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Adopted at more than 800 colleges and universities worldwide, the market-leading text owes its success to the unique way in which it combines an academically robust account of the major theories and models of leadership with an accessible style and practical exercises that help students apply what they learn. Each chapter follows a consistent format, allowing students to easily contrast the various theories, and three case studies in each chapter provide practical examples of each theory or trait discussed.
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Editorial Reviews

Bryan Ginter
User-friendly theory for students and teachers. Well-structured, clear, and crisp.
Derrick B. Barbee
"It is an excellent primer on the history and fundamental notions of leadership. I am particularly impressed with the presentation of many different types of leadership, the newest forms of leadership, and the case studies."
Bonnie M. Beyer
"A 'must have' comprehensive presentation of leadership theories from historical to contemporary views. An invaluable resource for students and scholars."
James Dittmar
An affordable text with good coverage of leadership theory and concepts.
Beth Birmingham
Great baseline leadership theories from which to explore more recent research and context-specific discussions of theories. Good case studies for students to work through.
Daniel Simone
Northhouse explains the various leadership theories in understandable bite-size concepts and provides examples to support the explanations. The students actually enjoy the lessons. The study of leadership can be a difficult concept to explain. By theorizing about observed phenomena, we can make predictions that can be tested in the real world as well as in more controlled settings. Northhouse provides this procedure.
Linda Kuk
I liked the summary of leadership theory it provides. It is very good overview that is easy to read and understand. There is nothing like this specifically related to higher education.
Patsy Cornelius
The Northouse text offers relevant material pertaining to leadership which can be utilized by any discipline. The case studies at the end of each chapter are priceless.
Keith Fulthorp
Great survey text of leadership theory, with leadership inventories connected to each theory presented.
Edward L. Bouie
The Northouse book presents a comprehensive view of leadership and the theories associated with leadership behavior. This is an outstanding text to use with a graduate-level leadership course.
Dr. Oris Guillaume
What a great resource!Great book - Great case studies for the students - Easy to use. My students find this book very sharpened and readable. I describe this book as a pinch of background of what leadership is. This book is one of the rare book that presents Servant leadership in a new form for both instructors and students.
Paul W. Decker
A seminal work; a keeper!
Tom Taylor
It provides a comprehensive and concise coverage of many leadership approaches. This text has the best on-line support for instructors and students I have ever seen.
Book Reviews - Venkatesh Pamu
"The book seems to have been sprung from the author's experiences of teaching and consulting on leadership issues. This is evident from the way in which the approaches and theories to leadership are structured for easy application and practice in active scenarios. A clear positive aspect of the book is the Summary at the end of each chapter with serves the purpose of integrating several dimensions that the chapter deals with."
International Journal of Educational Management - Brent Davies
"After reading many current educational leadership books which seem less about leadership and more about the ‘evils’ of government reform and ‘commodification’ it is a real delight to read such a splendid book as this. Peter Northouse has combined an academically robust account of the major themes and approaches with an accessible style and approach that makes the book very readable. This book is a major source of insights and perspectives for all those studying on leadership courses in both the business and education sectors. It is also an excellent source for school leaders and educators who want to go deepen their understanding of leadership.

The book is divided into fourteen chapters which cover all the key aspects in the leadership field: defining leadership; trait approaches; skills approaches; style approaches; situational approach; contingency theory; path-goal theory; leader-member exchange theory; transformational leadership; team leadership; psychodynamic approach; women and leadership; culture and leadership and leadership ethics. It is unusual to get such a comprehensive coverage of leadership, with such a perceptive and engaging account.

The layout of the book is excellent making it very reader friendly with great use of colour display of models and tables. This is a major improvement on earlier editions of the book. It has outstandingly good case examples and questions for reflection and very useful leadership instruments and questionnaires. These instruments, case studies and questionnaires provide practical applications and reflection tools and add a significant reality check to theory as the reader can apply the leadership analysis to themselves or their situation. For anyone starting out as a student of leadership or an experienced leader reviewing their leadership style and approach this book would be an essential starting place.

