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Prozac Leadership and the limits of positive thinking

Collinson, David (2012) Prozac Leadership and the limits of positive thinking. Leadership, 8 (2). pp. 87-107. ISSN 1742-7150

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    This article critically examines excessive positivity in leadership dynamics. It argues that the tendency for leader positivity to become excessive is a recurrent but under-researched medium through which power and identity can be enacted in leadership dynamics. Drawing on the metaphor of ‘Prozac’, it suggests that leaders’ excessive positivity is often characterized by a reluctance to consider alternative voices, which can leave organizations and societies ill-prepared to deal with unexpected events. Prozac leadership encourages leaders to believe their own narratives that everything is going well and discourages followers from raising problems or admitting mistakes. The article also argues that followers (broadly defined) are often quick to identify leaders’ excessive positivity and are likely to respond through various forms of resistance. It concludes by considering the extent to which excessive positivity also characterizes leadership studies, and raises additional questions for further critical analyses of Prozac leadership.

    Item Type: Journal Article
    Journal or Publication Title: Leadership
    Additional Information: This article was published in a prestigious online issue of 'Leadership' called "Rethinking Leadership Research" edited by the Editor of the journal. This Special Issue comprised 7 peer reviewed articles selected to showcase "the excellent scholarship" that has been published in the journal over the previous 12 years. Please see:
    Uncontrolled Keywords: excessive positivity ; Prozac leadership ; critical leadership studies ; power ; identity ; resistance
    Subjects: ?? hb ??
    Departments: Lancaster University Management School > Management Learning & Leadership
    ID Code: 53974
    Deposited By: ep_importer_pure
    Deposited On: 04 May 2012 13:19
    Refereed?: Yes
    Published?: Published
    Last Modified: 18 Jun 2018 00:16
    Identification Number:

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