The Handbook of Leadership Theory and Practice seeks to bridge this disconnect. Based on the Harvard Business School Centennial Colloquium "Leadership: Advancing an Intellectual Discipline" and edited by HBS professors Nitin Nohria and Rakesh Khurana, this volume brings together the most important scholars from fields as diverse as psychology, sociology, economics, and history to take stock of what we know about leadership and to set an agenda for future research.
More than a means of getting ahead and gaining power, leadership must be understood as a serious professional and personal responsibility. Featuring the thinking of today's most renowned scholars, the Handbook of Leadership Theory and Practice will be a catalyst for elevating leadership to a higher intellectual plane - and help shape the research agenda for the next generation of leadership scholars.
Khurana begins in the late nineteenth century, when members of an emerging managerial elite, seeking social status to match the wealth and power they had accrued, began working with major universities to establish graduate business education programs paralleling those for medicine and law. Constituting business as a profession, however, required codifying the knowledge relevant for practitioners and developing enforceable standards of conduct. Khurana, drawing on a rich set of archival material from business schools, foundations, and academic associations, traces how business educators confronted these challenges with varying strategies during the Progressive era and the Depression, the postwar boom years, and recent decades of freewheeling capitalism.
Today, Khurana argues, business schools have largely capitulated in the battle for professionalism and have become merely purveyors of a product, the MBA, with students treated as consumers. Professional and moral ideals that once animated and inspired business schools have been conquered by a perspective that managers are merely agents of shareholders, beholden only to the cause of share profits. According to Khurana, we should not thus be surprised at the rise of corporate malfeasance. The time has come, he concludes, to rejuvenate intellectually and morally the training of our future business leaders.