Leadership (Re)constructed: How Lens Matters

Ospina, S. & Schall, E.

This paper develops a view of leadership as a social construct, as something that is created through dialogue among groups of people in a particular context. Different contexts allow us to see how leadership emerges in action. We further develop the idea that leadership is relational to highlight its social and collective nature and to stress the importance of studying leadership in context. The way people make meaning of leadership is an important focus, so it becomes necessary to understand the "knowledge principle," or dominant ideas that inform the work of leadership, as well. This approach contributes to the development of the body of literature that views leadership as a collective achievement, not something that belongs to an individual. Not only does this approach hold promise to provide interesting new insights to enrich leadership theory, it allows for the opportunity to produce new knowledge that is useful to practitioners, thereby enhancing existing leadership and inspiring new leadership to emerge.

Wagner Faculty