Good visions, bad micro-management and ugly ambiguity: Contradictions of (non-)leadership in a knowledge-intensive organization

Alvesson, Mats and Sveningsson, Stefan (2003) Good visions, bad micro-management and ugly ambiguity: Contradictions of (non-)leadership in a knowledge-intensive organization. Organization Studies, 24 6: 961-988. doi:10.1177/0170840603024006007

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Author Alvesson, Mats
Sveningsson, Stefan
Title Good visions, bad micro-management and ugly ambiguity: Contradictions of (non-)leadership in a knowledge-intensive organization
Journal name Organization Studies   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0170-8406
1741-3044
Publication date 2003-07-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1177/0170840603024006007
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 24
Issue 6
Start page 961
End page 988
Total pages 28
Place of publication London, U. K
Publisher SAGE Publications
Language eng
Subject 150310 Organisation and Management Theory
1503 Business and Management
Formatted abstract
This article investigates how managers position themselves and their work in terms of leadership in a large knowledge-intensive company. The significance of contemporary discourse on leadership, practical aspects of managerial work, and ambiguity as a central dimension of organization and leadership (particularly in knowledge-intensive settings) are highlighted. We examine the presumed leadership in a company with respect to the three ‘moral’ and ‘aesthetic’ positions or aspects of leadership: good, bad and ugly leadership. The article shows how managers incoherently move between different positions on leadership. The study undermines some of the dominant notions of leadership, for example, the leader as a consistent essence, a centred subject with a particular orientation to work. We suggest a less comfortable view of managers aspiring to adopt, but partly failing to secure leadership identities and a coherent view of their work. Value commitments appear as disintegrated and contradictory. The study indicates a need to radically rethink dominant ideas about leadership.
Copyright © 2003 SAGE Publications
Keyword Ambiguity
Identity work
Knowledge-intensive firms
Leadership
Management
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Unknown

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Excellence in Research Australia (ERA) - Collection
UQ Business School Publications
 
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 97 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 125 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Wed, 15 Apr 2009, 18:18:07 EST by Ms Sarada Rao on behalf of UQ Business School