On understanding the CEO work as a balancing act

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperScientificpeer-review


This paper studies leadership from a practice-perspective and focuses on the question of agency by focusing on CEOs as carriers of leadership practices. The empirical material consists of a CEO survey with 250 respondents carried out in Finland in 2018, complemented with interviews and opinions of three individual Finnish CEOs. The study shows that the CEO work constitutes a balancing act and takes a dialectical approach to leadership, oscillating between heroic and post-heroic dispositions. The paper makes two important theoretical contributions. First, it contributes to the practice-based research on leadership by shedding light on both socio-historically constructed leadership practices and CEOs as carriers of these practices. Second, it contributes to the research on CEO work by elaborating on the way CEOs’ identities influence and are influenced by the leadership practices.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2019
MoE publication typeNot Eligible
EventInternational Studying Leadership Conference - Bristol Business School, University of the West of England, Bristol, United Kingdom
Duration: 15 Dec 201917 Dec 2019
Conference number: 18


ConferenceInternational Studying Leadership Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • Leadership-as-practice; Strategy-as-practice; Social construction; CEO work; CEO identity


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