Teaching Leadership Critically: New Directions for Leadership Pedagogy

David Collinson, Dennis Tourish

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

320 Downloads (Pure)


Conventional approaches to teaching leadership in business schools have over relied on transformational models that stress the role of charismatic individuals, usually white men, in setting compelling visions to which all organizational actors are expected to subscribe. Such approaches pay insufficient attention to the dynamics of power, the influence of context and the significance of follower dissent and resistance. This article examines the pedagogical potential of Critical Leadership Studies: an emergent, alternative paradigm which questions deep seated assumptions that power and agency should be vested in the hands of a few leaders, and explores the dysfunctional consequences of such power dynamics for individuals, organizations and societies. It also recognises that follower compliance and conformity, as well as resistance and dissent, are important features of leadership dynamics. Informed by our own experience of trying to teach leadership more critically, the essay highlights a number of guiding principles that, we argue, have the potential to reshape and enrich leadership pedagogies in business schools.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)576-594
Number of pages19
JournalAcademy of Management Learning & Education
Issue number4
Early online date26 Aug 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2015

Cite this