Comparing Leadership: Business, Politics and Education
Mireia Tintoré1, Casilda Güell2
1Faculty of Education, Universitat Internacional de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain
2OBS Business School, Planeta Formación y Universidades, Barcelona, Spain
To cite this article:
Mireia Tintoré, Casilda Güell. Comparing Leadership: Business, Politics and Education. Special Issue: Re-Imagine Education for Social Improvement. Social Sciences. Vol. 5, No. 6-1, 2016, pp. 14-28. doi: 10.11648/j.ss.s.2016050601.13
Received: July 29, 2016; Accepted: August 16, 2016; Published: September 3, 2016
Abstract: Research on leadership has extended throughout social sciences in recent years and is becoming more and more relevant. In this regard, the online higher education institutions are not an exception. This paper aims to do an analysis of the evolution of the studies on leadership by reviewing the articles on this topic since 1950s, and to propose a multi-disciplinary perspective. Since the subject is so wide, we have chosen three areas within the social sciences: business, politics, and education, which account for about 45% of the articles in the web of science. First, we do a quantitative analysis of the output in politics, business and education. Second, we proceed to study which concepts relate to leadership in each area from a qualitative perspective hoping to extract trends and target opportunities in order to improve training on this topic in universities and business schools.
Keywords: Leadership, Business, Politics, Education
Research on leadership has extended throughout social sciences in recent years and is becoming more and more relevant. The importance of leadership at online education institutions emerges as very relevant. Leadership often evaluates behavior through 360o feedback process (Fletcher and Bailey, 2003). This allows evaluating the effective leader using multiple data sources. The use of self-perception also can be included in the assessment of leadership. Fletcher and Bailey (2003) after evaluating 19 heads of school, 23 line managers and 120 people showed that the three groups agreed on the importance attached to management functions, and to the extent that the roles are displayed in the school.
Our main aim is to do an analysis of the evolution of the studies on leadership by reviewing the articles1 on this topic since 1950s and to propose a multi-disciplinary perspective. Since the topic is so wide, we have chosen three areas within the social sciences: politics, business and education, which account for about 45% of the articles in the web of science. Our study shows the main leadership tendencies at present in these three areas, analyzing the hundred most cited articles on business leadership, educational leadership and political leadership.
First, we do a quantitative analysis of the output in politics, business and education. Second, we proceed to study which concepts relate to leadership in each area from a qualitative perspective hoping to extract trends and target opportunities in order to improve training on this topic. In our study we have relied in a previous work (Tintoré and Güell, 2015) but extended it in order to complete and expand our knowledge on leadership today from different perspectives.
There are books that review the concept of leadership from a multi-disciplinary perspective such as those of the "parents" of transformational leadership theories: Bernard Bass (for example in his handbooks running to more than a thousand pages: Bass and Stodgill, 1990; Bass and Bass, 2008) and James McGregor Burns in his books (i.e. 1978, 2003), or in his 4-volume Encyclopedia of Leadership, of which he was a co-editor (Goethal et al., 2004). Other examples of scholars who have adopted a multidisciplinary perspective are Kellerman (1984), Harvey (2011) or Riggio (2011), but as this last author states: ‘traditionally, the topic of leadership has been studied in different ways by different disciplines. (…) Each discipline brings its own perspective and approach to the study of leadership’ each one "speaking different languages" and using different methodologies (Riggio, 2011: 4). Our purpose is to contribute to fill this research gap as Harvey, Riggio or Ciulla have done in order to make leadership studies an emerging and more integrated discipline (Riggio, 2011: 4).
We begin our study with a brief overview of the evolution of leadership studies from the twentieth century, followed by a quantitative and qualitative analysis of the main articles in the Web of Science on leadership in general and from an economic, educational and political point of view. We conducted a systematic review of the literature on leadership and in doing so, we followed some other systematic researches on the literature, such as the one made by Gros, Barberà and Kirshner (2010), abount e-learning and time factor.
There is a lot of excellent literature of leadership (both qualitative and quantitative reviews), but these reviews are centered on certain topics (servant leadership, ethical leadership, organizational leadership, e-leadership, leadership in education and so on) and there is not such study as the one proposed here. Surprisingly, as has been explained previously, little systematic research has been made on leadership taking into account a multidisciplinary approach and based on citation analysis.
