Intellectual Threads of Modern Leadership Studies

  • Matthew R Fairholm
  • Gilbert W Fairholm

Defining leadership is a relatively recent academic activity, though the phenomenon of leadership has been ever present in human relations. Stogdill (1974) reviewed more than 3,000 studies directly related to leadership since this concept was introduced in the 1800s. Many propose definitions unique from any other writer’s. Obviously, these studies have not closed the book on leadership research. In fact many analysts lament the lack of progress made in understanding and defining leadership. Bennis and Nanus (1985) conclude that so many have worked so hard to do so little. And Rost (1991) concludes that these attempts to define leadership have been anything but yielding of concrete answers. He uses words such as “confusing,” “varied,” “disorganized,” “idiosyncratic,” “muddled,” and “unrewarding.” Yet research continues, definitions proliferate, and leadership remains an enigma.

Rather than reflecting cynically on past efforts, Yukl (1988) says we need to draw new conceptualizations of...


Transform Leadership Leader Behavior Contingency Theory Servant Leadership Behavior Theory 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matthew R Fairholm
    • 1
  • Gilbert W Fairholm
    • 2
  1. 1.University of South DakotaVermillionUSA
  2. 2.Virginnia Commonwealth UniversityUSA

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