A configurational approach to leadership behavior through archetypal analysis

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The behavioral approach to leadership, which has introduced leadership styles, has been of great importance to the leadership field. Despite its importance, scholars have recently argued and demonstrated that these styles have various conceptual, methodological, and empirical limitations that could hamper further development of the leadership field. Consequently, they have called for alternative approaches to study leadership. We argue that taking a configurational or person-oriented approach to leadership behavior, which focuses on ideal-type configurations of leadership behaviors to identify leadership archetypes, offers such an alternative. We demonstrate the potential of such an approach via the use of archetypal analysis, for a dataset of 46 behaviors across 6 leadership styles, including more than 150,000 respondents. Our results offer a clear indication for the existence of archetypes of leadership. We also suggest how the resulting archetypes can get a meaningful interpretation, and discuss implications for future research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 13-Jan-2023


  • person-oriented approach
  • archetypal analysis
  • configurations
  • leadership styles
  • archetypes

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