The reason why we have not made an open-ended search of leadership instead of focusing on politics, business and education is that these are the three areas in which a great quantity of articles were published (45% of the articles on leadership in the Web of Science2). We decided to focus on those areas as a first stage of an interdisciplinary approach which takes into account social sciences and humanities following the requirement of Joanne Ciulla (2011).
We have chosen politics as the initial historical area related to the concept of leadership, and education and business because they have been two of the areas where the leadership studies have expanded most widely. However, this has been a personal choice and further interdisciplinary research should include other areas. Also, as a first approach, we focused on titles rather than abstracts which would need to be explored in further research. We are conscious that sometimes the word ‘leadership’ is used as a synonymous of ‘management’ and we have taken this issue into account when analyzing the content of the one hundred selected articles.
Furthermore in this first study we use words as the basis of qualitative analysis and further research would need to do additional analyses going beyond titles and examining substance to get a deeper understanding of the different fields and the progression of ideas within fields.
Due to the great abundance of publications related to leadership, it is incredibly daring to aim to contribute something new to this large-scale production, therefore, in this article we will focus on the analysis and comparison of what has already been written and published, with the aim of incorporating several conclusions and suggestions.
Following conceptual research we will perform a literature study based on the bibliographic database of the Web of Science. This type of investigation, which is increasingly used, is the result of the growing amount of information and channels of distribution. It enables us to access a vast amount of data in a short period of time, which can then be processed and compared.
In this case, we will analyze scientifically relevant primary sources – academic journal articles indexed in major databases- to develop our core research ideas, which we will then turn into knowledge by drawing conclusions. In order to do this we intend to describe the contents of the main points in an objective, systematic and qualitative way, primarily through analyzing the titles.
The search criterion is a key word, "leadership", and from there academic articles on this subject and/or with this title in the Web of Science are analyzed. More specifically, the Social Science Citation Index (SSCI) and the Arts and Humanities Citation Index (A&HCI) are analyzed, as they are the most relevant databases for the object of our research and the most related to the subject at hand. The data were retrieved on the 20th of January of 2014 and covered the chronological period between 1956 and 2013. The starting date was determined by the start of publication listing in the SSCI, and the end date was chosen for being the closest completion of a calendar year to the time of research.
First we will report the number of publications throughout the sector of Social and Human Sciences, followed by each of the specific areas (management and business, education and educational research and political science and public administration), taking into account articles on the subject of leadership and those that carry the word "leadership" in the title. In order to be more specific we have decided to study this last group of articles in greater depth and to research the chronological evolution that each area has experienced since the middle of the last century.
Then, taking into account the number of articles in each area – 2814 economic, 1156 political and 1318 educational articles – we will analyze the most cited articles in each of the areas. Smith (1981) -based on the works of academics like Garfield (1979) or Small and Griffith (1974) - pointed out: ‘citations are attractive subjects of study because they are both unobtrusive and readily available’ (Smith, 1981: 84) and ‘citation counts based on a given set of documents are precise and objective’ (Smith, 1981: 85).
Following these ideas, we have decided to take into consideration the number of publications in each area and the percentage they represent to set a ratio to the total number of articles studied (see Table 1). This means we will analyze 22 articles in the field of politics, 25 articles in the field of education and 53 in the field of economics (see Appendix). We will analyze these one hundred articles on the basis of the following criteria: the main journals in which they were published, the main authors, areas and years of publication, and the most common concepts related to leadership in the titles of each field. We will then make comparisons and relevant observations and finally draw conclusions on the state of research on the subject of leadership in the three areas of study. This study should facilitate advances in approaches to leadership training and could bring the fields closer together and establish links between them.
3. Leadership Models During the Twentieth and Twenty First Century
Leadership studies, or to be more precise, studies on the governance of cities and states, evolved from a common core of philosophy, closely bound to politics and ethics of classical antiquity (Tintoré, 2003; Tintoré and Güell, 2013). This research spread further into all human sciences, in the twentieth century, which has led to several branches and separations in the areas of political, economic, educational and social leadership, and the acknowledgment of some authors of the existence of "disciplinary silos" (Uhl-Bien and Ospina, 2012: xv). However, this expansion cannot obscure the common origin, and for the past few years voices have been raised (Kellerman, 1999; Harvey and Riggio, 2011; Uhl-Bien and Ospina, 2012) defending the need for an approach between leadership researchers in different disciplines, and especially between politics and the corporate world.
Throughout the last century, several leadership models have been proposed most of which, especially in recent times, originated in the corporate world or economic organizations and then expanded to other fields.
