Jón Gnarr: the Joker that Became a Leader

Árelía Eydís Guðmundsdóttir


The theoretical background of leadership literature is based on assessing leadership from the perspective of the individual in the role. As the field progressed other factors were believed to be important in understanding leadership. In the last years the spotlight in research on leadership has, again, been on the leader himself as in theories such as authentic leadership and servant leadership. In this article the impact of the leadership of Jón Gnarr, that becoming a leader,when he served as a Major for Reykavík in the years 2010-2014. In the article the main conclusions of the research on Jóns Gnarr as a leader are discussed. Open-ended interviews were conducted among the official leaders of the City and those that worked closely with him on the political arena and with Jón himself. Seven indepth open-ended interviews were conducted and analyzed with qualitative methods. The research hypothesis is that the extreme societal and economical environment let to the election of the Best Party. The main conclusions are that in Jón Gnarrs leadership we can see indications that supports theories of authentic leadership. His lifestory and experience, intuition seem to have changed communication between actors. With trust, respect and caring. This empowered his followers and inspired them in a new way. This research contribution is in the field of authentic leadership. In particular where unusual circumstances call for different leadership.


Leadership development; authentic leadership; empowerment; insight; self-development.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.13177/irpa.a.2016.12.1.8


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