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Mapping the aesthetics of leadership development through participant perspectives

Carroll, Brigid; Smolović Jones, Owain


Brigid Carroll


This enquiry sets out to explore leadership development as an intrinsically aesthetic experience, drawing on the reflexivity of participants from four intensive, long-term leadership development experiences to claim that the very architecture of knowing and experience in leadership development may be interpreted as shaped aesthetically. Five different aesthetic discourses are identified and named as partiality, dissipation, disruption, sensation and connectedness. The interdependence between these is then examined in one extended participant narrative. What emerges is an understanding of leadership development as a felt experience, where any leadership concepts are known and experienced through the lens of a vivid milieu of affective, visceral, sensory, embodied and relational processes, which aesthetically shape what participants come to recognise as leadership. We propose that paying attention to the aesthetics of leadership development has the potential to radically change how leadership development is researched, practiced and understood.


Carroll, B., & Smolović Jones, O. (2018). Mapping the aesthetics of leadership development through participant perspectives. Management Learning, 49(2), 187-203.

Journal Article Type Article
Online Publication Date Nov 21, 2017
Publication Date 2018-04
Deposit Date Jan 7, 2024
Journal Management Learning
Print ISSN 1350-5076
Electronic ISSN 1461-7307
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 49
Issue 2
Pages 187-203
Keywords Management of Technology and Innovation; Strategy and Management; General Decision Sciences
Public URL