LMX and boundary critique : some borders are meant to be crossed

de la Peña de Torres, Oralia

LMX; Boundary critique

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©2013 University of Hull


According to Smith and Hughey (2006), leadership constitutes one of the most critical determinants of organizational success or failure, and it is the difference between excellence and mediocrity, or even the survival and extinction of today’s organizations. Even though leadership is widely discussed in the management literature, there has been no consensus in the research community about its definition. Bass (2008) identifies three main categories into which definitions can be grouped:

1. Leader-centric: the focus is on the leader and his/her personality, traits, attributions, behavior, etc., with little consideration of the wider context;

2. Leadership as an effect: the focus is again on the leader, but on what he or she achieves in the context of fulfilling the organization’s goals; and

3. Interaction between the leader and the led: leadership is defined as a process, or power relationship, or as a combination of these things.

This last form of definition is becoming increasingly popular since it is concerned with the cognitions, interpersonal behaviors and attributions of both leaders and followers. For Yukl (2006) and Northouse (2010), leadership is a process in which an individual influences others, and those others in turn influence the leader. That is, it is a two-way process between the leader and followers. Graen and Uhl-Bien (1995) and Scandura (1999), among others, define leadership as a process where an exchange or transaction between a leader and a follower is produced. Because this is a more systemic (inclusive) understanding of leadership than the other two, and is consonant with my own experience in organizations that the actions of leaders and followers need to be accounted for in understanding organizational behavior, it will be the focus for my own research.

Centre for Systems Studies, the University of Hull
Peer reviewed
Additional notes
Proposal for PhD thesis, April 2013
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