The supervisors who became leaders: Leadership emergence via changing organizational practices

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6 Citations (Scopus)


This paper examines leadership and leader emergence as a contextual process. The paper argues that the emergence of leader identities is a contextual process which is premised on relations between organizational actors and practices. We adopt a social constructionist view on leader- ship emergence, applying a practice theory perspective on an empirical case of supervisory leadership emergence. Our empirical material consists of informant accounts and corporate documentation of a multiyear organization development project. The empirical narrative explores how the expectation set for a group of supervisors in the organization to act as leaders of production was initially impaired by a lack of participation in central organizing activities. The organization development project reformed the supervisory work to include more tasks related to production activities, which facilitated a new interpretation of the supervisors as leaders. We analyse how the inclusion of supervisors in the daily production practices induced an identity change where the supervisors came to be identified as leaders in production. We argue that contextual changes at the level of organizing practices can influence leadership and leader emergence.
Original languageEnglish
Peer-reviewed scientific journalLeadership
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)103-122
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 26.10.2017
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed


  • 512 Business and Management
  • Leadership
  • supervisory work
  • practice theory
  • leadership emergence
  • leader identity


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