After reviewing leadership books for over twenty years this book is by far one of the best I have come across. It provides an excellent leadership account and discussion for those working in the education and business field."


Ravindra Nath Saxena
"Leadership: Theory and Practice provides excellent analyses of a number of leadership theories and research findings in considerable detail...The book succeeds in advancing our understanding of the different approaches to leadership and the methods by which it can be practiced more effectively."
Gary Williams
"Love the analysis of theories and end of chapter exercises."
Jeany Gonzalez
"Excellent review of major concepts and theories; applications at close of chapter is a perfect ending!"
William A. Welch
“I have found Peter’s books exceptionally well written, applauded by my students for its quality and readability. It immediately leads us excitingly toward the geneses of the symptoms we often treat as causal. It is direct and logical in its development. It is easy reading but by no means elementary. Finally but more importantly, it will I feel help students better understand their own needs and develop plans for further development.”
Jack Barentsen
“A useable and up-to-date introduction of the psychodynamic approach that brings psychological concerns about motivation and personality into a helpful conversation with mainstream leadership theory.”
Daniel W. Calhoun
“This is a great addition to the text. It is important for leaders to understand and meet the needs of those whom they are leading and the environment in which their interactions take place. They must seamlessly account for all these factors in a way that is not focused on the leader him or herself, but on the context. [The Adaptive Leadership Chapter] presents leadership through a new lens and provides an approach to leadership that was missing from previous editions. It offers concrete practical examples that are relatable and provide context to both current and future leaders.”
Benjamin W. Redekop
“This is an excellent introductory text to the field of leadership studies. It features short, concise, readable chapters complemented by case studies and self-analyses for those wishing to apply the material. It is the first book I recommend to anyone wishing to learn more about the field and how they can improve their own leadership practices.”
Frances Dodd
“This is simply my bible for teaching on Leadership. It is informative, yet an enjoyable read and essential for lecturers and students alike. No module on Leadership should be without one!”
Horacio Salinas
“Leadership: Theory and Practice is a scholarly examination of leadership as a dynamic, evolving, and elusive influence process with differing approaches to effectively build relationships and facilitate the achievement of goals and visions.”
Jon Sager
“Northouse is highly readable and explains leadership material extremely well. He then presents the strengths and weaknesses of various leadership approaches in a compelling way, yielding evidence based leadership practices.”
Kaye Shelton
“Northouse’s approach to leadership provides a balanced overview of both theory and relevant application while presenting it an easy to understand format. Students will find it an excellent resource for years to come.”
Lisa Burgoon
“This is the ideal text for a survey course on leadership theory that also helps students put their leadership into practice.”
Moja Teboho
“A must read for anyone preparing to take a leadership position in any setting.”
Pamela Scott
“This single text has become the primary resource for our doctoral program in Educational Leadership. It provides the foundation upon which we base our program of study and encompasses the breadth of leadership theory and practice in a manner accessible to students, practitioners, and scholars.”
Patti Ippoliti
“Leadership today is about building followership, and Leadership: Theory and Practice provides a practical approach for how to build that followship in today’s workforce.”
Rose Envy
“Leadership: Theory and Practice is a ‘must have’ for all students studying leadership at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. Theories of leadership are articulated in a very accessible manner and supported by appropriate case studies which bring meaning to the rhetoric –reality debate. This text is well structured and takes the student on a learning journey which leads to a greater understanding of leadership in its broadest sense.”
