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Leadership Research Paper Topics

Academic Writing Service

The exploration of leadership research paper topics is a vital task for students studying management. These topics delve into the theory and practice of leadership, offering valuable insights into the dynamics of organizational success. The following guide provides a comprehensive list of leadership research paper topics categorized into ten areas, from leadership theories and styles to the role of women in leadership. This guide will also discuss the breadth and depth of leadership as a research area, advise on how to choose the right topic, and share tips on writing an excellent leadership research paper. We will then introduce the custom paper writing services offered by iResearchNet, which can provide expert, tailored assistance for any leadership research topic. The text concludes with a compelling call-to-action, encouraging students to leverage iResearchNet’s services for their research paper needs. The central aim is to facilitate students’ journey in leadership studies, fostering academic growth and development.

100 Leadership Research Paper Topics

Studying leadership calls for a comprehensive variety of topics, reflecting the broad and deep nature of this area of study. This section presents a vast array of potential topics, categorized into ten key areas, each featuring ten unique subjects for investigation. This presents a multitude of directions for students to dive deep into their leadership research papers.

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Get 10% off with 24start discount code, 1. leadership theories:.

  • Analysis of the evolution of leadership theories from trait to situational theories.
  • A comparative study of transformational and transactional leadership models.
  • A deep dive into the contingency theories of leadership.
  • A practical exploration of the path-goal theory in modern organizations.
  • An examination of servant leadership theory’s applicability in non-profit organizations.
  • Exploring the role of emotional intelligence in the framework of authentic leadership.
  • Evaluating the impact of charismatic leadership on employee motivation and productivity.
  • Adaptive leadership theory in crisis management: an exploration.
  • A detailed study of the correlation between leadership theories and personality traits.
  • Leadership theories’ applications and implications in team management and dynamics.

2. Leadership Styles:

  • The implications of autocratic leadership on employee satisfaction and morale.
  • How democratic leadership fosters innovation and creativity in the workplace.
  • The role and effects of laissez-faire leadership in creative industries.
  • An investigation of transformational leadership’s influence on organizational culture.
  • Evaluating the impact of transactional leadership on performance metrics.
  • Applicability and effectiveness of servant leadership in corporate settings.
  • Pros and cons of paternalistic leadership in different organizational structures.
  • An examination of strategic leadership in the rapidly evolving tech industry.
  • Analyzing the effects of adaptive leadership in the complex field of healthcare.
  • A correlation study of leadership styles and employee retention rates.

3. Leadership and Ethics:

  • Ethical leadership’s role in shaping and promoting corporate social responsibility.
  • Analysis of the ethical dilemmas encountered by leaders in healthcare organizations.
  • How ethical leadership moulds and influences organizational culture.
  • A study on the corporate scandals resulted from unethical leadership.
  • The ethical considerations in leadership decision-making processes.
  • The relationship between ethical leadership and employees’ moral judgments.
  • A sector-focused analysis of leadership ethics in the banking industry.
  • Measuring the impact of ethical leadership on brand reputation.
  • Exploring the influence of ethical leadership on corporate sustainability strategies.
  • Leadership ethics in political organizations: an in-depth study.

4. Leadership and Diversity:

  • The impact of diverse leadership on an organization’s inclusivity.
  • Cultural diversity’s influence on leadership styles in multinational organizations.
  • A study on the challenges faced by women in leadership roles.
  • Evaluating the role of leadership in promoting gender equity in corporate organizations.
  • The effect of diverse leadership on fostering innovation in multinational corporations.
  • An examination of racial diversity in leadership and its effect on corporate image.
  • Understanding the benefits and challenges of age diversity in leadership roles.
  • Unraveling the opportunities and difficulties faced by LGBT+ individuals in leadership positions.
  • Leadership strategies to effectively manage and promote diversity in the workplace.
  • Leadership diversity’s impact on corporate social responsibility initiatives.

5. Leadership in Different Industries:

  • The pivotal role of leadership in tech startups’ growth trajectory.
  • Leadership in the healthcare industry: navigating through challenges and seizing opportunities.
  • An exploration of military leadership principles and their potential application in a corporate setting.
  • Characteristics of effective leadership in the hospitality industry: a detailed study.
  • The significance of impactful leadership in the functioning of non-profit organizations.
  • Leadership strategies that drive success in the retail industry.
  • The role of leadership in driving innovation in the automotive industry.
  • The best practices of effective leadership in the education sector.
  • The influence of leadership on team performance in professional sports.
  • Defining the traits of successful leadership in the fast-paced entertainment industry.

6. Leadership and Change Management:

  • Exploring the impact of transformational leadership on change management processes.
  • The role of leadership in shaping and implementing successful change initiatives.
  • Understanding the leadership styles most effective for managing organizational change.
  • A detailed study on leadership’s role in overcoming resistance to change.
  • Leadership in driving and managing technological change in digital companies.
  • An examination of adaptive leadership during organizational restructuring.
  • The correlation between strategic leadership and successful change management.
  • Influence of leadership on change acceptance and adaptation among employees.
  • The role of leadership communication in managing change effectively.
  • Examining the impact of leadership in change management across different industries.

7. Leadership and Employee Motivation:

  • Impact of transformational leadership on employee motivation and job satisfaction.
  • How leadership can influence employee motivation through effective communication.
  • An exploration of the relationship between leadership styles and employee motivation levels.
  • How servant leadership enhances employee motivation and engagement.
  • Evaluating the role of leadership in developing effective reward systems for employee motivation.
  • Examining the effects of charismatic leadership on employee motivation.
  • The influence of leadership behavior on intrinsic and extrinsic motivation.
  • Leadership strategies for fostering a motivating work environment.
  • How leadership can use job design to enhance employee motivation.
  • The impact of leadership recognition on employee motivation and performance.

8. Leadership Development:

  • Understanding the role of mentoring in leadership development.
  • Examining the importance of continuous learning in leadership development.
  • The impact of coaching on leadership skill development.
  • Analyzing the effectiveness of various leadership development programs.
  • The role of experiential learning in the development of leadership skills.
  • Influence of leadership development on succession planning in organizations.
  • Investigating the role of self-awareness in leadership development.
  • Evaluating the role of feedback in the leadership development process.
  • The impact of leadership development initiatives on organizational performance.
  • Understanding the importance of emotional intelligence in leadership development.

9. Leadership and Organizational Culture:

  • The role of leadership in shaping and sustaining organizational culture.
  • Analyzing the influence of leadership style on organizational culture.
  • A study on how effective leadership can instill a culture of innovation.
  • Investigating the relationship between leadership and organizational culture in multinational corporations.
  • Exploring the effects of leadership communication on organizational culture.
  • How transformational leadership influences a culture of teamwork.
  • The role of leadership in promoting an ethical organizational culture.
  • The influence of servant leadership on organizational culture.
  • Leadership’s role in the creation and management of a customer-oriented culture.
  • The impact of leadership transition on organizational culture.

10. Leadership and Decision Making:

  • The role of leadership in strategic decision making.
  • The influence of different leadership styles on decision-making processes.
  • Evaluating the impact of leadership on ethical decision making in organizations.
  • An exploration of how leadership affects group decision-making processes.
  • The role of leadership intuition in decision making.
  • Leadership strategies for effective crisis decision making.
  • The influence of leadership in data-driven decision making.
  • The impact of transformational leadership on innovative decision making.
  • Leadership and decision-making under uncertainty: a comprehensive study.
  • How leadership influences employee involvement in decision making.

These varied topics allow students to explore different aspects of leadership, spanning theory, styles, ethics, diversity, industry specifics, change management, employee motivation, development, organizational culture, and decision making. The broad range enables students to select a topic that aligns with their personal interests and professional aspirations. This extensive list also gives students the freedom to narrow their focus and delve deep into a specialized area of leadership. Thus, creating a foundation for an insightful and meaningful research paper.

The Range of Leadership Research Paper Topics

Leadership is an inherently complex and multifaceted concept, embodying various dimensions of organizational functioning. It is a dynamic process involving influence, direction, and facilitation towards achieving a common objective. Therefore, leadership has a profound influence on the behaviors, attitudes, and overall performance of an organization, making it a fertile ground for extensive and diverse research.

The range of leadership research paper topics is vast, reflecting the wide-ranging implications of leadership in different contexts. This breadth allows students to delve into various aspects of leadership, from exploring various leadership styles such as transformational, transactional, autocratic, democratic, and servant leadership, to understanding their effects on team dynamics, employee performance, motivation, and job satisfaction.

For instance, research into the various leadership styles provides critical insights into how different approaches to leadership can influence an organization’s effectiveness. Transformational leadership, for example, emphasizes the leader’s role in inspiring and motivating followers, fostering innovation, and driving change. In contrast, transactional leadership focuses on clear role and task definitions, rewards, and punishments as motivational tools.

Moreover, the intersection of leadership and ethics is another prolific area of research. Ethical leadership explores how leaders can integrate ethical principles into their decision-making processes, cultivate ethical behaviors within their teams, and ultimately foster an ethical organizational culture. Research in this field can range from examining the influence of ethical leadership on employee behavior to investigating the strategies leaders can employ to navigate ethical dilemmas.

