Leadership: Current Theories, Research, and Future Directions

Department of Management, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE 68588-0491, USA.
Annual Review of Psychology (Impact Factor: 21.81). 01/2009; 60(1):421-49. DOI: 10.1146/annurev.psych.60.110707.163621
Source: PubMed


This review examines recent theoretical and empirical developments in the leadership literature, beginning with topics that are currently receiving attention in terms of research, theory, and practice. We begin by examining authentic leadership and its development, followed by work that takes a cognitive science approach. We then examine new-genre leadership theories, complexity leadership, and leadership that is shared, collective, or distributed. We examine the role of relationships through our review of leader member exchange and the emerging work on followership. Finally, we examine work that has been done on substitutes for leadership, servant leadership, spirituality and leadership, cross-cultural leadership, and e-leadership. This structure has the benefit of creating a future focus as well as providing an interesting way to examine the development of the field. Each section ends with an identification of issues to be addressed in the future, in addition to the overall integration of the literature we provide at the end of the article.

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    • "Leadership is a key concept in organizational behavior and theories vary widely in how leadership is conceptualized and studied. Yet, much research, theory and practice seems to reflect an implicit assumption that leadership is a trait-like characteristic of leaders (situations) that generalize across a range of followers (persons;Avolio et al., 2009). Variance partitioning studies of leadership provide a more nuanced approach. "
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    ABSTRACT: This article reviews a variance partitioning approach to within-person variation based on Generalizability (G) Theory and the Social Relations Model (SRM). The approach conceptualizes an important part of within-person variation as Person x Situation (PxS) interactions: differences among persons in their profiles of responses across the same situations. The approach provided the first quantitative method for capturing within-person variation and demonstrated very large PxS effects for a wide range of constructs. These include anxiety, five-factor personality traits, perceived social support, leadership, and task performance. Although PxS effects are commonly very large, conceptual and analytic obstacles have thwarted consistent progress. For example, how does one develop a psychological, versus purely statistical, understanding of PxS effects? How does one forecast future behavior when the criterion is a PxS effect? How can understanding PxS effects contribute to psychological theory? This review describes potential solutions to these and other problems developed in the course of conducting research on the PxS aspect of social support. Additional problems that need resolution are identified.
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    • "In summary, LDPs have drawn on the various conceptualizations represented in a range of leadership theories, with the most commonly utilized theories being charismatic and transformational (Avolio et al, 2009). As Carbone (2009) pointed out, just as leadership theories developed over time, the concept of LDPs in organisations has also evolved accordingly. "

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    • "Ulrich ( 1997 ) devised a two - dimensional framework to classify how managers add value to the organisation . One dimension is the ' people versus processes ' aspect implicit in classic leadership theory ( Avolio et al . , 2009 ) . Ulrich et al . ( 1995 ) argue that some HR roles are strongly oriented towards relational activity , while others are instead concerned with transactional aspects that imply little or no relationship with employees . The second dimension refers to activities that tend to be concerned with strategy in contrast to operations ( Hales ,"
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