The term leadership refers to a (formal or informal) social interaction between a person and group members, which produces effects on the members’ motivation and competences, often by shaping their circumstances, cognitive perceptions, and expectations in a manner that promotes group goals. In this sense, leadership is frequently synonymous with social influence; that is, it is viewed as inherently linked with asymmetric power over valued resources in a social relationship. Resources may be objective, such as financial rewards, or subjective, such as desired social identity.

This entry discusses leadership theories and how they have been applied to the exploration of leadership in higher education. Scholarship on leadership evolved over several key periods. The early period of leadership research focused on identifying distinguishing traits of leaders. ...

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