Following historical tradition, equating the study of leadership to the study of elites, by 1900 the model of a leader was still based on the "great man theory" which began in romanticism and continued throughout the nineteenth century. According to this theory the qualities of the leader were genetic and innate, describing the leader as a charismatic individual, clearly different from those who were not (Carlyle, 1869; Weber, 1946). Although with nuances, the theories of traits and behavioral approaches in the schools of Ohio and Michigan (Blake and Mouton, 1964; Likert, 1961; Homans, 1961, Tannenhaum and Schmit, 1973; Bales, 1999), applied a leadership model that was still very much focused on the leader in most of the twentieth century.
However, since the seventies, new post-industrial society caused a substantial change in leadership studies, as a new perspective was required (Kellerman, 1999: 33) and leadership was seen as a process and a system of relations between people. Gone were the old conceptions of leadership as a gift of a few great men who are "called" to lead. A closer, but equally overcome, idea was to see leadership as a position and the mere occupation of this important position implying that the person was a leader, as Gronn denounced a few years ago: ‘when people use ‘leadership’, more often than not they really mean "headship"’ (2000: 332).
We have also left behind the one-man leadership concept, and the idea of followers and collaborators (Burns, 1978; Kellerman, 2008) has strongly entered the scene. Moreover, we are pleased to see that collaborators no longer form a seamless and homogenous group and note that there are different levels of collaboration in organizations (Burns, 2003), and not all followers are the same, there is always an in-group and an out-group (Dansereau, 2013).
There is virtual unanimity in stating that the great change in contemporary studies on leadership occurred with the emergence of relational leadership, that is, in the words of Rost (1991: 102), leadership which focuses on relations of mutual influence between leaders and followers for changes that reflect their mutual interests. Leadership is no longer exclusively about what the leader does, it is about leaders and followers working towards a common goal, which requires the efforts of all. Thus, studying leadership means to study the different relations of influence that exist between people and especially to analyze why a collaborator interacts with a leader.
The shift towards theories of leadership that take into account leaders and followers is associated with the work Leadership (1978) by James McGregor Burns, who is regarded as the father of transformational leadership. In the words of Díaz–Saenz: transformational leadership has been ‘the single most studied and debated idea within the field of leadership studies’ (2011: 299) for the past 30 years. From the moment of its appearance, the conception of followers or collaborators emerged strongly in the field of leadership at all levels (business, political, educational and social). The nature of relations between leaders and followers began to be explored, determining whether they were transactional - based on ‘the exchange of a reward for applied effort’ (Yukl, 2005: 8), where goals between the leader and follower can differ -, or transformational -a change occurs, in the most intrinsic and positive sense, in the aspirations, motivations and values of both leaders and collaborators, who come to share the same goals-. Transformational leaders surpass transactional leaders because they raise ‘the level of human conduct and ethical aspirations of leaders and followers, which has a transforming effect on both’ (Burns, 1978: 20). They are more inspiring leaders or at least communicate the mission more effectively.
James McGregor Burns addressed the subject of leadership from a political perspective and his general theory was later transferred to the corporate world, with great success, through the works of – amongst others – Bass and Avolio (1993 and 1994) and their Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ). Adopting one or another perspective is not a trivial difference, as Burns emphasizes meaningful social change and Bass and Avolio are more concerned with achieving organizational goals beyond expectations. According to Bass, a transformational leader is one who motivates subordinates to do more than they set out to do (Bass, 1985), even beyond what seemed possible to them (Bass, 1998: 4).
This model of leadership is criticized for the scarcity of empirical data on the improvement in motivations of followers (Yukl, 1999), or its nature being too ephemeral (Bryman, 2004), intrusive (Tourish, 2013: 22), individualistic (Gronn, 2000), charismatic and visionary (López Yáñez, 2012; Northouse, 2007: 193; Tourish, 2008: 523). Much of this criticism relates to the first moments of transformational leadership and the theory has since been adapted and modified over the years, (Bass and Riggio, 2006), without ever shedding the visionary and charismatic air that has surrounded if from the start. This is one of the reasons why some authors distinguish between different types of transformational leadership, stating that there is a second type of transformational leadership. This second type has many names: it can be a more dialogic "transformative" leadership, focused on the transformation of societies through egalitarian dialogue such as the model of which Foster (1986) and Shields (2004, 2010) speak; or it can be leadership that is pro-social, contributory, altruistic and transcendent (De Vries et al., 2010; Grant, 2008, 2013; Pérez López, 1996; Osterloch and Frey, 2003; Sison, 2008; Tintoré and Arbós, 2012). They both share the desire to go beyond the aspirations and needs of the leader in order to collectively try to benefit and transform other people, organizations and societies.
