Within contemporary culture, ‘leadership’ is seen in ways that appeal to celebrated societal values and norms. As a result, it is becoming difficult to use the language of leadership without at the same time assuming its essentially positive, intrinsically affirmative nature. Within organizations, routinely referring to bosses as ‘leaders’ has, therefore, become both a symptom and a cause of a deep, largely unexamined new conceptual architecture. This architecture underpins how we think about authority and power at work. Capitalism, and its turbo-charged offspring neo-liberalism, have effectively captured ‘leader’ and ‘leadership’ to serve their own purposes. In other words, organizational leadership today is so often a particular kind of insidious conservativism dressed up in radical adjectives.
This book makes visible the work that the language of leadership does in perpetuating fictions that are useful for bosses of work organizations. We do this so that we – and anyone who shares similar discomforts – can make a start in unravelling the fiction. We contend that even if our views are contrary to the vast and powerful leadership industry, our basic arguments rest on things that are plain and evident for all to see.
Critical Perspectives on Leadership: The Language of Corporate Power will be key reading for students, academics and practitioners in the disciplines of Leadership, Organizational Studies, Critical Management Studies, Sociology and the related disciplines.
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