Leadership-as-Practice: A New Move-ment in Leadership

J. A. Raelin
  • Academy of Management Proceedings, January 2014, The Academy of Management
  • DOI: 10.5465/ambpp.2014.10568symposium

What is it about?

This symposium has been carefully designed to advance a new paradigm in the field of leadership studies, referred to as the “leadership-as-practice” (L-A-P) movement. Accordingly it seeks to review what we currently know about L-A-P and proceed from there to extend its conceptualization through a number of critical themes that have not been sufficiently explored. The hyphen in the title word, “move-ment,” is meant to signify that leadership constitutes immanent social activity and that we are also attempting a “move” in the discourse of leadership. The panelists, who have been strategically chosen because of their prior exploration of various facets of the L-A-P movement, will explore together with the audience some of the founding parameters of the movement, such as its constitutive elements, heritage, preferred methodological and developmental approaches, ideology, and comparison to other more longstanding leadership traditions. Currently, we conceive of leadership-as-practice as a movement in leadership that sees it occurring as a practice rather than residing in the traits or behaviors of particular individuals. It is thus concerned with how leadership emerges and unfolds through day-to-day experience. The social and material contingencies impacting leadership do not reside outside of it but are very much embedded within. To find leadership, then, we look to the practice within which it is occurring rather to the attributes of particular influencing agents. In sum, we see leadership as immanent often non-deliberative collective action emerging from mutual, discursive, recurring patterns in the moment and over time among those engaged in a practice.

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