Thomas Meriweather
“The text does an excellent job of addressing leadership at the individual level of analysis. The single greatest strength is the empirical review of the major theories of leadership, provided in a chapter framework that describes the theory, explains how a particular approach works, describes strengths and criticisms, discusses how to apply the theory, provides relevant cases, and a related assessment instrument.”
Dr.Thomas E. Matthews
"Northouse's third edition of Leadership: Theory and Practice is one of the clearest presentations of the major theories and concepts of leadership available in print anywhere. It should be required reading for every leadership program. "
Meera Alagaraja
“This is a great textbook that provides the foundational theories of leadership. The book achieves a critical balance of providing scholarly research and practitioner perspectives. Case studies, class activities and leadership surveys provide an integrative perspective of individual, team and organizational leadership styles and practices”
Doctor - Thomas E. Matthews
"Northouse's third edition of Leadership: Theory and Practice is one of the clearest presentations of the major theories and concepts of leadership available in print anywhere. It should be required reading for every leadership program. "
Roger Smitter
"The third edition of Leadership by Northouse provides students with a powerful introduction to the strengths and limits of the social science strand of research in leadership. It provides application for undergraduates while for graduate students, it provides the context needed to plunge into reading research and developing research questions. At the same time, the book raises significant questions about the link between leadership and ethics and values. "
Ronald E. Riggio
"Peter Northouse has produced a leadership textbook that is accessible to students, but solidly grounded in theory and research. He avoids the ‘trap’ of making leadership appear too easy or trite, keeping his book serious and scholarly, but still interesting and enjoyable to read. I would feel confident that a student assigned Leadership: Theory and Practice is getting a sound introduction to the field. "
Lynn Hertrick Leavitt
"I have used Leadership: Theory and Practice for the past four years as the primary text for an undergraduate leadership course that I teach. The comprehensive nature of the chapters, critiques, exercises, self-assessment instruments, and case studies make it very user-friendly for students and faculty. "
Christine D. Townsend
"In his Third Edition, Northouse continues to update and enhance his leadership book. As a textbook for college students, the author provides an outstanding bridge between the research developments and the practical uses for leadership theory. His case study examples are contemporary, intriguing, and enticing to students and teachers who seek enhancement to their study of leadership. "
The Bookwatch
"Leadership, Theory and Practice is very highly recommended — whether for both academic study concerning leadership behavior and concrete, or for practical use by any aspiring or practicing leader in the business community today."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781412974882
  • Publisher: SAGE Publications
  • Publication date: 10/6/2009
  • Edition number: 5
  • Pages: 456
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Peter G. Northouse, Ph.D, is a professor of communication in the School of Communication at Western Michigan University. For more than 20 years, he has taught leadership, interpersonal, and organizational communication on both the undergraduate and graduate levels. In addition to publications in professional journals, he is the author of Introduction to Leadership: Concepts and Practice and coauthor of Health Communication: Strategies for Health Professionals (3rd ed.). His scholarly and curricular interests include models of leadership, leadership assessment, ethical leadership, and leadership and group dynamics. He has worked as a consultant in a variety of areas, including leadership development, leadership education, conflict management, and health communication. He holds a doctorate in speech communication from the University of Denver and a master’s and bachelor’s degree in communication education from Michigan State University.

