Paradoxes of power and leadership

Miguel Pina e Cunha, Stewart R. Clegg, Arménio Rego, Marco Berti

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review


Why do great companies and other organizations fail, sometimes abruptly? Why do admired leaders fall from their organizational pedestals? Why do young and promising managers derail? Why do organizations create and reinforce rules that manifestly damage both them and those that they employ, serve and sustain? Leadership is a much-discussed but ill-defined idea in business and management circles. Analysing and understanding the skills and behaviours exhibited in leadership practice reveal that leaders exhibit paradoxical activities that challenge our understanding of organizations.In this text, the authors identify leadership behaviours that compete towards business equilibrium: selfish versus selfless, distance versus proximity, consistency versus individuality, enforcing professional standards versus flexibility and control versus autonomy. These paradoxical dilemmas require a reflexive and analytical approach to a subject that is tricky to define. The book explores the paradoxes of power and leadership not as a panacea for solving organizational problems but as a lens through which leadership and power are seen as an exercise in dynamic balance. Read this book as an invitation to the paradoxes of power and leadership that frame organizational life today. Be prepared to find surprises – and some counterintuitive arguments.Providing a thought-provoking guide to the traits and skills that will help readers to understand and navigate paradoxical leadership behaviour, this reflexive book will be a useful reading for students and scholars of business, management and psychology globally.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages248
ISBN (Electronic)9781351056663
ISBN (Print)9781138482845, 9781138482838
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2021


  • Leadership
  • Power
  • Paradoxes


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