Aims and Outline of the Book

Part of the Contributions to Management Science book series (MANAGEMENT SC.)


The aim of the book is to provide an overview of the basic theories and theoretical approaches of today’s leadership research. The theories described in this book enhance the traditional thinking of traits and styles. At the same time, they supplement theoretical approaches found in top leadership journals nowadays, but also offer alternative explanations, and sometimes challenge mainstream leadership research. As a consequence, the book intends to highlight the diversity of theoretical approaches in contemporary leadership research. It focuses on approaches which can be regarded as well elaborated in terms of their clear theoretical contribution and the amount of existing research for each approach. Moreover, these theories and their ideas could be considered as central to present leadership research. Leadership is often understood and used following a normative understanding, i.e., providing advice for effective leadership, resulting in followers’ high performance and satisfaction. The key question examined by many researchers is: “What makes an effective leader?” (Van Seters and Field 1990, p. 29). In this regard, theoretical approaches to leadership are often related to leadership practice by incorporating normative statements into the theory itself. This book, however, takes a somewhat different perspective, namely that of emphasizing the descriptive and explicative content of contemporary theoretical approaches to leadership. Even if leadership research could be considered as dominantly normative, theories in this field, in my opinion, primarily serve to describe and explain leadership. This particular focus of the book, however, does not neglect any normative content included in some of the presented theories.


Theoretical Approach Effective Leader Attribution Theory Social Exchange Theory Leadership Research 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dept. Border Region StudiesUniversity of Southern DenmarkSønderborgDenmark

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