DOI: 10.1177/23197145231187182 ISSN:

A Bibliometric Review of Research on Intelligence in Leadership Studies

Safoora Pitsi, Jon Billsberry, Mary Barrett
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Strategy and Management
  • Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)
  • Business and International Management

Intelligence has always been a key factor in people’s assessments of leaders and has featured on most profiles of leadership traits and competences. However, the disparate nature of research on intelligence in leadership studies means that it is time to take stock and to consider what has been learned. We do this by reporting a bibliometric analysis of published scholarly work on intelligence as it relates to leadership. The article begins with a short narrative review of intelligence in leadership studies before 1991, which demonstrates the long history of intelligence being conceptualized as IQ, general intelligence, wisdom, and intellect. This is followed with a bibliometric analysis of the topic from 1991 to 2022, which demonstrates how emotional intelligence has become the primary focus of leadership intelligence scholars. The implications of this shift of scholarly attention are discussed at the end of the article. In addition, we discuss the implications for implicit leadership theory (ILT) and demonstrate that the intelligence attribute in ILT frameworks is underdeveloped.

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