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Clearings in the Forest: Methods for Studying Leadership by Nathan Harter

By Nathan Harter

Analyzing approximately management is like strolling via a dense woodland. The literature is going in such a lot of assorted instructions anyone can turn into misplaced. consequently, management stories fight for educational credibility whereas attempting to convey a few type of order to this interesting, advanced, and significant social phenomenon. enable Nathan Harter be the advisor.

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Whatever has survived of this literature from the past is eligible to be used in the present as evidence of some kind, and if the recounting is sufficiently accurate, perhaps these particular works are the best, most reliable information we can have about leadership in the real world. One way to understand something today is to understand its origins from yesterday. Out of what beliefs, forms, and practices in the past did contemporary leadership emerge? Leadership did not spring, fully formed and complete, from the brow of James MacGregor Burns in 1978.

It is not enough to have at our disposal a vast list of unrelated findings; we need some coherence among them. This was purportedly one of Francis Bacon’s errors: his exclusive trust in “the mere amassing of factual data” (Friedrich & Blitzer, 1957, p. 55). It must be the next step, after analyzing the discrete parts of a phenomenon, to synthesize them, to explain how the parts are related to each other. In so doing, one follows in the path of Galileo and Harvey (and later, Newton), whose work “was neither mere induction nor mere deduction, WHAT IS LEADERSHIP STUDIES?

Better to exercise humility and openness. 15 Rollo May captures the spirit nicely: People who claim to be absolutely convinced that their stand is the only right one are dangerous. Such conviction is the essence not only of dogmatism, but of its much more destructive cousin, fanaticism. It blocks off PRAGMATISM IN LEADERSHIP STUDIES 29 the user from learning new truth, and it is a dead giveaway of unconscious doubt. (quoted in Hitt, 1992, p. 3) Gaetano Salvemini was more succinct: “Whoever is convinced of possessing the infallible secret for making men happy is always ready to slaughter them” (quoted in Bobbio, 1995, p.

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