1. The field of leadership studies is at risk of failure due to an excessive focus on positive, ideologically appealing solutions and a lack of solid theoretical foundations.
2. Popular theories like transformational and authentic leadership are flawed and unhelpful in organizational practice beyond the appeal of pop-management books and inspirational talks.
3. The study suggests ways to preserve what is useful in the study of authenticity associated with leadership, followership, and workplace relations in general by considering real-life contradictions and dilemmas instead of being misled by ideology.
The article "Warning for excessive positivity: Authentic leadership and other traps in leadership studies" is a critical analysis of the current trend in leadership studies towards positive, idealized concepts such as authentic leadership. The authors argue that these concepts are based on shaky theoretical foundations and are unhelpful in organizational practice beyond the appeal of pop-management books and inspirational talks. They suggest that the field of leadership studies needs to replace these upbeat ideologies with more solid and less ideological research.
The article raises several valid points about the limitations of current leadership theories, particularly those focused on positive concepts such as authenticity. The authors argue that these theories over-emphasize the person of the leader and may lead to losing consideration of leadership as situated acts of purposeful and systematic influencing of subordinates to reach concrete, task-related goals, as well as missing the relational nature of leadership altogether. They also point out methodological flaws in authentic leadership research and highlight how authenticity can be a contested terrain in organizational life.
However, the article's tone is overwhelmingly negative and dismissive towards positive forms of leadership theory. While it is important to critique flawed theories, this article seems to reject any notion of positive or ethical leadership outright without offering alternative solutions or acknowledging any potential benefits. This one-sided reporting may limit its usefulness for readers seeking a balanced perspective on the topic.
Additionally, while the authors raise valid concerns about construct redundancy within the field of leadership studies, they do not fully explore why this might be happening or offer suggestions for how to address it beyond criticizing current trends. They also do not acknowledge any potential risks associated with dismissing positive forms of leadership theory entirely, such as discouraging leaders from striving for ethical behavior or promoting cynicism among followers.
Overall, while this article raises important critiques about current trends in leadership studies, its overly negative tone and lack of alternative solutions may limit its usefulness for readers seeking a balanced perspective on the topic.