Within the growing community of leadership scholars and authors, a certain dichotomy seems to be emerging. On the one side, current leadership texts provide a rich, historical in-depth analysis into the development of leadership science and its on-going investigation. Yet, these publications tend to give cursory and scarce support to the application of such knowledge. On the other hand, practitioner publications tend to focus succinctly on a smaller subset of practical applications with little acknowledgment or scrutiny of the underlying scientific principles. This approach raises concerns about the generalizability and durability of such works. There is a market for a publication that bridges these two 'schools', in essence providing a user friendly, practitioner useful leadership text that is soundly rooted in leadership science. My concept is that this work would be used as a course text for introductory leadership courses, while serving as a desktop reference for practitioners. NB there are a lot of leadership texts out there, and as the reviews show, there is some concern that this won't offer a new twist.
As I see it, the strengths are clear: the author writes very well, the proposal is well structured, the author is committed to writing a research-based but applied text, the market is large, and we can price relatively highly. I propose that we take a punt on the book, while minimising our risk by keeping the book short and not offering an advance. At the worst, it will sell 1500 copies life, at the best, it could just be good enough to really make an impact and go into several editions. The author's response to the reviews: While the leadership text market is a highly saturated market, what we don't see are well developed, scientifically rigorous and practically relevant texts. They are typically either - or. In the academic press, we find high cost, global-spanning tomes with little practical relevance. On the other hand, what we find in the practitioner market is that just about anyone who has an opinion, or spin on leadership has written a book on it - many with little or no regard to the scientific basis for the leadership process. My intent with this book is to reach a balance point between the two.
In a nut shell, the 'twist' I intend to offer with this text is scientifically based functionality, practicality and affordability. Too many leadership texts that I have seen offer a buzz, yet I fear are doomed to become fads as pracitioners see that they offer little consistent support and scholars see that they contain little scientific rigor.