This ‘Leading Questions’ thought piece explores the elusive nature of collective leadership. We use our previous experiences to explore issues that tend to go unnoticed and unreported within the academic analysis of collective forms of leadership, including (1) the motives of those commissioning and conducting applied research to ‘make a difference’ through collective forms of leadership; (2) the performative effects of how ‘collective leadership’ is framed; and (3) the extent to which ambiguity around the nature of collective leadership makes it a powerful ‘empty signifier’ for holding incompatible and inconsistent conceptions and ideologies. Such issues, we suggest, are inherent features of the landscape of collective leadership theory, policy and practice and have important implications for scholars, practitioners and developers.
Edwards, G., & Bolden, R. (2023). Why is collective leadership so elusive?. Leadership, 19(2), 167–182. https://doi.org/10.1177/17427150221128357