Aesthetic leadership

Hans Hansen, Arja Ropo, Erika Sauer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

152 Scopus citations


We introduce aesthetic leadership as a promising approach in leadership studies. Two current movements in leadership research, the inclusion of followers in leadership models and the exploration of subjective leadership qualities, make taking an aesthetic perspective in leadership especially attractive and timely. Aesthetics relates to felt meaning generated from sensory perceptions, and involves subjective, tacit knowledge rooted in feeling and emotion. We believe the aesthetics of leadership is an important, but little understood, aspect of organizational life. For example, while we know followers must attribute leadership qualities such as charisma and authenticity to leaders to allow for social influence, we know little about how these processes operate. We propose that followers use their aesthetic senses in making these assessments. We relate aesthetic leadership to several current topics in leadership research, and outline the assumptions and methods of aesthetic leadership.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)544-560
Number of pages17
JournalLeadership Quarterly
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2007


  • Aesthetics
  • Attribution
  • Authenticity
  • Charisma
  • Follower-centric


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