• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

Leadership and associated power issues lie at the core of group life in a variety of contexts. Even the most informal of groups typically have some form of leadership in their organization, and the understanding of leadership and power from a psychological standpoint can inform a greater understanding of group dynamics both inside and outside of the workplace. Leadership and Power is a synthesis of contributions from eminent social psychologists and organizational scientists that addresses these issues from a fresh perspective. In recent years, these themes have been re-examined through the lens of social categorization approaches that highlight people's social identity and social roles as group members, as well as the processes that influence perceptions of and expectations about people and groups. The book is wide-ranging; chapters cover such diverse issues as: interpersonal versus group-oriented styles of leadership; leadership of totalist groups; political leadership; and gender and leadership. It represents a state-of-the-art overview of this burgeoning field that will be important to a host of disciplines. Elements of cross-referencing to highlight thematic links as well as effective chapter conclusions will make the text appealing to advanced students taking courses in social and organizational psychology, management and organization studies, not just scholars interested in these themes.

Identity, Leadership Categorization, and Leadership Schema
Identity, leadership categorization, and leadership schema

Leadership, identity, and social power are dynamically intertwined in a process that unfolds as group members interact and establish a status structure. In the current chapter we highlight the role that leaders’ and followers’ cognitive structures play in this process, and the implications of current knowledge about the nature of mental representations of the self and others for understanding leadership and the use of power. In particular, we focus on the role of shifting identities as a means of explaining differences in leadership perceptions and effectiveness. At the core of our approach is a belief that the cognitive mechanisms that determine the thoughts and actions of both leaders and followers must share fundamental similarities.

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