Publication details [#11219]

Watson, John Lynn. 1993. Language, metaphors, and phenomenology of leadership. Greensboro, N.C.. 183 pp.
Publication type
Ph.D dissertation
Publication language


In current scholarship, the subject of leaders and leadership has been identified and measured through traditional sampling and research techniques. The assumptions of these techniques is that leaders and leadership operate as a positional, top down phenomenon. Articulated by a cultural voice, these techniques are limited to traditionally accepted modes of inquiry and research. The purpose of this study was to explore a philosophical conceptual frame, one that is based in language phenomenologically with an epistemological orientation. By studying the language of leadership, interpretations and descriptions may be rendered which focuses a metaphorically constructed lens of reality. Secondly by allowing the researcher to express the self phenomenologically the humane elements of research and leadership spring forth. The writer found that life itself is the expression, through language and metaphor, of leadership, and that every person is capable of this expression. Through prophetic and spiritual language, the expression of "ducere vitam" is brought to the realm of relationships, sharedness, and vision. Chapter I strives to make meaning from the derivation of such words as lead, leader, and leadership. A comparison of the language of leadership and management begins the metaphorical interpretation imbedded in the construct of the terms. Chapter II utilizes current literature to develop the metaphorical concepts about language important to making meaning in our everyday experience. Chapter III moves toward understanding the metaphors of leadership in a cultural setting. Questions about leadership as relationship form the basis for assertions in Chapter IV. Chapter IV makes assertions about leadership being a relationship that has significant overtone based in the concepts of spirituality. The concept of leadership as a spiritual metaphor is developed in Chapter IV. If the language of leadership is to be uniquely capable of determining the meaning of leadership, the language must reflect a sharedness of understanding that language itself is what will bring into focus the spiritual vision we share. (John Lynn Watson)