Quantifying leader lives: What historiometric approaches can tell us

Gina Scott Ligon, Daniel J. Harris, Samuel T. Hunter

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Historically notable leaders, such as John F. Kennedy, Mohandas Ghandi, and Rupert Murdoch, serve as exemplars in our field of study. Across the domains of military, business, government, ideology, and the arts, these outstanding leaders have markedly impacted the institutions, fields, and broader social structures in which they worked and lived. To understand the unique styles, developmental experiences, and performance contributions of such leaders, a historiometric approach is encouraged. We define this methodological strategy as the study of multiple eminent leaders that requires the translation of historical, qualitative information into quantitative indices of individual differences in leaders. Best practices, limitations, and implications for this technique as an advancement of leadership theory are reviewed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1104-1133
Number of pages30
JournalLeadership Quarterly
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2012

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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