This paper takes its departure from a three-year empirical study including open-ended interviews with leaders having in common that they belong to knowledge-intensive organizations, and that they formally are in charge of professionals . The main conclusion of the study was that apparently six discourses contributed to a leadership discourse order namely change, charisma, values, empowerment, dialogue, and commitment (Madsen, 2003). The charisma discourse was articulated through some of the leaders' presentation of themselves as being "the steersmen of the ship" "the father figure" or "the alpha male". However, at the same time the earlier taken-for-granted charisma discourse was challenged and partly rejected. More specifically through their talk of leading professionals leaders raised the importance of not giving a too charismatic impression. Their construction of dialogue and commitment as being important seemingly contributed to this. In a broader perspective this may indicate upcoming negotiations of the charisma discourse related to the paradox of the leader's construction of individual versus social identity. The field of leadership has earlier been dominated by functionalistic models and theories (see House 1997; Yukl, 1989 for reviews). Especially the period since the 1980's has furthermore been characterized by a renaissance of trait theories meaning that a very strong focus has been given to the leader as individual, which is in opposition to assumptions of individuals collective construction of reality based on dynamic interaction.
Ikke Angivet, 2005
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The 4.th international Critical Management Studies Conference, 2005