Academic Leadership: The Online Journal (2003-2012)


John Ekundayo


There are many researchers and practitioners who have at various times and situations defined the term leadership to suit their whims and caprices. A popular scholar in the field of management and leadership opined that “there are almost as many different definitions of leadership as there are persons who have attempted to define the concept” (Bass, 1981, p. 11). There is no gainsaying the fact that in organizations, leadership plays a vital role almost on a daily basis. It is perhaps based on this premise that makes many practitioners and scholars to focus more on leaders when discussing or writing about leadership. Hence, most literatures predating to the 1930s and even many decades after, are mostly leader-centric in their nature and contents (Rost, 1993 and Collinson, 2006). These literatures portend the traits or attributes of the “great person” theory of leadership, which is both outdated and outmoded (Kouzes & Posner, 2003 and Pierce & Newstrom, 2008). The “great person” theory tends to reflect the notion that leaders such as Julius Caesar, Joan of Arc, Napoleon, Mao Tsetung, Winston Churchill, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Nelson Mandela, etc. were born with unique attributes conferring leadership on them (Pierce & Newstrom, 2008, p. 7). However, in the modern day, many scholars are now of different opinions.


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