Diversity in leadership, a critical aspect in the current globalized business environment, offers another area of intriguing research potential. Diverse leadership promotes a plethora of viewpoints, encourages creativity and innovation, and enhances organizational adaptability. Research topics in this category can involve investigating the effect of diverse leadership on team performance, the challenges and strategies in managing a diverse leadership team, or understanding how leadership can promote diversity and inclusion within an organization.

Research on leadership in different industrial and organizational contexts also offers a wealth of research paper topics. This can include leadership in healthcare, exploring how leaders can effectively manage healthcare professionals, improve patient outcomes, and drive change in the healthcare system. Leadership in educational settings, examining how school leaders can impact educational outcomes, foster a conducive learning environment, and navigate the unique challenges in the education sector.

Leadership’s role in change management is another critical area of research. Change is a constant factor in any organization, and effective leadership is critical in navigating this change successfully. Research topics here can focus on the various leadership strategies in implementing change, the challenges leaders face in this process, and the critical role leadership plays in overcoming resistance to change.

The impact of leadership on employee motivation also provides a rich area for investigation. The influence a leader has on an employee’s motivation levels can significantly affect job satisfaction, productivity, and retention. Topics here can explore the different leadership strategies that can enhance employee motivation, the role of leadership in developing effective reward systems, or how leadership behavior affects intrinsic and extrinsic motivation.

Leadership development is another theme rich in research opportunities. The creation of effective leaders is crucial to an organization’s success. Therefore, investigating leadership development programs, the role of coaching and mentoring in leadership development, or the impact of leadership development initiatives on organizational performance are all meaningful research directions.

In conclusion, the diversity in leadership research paper topics allows students to explore and investigate various areas of leadership theory and practice. From understanding different leadership styles and their effects, to delving into leadership ethics, diversity, industry-specific leadership, change management, motivation, and leadership development, the possibilities are extensive. This breadth and depth enable students to gain a comprehensive understanding of leadership and its vital role in shaping organizational success. The explorative journey into these leadership research paper topics lays a robust foundation for future leaders, providing them with essential insights into effective leadership practices.

How to Choose Leadership Research Paper Topics

Choosing the right topic for a leadership research paper is a critical first step in the process of writing a top-notch research paper. The right topic is not just a subject you find interesting, but one that is unique, manageable, and relevant to your course of study. In this section, we provide ten comprehensive tips to guide you in choosing the best leadership research paper topic.

  • Identify Your Interest : Start by identifying what aspects of leadership interest you the most. Are you more drawn to the psychological aspects of leadership, such as how leaders motivate their teams, or are you more interested in the organizational aspects, such as how leadership styles impact company culture? Personal interest in a topic can make the research process more engaging and the writing process more enjoyable.
  • Brainstorm : Spend time brainstorming potential topics. Write down everything that comes to mind, no matter how broad or specific. This process can help you to identify potential areas of interest and narrow down your options.
  • Research Existing Literature : Before settling on a topic, take some time to read up on existing literature in the field of leadership. This can help you to identify gaps in knowledge that your research could fill, or controversial issues that could be the focus of your paper.
  • Consider the Scope : Consider the scope of your research paper. If it’s a shorter paper, you’ll need a narrower topic. Conversely, for a longer paper, you can choose a broader topic that you can explore in detail.
  • Consult Your Supervisor or Peers : Discuss potential topics with your supervisor or classmates. They may offer a fresh perspective or suggest areas of interest that you hadn’t considered.
  • Check for Resources : Ensure that there are enough resources available for your chosen topic. This can include books, peer-reviewed articles, and credible online sources. Having enough sources will make your research process smoother and more productive.
  • Relevance to Your Course : The topic you choose should be relevant to your course and future career. For example, if you plan to work in the non-profit sector, you might choose a topic related to leadership in non-profit organizations.
  • Flexibility : Be flexible with your topic. As you start your research, you may find that your initial topic is too broad, too narrow, or not as interesting as you thought. Don’t be afraid to refine and modify your topic as needed.
  • Uniqueness : While it’s good to align with current research trends, strive for uniqueness in your topic. Don’t just rehash old studies; instead, seek to contribute something new and meaningful to the field of leadership research.
  • Practical Implications : Lastly, consider the practical implications of your research. Good research not only contributes to academic knowledge but also has practical applications. Choose a topic that could potentially inform leadership practices in real-world settings.

In conclusion, choosing a topic for a leadership research paper involves careful consideration of your interests, the scope of the paper, available resources, and the potential impact of your research. While the process can be challenging, the result is a topic that you’re passionate about and invested in, which ultimately makes for a higher quality research paper. Remember, the topic you choose sets the foundation for your entire paper, so take the time to choose wisely!

How to Write a Leadership Research Paper

Writing a leadership research paper is an intricate process that requires careful planning, thorough research, and detailed writing. A well-written research paper not only demonstrates your understanding of leadership principles but also your ability to critically analyze information, formulate arguments, and present your ideas in a clear and coherent manner. Below are ten comprehensive steps to guide you in writing an outstanding leadership research paper.

  • Understanding the Assignment : Before you begin the actual writing process, make sure you understand the assignment requirements. What is the length of the paper? What is the deadline? Are there specific sources or citation styles you need to use? Understanding these requirements will help guide your research and writing process.
  • Choose a Topic : If you haven’t been assigned a specific topic, use the tips provided in the previous section to choose a suitable topic for your leadership research paper. Make sure it’s a topic you’re interested in and one that is relevant to the course.
  • Conduct Preliminary Research : Conduct initial research to get an overview of your chosen topic. Use this research to refine your topic and formulate a preliminary thesis statement. This statement will guide your further research and help focus your paper.
  • Develop a Thesis Statement : Your thesis statement should clearly express the main point or argument of your research paper. It should be concise, specific, and arguable. A good thesis statement will guide your research and provide a roadmap for your paper.
  • Create an Outline : An outline helps to organize your thoughts and ensure that you cover all the necessary points. It should include an introduction, body paragraphs (each with a sub-point supporting your thesis), and a conclusion. Outlining can also help you identify gaps in your research or arguments.
  • Conduct In-Depth Research : At this point, dive deeper into your research. Utilize various sources, including books, academic journals, reputable websites, and interviews. Remember to evaluate the credibility of your sources and to take detailed notes, including the source information for citation purposes.
  • Write the First Draft : Using your outline as a guide, start writing the first draft of your paper. Don’t worry about making it perfect; focus on getting your ideas down first. Start with the body paragraphs, then write the introduction and conclusion.
  • Revise and Edit : Review your first draft, looking for any inconsistencies, redundancies, or areas that lack clarity. Check the flow of your arguments, the strength of your thesis statement, and the organization of your paper. Also, ensure that each paragraph has a clear topic sentence and that it supports the thesis statement.
  • Proofread : After revising your content, proofread for grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors. You can use proofreading software, but also consider reading your paper aloud or having someone else proofread it.
  • Cite Your Sources : Lastly, properly cite all the sources you used in your paper. Ensure that your in-text citations and reference list comply with the citation style required for your assignment (e.g., APA, MLA, Chicago/Turabian, Harvard).

In conclusion, writing a leadership research paper is a step-by-step process that requires thorough research, careful planning, and detailed writing. It may be a challenging task, but it’s also an opportunity to deepen your understanding of leadership and hone your academic writing skills. With commitment, patience, and the right strategies, you can successfully write a high-quality leadership research paper.

iResearchNet Writing Services

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Every academic journey is unique, with its own set of challenges and needs. At iResearchNet, we understand this, and it is why we offer tailored academic writing services, particularly for those interested in leadership research papers. We are an online academic service, committed to helping students achieve their academic goals. With an expert team, we offer students the chance to order a custom leadership research paper, no matter the topic or complexity. Here are the top 13 features that set iResearchNet apart:

  • Expert Degree-Holding Writers : iResearchNet is home to a team of professional writers who hold advanced degrees in various fields, including management and leadership. These experts bring a wealth of knowledge and hands-on experience, making them perfectly suited to handle any leadership research paper.
  • Custom Written Works : We pride ourselves in providing custom written papers. Our expert writers start every assignment from scratch, ensuring each paper is unique, authentic, and specifically tailored to meet the individual needs and expectations of the client.
  • In-depth Research : Each research paper is built on a foundation of in-depth research. Our writers understand the significance of thorough and detailed research, and they use reliable sources to gather relevant information, ensuring your paper is comprehensive and insightful.
  • Custom Formatting : We recognize the importance of adhering to the correct academic formatting style. Whether it’s APA, MLA, Chicago/Turabian, or Harvard, our writers are well-versed in all formatting styles and will ensure your paper is properly structured and referenced.
  • Top Quality : Quality is our top priority at iResearchNet. Every paper we deliver undergoes a rigorous quality check process, ensuring it meets high academic standards. We pay attention to details, including grammar, punctuation, vocabulary, and coherence, to ensure we deliver top-notch papers.
  • Customized Solutions : iResearchNet is dedicated to providing personalized solutions. We value your input and take into consideration any specific instructions or requirements you may have for your paper. This guarantees a final product that not only meets academic standards but also aligns with your personal preferences.
  • Flexible Pricing : We believe that getting professional help for your leadership research paper shouldn’t be financially straining. Our pricing system is flexible and affordable, designed to cater to students with different budget ranges.
  • Short Deadlines : Deadlines are critical in academic settings, and we are committed to honoring them. With the capacity to accommodate short deadlines up to 3 hours, we assure timely delivery of your paper, without compromising quality.
  • Timely Delivery : At iResearchNet, we understand the consequences of late submissions. Hence, we prioritize timely delivery, ensuring that you receive your paper well ahead of your deadline to give you ample time for review.
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In conclusion, iResearchNet is more than just a writing service. We are a partner committed to helping you excel in your academic journey. With our rich array of features and dedicated services, we ensure you receive a custom leadership research paper that surpasses your expectations. We invite you to take a step towards academic success with iResearchNet – your reliable partner in academia.

