; that is, what is the largest number of direct reports a manager can have and still operate well? (Keren & Levhari, 1979)
  • Given an organization’s purpose, what is its optimal size? (Williamson, 1971)
  • What is the best organizational structure in terms of reporting relationships given an organization’s purpose? (Galbraith, 1971)
Scientific management itself fell out of fashion in the 1920s, but many of its precepts still survive today. It was not until 1973 and Henry Mintzberg’s more qualitative, ethnographically based study of managers-in-action that a different view of ‘what managers do’ began to emerge. In his original PhD study of five male managers working in t...

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Citation styles for LeadershipHow to cite Leadership for your reference list or bibliography: select your referencing style from the list below and hit 'copy' to generate a citation. If your style isn't in the list, you can start a free trial to access over 20 additional styles from the Perlego eReader.
APA 6 Citation
Carroll, B., Ford, J., & Taylor, S. (2019). Leadership (2nd ed.). SAGE Publications. Retrieved from https://www.perlego.com/book/3271721/leadership-contemporary-critical-perspectives-pdf (Original work published 2019)
Chicago Citation
Carroll, Brigid, Jackie Ford, and Scott Taylor. (2019) 2019. Leadership. 2nd ed. SAGE Publications. https://www.perlego.com/book/3271721/leadership-contemporary-critical-perspectives-pdf.
Harvard Citation
Carroll, B., Ford, J. and Taylor, S. (2019) Leadership. 2nd edn. SAGE Publications. Available at: https://www.perlego.com/book/3271721/leadership-contemporary-critical-perspectives-pdf (Accessed: 15 October 2022).
MLA 7 Citation
Carroll, Brigid, Jackie Ford, and Scott Taylor. Leadership. 2nd ed. SAGE Publications, 2019. Web. 15 Oct. 2022.