Tag Archives: transformational leadership

“To heed the better angels of our nature” – Michael Harvey on the legacy of James MacGregor Burns

September 15, 2015


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James MacGregor Burns (left) with JFK.

James MacGregor Burns, Pulitzer Prize winning author and historian, who died at the age of 95 after a scholarly career that spanned more than seven decades, transformed the field of leadership studies.  To a loose congeries of scholars, enthusiasts, and practitioners seeking to draw a hook through the nose of the leadership leviathan, Burns brought clarity, urgency, and a common language. His classic distinction between transactional and transformational leadership in his seminal work, Leadership (1978) has helped shape the basic terms of analysis for two generations of scholars. Professor Michael Harvey explains why Burns left such an impact on how we think about leadership.


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