Elevate Your Leadership Research with iResearchNet

The pathway to academic success is not always straightforward, but you don’t have to tread it alone. Leadership is a vast and complex field, and developing a high-quality research paper on the subject requires time, effort, and a deep understanding of various leadership theories and principles. With iResearchNet by your side, you can make the process not only manageable but also enjoyable.

At iResearchNet, we excel at helping students elevate their research work, particularly in the field of leadership. Our team of expert writers is well-versed in the wide range of leadership topics and the nuances of writing a compelling and academically rigorous research paper. So, why not take advantage of the expertise and dedication we offer?

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BMW AG: The Digital Auto Project (A)

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leadership and change management research topics

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277 Top Leadership Research Topics for Your Thesis

leadership research topics

For most students, working on leadership research topics is a fascinating task. That’s because this subject spans different disciplines, including education, management, sociology, politics, and psychology. For this reason, many learners choose these topics when writing college and university papers.

In most cases, educators do not specify the topic for learners. That means every learner must choose or develop a topic for their academic paper. Consequently, learners look for leadership areas that interest them and then pick their leadership paper topics.

Here are pointers for selecting a topic for your leadership essay or paper:

Start by choosing a subject area Narrow down your subject area Focus on leadership, not management Bear the educator’s instructions in mind Aim to answer a question in your subject area

If interested in this subject, here is a list of leadership topics you consider for your papers.

Interesting Dissertation Topics in Educational Leadership

When pursuing a course in educational leadership, educators require learners to complete a dissertation by employing their new learning and professional knowledge. When writing this paper, a learner should demonstrate organization, transformative leadership, and the ability to initiate community change. Here are sample topics in this category.

  • Interrelation between poor school results and poor leadership
  • How social media affects educational leadership
  • Impacts of technology on educational leadership
  • How leadership in mediocre schools can simulate top performing learning institutions
  • Effects of the leadership culture on running educational institutions
  • How to blend strategic teaching methods with efficient organization
  • How educational leadership affects society
  • How educational leadership influence researchers and literature
  • Educational leadership and success path
  • Educational leadership and social transformation
  • Educational leadership’s role in society
  • Can education leadership bring about change?
  • How to include the community in education leadership
  • Effectiveness of interdisciplinary teams in the running of the middle schools
  • Women role in education leadership
  • How cultural organization affects educational institutions
  • Diluting racist habits in accredited universities
  • How to seamlessly pass teachers’ excellence to students
  • How educational institutions can offer exceptional leadership by thinking outside the box
  • How to evaluate negative traits of instructors teaching similar subjects
  • How fighting for leadership positions affect schools and students
  • How to compassionately develop students with dyslexia
  • How to strategically blend teaching methods with efficient organization
  • How culture influences educational institutions’ leadership
  • How effective educational leadership helps learners achieve academic goals
  • How educational leadership affect how learners think about their future and intellectual abilities
  • How teachers can encourage learners to take exams and testing more seriously
  • Do teachers have adequate training on how to be influential leaders?
  • Should learning institutions evaluate teachers depending on their leadership abilities?
  • What changes in training opportunities can encourage teachers to exercise leadership strategies?

Pick any of these educational leadership research topics and investigate them extensively to develop a brilliant dissertation.

Hot Leadership Training Topics

Leadership training is crucial for future and current leaders. Anybody that wants to become a supervisor, manager, or leader at any capacity should undergo some training to cultivate and nurture their skills. Here are some of the best leadership topics to write about in this category.

  • How organizational leaders can enhance productivity
  • How company leaders can retain the best employees
  • How to improve decision making in an organization
  • How to implement effective leadership styles
  • How leaders can support succession in their organizations
  • How to delegate and empower employees
  • Role of organizational leaders in conflict resolution
  • How to change management and executive leadership
  • How leaders can command respect without issuing commands
  • How leaders can motivate and engage employees
  • How corporate leaders can enhance interpersonal relationships
  • How decision skills can streamline organizations and nurture confidence
  • How leaders can train employees on energy and time management
  • How leaders can train employees about self-awareness
  • Practical communication skills for organizational leaders
  • How leaders can encourage peer-to-peer training
  • The role of leadership in organizational development
  • How to design helpful leadership training modules
  • How to automate corporate learning paths
  • How to measure results in leadership training
  • Importance of leadership training
  • How leaders can deal with organizational change
  • How leaders can use coaching to enhance employee performance
  • Qualities of practical leadership training and mentorship programs
  • How leaders can create a learning culture in an organization
  • How a company employee can benefit from a leadership course
  • Which leadership strategies can enhance a team’s performance?
  • Describe different leadership styles with examples
  • What leadership training means for a business
  • Can leadership training affect organizational success?

Any of these topics can be the basis of an excellent paper. However, take your time to research your preferred idea to come up with a high-quality paper.

Trendy Leadership Development Topics for Research

Leadership development entails expanding individuals’ capacity to perform their leadership roles in organizations. Here are topic ideas to consider in this category.

  • When is leadership coaching necessary?
  • Who should provide leadership coaching?
  • Which are the best leadership development opportunities?
  • How emotional intelligence can enhance leadership development
  • Describe executive development
  • How innovation can enhance leadership development
  • Mentorship for leadership development- How does it work?
  • Can leaders act as teachers?
  • Why strategic planning matters when it comes to leadership development
  • Role of leadership development in team building
  • How coaching can enhance leadership development
  • Can leadership development enhance accountability?
  • Why change management coaching should be part of a leadership development program
  • How leadership development can turn leaders into negotiators and influencers
  • How communication skills can enhance leadership development
  • How organizational leaders can develop creativity
  • Essential skills to acquire from a leadership development program

Pick any of these topic ideas and then develop them via research to develop a winning paper. Use different information sources to gather relevant information before writing your essay.

Organizational Leadership Dissertation Topics

Organizational leadership is an exciting research field. What’s more, you can use a topic in this category to impact a difference in an organization. And this can enhance your employability when seeking a job. Depending on your dissertation requirements, you can pick and work with any of these topics.

  • How blended-learning techniques can enhance the critical thinking of organizational leaders
  • Essential administrative services that hospitality industry leaders should provide
  • Qualities of charismatic and prevention-oriented leaders for the success of medium-sized enterprises
  • How leadership behaviors affect the corporate culture
  • How leadership practices influence the success of an organization
  • How organizational leadership and culture affect the success of a small enterprise
  • Why executive leadership is essential in developing countries
  • Organizational leadership’s role in a multicultural environment
  • Investigating variations in conventional organizational leadership and charismatic leadership
  • How leadership quality and training can improve organizational performance
  • How corporate culture can influence the leadership decisions to try a new business strategy
  • How a country can produce the organizational leaders it requires
  • How managers can provide leadership aspirations to subordinates
  • How global company leaders can influence their overall cultures
  • How corporate culture impacts a company’s leadership
  • How assumption-based planning can save money for an organization
  • How organizational leadership differs from management
  • How differentiating leadership from management can enhance the achievement of organizational goals
  • How to evaluate the effects of administration on the organizational performance
  • How to examine leadership effects and vision clarity on business organizations
  • How leadership affects organizational performance
  • How a corporate leader can devise work teams in a company
  • Impacts of leadership skills on employees performance

Any of these organizational leadership topics can be the basis of a brilliant paper. However, you must research the idea extensively to include relevant information in your writing. That way, your educator and organizational leaders will find your essay worth reading.

Fantastic Women’s Leadership Topics

It’s no secret that studies about women in leadership topics have increased over the years. Perhaps, that’s because women’s status in workplaces has improved recently. Here are brilliant ideas to explore if interested in writing a research paper in this category.

  • The role of women personality in leadership
  • What are the primary barriers to women’s leadership?
  • Society stereotypes that threaten women leadership
  • How the responsibilities of women differ from those of their counterpart males
  • How the personality of women leaders differ from that of men
  • How women’s leadership style differs from that of men
  • How family responsibilities affect female leaders
  • Do current male leaders resist female leaders?
  • Must women leaders outperform their male counterparts to be considered adequate?
  • How lack of sufficient household support affects women leaders
  • How women leaders can help in unlocking the full economic potential of a country
  • How influential women leaders juggle between family and work
  • How powerful women leaders define work and success
  • How gender stereotypes affect female leaders
  • How modern female leaders balance careers and family
  • How stereotypes shape women leaders’ performance and intellectual identity
  • Family business success- What is the role of women?
  • Gender, sex, and leadership
  • How women can change organizational leadership
  • How great women leaders can inspire people to take action

Take any of these topics and develop them into an excellent paper through research. The internet is awash with resources that cover women and leadership issues. That means you won’t have a hard time finding relevant information for your topic.

