Exige-stential leadership: exploring the limits of leadership in a crisis

Stoten, David (2021) Exige-stential leadership: exploring the limits of leadership in a crisis. Leadership & Organization Development Journal. ISSN 0143-7739 (In Press)

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Abstract

Mabey and Morrell (2011) pose a challenge for leadership scholars: How to undertake ontologically diverse research which promotes dialogue with less favoured theoretical standpoints? This conceptual paper aims to respond to this challenge through an exploration of existentialist thought in the context of an exigency. In particular, this paper makes an original contribution to the discourse on leadership with the idea of exige-stential leadership. In doing so, this paper aims to integrate ideas from existentialism into a discussion of howindividuals respond to an exigency and provoke debate. The challenge presented by unforeseen events is recognised in the literature on leadership and management but this corpus of work is influenced by a dominant hegemony of rational-analytic thought that limits the possible responses of leaders and managers. Instead of these competency-based approaches that look to specify a particular set of preferred responses, existentialism explores wider understandings of what it means to be a leader and how leadership could be performed through inter-subjectivity, mutual support and shared emotional and mental models. This paper is informed by an underpinning research question: How can existentialist thought contribute to understanding of leadership in an exigency? In doing so, this paper suggests that we may be able to re-appraise how we interpret leadership from a different perspective to that in rationalist writing. Although a great deal of theorisation into authentic and servant leadership has been undertaken in recent decades, criticism of these ethics-based leadership models as being limited suggests that we should look to alternative approaches. In placing leadership behaviours in the context of a crisis, this paper provides a lens through which to re-conceptualise what we understand as leadership.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Exige-stential leadership, Existentialism, Authentic leadership, Complexity theory, Crisis management
Subjects: N100 Business studies
N200 Management studies
N900 Others in Business and Administrative studies
Department: Faculties > Business and Law > Newcastle Business School
Depositing User: Rachel Branson
Date Deposited: 11 Jan 2021 15:22
Last Modified: 11 Jan 2021 15:30
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/45192

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