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Romance of Leadership


As individuals, as organizations, and as societies, we are fascinated with leaders and enamored with leadership. In essence, we love to glorify or romanticize all things associated with leaders, often at the expense of followers and the situation or context. The romance of leadership (ROL) theory argues that it is often much easier to believe in leadership than to prove it and explores when, why, and which of us are more susceptible to falling under the “spell” of leadership. At its core, the ROL is an attributional approach to leadership that suggests we overweight the causal role of leaders in influencing and changing our institutions and societies. Ultimately, when organizations and sports teams do well, or perform very poorly, we tend to look to leadership as the most salient explanation for these outcomes. In fact, organizational performance is in reality a complex interplay of a wide variety of complex, temporal, and interrelated factors, not to mention follower...


  • Leadership Theory
  • Leadership Process
  • Popular Book
  • Individual Leader
  • Influence Spread

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Correspondence to Michelle C. Bligh .

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Bligh, M.C. (2017). Romance of Leadership. In: Farazmand, A. (eds) Global Encyclopedia of Public Administration, Public Policy, and Governance. Springer, Cham.

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