Dr. Anna Topakas and Dr. Malcolm Patterson
Leader Identity Construction through Reciprocal Identity Claims: A Relational Leadership Perspective
Scope of Research (aims and objectives)
In today’s uncertain and globalized world, organizations face continuing demands for leadership. Yet as the leadership literature demonstrates, simply holding a position of leadership or completing a leadership training program does not always result in being seen as, or seeing oneself as a leader. Thus, there is a recognized need to understand the processes through which individuals come to construct identities within organizations and in doing so come to see themselves as leader or followers. The aim of my current research is to investigate how individuals within organizations come to see themselves as leaders or followers through the reciprocal claiming and granting of identities as proposed by leadership identity construction theory. To this end, my current research project has three goals. Firstly, it will attempt to document the claiming and granting of identities, which lead to the construction of a leader or follower identity..To date, there are no studies which provide documentation of the claiming and granting process as it takes place sequentially in real time and in real world settings. Secondly, this research will investigate factors which have been proposed to have an influence on the claiming and granting of identities such as implicit leadership and followership schemas, motivation to lead, uncertainty, and organizational hierarchy. Lastly, the third goal of this research is to investigate the role that followers play in the construction of a leader identity, and in doing so move beyond a singular focus on either leader or followers in order to understand leadership and identity.