Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Strategic leadership is essential to organizational viability and success. However, by looking only at the strategic leader of the organization, we may be missing important strategic leadership behaviors that are distributed throughout the organization. Using an in-depth instrumental case study of an emergent initiative in a healthcare institution, we find that strategic leadership behaviors permeate the organization in a dynamic manner. Our findings illustrate that in contrast to much of the extant literature, strategic leadership transpires much before individuals positioned at the apex of the organization formalize and implement the final initiative top-down. More specifically, we portray strategic leadership as a distributed phenomenon that occurs throughout the emergent initiative process. In doing so, our findings extend the current, predominately leader-centric, understanding of strategic leadership.


Paper presented at the Academy of Management Meeting, Philadelphia, PA, August 1-5, 2014.

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