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.

Disciplinary Power

Disciplinary power

In previous chapters, we focused on sequentiality and membership categorization in leader-member language use and interaction. In this chapter, we explore those powerful cultural forces that lie beyond interaction, yet serve as important resources for leadership actors as they communicate. The writings of Michel Foucault are the touchstone here, and in this chapter we explore his conception of Discourse and through it how leadership actors may become objects and subjects of their relationships, organizations, and societies. In this context, the forces of history and culture produce disciplinary power.

Ironically, the organizational sciences and history could be considered strange bedfellows (F. N. Brady, 1997). As Goldman (1994) observes, organizational researchers and practitioners are “quintessential creatures of the present” (p. 621). Theirs is a utilitarian ...

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