Looking back at leadership in the Heroic Age
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree LevelPostgraduate Certificate
Degree NamePostgraduate Certificate in Antarctic Studies
This paper looks at leadership characteristics of the Heroic Age explorers Gerlache, Drygalski, Nordenskjöld, Charcot, Filchner, Mawson and the better known Scott, Shackleton and Amundsen. The creation of heroic images and how these change over time is explored and the way different cultural and political contexts impacted on the leadership styles of these men. A description of the Antarctic environment at the time, and the resources available to endure its hardships, shows the limits to which expedition leaders were tested. Whether successful expeditions were due to special leadership characteristics, or other qualities such as scientific knowledge and interest, is explored through the backgrounds and styles of the nine leaders. Finally, making comparisons between these leaders across time and cultural and historic contexts is challenged. This is a feature of contemporary management literature, and their interpretation of the leadership characteristics and use of examples of Heroic Age leaders is critiqued.