New kids on the block? A bibliometric analysis of emerging COVID-19 -trends in leadership research

Robin Bauwens*, Sasa Batistič, Steven Kilroy, Sanne Nijs

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)
103 Downloads (Pure)


The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in unprecedented challenges for society. The effects on organizations have been drastic and such tough times have demanded new organizational solutions as well as strong and new forms of organizational leadership. Leadership scholars have accelerated their research efforts in the quest to identify what is needed to lead in these uncertain times. In this paper, we adopt a bibliometric review in order to unravel the emerging trends in leadership research in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, and in doing so, identify commonalities and divergences in these themes with respect to leadership approaches and assess potential avenues for future research. The findings reveal that research on the topic has emerged along six main clusters: (1) leadership and employee health during pandemic times; (2) public leadership; (3) leadership in healthcare; (4) leadership and diversity; (5) educational leadership and (6) leadership and persuasive communication. The findings reveal that across these clusters, the pandemic has sparked research on leadership approaches that deal with change and uncertainty as well as those that are less hierarchical and person-centered in nature. We also notice novel attention to context. Rather than “new kids on the block”, these trends are largely continuations of established leadership theories and approaches that see their particular importance increase in this unprecedented situation. Finally, we outline some distinct avenues for further research with regard to leadership in COVID-19 times.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1548051821997406
Pages (from-to)224-232
JournalJournal of Leadership and Organizational Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • COVID-19
  • bibliometric review
  • corona
  • leadership
  • science mapping


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