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Table of Contents

Preface Special Features Audience Acknowledgments Chapter 1. Introduction Leadership Defined Ways of Conceptualizing Leadership Definition and Components Leadership Described Trait Versus Process Leadership Assigned Versus Emergent Leadership Leadership and Power Leadership and Coercion Leadership and Management Plan of the Book Summary Chapter 2. Trait Approach Description Intelligence Self-Confidence Determination Integrity Sociability Five-Factor Personality Model and Leadership Emotional Intelligence How Does the Trait Approach Work?
Strengths Criticisms Application Case Studies Case 2.1: Choosing a New Director of Research Case 2.2: A Remarkable Turnaround Case 2.3: Recruiting for the Bank Leadership Instrument Leadership Trait Questionnaire (LTQ)
Scoring Interpretation Summary Chapter 3. Skills Approach Description Three-Skill Approach Technical Skill Human Skill Conceptual Skill Summary of the Three-Skill Approach Skills Model Competencies Problem-Solving Skills Social Judgment Skills Knowledge Individual Attributes General Cognitive Ability Crystallized Cognitive Ability Motivation Personality Leadership Outcomes Effective Problem Solving Performance Career Experiences Environmental Influences Summary of the Skills Model How Does the Skills Approach Work?
Strengths Criticisms Application Case Studies Case 3.1: A Strained Research Team Case 3.2: A Shift for Lieutenant Colonel Adams Case 3.3: Andy’s Recipe Leadership Instrument Skills Inventory Scoring Scoring Interpretation Summary Chapter 4. Style Approach Description The Ohio State Studies The University of Michigan Studies Blake and Mouton’s Managerial (Leadership) Grid Authority-Compliance (9,1)
Country Club Management (1,9)
Impoverished Management (1,1)
Middle-of-the-Road Management (5,5)
Team Management (9,9)
Paternalism/Maternalism Opportunism How Does the Style Approach Work?
Strengths Criticisms Application Case Studies Case 4.1: A Drill Sergeant at First Case 4.2: Eating Lunch Standing Up Case 4.3: Enhancing the Department’s Culture Leadership Instrument Style Questionnaire Scoring Scoring Interpretation Summary Chapter 5. Situational Approach Description Leadership Styles Development Levels How Does the Situational Approach Work?
Strengths Criticisms Application Case Studies Case 5.1: What Style Do I Use?
Case 5.2: Why Aren’t They Listening?
Case 5.3: Getting the Message Across Leadership Instrument Situational Leadership: A Brief Questionnaire Scoring Interpretation Summary
6. Contingency Theory Description Leadership Styles Situational Variables How Does Contingency Theory Work?
Strengths Criticisms Application Case Studies Case 6.1: No Control Over the Student Council Case 6.2: Giving Him a Hard Time Case 6.3: What’s the Best Leader Match?
Leadership Instrument Least Preferred Coworker (LPC) Measure Scoring Interpretation Summary Chapter 7. Path–Goal Theory Description Leader Behaviors Directive Leadership Supportive Leadership Participative Leadership Achievement-Oriented Leadership Subordinate Characteristics Task Characteristics How Does Path–Goal Theory Work?
Strengths Criticisms Application Case Studies Case 7.1: Three Shifts, Three Supervisors Case 7.2: Direction for Some, Support for Others Case 7.3: Marathon Runners at Different Levels Leadership Instrument Path–Goal Leadership Questionnaire Scoring Scoring Interpretation Summary Chapter 8. Leader–Member Exchange Theory Description Early Studies Later Studies Leadership Making How Does LMX Theory Work?
Strengths Criticisms Application Case Studies Case 8.1: His Team Gets the Best Assignments Case 8.2: Working Hard at Being Fair Case 8.3: Taking On Additional Responsibilities Leadership Instrument LMX 7 Questionnaire Scoring Interpretation Summary Chapter 9. Transformational Leadership Description Transformational Leadership Defined Transformational Leadership and Charisma A Model of Transformational Leadership Transformational Leadership Factors Idealized Influence Inspirational Motivation Intellectual Stimulation Individualized Consideration Transactional Leadership Factors Contingent Reward Management-by-Exception Nonleadership Factor Laissez-Faire Other Transformational Perspectives Bennis and Nanus Kouzes and Posner Model the Way Inspire a Shared Vision Challenge the Process Enable Others to Act Encourage the Heart How Does the Transformational Approach Work?
