v rge-scale change at the institutional level is built on four major foundations: change theory, institutional theory, organizational culture and leadership, and contextual discourse and rhetorical persuasion. Thomas Paine's writings, a provocative stimulus for the new United States of America during its revolutionary crisis, employed all four of these in creating the nation's new “story.” In this case, the institution is the pre-Revolutionary concept of governance and the change, driven by multiple forces, is the breaking away of the 13 colonies from England. Paine's powerful pamphlet, “Common Sense”, as well as his other writings, reflected his rhetorical expertise and served as a cognitive foundation upon which the fledgling nation could build its new script and create new processes of institutional governance. As any good storyteller does, Paine engaged his readers in a conversation that allowed them to construct an organizational reality that articulated their collective identity. He was the change agent whose interventions helped with the birth of a new nation. One Paine biographer (Kaye, 2005) argues that Paine's “rhetorical patterns” helped to create the “vision of America as a nation gifted with a special mission” and are still quoted by Republicans, Democrats and Libertarians alike without apology (Ferguson, 2000).
Organisational purpose is an important topic. It comes up regularly in leadership and management conversations. We pay attention to a tendency to consider purpose as something static, abstract and reified. Despite a natural desire to simplify, and referencing Peirce, Stacey and others, we show the complex shifting of meaning. It is relational, emerging within, and between, people. Context, the passing of time and local interpretations are important themes in considering the utility of what we might call purpose. Here we use a reflective autoethnographic approach to illustrate our ideas, arguing against the separation of subjectivity and objectivity, and for a process-oriented way of thinking of purpose in leadership and management
The following are antenarratives related by female U.S. Coast Guard cadets (now officers in the Coast Guard) as part of a gender and leadership directed study taught by Dr. Matthew Eriksen. Also, there are antenarratives by Captain Robert Ayer and Dr. Matthew Eriksen concerning their response to The Conference on Women at the Academy in which the female cadets participated. As well as education, the purpose of the directed study was to fundamentally change the participants: their self-understanding, gender discourse and gender performance. In addition, the directed study was conceived as a medium through which to change the U.S. Coast Guard Academy's and Coast Guard's gender performance and ideology to improve the day-to-day experience of female cadets and officers. The approach taken in the directed study is outlined in the article “Conceptualizing and Engaging in Organizational Change as an Embodied Experience within a Practical Reflexivity Community of Practice: Gender Performance at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy” (Eriksen, Van Echo, Harmel Kane, Curran, Gustafson & Shults, 2007) in Tamara: 4(1).
This paper takes up the themes of organization as dreamscape, the psychodynamics of everyday organizational performance and organizational rituals and the enactment of death and desire in the context of a longitudinal case study of an academic institution. This case study focuses on the various ways in which the organization has developed and continues to develop neurotic and dysfunctional tendencies. It looks at the ways in which those tendencies are expressed in the culture and structure of the organization and the ways in which the various constituencies of the college are complicit in the enactment of the neurosis of its leadership, as reflected in various dependent and counterdependent dynamics and performances. Of specific interest in this paper are the changes in neurotic patterns over time and the ways in which these changes relate to the changes in leadership. Using Kets de Vries' concepts related to organizational neurosis, we will discuss how the college moved from a compulsive organization to a dramatic organization.
The question giving shape to this paper is: Can the workplace in today's corporate world ever be constructed, legitimately, as a psychological place? This paper will argue that it is the responsibility of the individual to engage their imaginative processes and learn the art of soul making. The corporation may encourage its members to be creative and imaginative but mostly its activities will militate against these activities. Reference will be made to a research project for a major production site (BP Oil Australia) that evaluated an espoused psychological goal (improved production and improved creativity) as its outcome. The author conducted the evaluation of this leadership development initiative that shed light on the vexed question that is the focus of this paper. The findings of the research indicate that corporate life has evolved into a totally above-world enterprise where transparency of decision making, policy planning, and implementation is the sought-after ideal. This very conscious and heroic-ego world roots out any semblance of under-world (unconscious) forces.
When organizations do not attend to social justice issues in a meaningful way, a pattern of covert practices and behavior distorts the concern for fairness, equity and inclusion to one of indifference, power and control. Ineffective leadership results in wounded staff and organizational dysfunction. Social justice in organizational life is a function of how well leaders and managers master six domains that influence and sustain institutional balance and self-regulation: safety and trust; boundaries and differences; accountability; communication; hierarchical power; and task and role clarity. Ultimately, leaders must do their own inner work by taking responsibility for their part in institutionalizing oppression in their organizations, and well as the outer work of creating processes and structures that implement solutions to social justice issues within their organizations
This article discusses how the emerging trend of using literary arts and dialogue, along with reflective and creative writing, referred to by the author as transformative narratives, can be used to help unpack and re-script assumptions, attitudes, values, and biases of leaders as they operate in systems of privilege. When leaders read, write, and dialogue about their own and others’ cultural and social group identities, they increase self-awareness and improve interaction with others. These skills prove effective in building emotional intelligence that is linked to competencies of high performing leaders who create strong financial performance in their organizations. Specific applications are provided throughout the article.