In recent years a new type of leadership is being supported: distributed leadership. Authors such as Gronn (2000, 2002a, 2002b), Leithwood, Mascall and Strauss (2009), Spillane (2005, 2006), Spillane, Halverson and Diamond, (2001, 2004), or Timperlay, (2005), claim empirically that leadership is distributed among organizations and support such a kind of behavior that increases the number of leaders in institutions. All this shows that a step has been made from hierarchical leadership, which is formal and often authoritarian, to a more collaborative, consultative and distributed form of leadership at a practical level and in the three areas.
4. Analysis of Publications on the Subject of Leadership
4.1. Evolution of the Number of Publications
The study of articles listed on the Web of Science (SSCI and A&HCI) on the subject of "leadership" provides interesting data regarding the growth of publications over the period 1956 to 2013. Through this procedure we obtained more than 27.000 articles on the subject of leadership, which decreased to almost 10.000 when applying the criterion that the word "leadership" appeared in the title. This first result already indicates that we are writing about a widely studied subject. After analyzing the results according to the fields covered in our research, the amount is still abundant, especially in the area of business and management, as is reflected in Table 1.
|Field of search||General Social Sciences||Business-Management||Political Science- Public Administration||Education-Educational Research|
|On the subject "Leadership" between 1956 and 2013||27.173||6.654 (24%)||3.135 (11’5 %)||2.706 (10 %)|
|On the subject "Leadership" and published between 2000 and 2013||20.038||5.289||2.055||1.893|
|With the word "Leadership" in the title and published between 1956 and 2013||9.781||2.814 (28 %)||1.156 (11’8 %)||1.318 (13%)|
|With the word "Leadership" in the title and published between 2000 y 2013||5.469||2.004||517||732|
Source: Tintoré and Güell, 2015: 334
The three fields under study represent about 50% of the publications listed on the WoS on leadership. Therefore, the substantial amount of articles is a remarkable phenomenon that must be analyzed in greater depth from the perspective of its chronological segmentation. Processing the data in this way will allow us to point out that the increase in publications on leadership was especially significant around the turn of the millennium, and specifically from 2005 when the number of 150 annual publications overall was exceeded.
The analysis of the amount of publications from the year 2000 provides important data as more than 50% of the publications with the word "leadership" in the title correspond to the period of only 14 years, compared to what was published previously. This is twice as significant in the field of business and management, where 71% of the articles were published in or after 2000. In the field of education a little more than half (55% of the articles) was published from 2000 onwards, and in the field of politics this figure is 44%.
Source: Tintoré and Güell, 2015: 335
Figure 1 reflects the evolution of academic papers with the word leadership in the title over the past 20 years. Before 1990 there is a limited amount of publications and the 20 years that appear in the graph show a rapid and dramatic growth. It may be noted that there is a continuous growth until 2011 and a slight decrease over the last two years, although remaining at very high levels. Since 2006 at least 30 articles were published in each area and from 2007 at least 200 articles were published taking all three areas into account. In the field of Business the level of one hundred articles per year was passed in 2005, rising to over 250 articles per year in the last three years (2011 to 2013) and reaching a peak of 300 articles in 2011. This therefore appears to be the most prolific field. The most significant finding in education is its progressive rise and exceeding one hundred articles in 2013. In the field of politics the numbers are mixed with a slight downward trend over the last three years, after reaching a peak of 59 articles in the year 2010.
4.2. Main Journals
The aim of this paper is not to simply perform a quantitative analysis, but to observe the evolution of the subject of leadership and its main trends and manifestations. We also intend to verify if and to what extent the three fields under study follow parallel paths, by analyzing the most cited articles in each of the fields. As indicated above, we have chosen the 22 most cited articles in politics, the 25 most cited articles in education and the 53 most cited articles in the field of economics.
