Advancing the Discipline of Leadership Studies

The best way to describe the current status of Leadership Studies is that it is an “emerging discipline.” Few universities have departments, or even programs, in Leadership, and those that do exist usually have a modifier (e.g., “Organizational Leadership,” “Educational Leadership”), so we are, at best, emerging as a discipline, but I am certain that we will one day be there. Of course, there are those both outside of the study of leadership (many!) and scholars of leadership (some), who disagree that Leadership Studies is a discipline, and a portion of those would argue that it never should or could become one. My intent in this brief commentary is to try to assess the current state of Leadership Studies as a discipline, using the characteristics of an academic discipline that have been discussed more fully elsewhere (Riggio, 2011). I will then try to provide some guidelines for advancing the discipline of Leadership Studies, recommendations for Leadership Studies programs, as well as exhortations to adhere to exemplary practices in the academic study and teaching of leadership.