This paper explores and reflects upon how far clergy may act as entrepreneurial leaders in a faith-based organisation which values tradition and continuity, yet wishes to open its membership to a wider constituency. In spite of increased secularisation in Britain, religion and its role in people‘s lives refuses to disappear. Churches and other religious movements now frequently seek to adapt change management techniques to promote cultural diversity and thus appeal to a wider potential membership. At congregational level, clergy become responsible for implementing cultural change initiatives. Consequently, the clergy role may involve responsibility not just for spiritual and ministry issues, in the context of caring for church members‘ emotional needs, but also for management. If, as managers, clergy are responsible for promoting cultural change through management initiatives, it is but a short step to restory them as entrepreneurs, or at least entrepreneurial leaders. Indeed, strategic enterprise thinking is needed to achieve successful cultural change. The pressures on clergy to act as both spiritual ‗therapists‘ and to manage sophisticated corporate operations place a strain on their ability to be also ministers, and obvious anomalies exist. For example, congregations might value leadership behaviours in their clergy, but not when leadership involves acting as a catalyst for cultural change. The more enterprising clergy can experience frustration in bringing about even small innovations and change, and may experience role strain when required to balance the need for providing individual support to existing congregation members with an expectation of appealing to new sources of membership.
Through two case studies, this paper explores the role that story or narrative has upon the changing role of the entrepreneur within organizations. The literature on story and leadership is compiled and eight themes are identified. These themes are then used to take a dramatist perspective on the case study narratives. Findings show that there is a new realm of research that could be conducted to illicit a better understanding of narrative and entrepreneurship, specifically: longitudinal studies would help to illicit whether entrepreneurs do restory in face of organizational pressures and identification of the stories told by stakeholders in face of entrepreneurial changes. There is also more research to be conducted on the impact that locus of control has on narrative construction and restorying.
The growing role of the Internet social networking sites (SNS) has served as a flash point for debate about the democratization of information, particularly in light of their perceived roles in the 2008 presidential election. This horizontal sharing of information undoubtedly facilitated the revival of the youth vote and volunteerism in many ways mimicking traditional grassroots approaches. While the role of the Internet SNS in mobilization efforts and information-sharing cannot be overstated, its effectiveness in creating a new ―public sphere,‖ or transforming traditional electoral campaign strategies and communicative practices must be closely examined before generalizations about the democratization of media can be confirmed. In the aftermath of the election, theorists were quick to simplistically identify the use of social networking sites as key to this electoral shift. In this paper we attempt to advance contemporary theorizing of new media and institutional politics by examining specifically how and if ICTs (information communication technologies) and new media platforms are shifting the balance of power in terms of organization and mobilization away from the professional model and toward more democratic and bottom-up efforts. Reconceptualizing some of the basic theories of social movements and collective behavior this paper seeks to address questions such as: how are digitally enabled forms of mobilization affecting who becomes a participant; how do they affect organizational structure and leadership; how do they impact the dynamics of collective action; how do we address the powerful yet ephemeral effect of e-tactics established for short-term gains; can mobilizations succeed without collective identity and/or do we need new categorizations for collective identity; and whether e-tactics serve as a gateway for future participation.
Based on the insights of advanced phenomenology, this paper inquires into spaces and places of transition and liminality in organisations and leader-/followership. After interpreting liminality relationally, basic ideas of a phenomenology of space and embodied place as media for transition are given. The text then discusses the significance of liminality and transitional space in organisations and leadership, particularly its embodied and emotional dimensions as well as ambivalences and ambiguities. In conclusion implications and perspectives on research and practice for transitional spaces and embodied place in organisations and leadership are provided.
Authentic leadership appears as the solution to plenty of painful contemporary problems. Bad economy, bad organizational performance, bad culture would all become subject to change for the better if leaders behave more authentically, according to the line of discussion. However, the debate seems to stand on poor feet, since some core assumptions don’t stand a closer viability check. This paper highlights two core problems in the foundations of the authenticity debate such as the belief in a stable core self and the trust in a homogenous organization. The paper demonstrates not only the fragmented and narrative constitution of self and organization, we show furthermore to which hidden problem the authenticity debate refers; to which the sheer existence of the debate is already a solution. It is complexity avoidance that the authenticity debate provides. It helps to re-install the myth of the influential leader in a situation, in which the opposite has become apparent.
Contemporary organizations feature absence of boundaries and are increasingly defined by loose couplings, pluri-vocality and network configurations. What Foucault (1995) addressed as a former society of discipline is transformed and replaced into what Deleuze (1995) refines as a society of control that incorporates its subjects into new and ever changing lines of subjectification. This transformation of dispositifs (Deleuze, 1992; Foucault, 1980) and authoritative discourses (Bakhtin, 1982) that compose (and is composed of) a contemporary way of living induces in other words new types of embodied organizational knowledge and ways of organizing, which have consequences for how subject positions are (re)configured in everyday corporate lives. Such identity work is rarely studied in local discursive practices of today’s modern and emergent corporations. The aspiration in the present article is to scrutinize local practices in a dialogue based leadership development forum in university settings. This provides insights into the lived lives and identity work in Aalborg University representing a temporary, polyphonic and cross-disciplinary research project in a modern corporation. The project was an example of a loose-coupled and temporary arrangement/organization that invited a diverse group of participants to engage in the co-production of knowledge in/on leadership communicative practices. The participants were professional leaders from diverse organizations in the North of Jutland together with researchers and candidate students from the study programs of communication and philosophy at Aalborg University.
