Citing the well known adage that there are as many definitions of leadership as there are leadership scholars, Fairhurst acknowledges the contributions which psychologists have made to leadership research, before probing the inevitable limitations to their formidable body of work. Fairhurst's work is also thought provoking on the issue of authenticity on the part of leaders."
Discursive Leadership: In Conversation with Leadership Psychology presents a new, groundbreaking way for scholars and graduate students to examine and explore leadership. Differing from a psychological approach to leadership which tries to get inside the heads of leaders and employees, author Gail Fairhurst focuses on the social or communicative aspects between them. A discursive approach to leadership introduces a host of relatively new ideas and concepts and helps us understand leadership's changing role in organizations.
- Compares and contrasts discursive leadership with leadership psychology: This comparison facilitates a clearer definition of discursive leadership.
- Presents new ways to study leadership: By treating each discourse concept as a heuristic device and supporting each concept with examples, new ways to study leadership are introduced by focusing on key concepts from the organizational discourse literature.
- Addresses some key challenges within leadership psychology: Each chapter begins with an ongoing debate in leadership psychology and illustrates how a discursive approach can join that debate. Charimatic leadership, leader-member exchange, authentic leadership are just a few of the examples.
- Offers reactions from leadership psychologists: Leadership psychologists and other discourse scholars respond to the author's proposed 'conversation' between them broadening the debate and introducing new perspectives.
- Provides quick reviews and extended examples: The book includes critical summaries at the end of each chapter and easy-to-reference appendices.
This book helps scholars, researchers, and practitioners understand the complexities of leadership as it continues to evolve due to such influences as globalization, technology change, and democratization of the workplace. It is also an excellent text for graduate courses such as Leadership; Rhetoric of Leadership; Interpretive Studies of Organizational Communication; Organizational Communication; and Leadership & Communication in the departments of communication, business & management, psychology, and educational administration.