Interesting Leadership Topics

Perhaps, you’re looking for an exciting topic for your research paper or essay. In that case, here are some of the best ideas to explore.

  • A case study of Bill Gates’ leadership
  • Motivation and leadership- What’s the difference?
  • What are the key characteristics of transformational leadership?
  • Investigating leadership and management across culture
  • Characteristics and distinctions of management and leadership
  • Explain radical leadership with examples
  • Discuss different leadership and management styles
  • Ethical leadership theories and models
  • Othello and Machiavelli’s leadership skills
  • Leadership concepts, according to Kentucky Fried Chicke
  • Moral and cultural contingencies of leadership
  • An investigation into team leadership
  • Discuss the hospitality industry’s leadership and management
  • How diversity affects the leadership effectiveness
  • Which are the best leadership practices
  • Socrates and organizational leadership
  • Aspects of leadership and team behavior
  • Leadership and management in business- How they relate
  • What is ethical leadership?
  • Leadership as a strategy in human resource and company policies
  • Leadership and organizational behavior- How they relate
  • Why is strategic leadership essential in the business environment?
  • How gender difference affects leadership styles
  • What is systematic leadership?
  • Why is civic leadership important?
  • How negative leadership affects an organization
  • Leadership role in an organization’s transformational
  • Classifications of different leadership theories
  • Theoretical perspectives of organizational leadership
  • Human resource planning and leadership development
  • Leadership contingency theories
  • Military leadership style and coaching combination
  • Benefits, roles, and limitations of leadership
  • Supervising and leadership influence on human services
  • Leadership theories and effective organization change
  • Discuss various leadership style concepts
  • Governance and leadership- What’s the difference?
  • Troubled companies and their leadership
  • Participative and situational leadership theories
  • Analyzing the authoritative leadership style
  • Effective management and leadership strategies
  • Why strong leadership is crucial in a business organization
  • Integrating different leadership styles
  • Leadership and education role modeling
  • How effective leadership can enhance employees productivity
  • How managers can motivate employees by serving as their leaders
  • How political leadership can affect an organization
  • Leadership role in solving organizational challenges
  • A critical perspective on leadership and management
  • Evaluation of John Kennedy and Bill Clinton’s political leadership
  • An analysis of the most influential leader in the world
  • Effective leadership learning processes in an organization
  • Servant and followership leadership
  • Leadership principles of effective teachers
  • Analyzing Ciulla Joanne’s The Ethics of Leadership
  • Is servant leadership effective in school administration?
  • Creativity and leadership revision
  • Leadership and motivation theories
  • The role of leadership in a multinational company
  • Participative approach versus autocratic leadership
  • How ethical leadership can influence decision-making
  • How a company’s leadership can manage change effectively
  • Innovation and leadership in a business
  • How transformational leadership can benefit women
  • Describe the role of leadership in a medical facility
  • Variations in ethical leadership
  • Scientific methods for studying leadership
  • Strategy as leadership and practice
  • Leadership and service quality
  • How school governance affects school leadership
  • How leadership and power relate
  • Investigating leadership through a behavioral approach
  • Effective styles for strategic leadership
  • Strategic leadership- A critical examination
  • Describe how contingency leadership works
  • Discuss theorists and theories on leadership
  • How to develop a leadership strategy in an organization
  • Why leadership models are valuable
  • Leadership strategies as success factors
  • Qualities of effective leadership strategies

These are exciting leadership topics for discussion in an academic paper or essay. Pick an issue in this category and then research it extensively to develop a brilliant piece.

Nursing Leadership Paper Topics

Do you want to write a research paper or essay about nursing leadership? If yes, pick any of these brilliant nursing leadership paper topics.

  • Strategies for developing nurse leaders
  • How concept-based learning techniques affect nurse leaders
  • What are the qualities of the best nurse leaders?
  • How a nurse leader can manage stress
  • Criteria for being considered a nurse leader’s mentor
  • Essential nursing leadership areas to study
  • Qualities of a practical nursing leadership program
  • Why nursing leadership is vital in healthcare management
  • A review of ethical nursing leadership and practice
  • What are the values of ethical nursing leadership and training?
  • How to balance nursing leadership and service quality
  • Nursing leadership fundamentals
  • The global status of nurse leaders
  • Practice experience that every nurse leader should exhibit
  • Nursing leadership from a patient’s perspective
  • How to apply nursing leadership in a nursing home
  • A comparison of nursing leadership in an adult ward and a pediatric ward
  • Vital skills for a nurse leader during an emergency
  • Challenges facing nursing leaders
  • What leadership means to nurses
  • Leadership from a nurse perspective- What does it mean?
  • Disadvantages of being a nurse leader
  • What are the inherent nurse leaders’ values?
  • The role of nurse leaders in public hospitals
  • Nursing leadership status in private hospitals
  • How nursing leadership differs in private and public hospitals
  • Trends in nursing leadership
  • Assessing nursing leadership in third-world countries
  • Long and short-term goals for nurse leaders
  • Activities for enhancing nursing leadership.

Any of these nursing leadership topics can be a great idea for research. However, prepare to investigate your preferred issue to develop an excellent paper. Nevertheless, you can even seek professional assistance if you love the topic but lack adequate time to write about it.

Leadership Speech Topics

Perhaps, you want to write a speech to present to your class or during a business meeting. In that case, this category comprises some of the best leadership presentation topics.

  • How to be a transformative leader
  • What makes a strategic leader?
  • Why organizations need moral leaders
  • How to lead with inclusion and integrity
  • Leadership and dissent- Doing the right versus doing something right
  • Practicing leadership in an inter-agency context
  • How to make a difference using leadership
  • Transactional or transformational leadership- What works?
  • How effective leadership looks like
  • How to practice effective leadership
  • How to become a leader
  • How to lead with compassion
  • Qualities that every great leader should exhibit
  • The power of effective leadership
  • How a leadership vision can propel an organization forward
  • How to understand and work with followers as a leader
  • How a leader can adapt and listen to changes in an organization
  • How consistent efforts make great leaders
  • Qualities that made great leaders in history
  • The golden rule of outstanding leadership

These are brilliant leadership discussion topics. However, prepare to research your preferred idea before you write a speech about it. That way, you will come up with a presentation that will move your audience.

Leadership Topics for Managers

Perhaps, you want to write about a leadership issue that managers will find interesting to read. In that case, these leadership research paper topics will interest you.

  • How managers can develop performance standards and goals
  • How managers can promote effective discipline
  • How a manager can improve work habits
  • How company managements can manage complaints
  • How a manager can provide performance feedback
  • Effective conflict resolution techniques for company managers
  • How a manager can support change in a company
  • Effective ways for managers to delegate tasks
  • How to effectively communicate with the upper management
  • How a manager can train or coach others
  • Essential leadership skills for managers
  • How managers can create trust and transparency in their organizations
  • How managers can encourage individual employees to find personal motivation
  • How managers can encourage innovation and initiative
  • How a manager can build self-confidence
  • Practical time management skills that every manager should have
  • Body language and public speaking for managers
  • How company managers can minimize employee complaints
  • How managers can lower stress among employees
  • Why training is essential for new managers
  • Why every manager should know industry-specific regulations
  • How managers can create an inclusive workforce
  • How managers can nurture talents and ensure employee retention
  • What training methods can managers use to empower employees?
  • Firing and hiring- What should know managers know about these responsibilities?
  • Which skills should managers cultivate to support company employees?

These are brilliant leadership essay topics for managers. However, you need time to research any of these topics to write a winning paper.

Having an Issue Completing Your Leadership Dissertation?

Whether you need leadership dissertation topics or essay ideas, you have many options to consider. Nevertheless, pick an interesting topic that you’ll enjoy working with, from research to proofreading your paper. But if you have difficulties writing your essay, seek an expert’s writing help online. With cheap, high quality assistance from reliable academic writers, you can have a competent specialist handle this assignment for you from the beginning to the end. And you can impress your educators to accord you the grade you desire. So, if stuck with this assignment, contact the best expert writers for hire to write your paper or essay without breaking a sweat.

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Leadership and Management Topics

Leadership is the process by which a leader influences another person or group and focuses the followers’ behavior on a goal or outcome. Persuading a subordinate to clean up his or her work area could be seen as a form of leadership, as could convincing hundreds of people to volunteer for disaster relief work. Influencing people and focusing that influence toward a tangible outcome are fundamental components of the leadership process. Leadership can occur in a variety of settings, either formal or informal. In formal settings, such as business organizations, individuals may receive a formal job assignment in which they are expected to lead other organizational members. This formalized leadership role is often called supervision. Although leadership and supervision are similar, there are some significant differences between the two concepts. Read more about  Leadership and Management .

