ERIC Number: ED430310
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1999-Apr
Looking behind the Veil: Addressing the Enigma of Leadership.
English, Fenwick W.
This paper claims that leadership, as a topic, has been disguised in behaviorism and obscured by organizational theory and management. The article examines the theories or metanarratives that have dominated educational administration and shows how they have covered and disguised leadership. It argues that the metanarratives--trait theory, behaviorism, structuralism, behavioral structuralism, broad fields, critical theory, and feminism--submerge leadership as other issues, such as management theory, are pursued. It asserts that all these metanarratives rest on the fallacy of an objectified self, which, even if influenced by language and culture, is believed to be benign so that the veil covering leadership can be lifted. Yet the record in this respect is paltry, and critical theory has not produced any expanded vision for the nature of leadership. The article focuses on the literature of feminism and the argument by postmodernists that one cannot think without prejudice, that is, all perspectives are grounded in certain pre-assumptions that actively shape perception. The article concludes with the work of Jacques Lacan and Howard Gardner and their critique of behavioral psychology, positing that Lacan and Gardner offer an alternative to the obscurantist view of leadership that has become prevalent. Contains 21 references. (RJM)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Montreal, Quebec, Canada, April 19-23, 1999).