Friday, January 18, 2008

A Leadership Fallacy

Leadership theory would frequently seem to be bedevilled by a fallacy called “begging the question” (petitio principii). Applied to leadership, it would look something like this: 1. Let us suppose that, if Joe is a man of integrity, he is a leader. 2. Joe is a man of integrity. 3. Therefore, Joe is a leader. However, there is a supposition here. It is assumed that leaders are men/women of integrity, or may be defined as men/women of integrity (they could be defined in other ways, although that’s not the focus here). So the fallacy invalidates the argument. It “begs the question”. QUESTION: What would a leadership theory need to put forward in order not to “beg the question”? In what ways would a theory need to be validated (or otherwise)?

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