Georgia Sorenson

2015 Lifetime Achievement Award Winner

Alice Eagly

One must seriously consider the question: Would there be a field of leadership studies without Georgia Sorenson? Drawing upon historical lessons learned from the creation of the fields of sociology and psychology, Sorenson, with colleague James MacGregor Burns, developed a systematic plan more than 30 years ago to establish the field of leadership studies. Recognizing the essential, foundational building blocks needed, Sorenson established or supported refereed scientific leadership journals; built a 2-million dollar leadership library for scholars to find all essential and classic texts; co-founded a professional association (the ILA); co-edited the award-winning, 4-volume Encyclopedia of Leadership (a disciplinary resource); chronicled the benchmarks for a consolidation of leadership theory (The Quest for a General Theory of Leadership); and helped establish or served on the board of numerous leadership institutes. But, Sorenson's interest in leadership has never been purely academic. From her work as a senior policy analyst in the Carter White house or as analyst for the U.S. Commission of Civil Rights to the themes in her recent book, The Power of Invisible Leadership: How a Compelling Common Purpose Inspires Exceptional Leadership, Sorenson's commitment to leadership has always been aimed toward the larger question, leadership for what.

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