Leadership and Coherence: A Cognitive Approach, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Leadership and Coherence

A Cognitive Approach, 1st Edition

By Nathan W. Harter


186 pages | 5 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2014-07-22
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Leadership and Coherence investigates how leaders justify their decisions, and how they bring about coherence amongst followers. Taking a cognitive approach, it builds on the work of Hannah Arendt to attempt a phenomenology of judgment, examining how the moral imperative experienced by leaders can be shared by their community so both leader and led are guided by a mutual purpose.

Through biographical case studies of historical leaders, this book illustrates how successful leaders operate in a turbulent world, not only making their own decisions but also gathering likeminded followers to share in a common vision and shared sense of purpose.


“Harter has written an erudite book, drawing upon sources as disparate as psychology, art, history, philosophy, and literature to bring new understanding to the psychology of leader (and follower) action. It is a significant work that not only brings insight to leadership but promises to re-shape the way we approach leadership studies itself.”— J. Thomas Wren, Professor Emeritus of Leadership Studies, Jepson School of Leadership Studies, University of Richmond, USA

“A truly thought-provoking read, Nathan Harter’s Leadership and Coherence interweaves insights from eco-psychology, phenomenology, and narrative accounts to challenge traditional views about what leadership is and how it is accomplished. Vast in scope and spiraling in nature, the book both intrigues and refreshes as it encourages the very ‘conceptual elasticity’ it promotes as a key means of understanding leadership and the role it plays in the 21st century.”—Donna Ladkin, Professor of Leadership and Ethics, Plymouth University, UK

“This is a thoroughly modern take on leadership, explaining it as the force of a moral community and linking it to the main concerns of contemporary holistic sciences. Nathan Harter is as at home in the mechanics of social influence as in the philosophical challenges of good and evil: who better to guide us?”—Jonathan Gosling, Professor of Leadership Studies, University of Exeter, UK

"While business and management are the usual carriages used to investigate leadership, Harter relies upon philosophy, psychology, history, and the arts as his vehicles. […] In Leadership and Coherence, Harter offers a journey through leadership that is truly scenic, with bold vistas, often-over-looked sights, tangential paths, and surprise twists. Most readers will be amazed at the incredible depth and breadth of the research Harter compiled for this work. Even the most avid student of leadership will find new ideas and concepts in his analysis. The book presents a cognitive approach but one that is distinctively phenomenological." -Richard W. Ackley and Joseph F. Caccitolo, PsycCRITIQUES, 2015

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Circumscribing the field

Chapter 2 Locating the center

Chapter 3 The framework for this investigation

Chapter 4 From “it” to “you” to “us”

Chapter 5 Cameron finds himself transfixed by

"A Sunday Afternoon on The Island of La Grande Jatte"

Chapter 6 The Shattering

Chapter 7 The persuasions of Socrates

Chapter 8 The purposes of Abraham Lincoln

Chapter 9 Jan Patočka and pneumopathology

Chapter 10 Transcendence or a Romantic delusion…or worse?

About the Author

Nathan W. Harter is Professor of Leadership and American Studies at Christopher Newport University, USA.

About the Series

Leadership: Research and Practice

The Leadership: Research and Practice Series includes both edited and authored volumes showcasing the latest leadership and behavioral research, as well as practical books based on the latest leadership theory with applications to Industrial/Organizational Psychology, Management, Organizational Behavior, Law, Political Science, and Military Psychology.

Please send all book proposals to Georgia Sorenson ([email protected]), Ron Riggio ([email protected]), or Christina Chronister ([email protected]).

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Applied Psychology


Why not download our Routledge FreeBook Becoming a Better Leader: Applying Key Strategies? This resource - produced in partnership with the International Leadership Association - contains a chapter from Leadership and Coherence: A Cognitive Approach, along with a wealth of other information on developing effective leadership skills.

Click here for more information, and to access this FreeBook.