Directing Research on Leadership in Extreme Contexts: Guideposts to Avoid A-Missing-in-Research Action Trauma
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Leadership is an extremely complex topic and one that has been written about from a variety of perspectives. In this article we argue that understanding leadership in extreme situations can bring into much clearer relief the success factors, contingencies, and interdependencies involved in less dangerous contexts faced by executives and other key decision makers. Insights from the study of in extremis leadership can help researchers and practitioners understand the individual, team and contextual factors that influence leadership and ultimately organizational efficiency and effectiveness The objective of the paper is to review the existing literature in dangerous situations and to propose a multi-constituency framework for understanding key dimensions of leadership in extreme situations that exert enormous stress on the acting persons because they have to face physical damage or death to themselves, their companions, or third parties. Our theoretical, conceptual contribution, then, is aimed primarily at developing an awareness of the complexity of such leadership contexts, at supporting the advance of current leadership theory by highlighting important contingencies, and by formulating key propositions for future research.
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