Gary Yukl's Leadership in Organizations
Gary Yukl is Professor of Management and Leadership at the State University of New York in
Albany, and a board member of the Leadership Quarterly journal. He is a well-known scholar
and author on leadership. Leadership in Organizations was first published in 1981. This fifth
edition was published in 2002, and the formerly 19 chapters have been consolidated into 15
(which includes a new chapter on ethical leadership and diversity). This has been done in order
to accommodate a 15-week course.
Each chapter covers a particular aspect of leadership research study, with a concluding
summary and questions for further discussion. Key terms are highlighted, and there is at least
one case study at the end of each chapter. The book is accompanied by an instructor’s manual
which is used in conjunction with the case studies and also contains exercises and role-playing
activities. The 508 pages of Leadership in Organizations include an extensive references
Leadership in Organizations has a specific focus on managerial leadership in large
organisations and is an attempt at bridging the gulf between academics and management
practitioners. However, as each chapter begins with a list of learning objectives, the bias
appears to tend towards a more academic audience (particularly students of the subject), rather
than towards practising managers.
The author covers a broad survey of theory and research of leadership in formal organisations of
the last 50 years, and though Yukl states that the book “focuses on the 20 per cent of literature
that appeared to be the most relevant and informative”, he has provided an in-depth and
comprehensive analysis and appraisal of that literature in a clear and moderately accessible
language. From the first, introductory, chapter about the nature of leadership, Yukl writes what is
essentially an academic text, but with a clarity accessible to a practising manager with a serious
interest in the subject area.
The research approaches are broadly outlined in terms of the characteristics of a leader, a
follower, and the situation. The research theories have been classified into the five approaches
of trait, behaviour, power-influence, situational and integrative, which are further conceptualised
as intra-individual, dyadic, group and organisational processes.
Yukl looks at each of the research theories on the basis of a continuum covering the following
distinctions: leader- versus follower-centred, descriptive versus prescriptive, and universal
versus contingency (situational).
The focus throughout is on leadership in large organisations, which means that many of the
research areas studied include the leadership roles undertaken by those in managerial positions
© National College for School Leadership 2003
in all levels of an organisation and not just those at the top of the organisation. The nature and