Article Title

“How Did That Happen?: Making Sense of the 2016 US Presidential Election Result through the Lens of the ‘‘Leadership Moment’’

Abstract

This article analyses the victory of Donald Trump in the 2016 US election through the lens of the ‘leadership moment’. A phenomenologically based framework, the ‘leadership moment’ theorizes leadership as an event which occurs when context, purpose, followers and leaders align. Perception links these four parts of leadership, in particular the perceptions followers have of their context and the relative strengths competing leaders have to respond to that context. By considering how key voters perceived Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump in relation to their circumstances, the ‘leadership moment’ offers a way of making sense of the election result, as well as emphasising the importance of perceptions of context in the achievement of leadership more generally. Importantly, it highlights the economic and identity-based dynamics which attracted voters to Trump, and which remain in play no matter who holds the Presidential office. Theoretically, the argument contributes to the emerging field of relational leadership in two ways: by looking beyond the ‘between space’ of leaders and followers, to include the ‘around space’ in which those relations are embedded, and by emphasizing the role of affective perceptions (rather than discourse) in the creation of those perceptions

Department

Leadership, Management & Business

Journal

Leadership

Volume

13

Issue

4

Publication Date

2017

Publisher's Page

https://journals.sagepub.com/home/lea

Document Type

Article

DOI

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1742715017714841

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