Exploring Compelling Contexts through Paradox, Tension, and New Approaches to Leadership

Document Type

Book Chapter


Drucker School of Management (CGU)

Publication Date



Leadership Studies


This volume is dedicated to furthering our understanding of the importance of context in the development and application of leadership theory, advancing our knowledge of when, how, and under what conditions context matters most. Leadership is fundamentally a contextual phenomenon, constantly evolving, changing, and being applied in a specific environment. In this introductory chapter, I highlight key themes and aspects of dynamic and often paradoxical leadership across a wide domain of industries and contexts. First, I examine the importance of context across the chapters of the volume, including different domains, to different degrees, and from different theoretical angles. In some of the domains, context shapes the style or type of leadership that is needed, while in others, the context highlights to an extreme degree the aspects of leadership that may be invisible or less salient in different settings, but nevertheless characterize most leadership situations. I subsequently provide an overview of each of the chapters of the volume, examining leadership in the context of sports and competition, extreme “life or death” contexts, creative industries, and values-based and caring organizations. The four parts of the volume highlight leadership themes and connections across contexts and settings, including adaptability, dealing with paradox, and relational leader–follower and team dynamics.

Rights Information

© Emerald Group Publishing Limited