The Role of Psychology in Leadership, Change, and Organization Development

H. Skipton Leonard, Rachel Lewis, Arthur M. Freedman, and Jonathan Passmore

1.1 Introduction

The three topics of this volume—leadership, change, and organization development (OD)—can be viewed as three separate and distinct organizational topics or they can be understood as three distinct lenses viewing a common psycho-organizational process. We begin the volume with a comprehensive treatment of leadership primarily because we view leadership as the fulcrum or crucible for any significant change in human behavior at the individual, team, or organizational level. Leaders must apply their understanding of how to effect change at behavioral, procedural, and structural levels in enacting leadership efforts. In many cases, these efforts are quite purposeful, planned, and conscious. In others, leadership behavior may stem from less-conscious understandings and forces.

The chapters in Part I: Leadership provide a comprehensive view of what we know and what we don’t know about leadership. Alimo-Metcalfe (Chapter 2) provides a comprehensive view of theories and measures of leadership. Day and Antonakis (Chapter 11) argue that the lack of construct definitions within the literature can be seen as a key criticism of leadership research. These authors suggest that “if the leadership field is to continue to evolve then how carefully we define our theoretical constructs is something that must be given much closer attention.” ...

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