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Leadership in Context

462). They point out that these values and beliefs permeate all aspects of leadership theory. Furthermore, they note that leadership theories have failed to take cultural context as defined by value and belief systems into account. In their review of literature on leadership since 1990, Porter and McLaughlin (2006) observe "it is apparent that the impact of the organizational context on leadership is an under-researched area" (p. 573) and that "in the future, there is a strong need for the leadership field to focus on the dynamic aspects of organizational context relationships" (p.574).

Although Porter and McLaughlin's literature review is exhaustive, they too define context fairly narrowly, namely only as it pertains to organizational structure, thus leaving out aspects such as political climate, cultural context, or interpersonal relations. However, their sentiment that dynamic aspects are essential to successfully conceptualizing context has been shared by Osborn and Hunt (R. N. Osborn, et al., 2002) who emphasize that "volatility and complexity are keys to characterizing context" (p. 802). Moreover, their proposed theory of contextual leadership takes hierarchy as a governing contextual principal into account. What this means is that leadership practices and responses should be understood in terms of where in the organizational hierarchy a leader stands. As the authors argue, there are important contextual distinctions between top, middle, and bottom systems (R. N. Osborn, et al., 2002). Besides these systemic contexts, they define stability and crisis as the two parameter between which contexts oscillates.

The notion of contextual leadership is in so far significant, as it suggests that leadership should not be approached with a "one fits all" attitude. Someone who is a good leader in one particular sector or industry might not be able to replicate his or her success even if he/she approaches new challenges with...

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Leadership in Context. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 14:29, August 19, 2017, from
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