Strengths Criticisms Application Case Studies Case 9.1: The Vision Failed Case 9.2: Students Dig It Case 9.3: Her Vision Was a Model Research Center Case 9.3: Her Vision Was a Model Research Center Leadership Instrument Sample Items From the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ) Form 5X-Short Summary Chapter 10. Authentic Leadership Description Authentic Leadership Defined Intapersonal Definition Developmental Definition Interpersonal Definition Approaches to Authentic Leadership Practical Approaches Robert Terry’s Authentic Leadership Approach Bill George’s Authentic Leadership Approach Theoretical Approach Background to the Theoretical Approach Components of Authentic Leadership Factors that Influence Authentic Leadership How Does Authentic Leadership Work?
Strengths Criticisms Application Case Studies Case 10.1: Am I Really a Leader?
Case 10.2: Moving Mountains for Education and Peace Case 10.3: The Reluctant First Lady Leadership Instrument Authentic Leadership Self Assessment Questionnaire Summary Chapter 11. Team Leadership - Susan E. Kogler Hill Description Team Leadership Model Leadership Decisions Leadership Decision 1: Should I Monitor the Team or Take Action?
Leadership Decision 2: Should I Intervene to Meet Task or Relational Needs?
Leadership Decision 3: Should I Intervene Internally or Externally?
Leadership Actions Internal Task Leadership Actions Internal Relational Leadership Actions External Environmental Leadership Actions Team Effectiveness Clear, Elevating Goal Results-Driven Structure Competent Team Members Unified Commitment Collaborative Climate Standards of Excellence External Support and Recognition Principled Leadership How Does the Team Leadership Model Work?
Strengths Criticisms Application Case Studies Case 11.1: Can This Virtual Team Work?
Case 11.2: They Dominated the Conversation Case 11.3: Starts With a Bang, Ends With a Whimper Leadership Instrument Team Excellence and Collaborative Team Leader Questionnaire Scoring Interpretation Summary Chapter 12. Psychodynamic Approach - Ernest L. Stech Description Background Eric Berne and Transactional Analysis Sigmund Freud and Personality Types Carl Jung and Personality Types Functions and Preferences Types and Leadership Sixteen Types and Leadership Dealing With Followers How Does the Psychodynamic Approach Work?
Strengths Criticisms Case Studies Case 12.1: Not the Type Who Sees the Big Picture Case 12.2: Staff Meeting Problems Case 12.3: Unexpected Reactions Leadership Instrument Psychodynamic Approach Survey Scoring Scoring Interpretation Summary Chapter 13. Women and Leadership - Crystal L. Hoyt Description Gender and Leadership Styles Gender and Leadership Effectiveness The Glass Ceiling Evidence of the Glass Ceiling Motives for Removing the Barriers Explaining the Glass Ceiling Human Capital Differences Gender Differences Prejudice Breaking the Glass Ceiling Strengths Criticisms Application Case Studies Case 13.1: The Glass Ceiling Case 13.2: Lack of Inclusion and Credibility Case 13.3: Pregnancy as a Barrier to Job Status Leadership Instrument The Gender–Leader Implicit Association Test Scoring Summary Chapter 14. Culture and Leadership Description Culture Defined Related Concepts Ethnocentrism Prejudice Dimensions of Culture Uncertainty Avoidance Power Distance Institutional Collectivism In-Group Collectivism Gender Egalitarianism Assertiveness Future Orientation Performance Orientation Humane Orientation Clusters of World Cultures Characteristics of Clusters Anglo Confucian Asia Eastern Europe Germanic Europe Latin America Latin Europe Middle East Nordic Europe Southern Asia Sub-Saharan Africa Leadership Behavior and Culture Clusters Eastern Europe Leadership Profile Latin America Leadership Profile Latin Europe Leadership Profile Confucian Asia Leadership Profile Nordic Europe Leadership Profile Anglo Leadership Profile Sub-Saharan Africa Leadership Profile Southern Asia Leadership Profile Germanic Europe Leadership Profile Middle East Leadership Profile Universally Desirable and Undesirable Leadership Attributes Strengths Criticisms Application Case Studies Case 14.1: A Challenging Workplace Case 14.2: A Special Kind of Financing Case 14.3: Whose Hispanic Center Is It?
Leadership Instrument Dimensions of Culture Questionnaire Scoring Scoring Interpretation Summary Chapter 15. Leadership Ethics Description Ethics Defined Ethical Theories Centrality of Ethics to Leadership Heifetz’s Perspective on Ethical Leadership Burns’s Perspective on Ethical Leadership Greenleaf’s Perspective on Ethical Leadership Principles of Ethical Leadership Ethical Leaders Respect Others Ethical Leaders Serve Others Ethical Leaders Are Just Ethical Leaders Are Honest Ethical Leaders Build Community Strengths Criticisms Application Case Studies Case 15.1: A Struggling Company With Not Enough Cash Case 15.2: How Safe Is Safe?
Case 15.3: Reexamining a Proposal Leadership Instrument Perceived Leader Integrity Scale (PLIS)
Scoring Scoring Interpretation Summary Name Index Subject Index About the Author About the Contributors

