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.

Two Traditions

Two traditions

Several years ago, Henry Mintzberg (1970, 1973, 1975) was at the center of a debate in leadership studies when he turned the spotlight on what leaders actually do and the nature of managerial work itself. Although he was certainly not the first to do this type of research,1 his work attracted a great deal of attention because he challenged the conventional wisdom that the manager's job was to plan, organize, coordinate, and control. First introduced by French industrialist Henry Fayol in 1916, these functions became almost passé as a result of Mintzberg's behavioral observations of five chief executives (Hunt, 1991). Mintzberg (1975) argued compellingly that Fayol's functions were just folklore because managerial work is in reality too dynamic, fragmented, and unsystematic. Managers ...

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