Concepts of Community: A Framework for Contextualizing Distributed Leadership


  • Gareth Edwards

    Corresponding author
    1. Bristol Business School, University of the West of England, Frenchay Campus, Coldharbour Lane, Bristol BS16 1QY, UK
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This review of the literature on community and distributed leadership marks out the potential for a more context-rich understanding of the nature of leadership. We begin by reviewing the literature on distributed leadership, noting a shift from clichéd ideals to more structured frameworks. We then highlight the need to further contextualize notions of distributed leadership before going on to identify a number of concepts relating to community that are useful for theoretical reflection, research and practice. These concepts are symbolism, a sense of belonging, a sense of community, individualism, values and ethics, language, dialect and discourse, liminality and friendship. We also develop a discussion around postmodern views of community and the importance of recognizing multiple belonging and multiple identities. From the review we develop areas of reflection for theory, research and practice regarding distributed leadership and the concept of community. We highlight practical implications from the review by discussing the importance of taking these ideas into consideration in management and leadership development initiatives and in managerial practice in general.