Leadership and Identity: An Examination of Three Theories and New Research Directions in The Oxford Handbook of Leadership and Organizations, David Day (Eds.), Oxford University Press (2014)
Identity has emerged as a potent force in understanding leadership. This chapter reviews the contributions of role identity, social identity, and social construction theories toward comprehending the emergence, effectiveness, and development of leaders. In recent years leadership scholars have combined two or more of these identity theories to conceptualize and study a range of phenomena including transitions into leadership roles, the challenges faced by women leaders, and the role of identity workspaces in leadership development. Based on the authors’ review they propose areas where further research attention is needed, in particular the process by which non-prototypical leaders emerge, lead effectively, and develop; leader identities in contemporary settings characterized by globally distributed teams and multiple leadership roles; and identity evolution in the context of the life cycle of a leadership career.