the subjectivity and agency of the leader. I will use Kellerman’s critique of leadership
alongside Henry Giroux’s notion of the modern university in corporate culture to map the
rise of the corporatization of leadership education. Next, I will explain that engaging
women of color authors is central to how consider subjectivity and agency. I will show
how these ideas need to be applied to a critique of leadership theory.
Leadership in the Corporate University
Henry Giroux’s (2002) article, “Neoliberalism, Corporate Culture, and the
Promise of Higher Education: The University as a Democratic Public Sphere,” offers an
accounting of the rise of corporate interests to the detriment of public values, locating
much of his argument in higher education. Giroux (2002) presents the blurring
boundaries between “public values and commercial interests” and reminds us “education
must not be confused with job training” (p. 433). He does not set out to critique the
leadership industry, but does offer thoughts on how, “Leadership has taken a different
turn under the model of the corporate university…many colleges and universities are all
too happy to allow corporate leaders to…develop curricular programs tailored to the
needs of corporate interests” (p. 439). By reading this work alongside Kellerman, a
picture of how leadership and higher education function in tandem appears. This vision
of leadership is neither serving the interests of its students nor the university as a whole.
Kellerman (2012) assesses leadership studies in the academy, a field tied to
corporate interests, as “fair to middling, at best” (p. 173) without a core curriculum,
missing assessment metrics, and with poorly established theoretical traditions. “We do
not know which particular pedagogy,” she asserts as an academic leadership expert, “best
suits which particular circumstance; nor have we reached consensus on what could be
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