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English authors on the subject of leadership


It seems to me that the vast majority of authors writing on leadership are American. The American business culture is in some ways subtly different to that in the UK and the Americanisms can get in the way for some learners.
I am slowly building a list of authors/works who have done work (or actully live and speak in English) on UK companies. Any suggestions woudl be very welcome.
Geoff Roberts

5 Responses

  1. leadership in education
    Hay Mcber have an extensive research base available and the work done for the NCSL contains a comparison of characteristics of head teachers and their business counterparts in commerce and industry. Go to and use links or type in Hay Mcber + uk into Google and follow those links. The work is excellent and should give you a good base to work from.

  2. Tavistock School
    I would recommend anything by the socio-technical system writers linked to the Tavistock Institute in the UK, e.g. Emery, Tryst, Bion, Miller, Rice, Jacques. In particular:

    A.K.Rice – Learning for Leadership

    E.J.Miller, A.K.Rice – Systems of Organisation

    A.K.Rice – Productivity and Social Organization: The Ahmedabad Experiment: Technical Innovation, Work Organization and Management

    Elliott Jacques – Requisite Organisation

  3. Leadership gurus
    It is good to see a desire to look beyond the big American gurus (important as they are).
    I’d suggest Eddie Obeng as an antidote to the traditional big guns (try ‘New Rules for the New World’ as a starter). More mainstream, of course, is John Adair (‘The Skills of Leadership’ and ‘100 greatest ideas for effective leadership’ has sold well) and Meredith Belbin (‘Changing the way we work’) Further back, but still worth reading is Douglas MacGregor (Human Side of Enterprise). Manfred Kets de Vries is good on the psychology of leadership (‘Leaders, fools and impostors’). And for a none English perspective from an English author my favourite is the classic ‘Tao of Leadership’ by John Heider, but it helps if you are open to learn from Chinese philosophy. Finally, popular here and in the States is ‘Shackleton’s Way’.
    See also SHL have a leadership White Paper too.
    Hope this helps

  4. English Leadership Authors

    Two other authors meeting your criteria that come to mind include Charles Handy and Di Kamp. I’m not sure of the latter’s national origins but she has worked and published in the UK.

    Having said this, nearly every influence quoted in her ’21st Century Manager’ (Kogan Page) is a Yank. (For Graham, as was Detroit-born Douglas McGregor.)

    A visit to the ILM website’s annual conference page will reveal additional ‘home-grown’ leadership ‘gurus’.

    Building on the ‘Shackleton’ theme suggested by Graham, a lesser known, but almost as inspirational (and bittersweet) example may be found in the experiences of RAF Sergeant Jimmy ‘Dixie’ Deans, chronicled in ‘The Last Escape'(Nicol & Rennell).


    Scott G. Welch
    Yank in Ulster

  5. UK leadership gurus
    The largest leadership study ever conducted in the world (4000+) comes from the UK – a mix of private and public sector contexts

    J Occupational and Organisational Psychology (2001), 74, 1 – 27

    Development of a New Transformational Leadership Questionnaire

    and a range of other papers)
    This is Transformational Leadership and builds on the work of Bass et al in the states

    Bev Alimo Metcalfe and John Alban Metcalfe at the University of Leeds

    I use the TLQ and am working with them and can offer more info – or



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