Leadership And The Organizational Context: Like The Weather?

Words: 12130
Pages: 49

The Leadership Quarterly 17 (2006) 559 – 576 www.elsevier.com/locate/leaqua

Leadership and the organizational context: Like the weather? ☆
Lyman W. Porter ⁎, Grace B. McLaughlin 1
The Paul Merage School of Business, University of California–Irvine, Irvine, CA 92697-3125, USA

Abstract This article reviews the leadership literature from 1990–2005 in twenty-one major journals in order to determine the nature and extent of attention to the organizational context as a factor affecting leaders' behavior and their effectiveness. Both conceptual and empirical articles were rated as having “moderate/strong,” “slight,” or “no” emphasis on the organizational context. Those articles classified in the moderate/strong category were analyzed
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In this article, our explicit focus is on the role of the organization as a context for leadership taking place within. It should be noted that in the quotes cited above and in the typical way to which this role is referred to in most of the literature, it is the “influence” or “impact” of the context on leadership. However, it also goes without saying that the organizational context also can be impacted by leadership (e.g., a leader changing the structure). Thus, organizational context can be a dependent variable of leadership action as well as a variable of influence on leadership. Nevertheless, the primary emphasis of this review is on the organizational context as an influencing factor. In those few instances in the literature where the emphasis is on the reverse direction of causality, this will be pointed out. The central questions that form the basis of this article are: How much conceptual scholarship and empirical research has been carried out in recent years that specifically addresses the issue of the organization as a context for leadership? Based on what has been done so far, what do we know? Finally, what do we need to know more about from future research? 2. Relevant recent literature: A 16-year overview 2.1. Articles reviewed We chose to concentrate our review on relatively recent scholarly literature pertaining to leadership. Thus, we utilized the time period 1990–2005, representing the last decade of the 20th century and