Leadership and Management Research Topics

  • Abusive Supervision
  • Behavioral Approach to Leadership
  • Charismatic Leadership Theory
  • Employee Grievance Systems
  • Implicit Theory of Leadership
  • Judgment and Decision-Making
  • Leader-Member Exchange Theory
  • Least Preferred Coworker Theory
  • Life-cycle Model of Leadership
  • Normative Theories
  • Reinforcement Theory of Motivation
  • Situational Approach to Leadership
  • Spirituality and Leadership at Work
  • Trait Approach to Leadership
  • Path-Goal Theory
  • Transformational and Transactional Leadership

Management, on the other hand, involves a more formal relationship: One person is formally designated to manage others, and that action is sanctioned by a formal organization. Management or supervision tends to have an administrative and rational focus, with the smooth and efficient operation of the formal organization as its defining feature. A supervisory role, once established, tends to perpetuate itself and is modified only by formal action. The leader of a group may change quickly, whereas a supervisor has a formally designated role that is fairly permanent. Part of what supervisors attempt to do is to lead people. So in actuality, leadership is a psychological process that can occur in the formalized role of supervision as well as in less formal settings. Thus, supervision occurs when someone who is formally designated and sanctioned by an organization attempts to influence (lead) others toward organizationally sanctioned goals.

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Leadership →

leadership and change management research topics

  • 01 May 2024
  • What Do You Think?

Have You Had Enough?

James Heskett has been asking readers, “What do you think?” for 24 years on a wide variety of management topics. In this farewell column, Heskett reflects on the changing leadership landscape and thanks his readers for consistently weighing in over the years. Open for comment; 0 Comments.

leadership and change management research topics

  • 26 Apr 2024

Deion Sanders' Prime Lessons for Leading a Team to Victory

The former star athlete known for flash uses unglamorous command-and-control methods to get results as a college football coach. Business leaders can learn 10 key lessons from the way 'Coach Prime' builds a culture of respect and discipline without micromanaging, says Hise Gibson.

leadership and change management research topics

  • 26 Mar 2024
  • Cold Call Podcast

How Do Great Leaders Overcome Adversity?

In the spring of 2021, Raymond Jefferson (MBA 2000) applied for a job in President Joseph Biden’s administration. Ten years earlier, false allegations were used to force him to resign from his prior US government position as assistant secretary of labor for veterans’ employment and training in the Department of Labor. Two employees had accused him of ethical violations in hiring and procurement decisions, including pressuring subordinates into extending contracts to his alleged personal associates. The Deputy Secretary of Labor gave Jefferson four hours to resign or be terminated. Jefferson filed a federal lawsuit against the US government to clear his name, which he pursued for eight years at the expense of his entire life savings. Why, after such a traumatic and debilitating experience, would Jefferson want to pursue a career in government again? Harvard Business School Senior Lecturer Anthony Mayo explores Jefferson’s personal and professional journey from upstate New York to West Point to the Obama administration, how he faced adversity at several junctures in his life, and how resilience and vulnerability shaped his leadership style in the case, "Raymond Jefferson: Trial by Fire."

leadership and change management research topics

  • 24 Jan 2024

Why Boeing’s Problems with the 737 MAX Began More Than 25 Years Ago

Aggressive cost cutting and rocky leadership changes have eroded the culture at Boeing, a company once admired for its engineering rigor, says Bill George. What will it take to repair the reputational damage wrought by years of crises involving its 737 MAX?

leadership and change management research topics

  • 02 Jan 2024

Do Boomerang CEOs Get a Bad Rap?

Several companies have brought back formerly successful CEOs in hopes of breathing new life into their organizations—with mixed results. But are we even measuring the boomerang CEOs' performance properly? asks James Heskett. Open for comment; 0 Comments.

leadership and change management research topics

  • Research & Ideas

10 Trends to Watch in 2024

Employees may seek new approaches to balance, even as leaders consider whether to bring more teams back to offices or make hybrid work even more flexible. These are just a few trends that Harvard Business School faculty members will be following during a year when staffing, climate, and inclusion will likely remain top of mind.

leadership and change management research topics

  • 12 Dec 2023

Can Sustainability Drive Innovation at Ferrari?

When Ferrari, the Italian luxury sports car manufacturer, committed to achieving carbon neutrality and to electrifying a large part of its car fleet, investors and employees applauded the new strategy. But among the company’s suppliers, the reaction was mixed. Many were nervous about how this shift would affect their bottom lines. Professor Raffaella Sadun and Ferrari CEO Benedetto Vigna discuss how Ferrari collaborated with suppliers to work toward achieving the company’s goal. They also explore how sustainability can be a catalyst for innovation in the case, “Ferrari: Shifting to Carbon Neutrality.” This episode was recorded live December 4, 2023 in front of a remote studio audience in the Live Online Classroom at Harvard Business School.

leadership and change management research topics

  • 05 Dec 2023

Lessons in Decision-Making: Confident People Aren't Always Correct (Except When They Are)

A study of 70,000 decisions by Thomas Graeber and Benjamin Enke finds that self-assurance doesn't necessarily reflect skill. Shrewd decision-making often comes down to how well a person understands the limits of their knowledge. How can managers identify and elevate their best decision-makers?

leadership and change management research topics

  • 21 Nov 2023

The Beauty Industry: Products for a Healthy Glow or a Compact for Harm?

Many cosmetics and skincare companies present an image of social consciousness and transformative potential, while profiting from insecurity and excluding broad swaths of people. Geoffrey Jones examines the unsightly reality of the beauty industry.

leadership and change management research topics

  • 14 Nov 2023

Do We Underestimate the Importance of Generosity in Leadership?

Management experts applaud leaders who are, among other things, determined, humble, and frugal, but rarely consider whether they are generous. However, executives who share their time, talent, and ideas often give rise to legendary organizations. Does generosity merit further consideration? asks James Heskett. Open for comment; 0 Comments.

leadership and change management research topics

  • 24 Oct 2023

From P.T. Barnum to Mary Kay: Lessons From 5 Leaders Who Changed the World

What do Steve Jobs and Sarah Breedlove have in common? Through a series of case studies, Robert Simons explores the unique qualities of visionary leaders and what today's managers can learn from their journeys.

leadership and change management research topics

  • 06 Oct 2023

Yes, You Can Radically Change Your Organization in One Week

Skip the committees and the multi-year roadmap. With the right conditions, leaders can confront even complex organizational problems in one week. Frances Frei and Anne Morriss explain how in their book Move Fast and Fix Things.

leadership and change management research topics

  • 26 Sep 2023

The PGA Tour and LIV Golf Merger: Competition vs. Cooperation

On June 9, 2022, the first LIV Golf event teed off outside of London. The new tour offered players larger prizes, more flexibility, and ambitions to attract new fans to the sport. Immediately following the official start of that tournament, the PGA Tour announced that all 17 PGA Tour players participating in the LIV Golf event were suspended and ineligible to compete in PGA Tour events. Tensions between the two golf entities continued to rise, as more players “defected” to LIV. Eventually LIV Golf filed an antitrust lawsuit accusing the PGA Tour of anticompetitive practices, and the Department of Justice launched an investigation. Then, in a dramatic turn of events, LIV Golf and the PGA Tour announced that they were merging. Harvard Business School assistant professor Alexander MacKay discusses the competitive, antitrust, and regulatory issues at stake and whether or not the PGA Tour took the right actions in response to LIV Golf’s entry in his case, “LIV Golf.”

leadership and change management research topics

  • 01 Aug 2023

As Leaders, Why Do We Continue to Reward A, While Hoping for B?

Companies often encourage the bad behavior that executives publicly rebuke—usually in pursuit of short-term performance. What keeps leaders from truly aligning incentives and goals? asks James Heskett. Open for comment; 0 Comments.

leadership and change management research topics

  • 05 Jul 2023

What Kind of Leader Are You? How Three Action Orientations Can Help You Meet the Moment

Executives who confront new challenges with old formulas often fail. The best leaders tailor their approach, recalibrating their "action orientation" to address the problem at hand, says Ryan Raffaelli. He details three action orientations and how leaders can harness them.

leadership and change management research topics

How Are Middle Managers Falling Down Most Often on Employee Inclusion?

Companies are struggling to retain employees from underrepresented groups, many of whom don't feel heard in the workplace. What do managers need to do to build truly inclusive teams? asks James Heskett. Open for comment; 0 Comments.

leadership and change management research topics

  • 14 Jun 2023

Every Company Should Have These Leaders—or Develop Them if They Don't

Companies need T-shaped leaders, those who can share knowledge across the organization while focusing on their business units, but they should be a mix of visionaries and tacticians. Hise Gibson breaks down the nuances of each leader and how companies can cultivate this talent among their ranks.

leadership and change management research topics

Four Steps to Building the Psychological Safety That High-Performing Teams Need

Struggling to spark strategic risk-taking and creative thinking? In the post-pandemic workplace, teams need psychological safety more than ever, and a new analysis by Amy Edmondson highlights the best ways to nurture it.

leadership and change management research topics

  • 31 May 2023

From Prison Cell to Nike’s C-Suite: The Journey of Larry Miller

VIDEO: Before leading one of the world’s largest brands, Nike executive Larry Miller served time in prison for murder. In this interview, Miller shares how education helped him escape a life of crime and why employers should give the formerly incarcerated a second chance. Inspired by a Harvard Business School case study.

leadership and change management research topics

  • 23 May 2023

The Entrepreneurial Journey of China’s First Private Mental Health Hospital

The city of Wenzhou in southeastern China is home to the country’s largest privately owned mental health hospital group, the Wenzhou Kangning Hospital Co, Ltd. It’s an example of the extraordinary entrepreneurship happening in China’s healthcare space. But after its successful initial public offering (IPO), how will the hospital grow in the future? Harvard Professor of China Studies William C. Kirby highlights the challenges of China’s mental health sector and the means company founder Guan Weili employed to address them in his case, Wenzhou Kangning Hospital: Changing Mental Healthcare in China.

leadership and change management research topics

Rise to the enormous challenges before you, Ambassador Nicholas Burns urges HKS Class of 2024

Public service is written into Harvard Kennedy School’s DNA, Burns said, and urged graduates to “change the world for the better.” 

