Advancing Relational Leadership Research

A Dialogue among Perspectives

Edited by:
Mary Uhl-Bien, University of Nebraska
Sonia M. Ospina, New York University

A volume in the series: Leadership Horizons. Editor(s): Michelle C. Bligh, Claremont Graduate University. Melissa Carsten, Winthrop University.

Published 2012

Leaders and followers live in a relational world—a world in which leadership occurs in complex webs of relationships and dynamically changing contexts. Despite this, our theories of leadership are grounded in assumptions of individuality and linear causality. If we are to advance understandings of leadership that have more relevance to the world of practice, we need to embed issues of relationality into leadership studies.

This volume addresses this issue by bringing together, for the first time, a set of prominent scholars from different paradigmatic and disciplinary perspectives to engage in dialogue regarding how to meet the challenges of relationality in leadership research and practice. Included are cutting edge thinking, heated debate, and passionate perspectives on the issues at hand. The chapters reveal the varied and nuanced treatments of relationality that come from authors’ alternative paradigmatic (entity, constructionist, critical) views. Dialogue scholars—reacting to the chapters—engage in spirited debate regarding the commensurability (or incommensurability) of the paradigmatic approaches. The editors bring the dialogue together with introductory and concluding chapters that offer a framework for comparing and situating the competing assumptions and perspectives spanning the relational leadership landscape. Using paradigm interplay they unpack assumptions, and lay out a roadmap for relational leadership research. A key takeaway is that advancing relational leadership research requires multiple paradigmatic perspectives, and scholars who are conversant in the assumptions brought by these perspectives.

The book is aimed at those who feel that much of current leadership thinking is missing the boat in today’s complex, relational world. It provides an essential resource for all leadership scholars and practitioners curious about the nature of research on leadership, both those with much research exposure and those new to the field.

Series Introduction. Foreword. About the Contributors. INTRODUCTION: Mapping the Terrain: Convergence and Divergence Around Relational Leadership, Sonia M. Ospina and Mary Uhl-Bien. Exploring the Competing Bases for Legitimacy in Contemporary Leadership Studies, Sonia M. Ospina and Mary Uhl-Bien. PART I THEORIZING THE PRACTICE OF RELATIONAL LEADERSHIP. The Social Production of Leadership: From Supervisor-Subordinate Linkages to Relational Organizing, Anson Seers and Suzzette M. Chopin. The Relational Practice of Leadership, Joyce K. Fletcher. Systemic Constructionist Leadership and Working from Within the Present Moment, J. Kevin Barge. The Contribution of Psychodynamic Theory to Relational Leadership, Declan J. Fitzsimons. A Tale of Two Perspectives: An Account of Entity and Social Constructionist Approaches to ‘Conflict’ in Leadership Development., Fiona Kennedy, Brigid Carroll, Joline Francoeur and Brad Jackson. Un- and Re-Packing Leadership: Context, Relations, Constructions and Politics, Mats Alvesson and Stefan Sveningsson. (Dialogue): A Dialogue on Theorizing Relational Leadership, David Day and Wilfred (Bill) Drath. PART II RESEARCHING RELATIONAL LEADERSHIP. Social Change Leadership as Relational Leadership, Sonia M. Ospina, Erica Foldy, Waad El Hadidy, Jennifer Dodge, Amparo Hofmann-Pinilla, and Celina Su. Integrative Leadership and Policy Change: A Hybrid Relational View, Barbara C. Crosby and John M. Bryson. Extending Relational Leadership Theory: The Role of Affective Processes in Shaping Leader-Follower Relationships, Neal M. Ashkanasy, Neil Paulsen and Eugene Y. J. Tee. Relational Leadership: Creating Effective Leadership with Diverse Staff, Lynn R. Offermann. Political Skill, Relational Control, and the Self in Relational Leadership Processes, Darren C. Treadway Jacob W. Breland, Laura A. Williams, Jun Yang and Lisa Williams. Shared Leadership 2.0: A Glimpse into the State of the Field, Christina L. Wassenaar and Craig L. Pearce. (Dialogue): A Research Agenda for Relational Leadership, Gail Fairhurst and John Antonakis. PART III: A CONVERSATION ACROSS PERSPECTIVES. (Dialogue): A Dialogue on Entitative and Relational Discourses, Dian Marie Hosking and Boas Shamir. Leadership Research or Post-Leadership Research? Advancing Leadership Theory versus Throwing the Baby Out with the Bath Water, Boas Shamir. (Dialogue): Exploring the Prospects for Dialogue across Perspectives, Dian Marie Hosking, Boas Shamir, Sonia M. Ospina, and Mary Uhl-Bien. CONCLUSION: Paradigm Interplay in Relational Leadership: A Way Forward, Mary Uhl-Bien and Sonia M. Ospina. Author/Editor Bio.