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Democratic leadership as a political weapon: competition between fictions and practices

Democratic leadership as a political weapon: competition between fictions and practices This article aims to analyze possible interpretations of democratic leadership by revealing the implicit leadership theory (ILT) of a moral, a material and a political ideal of democracy, namely deliberative–participatory democracy (DPD), aggregative–pluralist democracy (APD) and leader democracy (LD). As special “filters,” ILT helps the author to organize and compare conflicting premises and assumptions democratic theories hold about exemplary leadership and followership.Design/methodology/approachIn order to reconstruct the possible meanings of ideal leadership (challenges and political knowledge) and the ideal followership (power relations, interactions and roles) portrayed by theories, the article sets a specific template for conceptual analysis.FindingsThe author argues that there is a contest over the meaning of democratic leadership. Political leaders use leadership fictions as political weapons to mobilize possible followers, legitimize their actions and discredit opponents. The article creates a heuristic typology providing a “plural” or nonessentialist reading of actual political situations and democratic practices.Originality/valueThe literature usually aims to find an absolute moral understanding of leadership fitted in democracy or to reconcile the idea of leadership with democracy. Extending J. Thomas Wren's approach, this article examines competing fictions of democratic leadership by blending leadership and democracy theories. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png International Journal of Public Leadership Emerald Publishing

Democratic leadership as a political weapon: competition between fictions and practices

International Journal of Public Leadership , Volume 17 (4): 12 – Nov 30, 2021

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References (26)

Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
2056-4929
DOI
10.1108/ijpl-09-2020-0094
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This article aims to analyze possible interpretations of democratic leadership by revealing the implicit leadership theory (ILT) of a moral, a material and a political ideal of democracy, namely deliberative–participatory democracy (DPD), aggregative–pluralist democracy (APD) and leader democracy (LD). As special “filters,” ILT helps the author to organize and compare conflicting premises and assumptions democratic theories hold about exemplary leadership and followership.Design/methodology/approachIn order to reconstruct the possible meanings of ideal leadership (challenges and political knowledge) and the ideal followership (power relations, interactions and roles) portrayed by theories, the article sets a specific template for conceptual analysis.FindingsThe author argues that there is a contest over the meaning of democratic leadership. Political leaders use leadership fictions as political weapons to mobilize possible followers, legitimize their actions and discredit opponents. The article creates a heuristic typology providing a “plural” or nonessentialist reading of actual political situations and democratic practices.Originality/valueThe literature usually aims to find an absolute moral understanding of leadership fitted in democracy or to reconcile the idea of leadership with democracy. Extending J. Thomas Wren's approach, this article examines competing fictions of democratic leadership by blending leadership and democracy theories.

Journal

International Journal of Public LeadershipEmerald Publishing

Published: Nov 30, 2021

Keywords: Democratic leadership; Political leaders; Followership; Leader–follower retaliations; Implicit leadership theory

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