Public service is written into Harvard Kennedy School’s DNA, Nicholas Burns, U.S. ambassador to China and a former HKS professor, told the crowd of graduating HKS students and their families on Wednesday as the speaker for the HKS Graduation Address . He urged graduates to confront the “seemingly overwhelming challenges” of the world they are heading out into and “find the collective vision, the collective faith, the collective courage to do something about it.”

“The world needs change,” Burns said. “The world needs your help. Change the world, change it for the better, make it more humane, make it more just, make it more prosperous, make it more peaceful.”

Burns, who taught at the Kennedy School for 13 years before returning to public service in 2021, spoke to an audience of 659 graduating students from 35 U.S. states and 87 countries, calling them “our planet in microcosm.” The student body is 56% international, one of the most cosmopolitan classes in the School’s history. They will be granted their diplomas Thursday on Commencement Day.

Dean Doug Elmendorf introduced Burns, who before joining HKS’s faculty served as the most senior U.S. Foreign Service official and led negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program, as a “stellar example of principled and effective public service.”

“Ambassador Burns ... is a wonderful model for our graduates as they leave the Kennedy School and go on to lives as public leaders and public-minded citizens—in this country and around the world,” said Elmendorf, who is overseeing his last Commencement celebrations before returning to teaching after eight years as dean.

Burns spoke about the incredible reach of the Kennedy School. In China, he has repeatedly run into HKS alums. He described attending Easter Mass in Beijing’s North Cathedral in April. “There's a point in the Catholic mass where you turn to the person beside you when you say, ‘Peace be with you,’” Burns said. “And so that point came in the mass, and I turned to my left and before I could say anything, this young woman said, ‘Professor Burns, peace be with you. I was in your great powers class in 2014.’”

Nicholas Burns.

“You could be overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of the challenges before your class, and we really couldn't blame you. Or you could find the collective vision, the collective faith, the collective courage to do something about it.”

Nicholas burns.

Burns turned to the enormous challenges the world faces, citing issues such as attacks on democracy, climate change, risks from new technologies, and brutal wars.  

“These are seemingly overwhelming challenges ...  [and] heavy issues to contemplate on what should be a celebratory day,” Burns said. “But it is the real world you're going to inherit when you leave Harvard after tomorrow.”

“I do believe you can be change agents,” Burns said. “And as a Kennedy School network you have that opportunity, but you also have the obligation as a Kennedy School graduate to be that change.”

Alluding to President Kennedy’s famous challenge to Americans—words that the Kennedy School has made its own—Burns reminded the graduates that their obligation is not to themselves but to humanity.

“It’s, ‘Ask what you can do.’ It’s not, ‘What will I gain?’ It’s not, ‘What will I profit from?’ It’s not, ‘What’s in it for me?’ It’s, ‘Ask what you can do to make this a better world.’ The Kennedy School asks that you not just be involved in the world but to be great in the world.”  

Dean Douglas Elmendorf and Ambassador walking off the stage.

“You could be overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of the challenges before your class, and we really couldn't blame you,” Burns said. “Or you could find the collective vision, the collective faith, the collective courage to do something about it.” 

Burns also addresses what he described as “the elephant in the room”—the brutal Israel-Hamas conflict, which has claimed more than 35,000 lives, and the deep fissures it has created on American campuses.  

“You know this far better than me. You've been here on campus. I've been 7,000 miles away in China. I don't come here to be judge and jury,” he said. Echoing the themes of Harvard Kennedy School’s Candid and Constructive Conversations initiative , he urged students to reach across differences with understanding and humility.  

“All I can offer today is a sense of my own experience as a diplomat in dealing with difficult emotional discussions about polarization, about injustice, about the tragedy that every life lost is a loss for humanity, about looking at both sides to a conflict."

“So as you graduate tomorrow,” he continued, “consider how you in small and big ways can be a force for civil discussion. Civil debate in a democracy, can you be a force for unity in a world that sometimes it appears just wants to divide and even disintegrate, be that voice for compassion, learning, understanding, and unity.” 

Photos by Kayana Szymczak

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Acting on opportunities to break barriers, one at a time, thinking strategically while keeping his eyes to the skies, solving global health disparities through medicine and international development.

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Change Management: From Theory to Practice

Jeffrey phillips.

1 University Libraries, Florida State University, 116 Honors Way, Tallahassee, FL 32306 USA

James D. Klein

2 Department of Educational Psychology & Learning Systems, College of Education, Florida State University, Stone Building-3205F, Tallahassee, FL 32306-4453 USA

This article presents a set of change management strategies found across several models and frameworks and identifies how frequently change management practitioners implement these strategies in practice. We searched the literature to identify 15 common strategies found in 16 different change management models and frameworks. We also created a questionnaire based on the literature and distributed it to change management practitioners. Findings suggest that strategies related to communication, stakeholder involvement, encouragement, organizational culture, vision, and mission should be used when implementing organizational change.

Organizations must change to survive. There are many approaches to influence change; these differences require change managers to consider various strategies that increase acceptance and reduce barriers. A change manager is responsible for planning, developing, leading, evaluating, assessing, supporting, and sustaining a change implementation. Change management consists of models and strategies to help employees accept new organizational developments.

Change management practitioners and academic researchers view organizational change differently (Hughes, 2007 ; Pollack & Pollack, 2015 ). Saka ( 2003 ) states, “there is a gap between what the rational-linear change management approach prescribes and what change agents do” (p. 483). This disconnect may make it difficult to determine the suitability and appropriateness of using different techniques to promote change (Pollack & Pollack, 2015 ). Hughes ( 2007 ) thinks that practitioners and academics may have trouble communicating because they use different terms. Whereas academics use the terms, models, theories, and concepts, practitioners use tools and techniques. A tool is a stand-alone application, and a technique is an integrated approach (Dale & McQuater, 1998 ). Hughes ( 2007 ) expresses that classifying change management tools and techniques can help academics identify what practitioners do in the field and evaluate the effectiveness of practitioners’ implementations.

There is little empirical evidence that supports a preferred change management model (Hallencreutz & Turner, 2011 ). However, there are many similar strategies found across change management models (Raineri, 2011 ). Bamford and Forrester’s ( 2003 ) case study showed that “[change] managers in a company generally ignored the popular change literature” (p. 560). The authors followed Pettigrew’s ( 1987 ) suggestions that change managers should not use abstract theories; instead, they should relate change theories to the context of the change. Neves’ ( 2009 ) exploratory factor analysis of employees experiencing the implementation of a new performance appraisal system at a public university suggested that (a) change appropriateness (if the employee felt the change was beneficial to the organization) was positively related with affective commitment (how much the employee liked their job), and (b) affective commitment mediated the relationship between change appropriateness and individual change (how much the employee shifted to the new system). It is unlikely that there is a universal change management approach that works in all settings (Saka, 2003 ). Because change is chaotic, one specific model or framework may not be useful in multiple contexts (Buchanan & Boddy, 1992 ; Pettigrew & Whipp, 1991 ). This requires change managers to consider various approaches for different implementations (Pettigrew, 1987 ). Change managers may face uncertainties that cannot be addressed by a planned sequence of steps (Carnall, 2007 ; Pettigrew & Whipp, 1991 ). Different stakeholders within an organization may complete steps at different times (Pollack & Pollack, 2015 ). Although there may not be one perspective change management approach, many models and frameworks consist of similar change management strategies.

Anderson and Ackerman Anderson ( 2001 ) discuss the differences between change frameworks and change process models. They state that a change framework identifies topics that are relevant to the change and explains the procedures that organizations should acknowledge during the change. However, the framework does not provide details about how to accomplish the steps of the change or the sequence in which the change manager should perform the steps. Additionally, Anderson and Ackerman Anderson ( 2001 ) explain that change process models describe what actions are necessary to accomplish the change and the order in which to facilitate the actions. Whereas frameworks may identify variables or theories required to promote change, models focus on the specific processes that lead to change. Based on the literature, we define a change strategy as a process or action from a model or framework. Multiple models and frameworks contain similar strategies. Change managers use models and frameworks contextually; some change management strategies may be used across numerous models and frameworks.

The purpose of this article is to present a common set of change management strategies found across numerous models and frameworks and identify how frequently change management practitioners implement these common strategies in practice. We also compare current practice with models and frameworks from the literature. Some change management models and frameworks have been around for decades and others are more recent. This comparison may assist practitioners and theorists to consider different strategies that fall outside a specific model.

