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Direction, Alignment, Commitment: Toward a More Integrative Ontology of Leadership

Abstract: This paper argues that the current, widely-accepted leadership ontology – leaders, followers, and shared goals – is becoming less useful for understanding leadership in contexts that are increasingly peer-like and collaborative. The further development of leadership theory calls for a corresponding development at the level of leadership ontology. Thus, an alternative leadership ontology is proposed: direction, alignment, and commitment. A theoretical framework based on such an ontology is sketched out. It is argued that such a framework can integrate emerging leadership research and ultimately stimulate the development of new leadership theory and practice.