Leadership: current theories, research, and future directions

Annu Rev Psychol. 2009;60:421-49. doi: 10.1146/annurev.psych.60.110707.163621.


This review examines recent theoretical and empirical developments in the leadership literature, beginning with topics that are currently receiving attention in terms of research, theory, and practice. We begin by examining authentic leadership and its development, followed by work that takes a cognitive science approach. We then examine new-genre leadership theories, complexity leadership, and leadership that is shared, collective, or distributed. We examine the role of relationships through our review of leader member exchange and the emerging work on followership. Finally, we examine work that has been done on substitutes for leadership, servant leadership, spirituality and leadership, cross-cultural leadership, and e-leadership. This structure has the benefit of creating a future focus as well as providing an interesting way to examine the development of the field. Each section ends with an identification of issues to be addressed in the future, in addition to the overall integration of the literature we provide at the end of the article.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cross-Cultural Comparison
  • Forecasting
  • Goals
  • Humans
  • International Cooperation
  • Internet
  • Leadership*
  • Psychological Theory*
  • Research / trends
  • Social Conformity
  • Social Identification
  • User-Computer Interface