The January 2007 issue of the American Psychologist was a Special Issue on Leadership featuring six articles on the topic. Robert J. Sternberg noted in the forward to the special issue that “…leadership has not been a leading topic in the field of psychology,” thus the special issue was created in an effort to begin addressing this issue (p. 1). He goes on to state:
“The purpose of this special issue is to introduce readers of the American Psychologist to recent theory and research on leadership. The articles are written by some of the leading theorists in the study of leadership and are intended to present an overview of much (although certainly not all) of the field as it exists today. The goal is not to present only the latest findings or cutting-edge research, but rather, to serve as a tutorial providing background that might whet readers’ appetites to read more.” (Sternberg, 2007, p. 1)
Prompted by concerns raised by Bennis (2007) about the need for leadership scholars to “… reframe the important questions about leadership,” Hackman and Wageman (2007) generated the following five questions:
Question 1: Not do leaders make a difference, but under what conditions does leadership matter?
Question 2: Not what are the traits of leaders, but how to leaders’ personal attribute interact with situational properties to shape outcomes?
Question 3: Not do there exist common dimensions on which all leaders can be arrayed, but are good and poor leadership qualitatively different phenomena?
Question 4: Not how do leaders and followers differ, but how can leadership models be reframed so they treat all system members as both leaders and followers?
Question 5: Not what should be taught in leadership courses, but how can leaders be helped to learn?
Bennis, W. (2007). The challenges of leadership in the modern world: Introduction to the special issue. American Psychologist, 62, 2–5.
Hackman, J.R., & Wageman, R. (2007). Asking the right questions about leadership: Discussion and conclusions. American Psychologist, 62, 43-47.
Sternberg, R.J. (2007). Forward to the special issue on leadership. American Psychologist, 62, 1.