A critical examination of the practical and conceptual liabilities inherent in traditional entitative approaches to the study of leadership as a key attribute of organisational behaviour.
This paper looks at how historical approaches to leadership research have focused on paradigms which are entrenched in an entitative concept of organisation which somes argue dominate the disciplines of organisational behaviour and human resource management. It discusses how such an approach focuses on the characteristics of individuals and groups within organisations and how the person and the organisation are viewed as separate and distinct entities. It explores the nature of non-entitative approaches to leadership research and articulates some key conceptual and practical liabilities associated with traditional entitative approaches.
“Central to entitative perspectives is that the concept of organisation is seen to require explanation as a whole, thus emphasising the separateness and independence of individuals, organisations and contexts. Thus, individual behaviour is theorised independently of context and the extent to which context shapes behaviour and behaviour shapes context is ignored. (Hosking & Morley, 1991; Thomson & McHugh, 1995). This short essay draws heavily on the work of Hosking & Morley (1991) to presents an alternative, social constructivist view of organisations, organising and thus leadership, which emphasises a contextually interdependent relationship between organisational entities and their environment.”