Common Strategies in the Change Management Literature

We examined highly-cited publications ( n  > 1000 citations) from the last 20 years, business websites, and university websites to select organizational change management models and frameworks. First, we searched two indexes—Google Scholar and Web of Science’s Social Science Citation Index. We used the following keywords in both indexes: “change management” OR “organizational change” OR “organizational development” AND (models or frameworks). Additionally, we used the same search terms in a Google search to identify models mentioned on university and business websites. This helped us identify change management models that had less presence in popular research. We only included models and frameworks from our search results that were mentioned on multiple websites. We reached saturation when multiple publications stopped identifying new models and frameworks.

After we identified the models and frameworks, we analyzed the original publications by the authors to identify observable strategies included in the models and frameworks. We coded the strategies by comparing new strategies with our previously coded strategies, and we combined similar strategies or created a new strategy. Our list of strategies was not exhaustive, but we included the most common strategies found in the publications. Finally, we omitted publications that did not provide details about the change management strategies. Although many of these publications were highly cited and identified change implementation processes or phases, the authors did not identify a specific strategy.

Table ​ Table1 1 shows the 16 models and frameworks that we analyzed and the 15 common strategies that we identified from this analysis. Ackerman-Anderson and Anderson ( 2001 ) believe that it is important for process models to consider organizational imperatives as well as human dynamics and needs. Therefore, the list of strategies considers organizational imperatives such as create a vision for the change that aligns with the organization’s mission and strategies regarding human dynamics and needs such as listen to employees’ concerns about the change. We have presented the strategies in order of how frequently the strategies appear in the models and frameworks. Table ​ Table1 1 only includes strategies found in at least six of the models or frameworks.

Common strategies in the change management literature

A = ADKAR (Hiatt, 2006 ); AA = Ackerman Anderson and Anderson ( 2001 ); B = Bridges ( 1991 ); BB = Buchanan and Boddy ( 1992 ); BH = Beckhard and Harris ( 1987 ); C = Carnall ( 2007 ); CW = Cummings and Worley ( 1993 ); FB = French and Bell ( 1999 ); GE = GE CAP model (Neri et al., 2008 ; Polk, 2011 ); K = Kotter ( 2012 ); KSJ = Kanter et al. ( 1992 ); L = Lewin’s Three-step model (Bakari et al., 2017 ; Lewin, 1951 ); LK = Luecke ( 2003 ); M = McKinsey’s 7-S framework (Cox et al., 2019 ; Waterman et al., 1980 ); N = Nadler and Tushman ( 1997 ); PW = Pettigrew and Whipp (1993)

Strategies Used by Change Managers

We developed an online questionnaire to determine how frequently change managers used the strategies identified in our review of the literature. The Qualtrics-hosted survey consisted of 28 questions including sliding-scale, multiple-choice, and Likert-type items. Demographic questions focused on (a) how long the participant had been involved in the practice of change management, (b) how many change projects the participant had led, (c) the types of industries in which the participant led change implementations, (d) what percentage of job responsibilities involved working as a change manager and a project manager, and (e) where the participant learned to conduct change management. Twenty-one Likert-type items asked how often the participant used the strategies identified by our review of common change management models and frameworks. Participants could select never, sometimes, most of the time, and always. The Cronbach’s Alpha of the Likert-scale questions was 0.86.

The procedures for the questionnaire followed the steps suggested by Gall et al. ( 2003 ). The first steps were to define the research objectives, select the sample, and design the questionnaire format. The fourth step was to pretest the questionnaire. We conducted cognitive laboratory interviews by sending the questionnaire and interview questions to one person who was in the field of change management, one person who was in the field of performance improvement, and one person who was in the field of survey development (Fowler, 2014 ). We met with the reviewers through Zoom to evaluate the questionnaire by asking them to read the directions and each item for clarity. Then, reviewers were directed to point out mistakes or areas of confusion. Having multiple people review the survey instruments improved the reliability of the responses (Fowler, 2014 ).

We used purposeful sampling to distribute the online questionnaire throughout the following organizations: the Association for Talent Development (ATD), Change Management Institute (CMI), and the International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI). We also launched a call for participation to department chairs of United States universities who had Instructional Systems Design graduate programs with a focus on Performance Improvement. We used snowball sampling to gain participants by requesting that the department chairs forward the questionnaire to practitioners who had led at least one organizational change.

Table ​ Table2 2 provides a summary of the characteristics of the 49 participants who completed the questionnaire. Most had over ten years of experience practicing change management ( n  = 37) and had completed over ten change projects ( n  = 32). The participants learned how to conduct change management on-the-job ( n  = 47), through books ( n  = 31), through academic journal articles ( n  = 22), and from college or university courses ( n  = 20). The participants had worked in 13 different industries.

Characteristics of participants

( n  = 49)

Table ​ Table3 3 shows how frequently participants indicated that they used the change management strategies included on the questionnaire. Forty or more participants said they used the following strategies most often or always: (1) Asked members of senior leadership to support the change; (2) Listened to managers’ concerns about the change; (3) Aligned an intended change with an organization’s mission; (4) Listened to employees’ concerns about the change; (5) Aligned an intended change with an organization’s vision; (6) Created measurable short-term goals; (7) Asked managers for feedback to improve the change, and (8) Focused on organizational culture.

Strategies used by change managers

Table ​ Table4 4 identifies how frequently the strategies appeared in the models and frameworks and the rate at which practitioners indicated they used the strategies most often or always. The strategies found in the top 25% of both ( n  > 36 for practitioner use and n  > 11 in models and frameworks) focused on communication, including senior leadership and the employees in change decisions, aligning the change with the vision and mission of the organization, and focusing on organizational culture. Practitioners used several strategies more commonly than the literature suggested, especially concerning the topic of middle management. Practitioners focused on listening to middle managers’ concerns about the change, asking managers for feedback to improve the change, and ensuring that managers were trained to promote the change. Meanwhile, practitioners did not engage in the following strategies as often as the models and frameworks suggested that they should: provide all members of the organization with clear communication about the change, distinguish the differences between leadership and management, reward new behavior, and include employees in change decisions.

A comparison of the strategies used by practitioners to the strategies found in the literature

Common Strategies Used by Practitioners and Found in the Literature

The purpose of this article was to present a common set of change management strategies found across numerous models and frameworks and to identify how frequently change management practitioners implement these common strategies in practice. The five common change management strategies were the following: communicate about the change, involve stakeholders at all levels of the organization, focus on organizational culture, consider the organization’s mission and vision, and provide encouragement and incentives to change. Below we discuss our findings with an eye toward presenting a few key recommendations for change management.

Communicate About the Change

Communication is an umbrella term that can include messaging, networking, and negotiating (Buchanan & Boddy, 1992 ). Our findings revealed that communication is essential for change management. All the models and frameworks we examined suggested that change managers should provide members of the organization with clear communication about the change. It is interesting that approximately 33% of questionnaire respondents indicated that they sometimes, rather than always or most of the time, notified all members of the organization about the change. This may be the result of change managers communicating through organizational leaders. Instead of communicating directly with everyone in the organization, some participants may have used senior leadership, middle management, or subgroups to communicate the change. Messages sent to employees from leaders can effectively promote change. Regardless of who is responsible for communication, someone in the organization should explain why the change is happening (Connor et al., 2003 ; Doyle & Brady, 2018 ; Hiatt, 2006 ; Kotter, 2012 ) and provide clear communication throughout the entire change implementation (McKinsey & Company, 2008 ; Mento et al., 2002 ).

Involve Stakeholders at All Levels of the Organization

Our results indicate that change managers should involve senior leaders, managers, as well as employees during a change initiative. The items on the questionnaire were based on a review of common change management models and frameworks and many related to some form of stakeholder involvement. Of these strategies, over half were used often by 50% or more respondents. They focused on actions like gaining support from leaders, listening to and getting feedback from managers and employees, and adjusting strategies based on stakeholder input.

Whereas the models and frameworks often identified strategies regarding senior leadership and employees, it is interesting that questionnaire respondents indicated that they often implemented strategies involving middle management in a change implementation. This aligns with Bamford and Forrester’s ( 2003 ) research describing how middle managers are important communicators of change and provide an organization with the direction for the change. However, the participants did not develop managers into leaders as often as the literature proposed. Burnes and By ( 2012 ) expressed that leadership is essential to promote change and mention how the change management field has failed to focus on leadership as much as it should.

Focus on Organizational Culture

All but one of the models and frameworks we analyzed indicated that change managers should focus on changing the culture of an organization and more than 75% of questionnaire respondents revealed that they implemented this strategy always or most of the time. Organizational culture affects the acceptance of change. Changing the organizational culture can prevent employees from returning to the previous status quo (Bullock & Batten, 1985 ; Kotter, 2012 ; Mento et al., 2002 ). Some authors have different views on how to change an organization’s culture. For example, Burnes ( 2000 ) thinks that change managers should focus on employees who were resistant to the change while Hiatt ( 2006 ) suggests that change managers should replicate what strategies they used in the past to change the culture. Change managers require open support and commitment from managers to lead a culture change (Phillips, 2021 ).

In addition, Pless and Maak ( 2004 ) describe the importance of creating a culture of inclusion where diverse viewpoints help an organization reach its organizational objectives. Yet less than half of the participants indicated that they often focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). Change managers should consider diverse viewpoints when implementing change, especially for organizations whose vision promotes a diverse and inclusive workforce.

