Introduction to leadership-as-practice

Joseph A. Raelin
  • January 2016, Taylor & Francis
  • DOI: 10.4324/9781315684123-1

What is it about?

In the Introduction to the book, Leadership-as-Practice, I will plan to elaborate on the practice view of leadership. In doing so, I hope to orient the reader to our fresh perspective of leadership - what we are calling the leadership-as-practice (L-A-P) move-ment, the latter being a hyphenated word that will also be explained. L-A-P does not rely on the attributes of individuals nor does it focus on the dyadic relationship between leaders and followers that historically has been the starting point for any discussion of leadership. Accordingly, I plan to depict L-A-P as immanent, often non-deliberative collective action emerging from mutual, discursive, recurring patterns in the moment and over time among those engaged in the practice. It becomes embodied through language and other semiotic and material manifestations in actual workings of practice rather than through a priori intentions communicated to establish order; consequently, it often leads to multiple and conflicting constructed realities. Thus, I hope the case will be made that L-A-P is less about what one person thinks or does and more about what people may accomplish together. It is concerned with how leadership emerges and unfolds through day-to-day experience. To find leadership we must look to the practice within which it is occurring. After a brief review of the topic, I will then introduce each of the chapters of the book, denoting their unique contributions to the L-A-P move-ment and their interconnections. The order and coherence of the chapters will be explained so as to inform the reader of the flow of the themes that constitute our move-ment. If the authors are successful initiating conversations across our themes, I will also introduce this unique segment, which will reside in our last chapter.

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