Start ‘Em Early: Pastoral Power and the Confessional Culture of Leadership Development in the US University

Nicole Capriel Ferry*, Eric Guthey

*Corresponding author af dette arbejde

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelpeer review

Abstrakt

We apply a critical perspective on leadership development discourses and practices to the case of student leadership development programs in the US universities and colleges. We leverage the first author’s personal experiences as a facilitator in such programs to focus on the manner in which they adapt and deploy a variety of commodified pop and positive psychology techniques—including prominently among them icebreakers and psychological assessment tests—that encourage participants to share personal and emotional insights about themselves as the necessary prerequisite for becoming leaders. We draw on Foucault’s notion of pastoral power to argue that these quasi-therapeutic practices help to produce and to normalize what we describe as a confessional culture of leadership development that prepares would-be student leaders to submit themselves to similarly or even more psychologically demanding regimes of governmentality in the workplace after they graduate. We conclude with a call for future research on the central role of such leadership development practices—and the institutions, industries, and actors that promote them—in folding together the ways that individuals seek to claim agency and to develop themselves as leaders with the ways that organizations function to constrain that agency and to govern them as willing but compliant subjects.
OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftJournal of Business Ethics
Vol/bind173
Udgave nummer4
Sider (fra-til)723-736
Antal sider14
ISSN0167-4544
DOI
StatusUdgivet - nov. 2021

Bibliografisk note

Published online: 4. July 2020

Emneord

  • Critical leadership studies
  • Higher education
  • Leadership developmentLeadership development

Citationsformater