Home > Research > Publications & Outputs > "I Need to Be Myself" : Authenticity and Perfor...

Electronic data

  • 11003462.pdf

    Final published version, 21.9 MB, PDF document

    Available under license: CC BY-ND

View graph of relations

"I Need to Be Myself" : Authenticity and Performance in the Everyday and Mundane Practice of Trustworthy Leadership - A Paradox.

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

Unpublished
  • Andrew Coleman
Close
Publication date2010
Number of pages394
QualificationPhD
Awarding Institution
Place of PublicationLancaster
Publisher
  • Lancaster University
Electronic ISBNs9780438570580
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

While existing literature identifies a range of factors that support trustworthy leadership, it often does so in an abstract, generalised and unproblematic way. Consequently, such evidence is frequently unable to adequately account for the enactment of leadership on a daily basis. This thesis seeks to address the lack of evidence by exploring in depth the specific and mundane ways in which trustworthy leadership is manifest in an everyday context. This work builds upon Alvesson & Sveningsson's (2003b) concept of the extra-ordinarization of the mundane, which highlights the significance of everyday and routine behaviours in informing the quality of leader-follower relations. However Alvesson & Sveningsson's focus on the ways in which followers attribute qualities to leaders according to their perceived behaviours is seen to distract attention from the role leaders play in this process, potentially portraying them as passive agents whose identity is forged by those they seek to lead. In contrast to this position, this study, which explored trustworthy leadership within school based collaborations, found that leaders play a highly active role in defining the concept of trustworthy leadership within their organisational context. Indeed understandings of trustworthy leadership both inform the nature of leaders' routine, day to day performances and evolve in response to the subsequent leader-follower interactions that occur. Thus trustworthy leadership is viewed as promoted by the exemplary reflexive performance of this role, the nature of which is constructed and reconstructed within the context of daily practice. In this way trustworthy leadership is at once scripted and improvised, structured and agentic. Furthermore, this study found that these leaders demonstrated considerable awareness of their ability to influence the broader climate of their organisation in accordance with the principles of Social Learning Theory (Bandura, 1977). Aspects of their performance therefore reflected varying degrees of stylisation and were symbolically undertaken to reinforce their key values through the process of dramatic realisation (Goffman, 1959). However such contrivances were potentially counter to leaders' commonly espoused values of honesty, openness and integrity, and thus posed potential ethical dilemmas for these leaders. Thus the performance of trustworthy leadership requires the ability to reconcile potential contradictions between principles and practice, whilst maintaining a high degree of authenticity for both self and audience. Recourse to the notion of professionalism may represent a positive coping strategy for leaders in such circumstances, by providing a means through which potentially negative aspects of their performance may be recast as essential [and therefore desirable] elements of their role.

Bibliographic note

Thesis (Ph.D.)--Lancaster University (United Kingdom), 2010.