In order to do this, we are going to analyze the journals in which the highest number of aforementioned articles was published. This is shown in Table 2. We selected those journals which have published at least two of the chosen articles in each field and here the most remarkable aspect is the complete lack of correspondence between the journals where the most cited articles were published. This difference is less notable when we take into consideration that the journal which published the largest number of relevant articles in the field of education is one related to management (Educational Administration Quarterly). Likewise, the journal with the most cited articles in the field of business and economics is a psychology journal (Journal of Applied Psychology), which indicates that there are certain approaches between both fields. The field of politics, however, is entirely separate from the other areas and seems to follow a different path in its study of leadership.
We did observe similarities with respect to the position that these journals hold in terms of the number of articles in the Web of Science, and overall, the journals with the best results in our study are prestigious journals in the field, with high impact rates.
With regard to the countries in which the journals and articles were published, the USA stands above all others, in all cases, with a share of over 50%, followed by England, Canada and Australia. In the field of education the latter two countries are in reversed order, Australia standing above Canada. It goes without saying that the language of communication used is the lingua franca of the academic community: English.
|Business-Economics(a)||Political Science||Education-Ed. Research|
|Journal of Applied Psychology||8 + 7 = 15|
|Leadership Quarterly||2 + 6 = 8|
|Academy of Management Journal||1 + 5 = 6|
|Academy of Management Review||1 + 2 = 3|
|Organizational Behavior and Human performance||3 + 0 = 3|
|Organizational Dynamics||2 + 0 = 2|
|Administrative Science Quarterly||2 + 0 = 2|
|Personal Psychology||0 + 2 = 2|
|Administrative Science Quarterly||2 + 0 = 2|
|Educational Administration Quarterly||11|
|Educational Evaluation and political analysis||2|
|School effectiveness and school improvement||3|
|Public Administration Review||4|
|American Political Science Review||3|
|American Journal of Political Science||3|
|British Journal of Political Science||2|
|International Studies Quarterly||2|
(a) The first number is for the first 25 articles, the second for the following 28 articles and the last shows the total.
Source: Compiled by the authors on the basis of data supplied by the Web of Science (data retrieved 20 Jan 2014).
4.3. Main Authors
Another aspect to consider is the authors: again the analysis shows a considerable dispersion in the results. In the field of politics no author has published more than one article from the rating of most cited articles (see Appendix). In education the predominance of Leithwood (with 5 out of 25 articles) is overwhelming, considering that the next in line, Jantzi (with 3 articles), is featured because of articles published with the same Leithwood. In this field, there are prolific and renowned authors such as Hallinger, Heck, Smylie and Spillane. Other than that, there is also a great dispersion. In the field of economics, House, with six results, is the author with most cited articles; followed by Shamir and Avolio, both with five, and Bass, with four results. Moreover, these authors have published together: Avolio and Bass (Avolio et al., 1999; Bass, Avolio et al., 2003), Shamir and House (Shamir et al., 1993), Shamir and Avolio (Dvir et al., 2002). The names of the authors leads us to think that the main focus of leadership, both at an economic and educational level, lies in transformational and charismatic leadership, as they are the main representatives of these ideas. No author of reference appears in more than one area and thus we again see a clear separation between the different fields. Each group of authors from an area approaches leadership from a perspective that differs from the other areas.
4.4. Recent Development in Each Field
To evaluate the recent evolution, development and vitality of each of the three fields, it might be relevant to note the year of the cited articles. We believe that if the most cited articles are dated after 2000 (and therefore have less chronological possibility of being cited), it will be of greater impact than if these articles date from the 70s, 80s or 90s (therefore more likely to be cited as they have a longer chronological trajectory). The results are rather surprising in this case, as the field that shows most vitality is education, where 12 out of 25 articles, 48%, are dated after 2000, ranging between 2001 and 2008. Next in importance is the political field: 9 articles out of 22 (40%) are dated after 2000 and published between 2001 and 2007. The field of management provides the worst results, with only 4 articles (16%) out of 25 published since the turn of the millennium (between 2000 and 2002). The results do improve, however, if we take the following 28 articles into consideration until reaching a total of 53: in the second group of articles 15 out of 28 articles were published after the turn of the millennium (53%), which added to the first 4 articles, gives a total of 19 articles and a percentage of 35%. This shows an improvement over the previous data, but is still far from the results of the educational field, with almost 50% of articles of impact published in recent years.