Poetry and its use in the workplace has seen a growing interest in recent years, being used as a way to help those who work in organisational settings to explore and tell their stories. These can speak directly to individuals through the works of others or can emerge from organisational contexts to enable them to make sense of their own particular situations. Poetry has been used to explore, for example, organisational management practices, leadership, performance management, and to aid creative development and problem solving. It has also provided a means for individuals to understand how they interact with their organisational settings, or in some cases as a way to undertake research. Those who write poetry engage in the world as a way to allow their voice and those of others to be heard, as they explore and come to terms with their situated reality. This paper will therefore discuss the use of poetry in the workplace, before presenting three poems that use memory and metaphor to engage with organisational realities. It will then offer reflections and implications for organisational studies, before concluding that poetry provides a way to explore the hidden worlds of organisations that are often ignored or remain silent in the milieu of the taken for granted organisational rhetoric, and conversations.
We consider the construction of leadership influence involving manipulation and from narrative standpoint. We use the career of Adolf Hitler as an empirical example - as a case - illustrating the huge, and potentially destructive, power of story-telling. Hitler is used as an illustrative case for how storytelling is involved in constructing great leadership influence – and with a view to making sense of such a leader’s story. We have applied both conceptual and narrative analysis in our empirical case. In terms of the narrative analysis, we follow Polkinghorne’s definition on narrative inquiry. Despite the significant attention given to storytelling in the contemporary management literature, less research has been devoted to understanding its connection to destructive leadership. As a result of the case we have constructed a rich description of evolving process of destructive leadership. Leaders all over the world can get practical guidance and support for their aims to be better leader and to resist bad leadership.
This paper proposes an alternative approach towards ethical leadership. Recent research tells us that socioeconomic and cultural differences affect moral intuition, making it difficult to locate a guiding organizational principle. Nevertheless, in this paper I attempt to open an alternative path towards an ethics that might serve as a guide for leaders – especially leaders who are leading a highly professionalized workforce. Using the Chilean writer Roberto Bolaño and the French philosopher Gilles Deleuze as points of reference, I develop an ethical form of leadership that is based on a continuous ‘poetic’ dialogue between creation and affirmation. The nature of this dialogue requires a leadership approach that plays both a courageous and imaginative role in liberating its workforce. Last, I develop a frame which provides the constituent principles of leading in the direction of an ethical organization.
Defining the phenomenon of leadership is a procedure causing difficulties, so they are stereotypically analysed in the biographical context (the key role is then played by the leader) or through the prism of historicism (a leader as an element in the historical processes). Less and less involvement of the social groups and units into political activities and deideologisation of life popularise the thesis about the crisis of the political leadership as the aspect of power, form of influence, personification of the idea of governance. It can be assumed that the existence of the phenomenon of political leadership is a phenomenon bordering on politics, sociology and psychology, showing clear analogies with the religious leadership, that is the institutional one.
Theories of leadership undergo modernisation, changes included the theory of outstanding individuals and behaviours, situational theories, cultural concepts of leadership, models of charismatic leadership, transformational, phenomena replacing the leadership. From many forms of leadership, the political leadership has potentially the largest possibility to modify the behaviour of other people.Political leadership, and in particular state leadership, is a significant value belonging to the socio-political sphere. Being a leader today is a special value on the market of politics, but it is also a great responsibility.
This article analyzes the construction of leadership identities through stories found in four narrative interviews from a qualitative study and leadership development project based on social constructionism and action learning. We argue that leadership development and the construction of leadership identities in a postmodern paradigm are based on the negotiation and co-construction of meanings, relationships, and stories. The following questions are investigated: What happens when a group of leaders from different organizations construct, deconstruct, and reconstruct their identity as leaders through narrative interviews about their challenges as leaders? In addition, how do these discursive constructions restrict or enable new perspectives, other voices, and the possibilities for learning and change? Our analysis identified traces of both modern and postmodern leadership discourses. We suggest that the concept of coauthoring is useful in developing leadership and leadership identities through reflexive dialogs and emerging stories.
Exploration of our organisational life has much to gain from fiction so as to reflexively engage with provisional processes of uncertainty, doubt and paradox. These are often neglected qualities of how we go on together in our organizational lives. Taking an autoethnographic approach I present one narrative of a fraught meeting that I was part of to explore my leadership development. I do this in relation to Homer, Shakespeare and AllenPoe to explore leadership issues of: paradox and how we become enmeshed in unfolding events; the interaction between a leader’s future intent and how this plays out in action. In doing this I offer an invitation to explore literature that speaks to and develops our practice of leadership and how we might develop and communicate useful insights.