Quotation Simsa, Ruth, Totter, Marion Christine. 2020. The struggle for good leadership in social movements: Collective reflection and rules as basis for autonomy. Ephemera - Theory and Politics in Organization. 20 (3)




This paper analyzes how leadership is practiced in social movement organizations (SMO). Drawing arguments from Critical Leadership Studies, and based on qualitative empirical research conducted within the organizations of the Spanish protest movement 15M, this paper analyzes the perceptions of leadership, fields of tension and practices for dealing with these tensions. By empirically investigating a rather unexplored area of research, the paper makes three contributions. First, it offers in-depth investigations of leadership-practices in SMO, showing that activists are highly aware of the importance of leadership. Second, it contributes to leadership theory by confronting views of critical leadership studies with the empirical results. Activists share quite precise views on what good leadership means for them, which we propose to characterize as autonomous, reflexive and rule-based. Third, with the emphasis on collective reflection and rules, it highlights two aspects of leadership in SMO that have been widely ignored in discourses, but turn out as important means of dealing with challenges of autonomous leadership.


Press 'enter' for creating the tag

Publication's profile

Status of publication Published
Affiliation WU
Type of publication Journal article
Journal Ephemera - Theory and Politics in Organization
Language English
Title The struggle for good leadership in social movements: Collective reflection and rules as basis for autonomy
Volume 20
Number 3
Year 2020
Reviewed? Y
URL http://www.ephemerajournal.org/contribution/struggle-good-leadership-social-movement-organizations-collective-reflection-and-rules
DOI na
Open Access Y
Open Access Link http://www.ephemerajournal.org/contribution/struggle-good-leadership-social-movement-organizations-collective-reflection-and-rules


Simsa, Ruth (Details)
Totter, Marion Christine (Details)
Institute for Social Change and Sustainability IN (Details)
Google Scholar: Search