The synergistic leadership theory Academic Article uri icon


  • Modernist theories in leadership were traditionally dominated by masculine incorporation and lacked feminine presence in development and language. The synergistic theory of leadership (SLT) seeks to explicate the need for a postmodernist leadership theory by providing an alternative to, and not a replacement for, traditional theories. Six aspects particular to the SLT influence the ideas and include issues concerning diversity and the inclusion of the female voice in the theory. Four factors are key to the relational and interactive nature of the theory, which provides a useful framework for building and understanding the interdependent relationships. In a tetrahedron model, the theory uses four factors, including leadership behavior, organizational structure, external forces, and attitudes, beliefs, and values to demonstrate aspects not only of leadership but its effects on various institutions and positions. Developed through a qualitative approach, the theory has been validated qualitatively and quantitatively nationwide and is currently being validated internationally.

published proceedings

  • Journal of Educational Administration

author list (cited authors)

  • Irby, B. J., Brown, G., Duffy, J. A., & Trautman, D.

citation count

  • 18

complete list of authors

  • Irby, Beverly J||Brown, Genevieve||Duffy, Jo Ann||Trautman, Diane

publication date

  • August 2002