However, as is shown in Table 3, we must take into account that the amount of citations that the 53 articles in the field of economics received is very large and much greater than the citations received in the other two fields. The most cited article in the field of education received 90 citations and in politics 119 citations, whereas in the field of economics it ranges between 674 citations for the most cited article, 247 for the 25th article and 156 for article number 53. These numbers continuously exceed the other two fields. We must also take the data into consideration that we provided in table 1, which shows that 71% of the articles in this field were published after 2000. As a result, we can conclude that this field has a high vitality, although the majority of the cited articles are "classic" dating from before 2000.
|Business-Economics||Political Science- Public Administration||Education-Educational Research|
|Most cited article||674||119||90|
|Number of citations article 25||247||38||37|
|Number of citations article 53||154|
Source: Compiled by the authors on the basis of data supplied by the Web of Science (data retrieved 2014-01-20)
4.5. Main Concepts
Apart from the quantitative data, which is quite important, it is relevant to note the type of leadership studies being carried out in recent years, as these are the ones that will set the trend, mark the way forward and reflect the concerns of the academic community. This is why we studied the most repeated concepts that appeared in the titles of our hundred articles.
In the field of politics the most cited articles are those published in the Public Administration Review. There seems to be no concern for leadership models (transactional, transformational) as can be found in other fields, except for an article by Friedrich who addresses the issue of charismatic power. Many studies turn towards leadership styles and traits (two articles), administrative leadership and aspects related to the distribution of power, democracy and representation.
Sonia Ospina (2015) has recently studied a very similar subject concluding that ‘there is a sense within this field ["public leadership research domain"] that the study of leadership in public contexts must consider a uniqueness for which "generic" leadership theories have no answers’ (p.1). She cites Spicker (2012) who has gone as far as to argue that ‘leadership theories marginalize the relevance of many of the characteristic features of public services’ (p. 43). She also cites Vogel and Masal (2014) which – in their evaluation of public leadership research – confirm that there is a tendency in these studies toward developing a perspective in the study of public leadership that emphasizes public over leadership.
Nevertheless, Ospina (2015) argues that it is necessary to embed ‘the public leadership research domain within the leadership studies field’ (p.1).
Regarding the field of education, we again notice the great vitality of this area, as we can clearly observe an orientation towards the empirical verification of leadership models when we focus on the titles. There are 13 articles that show the relationship between educational leadership and student results, by using words such as school improvement, integration, achievement, effects, performance, improvement, outcomes, change and social justice. We also observe a progress towards leadership models developed in recent years, such as distributed leadership (two articles) and leadership for learning (one article). Two of these articles focus on the leadership of the director.
With respect to the economic field, in the first group of articles (articles 1 to 25), apart from an article by Nonaka and collaborators (2000) on the creation of knowledge, the other three articles published after 2000 are still rooted in the transformational leadership of the 90s and evaluating its impact, but none of the 25 articles has yet taken the step towards distributed leadership. However, in the second group of articles (26 to 53) we continue to observe an overwhelming superiority of articles on transformational leadership and its comparison to the transactional model. However, there is already one article, by Gronn, on distributed leadership and several articles that address the topic of organizational culture and climate, employees and teamwork. These are all aspects that indicate a leap towards less individualistic and more collaborative leadership.
We carried out a detailed analysis of the words that appear in the titles of the one hundred articles under study and found that, apart from the word "leadership", which was the search criterion for articles, and the word "school", which appears in 18 out of 25 articles in the field of education, the most common word in the titles is "transformational". This word, however, does not appear once in the field of politics, it is solely used in the other two fields on 26 occasions, which would rise to 30 if we counted the number of times the concept "charismatic leadership" appears, as this is occasionally used as a synonym. Other concepts that appear repeatedly are related to results (performance, impact, outcomes, achievement), which come up 21 times (in education in 13 out of 25 articles) and in various ways. Behavioral and attitudinal aspects also appear on 11 occasions, but only in the field of economics. It is also worth noting that in the field of politics the word "management" appears in five occasions, which leads us to wonder whether the overemphasis on the technical aspects of governance will prejudice leadership, which is more than pure management. This can be also understood in another sense, as Ospina pointed up in her examination of the 75 most influential articles in the Public Administration Review, the political journal more represented in our study (see Table 2). Ospina (2015) states that only two articles in the list include "leadership" in the title: one of Larry Terry (1998) and another one of Wright et al. (2012): ‘the former broadly equated administrative leadership with public management [in a sense of the "neutral bureaucrat implementing policy mandates"]; the latter presented leadership as a key force affecting effective public management [in a sense of a leader who is "an active creator of public value"]’ (p. 2). This can mean that it has been also a development in the political arena, from an authoritarian type of leadership to a more democratic and transformational style of political leadership, following the trend that we observed in the two other domains. Nevertheless, we were not able to find traces of this new political development taking into account the 22 more cited articles which are the object of our study.
