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Working Paper
September 2010

A general theoretical framework for leadership science

Beech, D 2010, A general theoretical framework for leadership science, unpublished Conference Paper, British Academy of Management, London, UK.


 This paper proposes a general theoretical framework for a science of leadership within the wider context of the biocultural evolution of the human species. I propose that leadership involves the exercise of reciprocal influence within a social system which engages people in a common purpose for mutual benefit in particular, ever changing, and competitive circumstances; with performance, wellbeing, and innovation as biocultural criteria for evaluating mutual benefit. This definition is based in the capacity to engage in common purposes for mutual benefits (ultimate causation) and in the associated psychological, social system, and interpersonal processes (proximate causation). These processes in relation to a common purpose provide the basis for an evolutionary social psychology framework for leadership science which incorporates the variables identified in Gibb’s (1954) interactional theory of leadership. This framework can be used to organize extant findings and guide future research on leadership as a primary mechanism of social interaction.


 Refereed paper presented at British Academy of Management Annual Conference 16/09/2010 (nominated for best leadership track paper).


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Publication Details

Conference Paper

British Academy of Management
London , UK.