Kempster, Stephen and Jackson, Brad and Conroy, Mervyn (2011) Leadership as purpose: Exploring the role of purpose in leadership practice. Leadership, 7 (3). pp. 317-334. ISSN 1742-7150
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This article initiates a long overdue discussion regarding purpose within leadership, an integral yet often taken-for-granted and subsumed function of leadership. Specifically, the article problematicizes the manifestation of purpose in everyday organizational leadership practices through the work of the moral philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre. The article argues that purpose requires greater attention if it is to become manifest in both the corporate and the societal orientations of leaders in organizations. In support of this argument we identify the implications of singularly focusing upon corporate purpose to the exclusion of societal purpose against the backdrop of the credit crunch aftermath. The article develops a theoretical argument that, when conceptualized as a process of sensemaking, leadership can provide an opportunity for notions of societal purpose to come to the fore in countervailing balance with corporate purposes. We conclude by suggesting a research agenda centred on further explicating and developing the idea of leadership as purpose.
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