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James McGregor Burns Lecturer in Public Leadership
Academic Journal/Scholarly Articles
Kellerman, Barbara. "Leadership-It's a System, Not a Person!"
145.3 (Summer 2016): 83-94.
This article argues that the leadership industry has been beset by a bias. This bias has been directed toward leaders and away from two other variables that equally pertain-and that equally explain the trajectory of human history. The first is followers, or others who are in any way relevant, even if passively. And the second is contexts, within which leaders and followers necessarily are embedded. Together these three parts, each of which is equally important and each of which impinges equally on the other two, make up the leadership system. This article suggests that the approximately forty-year-old leadership industry has paid a heavy price for its obsession with leaders at the expense of whoever/whatever else matters. For the industry has not in any major, measurable way improved the human condition, which is precisely why it should be reconsidered and reconceived.
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