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Aesthetic Leadership

Aesthetic Leadership

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Published by Jonathan Schroeder
Brief discussion of aesthetic leadership, with literature review and examples or aesthetic leaders drawn from artists, musicians, and writers.
Brief discussion of aesthetic leadership, with literature review and examples or aesthetic leaders drawn from artists, musicians, and writers.

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Published by: Jonathan Schroeder on Sep 04, 2009
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06/05/2012

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Aesthetic Leadership
 Jonathan E. Schroeder University of Exeter Ian FillisStirling University 
Forthcoming (2010) in
Research Handbook on Political and Civic Leadership
Richard Couto, ed. London: Sage.
 
 
Aesthetic Leadership
 Jonathan E. Schroeder  Ian Fillis D R A F T 
Aesthetic leadership is an important, but little understood, aspect of leadership.This chapter briefly examines the literature on aesthetics and considers what can belearned from the various interfaces aesthetics has with other domains, such as art, philosophy and leadership. It begins with brief discussions of aesthetics, art andmanagement studies. Several exemplars of aesthetic leaders are presented. Applicationsto organizations are discussed, and the creative industries, an American artist, and anArab-Israeli orchestra are used as applied case studies of managerial, civic, and politicalforms of aesthetic leadership. The chapter concludes with future directions for research,and provides a list of additional entries in the encyclopedia, and well as references andfurther readings.Several approaches to aesthetic leadership can be identified, each drawing uponslightly different conceptions of leaders and how aesthetics interacts with leadership..Generally, these approaches share common assumptions that aesthetic leadership isdistinct from traditional forms of leadership, and agree that it is a necessary complementto those forms. In addition, they suggest that aesthetic leadership is closely connected tocreativity and/or artistic insights. Aesthetic leadership refers to leadership in a broader,
 
 civic, cultural and political arena than many models of leadership. However, no oneapproach has emerged as definitive.Hansen, Ropo and Sauer’s concept of aesthetic leadership emphasizes howfollowers utilize aesthetic sense and judgment in working with leaders. They identifytransformational and visionary leadership, charismatic leadership, and authenticleadership as aspects of aesthetic leadership, as well as conceptual precursors to thecurrent aesthetic turn in leadership studies. They provide a comprehensive model of aesthetic leadership and outline its’ ontological and epistemological assumptions, whichhew toward social construction and the importance of embodiment. Aestheticleadership, in their view, requires two enduring components: engagement of the senses,and a focus on the experiential (Hansen, Ropo, and Sauer, 2007). In this approach,aesthetic leadership emphasizes leader-follower relations within established frameworksof leadership in organizations.Guillet de Monthoux and his colleagues represent another approach to aestheticleadership. They argue that leaders in business and art benefit by listening to eachother, and present research-based cases demonstrate how software programmers and artcurators, financial analysts and orchestra conductors, construction engineers and chefs,share aesthetic leadership talents that hold the key to transforming the ordinary into theextraordinary (Guillet de Monthoux, 2004; Ropo and Koivunen, 2002; Sjöstrand,Guillet de Monthoux and Gustafsson, 2007). This perspective focuses largely on theinteraction between aesthetics and management, and between artists and managers, and

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