Images for leadership: Mats Alvesson

19 March, 2012 - 14:00 to 15:00
Room 234 Parnell Building (7), UQ St Lucia campus

We live in a leadership-obsessed society. The result is that we assume nearly any social or economic ill can be mended through better leadership. Sometimes, this commitment to leadership is followed by hero worshipping, wishful thinking and misplaced hope. Seeking to understand the faith we place in leadership, and to encourage a multi-dimensional understanding, the talk draws on a number of in-depth studies of managers trying to "do" leadership. It presents six metaphors for the leader: as gardener, cosy-crafter, saint, cyborg, commander and bully. Some of these offer unexpected insights into how leadership does and does not work. The talk sheds light on a varied - often contradictory and sometimes darker - side of leadership. The talk is based on the presenter's recently published book: Metaphors We Lead By, Understanding Leadership in the Real World. Routledge 2011 (with Andre Spicer).

Professor Mats Alvesson

Mats Alvesson is Professor at the University of Lund, Sweden and Honorary professor at University of Queensland Business School.

He has worked within the following areas:

  • Management and organization of Knowledge work and knowledge-intensive firms
  • Organizational culture and identity
  • Leadership
  • Identity constructions in organizations
  • Power in organizations
  • Reflexive and qualitative methodology
  • Critical management studies
  • Gender and organization Organizational change processes
  • Discourse analysis

He has published a large number of books on a variety of topics, including Interpreting Interviews (Sage 2011), Qualitative Research and Theory Development (with Dan Kärreman, Sage 2011), Reflexive Methodology (with Kaj Skoldberg, Sage 2009), Doing Critical Management Research (with Stan Deetz, Sage 2000) Understanding Organizational Culture (Sage 2002), Understanding Gender and Organization (with Yvonne Billing, Sage 2009), Postmodernism and Social Research (Open University Press 2002), Studying Management Critically (co-edited with Hugh Willmott, Sage 2003). Knowledge Work and Knowledge-intensive Firms (Oxford University Press 2004).