The view from inside leadership configurations

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25 Citations (Scopus)


In this response to Samia Chreim s (2015) discussion, it is argued that her article makes an important contribution to recent attempts to define non-heroic approaches to leadership. The primary focus of her article is on the merger and acquisition process as experienced by five firms (an acquiring firm and four acquired business units), and a comparative analysis of transitional leadership patterns in light of explicit pre-merger undertakings given about, and consequent expectations of, subsequent leadership. These expectations were about distributed leadership. In some instances the acquired firms expectations were fulfilled while in others they were not. As is pointed out in this response, Chreim s discussion is significant for the growing body of literature on distributed leadership and, by implication, for wider questions concerned with the appropriate unit of analysis in leadership. Recent scholarship is shown to have been wrestling with different ways of conceptualizing (and researching) leadership in plural or multiple terms, with much of this work occurring in the sub-fields of leadership (such as school education, higher education and public health) rather than in the generic leadership field. On the basis of her findings, Chreim s discussion queries the value of distributed and instead she opts for the idea of leadership configurations. Some of the problems and possibilities of this alternative are discussed, along with suggestions about ways in which Chreim s work might be extended to advance knowledge in the field, particularly in relation to the idea of group agency.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)545-560
Number of pages16
JournalHuman Relations
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • collective leadership
  • distributed leadership
  • group agency
  • leadership configuration
  • power
  • unit of analysis

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