Continuing with our research, in Table 4 we show a quantitative summary of the main concepts found in the titles of the one hundred articles under study, also taking the field in which they appear into account. This summary will allow us to extend our qualitative analysis of the content of interest in each area. Furthermore, in Figure 2, we summarize the most significant concepts, grouped thematically, for its further analysis.
|Business-Economics||Political Science||Education-Educational Research||Total||Total including similar|
Source: Tintoré and Güell, 2015: 336
The study of the major concepts seen in Table 4 allows us to reinforce the, now recurring, idea that there is a gap between the main subjects studied in the field of politics and the other two fields. It also reveals that there are certain common themes between the fields of education and business, such as the interest in transformational leadership, results and organizational aspects. Furthermore it indicates that the issues of concern, in addition to leadership models, are those related to results, behavior and those involved in the leadership process, from the CEO to employees and students. Here it is also significant that there is only mention of the agents involved in the process in the fields of education and business. In the economic field more importance is given to behavior and motivations, whereas in the educational field there is more of a focus on changes and reforms.
Source: Tintoré and Güell, 2015: 337
We have grouped the items shown in Table 4, taking into account the most repeated themes (leadership models, the context in which leadership actions occur, agents involved in leadership, leadership results, and psychological, attitudinal and behavioral aspects related to leadership) and the result is shown in Figure 2. The most recurring theme is leadership models, which is mentioned in a quarter of the hundred most cited articles, followed by contextual aspects and those which refer to agents involved in leadership: CEO's, school directors, employees, teachers, students, members and followers in general.
Regarding the most studied theme, leadership models, in the field of economics 73% of the articles that study these models refer to transformational and/or charismatic leadership, 23% refer to transactional leadership, comparing it mainly to the previous model and 2% refers to distributed leadership. However, in education, 55% of the articles on leadership models refer to transformative leadership, 22% to distributed leadership and the remaining 22% to instructive leadership, which confirms the aforementioned progress in this area towards more democratic and collaborative models. In the field of politics there is no notable reference to leadership models.
In 2000 Gronn stated that ‘transformational leadership dominates the area’ (p. 319) and predicted that leadership based on relationships between leaders and followers (transactional leadership and transformational leadership) would be surpassed (p. 317), being substituted by leadership based on the activity and the theory of action (distributed leadership). Although he was right with regards to the domination of transformative leadership, his predictions on distributed were not fulfilled overall, but we have observed progress towards this type of leadership, especially in the field of education.
Leadership traces its origins to the dawn of humanity and emerged at first in connection with philosophy and politics, the governance of the cities and states of east and west. With highs and lows throughout history, leadership has continued to move in these two areas. After centuries of leadership of great men, the seminal work of Burns, Leadership (1978), shone light on a new type of leadership, which has survived to this day: transformational leadership that takes both leaders and followers into account. The distinction between transactional leadership and transformational leadership became classic from that moment, which allowed for a breakthrough in the understanding of leadership. However, it also led to a paradox as such an understanding was made in areas outside philosophy and politics.
Indeed, the redefinition of leadership initially came from the field of politics, as Burns was above all a man who analyzed the governance of nations and people, and his theory is based on this aspect of human life. Soon, however, other academics in the field of economics (Bass, 1985; Bass and Avolio, 1994) adopted the transformational theory of Burns, achieving great success in that area, though with a somewhat different perspective. Burns insisted especially on the social change that a leader brings about, whereas Bass and Avolio were more concerned with the achievement beyond expectations of the objectives of an organization (performance beyond expectations) and many of these achievements were to be fulfilled by a still individualistic and charismatic leader (Gronn, 2000).
Despite the boost provided by Burns, from the 90s of last century, academic papers start to develop in areas other than politics, and especially in the economic field. Therefore we can state that in recent years we have seen – as shown in Figure 1 – a veritable explosion in the number of articles (which are the subject of our study) on leadership in all areas, but especially in the field of economics. The articles on leadership have steadily increased since 1956; much increasing growth in 2000 and experiencing even greater growth from 2005 3.
