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Abraham Zaleznik

Bio: Abraham Zaleznik is an academic researcher from Harvard University. The author has contributed to research in topics: Unconscious mind & Freud's Psychoanalytic Theories. The author has an hindex of 13, co-authored 25 publications receiving 2116 citations. Previous affiliations of Abraham Zaleznik include Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute.

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TL;DR: It is argued that organizations need both managers and leaders to succeed, but developing both requires a reduced focus on logic and strategic exercises in favor of an environment where creativity and imagination are permitted to flourish.
Abstract: The traditional view of management, back in 1977 when Abraham Zaleznik wrote this article, centered on organizational structure and processes. Managerial development at the time focused exclusively on building competence, control, and the appropriate balance of power. That view, Zaleznik argued, omitted the essential leadership elements of inspiration, vision, and human passion which drive corporate success. The difference between managers and leaders, he wrote, lies in the conceptions they hold, deep in their psyches, of chaos and order. Managers embrace process, seek stability and control, and instinctively try to resolve problems quickly--sometimes before they fully understand a problems significance. Leaders, in contrast, tolerate chaos and lack of structure and are willing to delay closure to understand the issues more fully. In this way, Zaleznik argued, business leaders have much more in common with artists, scientists, and other creative thinkers than they do with managers. Organizations need both managers and leaders to succeed, but developing both requires a reduced focus on logic and strategic exercises in favor of an environment where creativity and imagination are permitted to flourish.

1,163 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Zaleznik et al. as mentioned in this paper compared managers and leaders: are they different? Abraham Zaleznik; JONA: The Journal of Nursing Administration (JONA).
Abstract: Managers and Leaders: Are They Different? Abraham Zaleznik; JONA: The Journal of Nursing Administration

219 citations

Book
01 Jan 1975

179 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Zaleznik as mentioned in this paper argues that managers with their bag of tools can indeed coordinate and control, but have lost sight of the substance of work in business, and that self-esteem follows from submerging oneself in the team and following process, but from facing problems, assuming responsibility, and doing good work.
Abstract: Executive Overview Zaleznik's article is a critical assessment of a mystique that places a premium on the team over the individual as practiced in business and taught in our business schools. It's an argument for substance over process that calls for restoring the individual to his or her proper place as the source of vision and drive that can make an organization unique. The image of leadership projected is one of substance, humanity, and morality, which are qualities Zaleznik believes are painfully short in our collective lives. Good ideas and exciting directions generate enthusiasm, support, and cohesion in an organization. Professional managers with their bag of tools can indeed coordinate and control, but have lost sight of the substance of work in business. Self-esteem follows, not from submerging oneself in the team and following process, but from facing problems, assuming responsibility, and doing good work. Zaleznik argues the business schools have served as socialization plants to fit managers f...

103 citations


Cited by
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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, the authors synthesize these previously fragmented literatures around a more general "upper echelons perspective" and claim that organizational outcomes (strategic choices and performance levels) are partially predicted by managerial background characteristics.
Abstract: Theorists in various fields have discussed characteristics of top managers. This paper attempts to synthesize these previously fragmented literatures around a more general “upper echelons perspective.” The theory states that organizational outcomes—strategic choices and performance levels—are partially predicted by managerial background characteristics. Propositions and methodological suggestions are included.

11,022 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, a framework is developed for conceptualizing the processes that occur between dominants and tokens, and three perceptual phenomena are associated with tokens: visibility, polarization, and assimilation, where tokens' attributes are distorted to fit preexisting generalizations about their social type.
Abstract: Proportions, that is, relative numbers of socially and culturally different people in a group, are seen as critical in shaping interaction dinamics, and four group types are identified in the basis of varying proportional compositions. "Skewed" groups contain a large preponderance of one type (the numerical "dominants") over another (the rare "tokens"). A framework is developed for conceptualizing the processes that occur between dominants and tokens. Three perceptual phenomena are associated with tokens: visibility (tokens capture a disproportionate awareness share), polarization (differences between tokens and dominants are exaggerated), and assimilation (tokens' attributes are distorted to fit preexisting generalizations about their social type). Visibility generates performance pressures; polarization leads dominants to heighten their group boundaries; and assimilation leads to the tokens' role entrapment. Illustrations are drawn from a field study in a large industrial corporation. Concepts are exten...

2,426 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, a model linking organizational contexts to charismatic leadership is proposed, and a series of research hypotheses are offered to explain the lack of a systematic conceptual framework for organizational leadership.
Abstract: Charismatic leadership has been largely overlooked by organizational theorists. In part, the problem can be attributed to the lack of a systematic conceptual framework Drawing from political science, sociology, and social psychology, this paper addresses the problem by proposing a model linking organizational contexts to charismatic leadership. A series of research hypotheses is offered.

1,860 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
Peter Gronn1
TL;DR: In this paper, a taxonomy of distributed leadership is presented, in which a key defining criterion is conjoint agency, and a review of examples in the literature is provided. But the taxonomy is limited to three varieties of distributed action: concertive action, collaborative action, and collaborative action.
Abstract: This article proposes a new unit of analysis in the study of leadership. As an alternative to the current focus, which is primarily on the deeds of individual leaders, the article proposes distributed leadership. The article shows how conventional constructs of leadership have difficulty accommodating changes in the division of labor in the workplace, especially, new patterns of interdependence and coordination which have given rise to distributed practice. A number of forms of distributed leadership are then outlined, in particular, three varieties of concertive action in which a key defining criterion is conjoint agency. These forms provide the basis for a taxonomy of distributed leadership and a review of examples in the literature. The article concludes with a consideration of some implications of the adoption of a revised unit of analysis, particularly for recent work on levels of analysis and for future research into leadership as a process.

1,802 citations