Role Theory of Leadership

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


Role theory of leadership as a theoretical approach borrows to a large extent concepts from the sociological role theory and applies these ideas to leader–follower relations. The role concept is regarded as a basic link between the individual and the group, and hence considered an essential element of social systems. Role theory of leadership understands leadership within a group as a result of a process of differentiation by which group members achieve group aims faster and whereby they meet their individual needs. Leadership is considered as being “a part of the problem-solving machinery of groups” (Gibb 1958, p. 103). Based on the different approaches in role theory, the following three basic approaches in role theory of leadership can be distinguished (Neuberger 2002).


Organizational Context Role Conflict Role Theory Role Expectation Position Holder 
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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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