The second idea is related to the type of journals and to the main authors, and we are quite confident to state that each of the three fields (economics, education and politics) has its own dissemination tools and its own authors, with scarce intersections between them. The authors of the fields of economics, education and politics publish in certain magazines that are different for each area. Nevertheless, it appears that many authors of the economic field choose to publish their articles in psychology journals and authors from the field of education often publish in journals in the area of educational institution management such as Educational Administration Quarterly. These findings suggest that there may be certain limited approaches between education and economics, which would contribute to breaching the initial gap between the fields. We can assume that a psychology journal would allow the works of academic economists to reach an audience of psychologists, and the works of academic educators to reach those interested in management. What is beyond doubt is that, in this respect, academics of the field of politics follow a very different path without connecting in any way to the other fields with regards to subjects of interest.
The third aspect worth highlighting is that the vast majority of publications in the economic field and many of the publications in the field of education are focused on the model of transformational and charismatic leadership that originated in the field of politics. The most cited publications in the field of politics do not appear to reflect this kind of leadership and are more concerned with issues related to power. In the field of education the jump was made from transformational leadership to more distributed leadership, focused on learning, although the transformational model is still very much alive.
In the fourth place, it is worth nothing that the most vitality is seen in the educational field – without being the field with the highest number of publications – and it has shown tremendous progress in recent years. This area has moved from the transformational model towards more democratic and shared models, which can also be observed in the economic field, but is not covered in the political literature, which is anchored in specific issues such as power distribution and international conflicts. In these times when great authors, such as Henry Mintzberg (2009), recommend rethinking management and leadership in a less heroic and more communitarian sense, the literature on distributed leadership retrieved from the Web of Science, following the same criteria used for other searches (retrieved on January 20, 2014), reflects the greatest vitality of distributed leadership in the field of education. There are 62 articles in the Web of Science on distributed leadership, 38 of which are in the field of education, 18 in the field of business and none of them are from the field of politics. It must be noted that distributed leadership does not originate from the world of education, but from the field of economics in the 80s (Brown and Hosking, 1986), or perhaps even earlier (Gibb, 1968) and developed itself later on through the work of Gronn in the field of education (1999, 2000). In the same way that transformational leadership originated from the world of politics and was taken on by other fields where it evolved and strengthened, distributed leadership originates from the field of economics, but it is experiencing its greatest growth in the field of education, possibly due to the special and more democratic features of educational organizations.
Finally, we note that in the course of its history, leadership has been studied by various disciplines and despite all efforts there is little sign of an approach between these areas. In some cases studies become multidisciplinary (psychology, economics, education) and in others each discipline goes its separate way (politics and public administration). We do not appear to have reached true interdisciplinarity or transdisciplinarity as the borders between areas remain well reinforced with some permeability between the economic and educational area. However, the political area follows a completely different path and there is no sign that this might change in the near future. From a positive point of view this lack of transdisciplinarity favors specialization and further deepening in each area. In a negative sense, this lack of transdisciplinarity implies that few summative synergies are being created and that there may be repetitions or overlaps between areas.
Although many voices call for interdisciplinary research across disciplines when analyzing leadership, guidance and integration of theories is still limited. However, the approach may be ever more necessary as it will become increasingly unlikely for solutions to come from a single thematic area, in such a complex world (König et al., 2013). We should aim for a greater level of "accumulativity" in research results in the various areas, as Bryman (2004: 746) suggests, and see if we can find common ground (Uhl-Bien and Ospina, 2012: 502). Thus, an effort towards integration of theories across disciplines is recommended.
This paper hopes to contribute to the gap of studies on leadership from a multi-disciplinary perspective. The significance of the findings relies on the relevance of the gap mentioned, the path shown that needs further development and the initially potential trends of transdisciplinarity that have been identified.
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 For scholars working in the leadership area, it is common knowledge that many cited and influential studies appear in book or chapter form. As the object of our research are the most cited articles in the web of science, we only mention some of these works as a mean to illustrate the history and development of leadership studies.
 The area of "applied psychology" has also produced a lot of articles. In the Web of Science it is the third one after the area of business and politics concerning the number of publications. The greatest number of articles on leadership (more than 6.500) corresponds to the area of Business and Management, followed by the articles in the area of Political Science and Public Administration (around half than the previous number). The articles on Education and Applied Psychology are about 2.500 articles. However, we chosen not to study the area of applied psychology because in around 2.000 articles from the 2.500 mentioned there were redundancies with the area of business. We decided to reserve this area for future research.
 Although we have not included the datum, the same can be said of the books and chapters on leadership that has increased their number spectacularly in recent years.