Michael Patterson, Fielding's School of Educational Leadership for Change
Leadership is one of the most widely written about topics and has increasingly gained mainstream popularity. Countless leadership practitioners and academics often produce works that give advice on how to be an effective leader. Much of this information attempts to examine and typologize existing leadership theories as well as seeking to provide new insights on this complex and diverse area of inquiry (Northouse, 2012). In this dissertation, I explore the vast conceptual and theoretical landscape of leadership within mostly corporate settings through the lens of autoethnography. The overall aim is to present the frames of reference and variations of three distinct leadership models: autocratic, servant, and situational. These are articulated through three vignettes seeking to demonstrate how the culture of each organization played an integral role in the shaping of the leadership philosophies examined (Bergquist & Pawlak, 2008).
Implications of the results for future research and practice as well as the current study’s limitations are discussed. This dissertation seeks to make a contribution to leadership learning by exploring actual situations that occurred during my 30-year leadership tenure, which continues to evolve. This study reveals elements of the nature of leadership while sharing the actual development of an individual learned leadership practice. Names of people and organizations in the vignettes have been changed to protect the confidentiality of all parties.
Keywords: Autoethnography, Autocratic Leadership, Servant Leadership, Situational Leadership, Management, Leadership.