In this book, some of the world's leading scholars come together to describe their thinking and research on the topic of the psychology of leadership. Most of the chapters were originally presented as papers at a research conference held in 2001 at the Kellogg School of Management of Northwestern University. The contributions span traditional social psychological areas, as well as organizational theory; examining leadership as a psychological process and as afforded by organizational constraints and opportunities. The editors' goal was not to focus the chapters on a single approach to the study and conceptualization of leadership but rather to display the diversity of issues that surround the topic.
Leadership scholars have identified a host of approaches to the study of leadership. What are the personal characteristics of leaders? What is the nature of the relation between leaders and followers? Why do we perceive some people to be better leaders than others? What are the circumstances that evoke leadership qualities in people? Can leadership be taught? And so on. The contributions to this book examine these important questions and fall into three categories: conceptions of leadership, factors that influence the effectiveness of leadership, and the consequences and effects of leadership on the leader. All in all, the chapters of this volume display part of a broad spectrum of novel and important approaches to the study of the psychology of leadership. We hope that they are equally useful to those who are or would be leaders and to those who study the topic. As recent events have served to remind us, it is too important a topic to be ignored by psychologists.