Consider the Organization’s Mission and Vision

Several of the models and frameworks we examined mentioned that change managers should consider the mission and vision of the organization (Cummings & Worley, 1993 ; Hiatt, 2006 ; Kotter, 2012 ; Polk, 2011 ). Furthermore, aligning the change with the organization’s mission and vision were among the strategies most often implemented by participants. This was the second most common strategy both used by participants and found in the models and frameworks. A mission of an organization may include its beliefs, values, priorities, strengths, and desired public image (Cummings & Worley, 1993 ). Leaders are expected to adhere to a company’s values and mission (Strebel, 1996 ).

Provide Encouragement and Incentives to Change

Most of the change management models and frameworks suggested that organizations should reward new behavior, yet most respondents said they did not provide incentives to change. About 75% of participants did indicate that they frequently gave encouragement to employees about the change. The questionnaire may have confused participants by suggesting that they provide incentives before the change occurs. Additionally, respondents may have associated incentives with monetary compensation. Employee training can be considered an incentive, and many participants confirmed that they provided employees and managers with training. More information is needed to determine why the participants did not provide incentives and what the participants defined as rewards.

Future Conversations Between Practitioners and Researchers

Table ​ Table4 4 identified five strategies that practitioners used more often than the models and frameworks suggested and four strategies that were suggested more often by the models and frameworks than used by practitioners. One strategy that showed the largest difference was provided employees with incentives to implement the change. Although 81% of the selected models and frameworks suggested that practitioners should provide employees with incentives, only 25% of the practitioners identified that they provided incentives always and most of the time. Conversations between theorists and practitioners could determine if these differences occur because each group uses different terms (Hughes, 2007 ) or if practitioners just implement change differently than theorists suggest (Saka, 2003 ).

Additionally, conversations between theorists and practitioners may help promote improvements in the field of change management. For example, practitioners were split on how often they promoted DEI, and the selected models and frameworks did not focus on DEI in change implementations. Conversations between the two groups would help theorists understand what practitioners are doing to advance the field of change management. These conversations may encourage theorists to modify their models and frameworks to include modern approaches to change.

Limitations

The models and frameworks included in this systematic review were found through academic research and websites on the topic of change management. We did not include strategies contained on websites from change management organizations. Therefore, the identified strategies could skew towards approaches favored by theorists instead of practitioners. Additionally, we used specific publications to identify the strategies found in the models and frameworks. Any amendments to the cited models or frameworks found in future publications could not be included in this research.

We distributed this questionnaire in August 2020. Several participants mentioned that they were not currently conducting change management implementations because of global lockdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Because it can take years to complete a change management implementation (Phillips, 2021 ), this research does not describe how COVID-19 altered the strategies used by the participants. Furthermore, participants were not provided with definitions of the strategies. Their interpretations of the strategies may differ from the definitions found in the academic literature.

Future Research

Future research should expand upon what strategies the practitioners use to determine (a) how the practitioners use the strategies, and (b) the reasons why practitioners use certain strategies. Participants identified several strategies that they did not use as often as the literature suggested (e.g., provide employees with incentives and adjust the change implementation because of reactions from employees). Future research should investigate why practitioners are not implementing these strategies often.

Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic may have changed how practitioners implemented change management strategies. Future research should investigate if practitioners have added new strategies or changed the frequency in which they identified using the strategies found in this research.

Our aim was to identify a common set of change management strategies found across several models and frameworks and to identify how frequently change management practitioners implement these strategies in practice. While our findings relate to specific models, frameworks, and strategies, we caution readers to consider the environment and situation where the change will occur. Therefore, strategies should not be selected for implementation based on their inclusion in highly cited models and frameworks. Our study identified strategies found in the literature and used by change managers, but it does not predict that specific strategies are more likely to promote a successful organizational change. Although we have presented several strategies, we do not suggest combining these strategies to create a new framework. Instead, these strategies should be used to promote conversation between practitioners and theorists. Additionally, we do not suggest that one model or framework is superior to others because it contains more strategies currently used by practitioners. Evaluating the effectiveness of a model or framework by how many common strategies it contains gives an advantage to models and frameworks that contain the most strategies. Instead, this research identifies what practitioners are doing in the field to steer change management literature towards the strategies that are most used to promote change.

Declarations

This research does not represent conflicting interests or competing interests. The research was not funded by an outside agency and does not represent the interests of an outside party.

Publisher's Note

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Contributor Information

Jeffrey Phillips, Email: ude.usf@spillihpbj .

James D. Klein, Email: ude.usf@nielkj .

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How Ethical Leadership and Ethical Self-Leadership Enhance the Effects of Idiosyncratic Deals on Salesperson Work Engagement and Performance

  • Original Paper
  • Published: 20 May 2024

Cite this article

leadership and change management research topics

  • Ashish Kalra 1 ,
  • Rakesh Singh 2 ,
  • Vishag Badrinarayanan   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0003-4905-6964 3 &
  • Aditya Gupta 3  

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To meet the shifting needs and preferences of the contemporary sales workforce, sales organizations are deploying idiosyncratic deals (I-deals), or mutually beneficial individualized workplace arrangements between salespeople and the organization. However, research is lacking on how, and under what conditions, I-deals facilitate work engagement and performance among salespeople. In this study, based on analysis of data gathered from 221 business-to-business salespeople, we demonstrate that I-deals are positively related to two foci of salesperson work engagement (i.e., social engagement and change engagement) and salesperson performance. Furthermore, we find that ethical self-leadership, which is driven by ethical leadership, functions as an internal self-governance mechanism that strengthens the impact of I-deals on salesperson work engagement. Based on these results, we delineate novel theoretical and practical implications on the role of I-deals in facilitating effective sales talent management.

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Mirroring the boss: ethical leadership, emulation intentions, and salesperson performance, achieving top performance while building collegiality in sales: it all starts with ethics.

leadership and change management research topics

Curbing the Undesirable Effects of Emotional Exhaustion on Ethical Behaviors and Performance: A Salesperson–Manager Dyadic Approach

We thank an anonymous reviewer for this insight.

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Ashish Kalra

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Vishag Badrinarayanan & Aditya Gupta

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Kalra, A., Singh, R., Badrinarayanan, V. et al. How Ethical Leadership and Ethical Self-Leadership Enhance the Effects of Idiosyncratic Deals on Salesperson Work Engagement and Performance. J Bus Ethics (2024). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-024-05717-9

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DOI : https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-024-05717-9

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Economics for Disaster Prevention and Preparedness in Europe

Europe is facing overwhelming losses and destruction from climate-related disasters. From 1980 to 2022, weather and climate-related events across the EU caused total losses of about €650 billion , or around €15.5 billion per year. Recent disasters, such as floods in 2022 and wildfires in 2023, have highlighted the vulnerabilities of critical infrastructure, including emergency response buildings such as fire stations, but also roads and power lines.

To guide priority investments in disaster and climate resilience and strengthen financial resilience, the report series  Economics for Disaster Prevention and Preparedness —developed by the World Bank and the European Commission—offers evidence and tools to help countries take a more strategic approach to boost their climate resilience. These approaches are also being promoted and operationalized through the ongoing Technical Assistance Financing Facility for Disaster Prevention and Preparedness (TAFF) ,  funded by the European Commission, and implemented by the World Bank and the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery ( GFDRR ).

From Data to Decisions: Tools for making smart investments in prevention and preparedness in Europe

Half of EU Member States have fire stations located in areas with high levels of multiple hazards including wildfires, landslides, floods, or earthquakes. Investing in disaster resilience makes economic sense , and there is an urgency to scale up investments in disaster and climate resilience in a cost-effective and smart manner. This report provides guidance and examples on how to make focused and smart investments to increase the disaster and climate resilience of critical sectors, including those that provide emergency-response services. Risk data, analytical tools, and examples can guide decision-making toward high-priority areas and enable a strategic approach that maximizes benefits of investing in resilience.

Investing in Resilience: Climate adaptation costing in a changing world

The report provides new insights into the costs for a country to adapt to the impacts of climate change, new costing approaches, and best practices with estimated ranges for various sectors and multiple risks. While the estimated cost of climate adaptation varies significantly, in the EU, climate change adaptation costs up to the 2030s are estimated(based on extrapolation from national studies) to be between €15 billion to €64 billion. As Europe grapples with the escalating risks of climate change , the urgency to develop 'adaptation pathways' is paramount. These decision-making approaches enable countries to prepare and act amidst uncertainty, informed by current and future climate risks.

Financially Prepared: The case for pre-positioned finance

Floods, earthquakes, landslides and storms, wildfires and droughts, extreme heat risks create additional pressure on already constrained response and recovery budgets. The size of a potential funding gap due to major earthquakes and floods varies between €13 billion to €50 billion . Should a drought or a wildfire happen in a year where a major earthquake or flood has already occurred, there would be no funding available at the EU level to respond to a wildfire or drought event. Countries in Europe need to enhance their financial resilience through better data utilization and innovative financial instruments, including risk transfer to the private sector.

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Economics for Disaster Prevention and Preparedness EDPP2

SUMMARY  | BACKGROUND REPORT

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