Leadership as a public good

Leadership as a public good
Document type
Conference Paper
Summers, Juliette Clair; Howieson, Brian
British Academy of Management
Date of publication
9 September 2014
British Academy of Management Conference Proceedings 2014
Management & leadership: including strategy, public sector management, operations and production
Business and management
Material type

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[Authors' original abstract]

This paper argues that we need to reconceptualise leadership as a public good. That is, as something not embodied in a few individuals but possessed and drawn on by all in an organisation. We will argue that this is because leadership ? as is currently and widely conceptualised, taught, and understood ? is focussed on the exemplary individual, their special ability to produce enhanced organisational performance. But, this concept of leadership has, arguably, lead to a divorce of business from social usefulness and a separation of leadership from social good and from the communities within which they are located and upon whom their actions and decisions impact. Our paper will argue that resilient, sustainable organisations require leadership that is grounded in society, and which is about building, not extracting from, community. We will argue that leadership is a public good under the notion of public interest leadership and for the good of society.

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