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Title: Beyond the transformational leadership paradigm : a Foucaultian analysis of UK leadership literature development
Author: Mortimer, Christine Joan
ISNI:       0000 0004 2746 0189
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2012
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The primary aim of this research is to re-interpret the development of business leadership within a political, economic and socio-historic framework in order to explore a contemporary problem that has arisen with leadership. The problem, identified in Chapter Two is, 'that leadership training, development and education may not be delivering the leadership skills required for the 21st Century'. The primary research objectives were to: • Develop a reflexive Foucaultian analysis of leadership development as a 'body of knowledge' in order to illustrate alternative leadership constructs. • Operationalize the research strategy on a contemporary business leadership issue identified in a social, political and economic context. • Open up a marginalised but inclusive space outside the dominant leadership discourse that would enable researchers, educationalists and practitioners to consider alternative thoughts on leadership, to spark new thought and conversations. The primary premise is to create a marginal space outside the dominant leadership discourse in order to reveal how political, economic and socio-historical influences affect the development of leadership theory and literature. The thesis explores how these influences in turn conceal threads of leadership thought which, when revealed, contribute to an alternative understanding of business leadership in the present day. This research, based on a Foucaultian research strategy informed by reflexive interpretation, initially creates a History of the Present composed of a macro and micro perspective of leadership literature. The macro perspective constructs current leadership literature to demonstrate how the socio-historical influences have developed transformational leadership theory into a paradigm. The micro view is developed from a sample of UK leadership research between 2007 and 2009. The articles are used to deconstruct the concept of leadership within this bounded frame. The resultant 'statements' of leadership from these two views are traced from the present through to their first emergence in the early 1900s. This process reveals a concealed leadership history that is based on the transformational possibilities of the present and engages with reciprocal relationship building. The conclusion draws attention to an alternative research strategy in which to examine the concept of business leadership. The contributions made by this study to the wider business leadership literature are, • To develop and operationalize, through a problem presented in the present a research strategy based on reflexivity and Foucaultian historical analysis, • To open a marginal space in which to view leadership theory development from an alternative perspective • To generate new conversations and spark new thoughts concerning leadership practice in the 21st Century.
Supervisor: Lawson Welsh, Sarah ; Mulholland, Gary ; Boak, George Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available