Computing and Library Services - delivering an inspiring information environment

Leadership and Existentialism: Building a Groundwork

Gibbs, Stephen P. (2010) Leadership and Existentialism: Building a Groundwork. In: University of Cumbria Doctoral Colloquium, 14 July 2010, University of Cumbria, Lancaster Campus. (Unpublished)

[img] PDF - Accepted Version
Download (107kB)
[img] Microsoft Word - Accepted Version
Restricted to Repository staff only

Download (71kB)


Existentialist thought is an emerging area of significance to leadership learning. This in part appears due to leadership discourse being captured by the modern rationalist tradition; this tends to encourage leadership research to seek at times to present a coherent and unified understanding which some regard as unsatisfying or reductive. This dissatisfaction adds to the idea that leadership is a contested topic as well as open to new paths of enquiry. Existentialist thought offers a thematic that straddles rationalist and non-rationalist discourse as it gives privilege to the totality of existence. Such broad notions leave its links to leadership as tenuous. However, recent leadership research considers key existentialist notions as of renewed interest: such as, freedom, edification and authenticity. Leaders at least appear referent in their practice to these as well as other areas that existentialists find crucial to their 'basket of thought'. Further groundwork in linking these two areas appears a new opportunity for leadership enquiry.
Key words Existentialism, leadership, self, authenticity, rationalism, post-rationalism, freedom

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Existentialism, leadership, self, authenticity, rationalism, post-rationalism, freedom
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Schools: Huddersfield Business School
Related URLs:

Agarwal, J. & Malloy, D. C. (2000) The Role of Existentialism in Ethical Business Decision-Making, 9(3), pp143-54
Ashman, I. & Lawler, J. (2008) Existential Communication and Leadership, Leadership, 4(3), pp253-69
Bauman, Z. (2004) Identity, Cambridge: Polity Press
Barrett, W. (1958) Irrational Man, A Study in Existential Philosophy, London: Mercury Books
Beauchamp, T. L. & Bowie, N. E. (1997) Ethical Theory and Business, Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall
Bernstein, G. L. (2004) The Myth of Decline, London: Pimlico
Burnes, B. (1992) Managing Change, a Strategic Approach to Organisational Dynamics, Harlow: Pearson Education Limited
Collinson, D. L. (2003) Identities and Insecurities: Selves at Work, Organisation, 10(3), pp527-47
Flynn, T. R. (2006) Existentialism, Oxford: Oxford University Press
Garnett, J. (1981) Managing without a Stick or Carrot, Industrial Management and Data Systems, 81(7/8), pp26-7
Grint, K. (2005) Leadership: Limits and Possibilities, Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan
Heath, G. (2000) The Self and Communicative Theory, Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing Limited
Heidegger, M. (1927) Basic Writings, New York: HarperCollins
Heidegger, M. (1962) Being and Time, Blackwell Publishing: Oxford
Heidegger, M. (1966) Discourse on Thinking, New York, NY: Harper Torchbooks
Kauffman, W. (1975) Existentialism from Dostoyevsky to Sartre, New York, NY: Times Mirror
Kant, I. (1788) Critic of Practical Reason, Indianapolis, IN: Bobbs-Merrill
Kempster, S. (2009) How Managers Have Learnt to Lead, Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan
Kierkegaard, S. (1941) Concluding Unscientific Postscript, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press
Kierkegaard, S. (1949) Either/Or: A Fragment of Life – Volumes 1 and 2, trans W. Lowrie, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press
Kierkegaard, S. (1962) The Present Age, trans A. Dru, New York, NY: Harper & Row
Ladkin, D. (2010) Rethinking Leadership, A New Look at Old Leadership Questions, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing
Lawler, J. (2005) The Essence of Leadership? Existentialism and Leadership, Leadership, 1(2), pp215-31
Lawler, J. (2007) Reply to Ian Ashman, Leadership, 3(1), pp107-113
Lumby, J. & English, F. (2009) From Simplicism to Complexity in Leadership Identity and Preparation: Exploring the Lineage and Dark Secrets, Leadership in Education, 12(2), pp95-114
Lyotard, J. (1979) The Postmodern Condition, A Report on Knowledge, trans G. Bennington & B. Massumi, Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press
Malpas, S. (2005) The Postmodern, London: Routledge
May, C. & Cooper, A. (1995) Personal Identity and Social Change: Some Theoretical Consideration, Acta Sociologica, 38, pp75-85
Northouse, K. (2001) Leadership Theory and Practice. London: Sage
Polanyi, M. (1958) Personal Knowledge, Towards a Post-Critical Philosophy: Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press
Polanyi, M. & Prosch, H. (1975) Meaning, London: The University of Chicago Press
Racheals, J. (1986) The Elements of Moral Philosophy, New York, NY: Random House
Raphael, D. D. (1989) Moral Philosophy, Oxford: Oxford University Press
Rickards, T. & Clark, M. (2006) Dilemmas of Leadership, Abingdon: Routledge
Rose, N. (1989) Governing the Soul, London: Free Association Books
Sartre, J. (1943) Being and Nothingness, London: Methuen
Sartre, J. (1965) Essays in Existentialism, New York, NY: Citadel Press
Sartre, J. (1973) Existentialism and Humanism, London: Methuen
Sartre, J. (1985) Existentialism and Human Emotions, New York, NY: Citadel Press
Sartre, J. (1965) Nausea, London: Penguin
Sartre, J. (1948) What is Literature?, London: Methuen
Smircich, L. & Morgan, G. (1982) Leadership: the management of meaning, Journal of Applied Behavioural Science, 18(3), pp257-73
Stack, G. J. (1977) Kierkegaard’s Existential Ethics, Alabama: The University of Alabama Press
Taylor, C. (2007) A Secular Age, London: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press
Taylor, C. (1989) Sources of The Self, The Making of the Modern Identity, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Turgenev, I. (1899) Diary of a Superfluous Man, Holicong, PA: Wildside Press
Weiss, J. W. (1998) Business Ethics, Orlando, FL: Harcourt Brace & Company
Werhane, P. L. (1999) Moral Imagination and Management Decision-Making, New York, NY: Oxford University Press
Whitehorn, K. (2007) Selective Memory, London: Virago Press

Depositing User: Steve Gibbs
Date Deposited: 22 Jul 2010 11:21
Last Modified: 30 Nov 2016 17:22


Downloads per month over past year

Repository Staff Only: item control page

View Item View Item

University of Huddersfield, Queensgate, Huddersfield, HD1 3DH Copyright and Disclaimer All rights reserved ©