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 15 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 16 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 26, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Leadership - Peter G. Northouse - Sage Publications

    Excelent excelent resource. Well written. Supported with research. Solid content, theories, models, and case studies. Well organized and summarized. Good book to use in studing the foundations of leadership. Absolutely loved it. Highly recommend. Five Stars *****

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 23, 2012

    Good read

    Good read for anyone interested in leadership.

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  • Posted December 11, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Leadership: Theory and Practice

    Choosing a book about "leadership" is not an easy task. The reason is that there are literally thousands of books written about various aspects of leadership. Peter G. Northouse's book allows the reader to get acquainted with several leadership theories described in the research literature. He also offers instruments (sometimes called inventories) for self-assessment as well as numerous case studies to practice applications to these theories. In the introduction chapter, Northouse briefly describes and contrasts different leadership theories. For example, he discusses leadership as a trait versus leadership as a process; assigned leadership versus emergent leadership; types and bases of power in leadership; and differences and overlaps between management and leadership. He develops the following definition: "Leadership is a process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal." In the following chapters, Northouse describes selected approaches to leadership and discusses their strengths and weaknesses. He talks about the trait approach (i.e., traits such as intelligence, self-confidence, determination, integrity, etc.), the skills approach (e.g., technical, human, and conceptual skills), the style approach (e.g., task- and relationship behaviors), and the situational approach (i.e., different situations demand different kinds of leadership). He also describes leadership theories that deal with issues of contingency (i.e., an attempt to "match" leaders to appropriate situations), path-and-goal (i.e., how leaders can motivate followers to accomplish a set goal), and leader-member exchanges (i.e., an examination of the interactions between leaders and followers). There are also chapters on transformational leadership (i.e., leaders are discussed as so-called "change agents" who can transform people and organizations), team leadership (i.e., an examination of the role of leaders in organizational groups and teams), and the role of gender in leadership (with a special focus on women), as well as the psychodynamic approach to leadership (i.e., an assessment of the personality types of leaders and followers). Finally, Northouse provides a chapter about the broad range of different viewpoints and consequences of leadership (i.e., an evaluation of leadership ethics and moral decision making). What keeps the value of Northouse's leadership book high over time is the fact that he periodically updates his book and adds new chapters. For example, the fourth edition (2007) contains a new chapter on "Culture and Leadership" and the fifth edition (2009) a new chapter on "Authentic Leadership." The upcoming sixth edition (to be published in 2012) is announced to contain a new chapter on "Servant Leadership." I found Northouse's book to be exceptionally well prepared in style, presentation, and illustration. It is a comprehensive text and, yet, very user-friendly. I used this book in higher education in a university setting, but I believe it is also well suited for training purposes in many other settings. I would like to highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn about the various theories of leadership and who also likes to practice them immediately through case studies and self-assessment questionnaires.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2010

    Great for anyone in a leadership capacity

    Good tools--charts (for visual learners) and theories for analytical and practical use. Solid read for Master's program. Will keep the book for reference in my public school leadership work. I have shared some material with my spouse who works at a local college in student affairs.

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  • Posted April 16, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Excellent primer

    Northouse writes engagingly and clearly and presents an excellent primer on managerial leadership. The book covers all the main elements needed to gain an understanding of the topic as well as the general progress of leadership theories and their application in a managerial context.

    Each Chapter is dedicated to an approach starting with the Trait Approach in chapter 2 (after an introduction to leadership in chapter 1) and culminating with Contingency theory. All the chapters are organized in a consistent and logical manner starting with (1) a description of the theory; (2) how does it work; (3) its strengths; (4) weaknesses; (5) applications and then some (6) case studies. This makes Northouse's treatment very straightforward and combined with his writing style, both an enjoyable and educational read.

    However, while this book is probably the best introduction to the topic, readers looking for more in-depth information or a more academic treatment would probably be better serve with Yukl's "Leadership in Organizations."

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