Development of outstanding leadership: A life narrative approach

Gina Scott Ligon, Samuel T. Hunter, Michael D. Mumford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

122 Scopus citations


Developmental events of a sample of outstanding leaders experienced in early life were examined. Relevant sections of 120 biographies of outstanding leaders in the 20th Century were content coded using a life narrative framework. The results indicated that individuals evidencing a particular leadership type (charismatic, ideological, or pragmatic) and orientation (socialized or personalized) were linked to certain types of developmental events. Similarly, event content was found to vary between the leader styles. Specific kinds of experiences were also related to various indices of leader performance. Practical and theoretical implications of these findings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)312-334
Number of pages23
JournalLeadership Quarterly
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business and International Management
  • Applied Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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