What Have We Learned and Where Do We Go from Here?

  • Robert Elgie
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Political Leadership book series (PSPL)


In this chapter, we take stock of what we have learned across the course of this book and look forward to the future of the study of political leadership. We argue that the current state of leadership studies is not as chaotic and disorganized as might sometimes be thought. This is because existing studies are founded on certain philosophical assumptions. By identifying these assumptions we can see philosophical similarities across seemingly disparate studies as well as relatively coherent philosophical distinctions between different sets of studies. However, in this chapter we show that ambiguities remain. As a result, we argue that students of political leadership need to engage in an ongoing process of ontological and epistemological reflection. Leadership scholars need to state their philosophical assumptions much more clearly. There also needs to be a more general reflection on the philosophical foundations of social and political studies. This point applies to the study of political leadership, but it applies to many other areas of study as well. To begin this chapter, we identify the main lessons of the book. We then specify a number of areas where the study of political leadership would benefit from greater philosophical reflection. We finish by thinking about what future studies of political leadership might look like.


Political Leadership Business Leadership Scientific Realist Philosophical Perspective Philosophical Position 
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Copyright information

© Robert Elgie 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert Elgie
    • 1
  1. 1.Dublin City UniversityIreland

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