PDF | On Dec 31, , Amy E. Gould and others published Leadership and the New Science: Discovering Order in a Chaotic World, 3rd Edition, Margaret. We live in a time of chaos, rich in potential for new possibilities. A new world is being born. We need new ideas, new ways of seeing, and new relationships to. Key Points from. "Leadership and the New Science" by Margaret Wheatley. As summarized by Marie J. Kane. Key Points. 1. Order Can Emerge Out Of Chaos. 2.
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an excerpt from. Leadership and the New Science. Discovering Order in a Chaotic World by Margaret chortsofalecdurl.gqey. Published by Berrett-Koehler Publishers . Leadership and the New Science: Discovering Order in a Chaotic World is a modern classic—it has been adopted as required reading by businesses, nonprofits. Leadership and the New Science: Discovering Order in a Chaotic World [ Margaret J. Wheatley] on chortsofalecdurl.gq *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. We live in.
The characteristics of those relations derived from the authentic leadership process reveal two important aspects. The first one is about the fundamental role of the authentic leader in the coherence of actions and influence over followers toward proactive, ethical and responsible behavior.
The second is about the relevance of authentic leader in building an environment based on trust and integrity that supports the processes of knowledge management as detailed in the following topic. Understanding these events and their reactions, the rescue of authenticity in the corporate world was essential. Authenticity, and more precisely the presence of authentic leaders, is critical to the recovery of value-based organizations.
Sparrowe, According to George , p. We need leaders with a deep sense of purpose and true to its most inherent values. We need leaders with the courage to build their businesses to meet the needs of all stakeholders, and to recognize the importance of their role for society.
Authentic leaders are deeply aware of their way of thinking and acting, as well as the context in which they operate. They are perceived to be aware of the moral perspectives, knowledge and own and other forces. They are confident, hopeful, optimistic, resilient and high moral character holders Avolio et al. These leaders genuinely wish to serve others with their leadership.
They delegate to that employees make a difference instead of worrying about power, money or prestige for themselves. The true leader leads by the qualities of the heart, passion and compassion and the intellectual qualities. Authentic leaders perform their actions according to personal values and beliefs, which creates credibility and makes them conquer the respect and trust of followers.
The role of these leaders encourages different points of view and creates networks of collaborative relationships with the team members, which makes them perceived as authentic Avolio et al. By incorporating the example of the leader, teams tend to work with leaders, colleagues and other stakeholders in an authentic way, allowing, over time, the setting of an organizational culture based on these values.
Communication between authentic leaders and their followers, as well as with other stakeholders, is fully open, with the sharing of critical information and their perceptions and feelings. Additionally, these leaders are characterized by being an example of honesty, integrity and high moral standards, which create a positive reputation and make the team trust on them Avolio et al.
An authentic leader can make the difference in organizations, being important to its success and contributing effectively to the knowledge management. Through its actions, contributes to people to find meaning and connection at work through greater awareness.
This is where leadership emerges as a critical factor and takes a leading role. In organizations of knowledge, leadership needs to absorb its responsibility in relation to how cooperation takes place, the exchange of knowledge, the delegation of responsibilities and intra and inter-organizational skills.
From that perspective, we have to understand that leadership, as a process, should serve as a source of inspiration and motivation, proposing and approving new ideas and valuing individual differences Herrera, With effective communication, explaining the knowledge management goals and paths to be followed, leadership can act as a change and corporate transformation agent Singh, In this scenario, the leader plays numerous roles such as teacher, mentor, guide or facilitator in the complex and dynamic process of sharing knowledge, establishing the necessary alignment between the experienced reality and the established world view, which must be shared by all Senge, These challenges require new leaders to act and exert influence in specific areas such as: maximizing the process of receiving messages, creating and sharing knowledge, promoting self-awareness and self-development, increasing self-confidence and allowing navigation through a constantly changing environment Crawford Authentic leadership can contribute in the processes that support knowledge management in organizations such as the creation, sharing and use of knowledge.
This happens when it influences people, promoting transparent and authentic relationships simultaneously earning consistency and accuracy to knowledge management initiatives.
Regarding the creation of knowledge, authentic leadership contributes for its ability to stimulate reflection, criticism and questioning about the way the organization operates and thinks. Thus, new knowledge can be created in the organizational environment. It is a gentle invitation to become curious, to discover your own ix x Leadership and the New Science questions, to see if your experiences confirm or disconfirm new science, and to engage with me and many others as explorers of this new world only beginning to become visible.
But now my voice of invitation needs to be prefaced by a clear, more insistent voice. Now I am the town crier sounding the alarm. The world has changed. The worldview of the sciences described here is no longer hidden in books.
It blares from news reports and blazes across our screens in the terrifying images of these times—wars, terrorism, migrations of displaced people, hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis. Chaos and global interconnectedness are part of our daily lives. We try hard to respond to these challenges and threats through our governments, organizations and as individuals, but our actions fail us. No matter what we do, stability and lasting solutions elude us.
It is our fundamental way of interpreting the world—our worldview—that must change. Yet many others are more cautious and doubtful.
Others believe that organizations can only function well, especially in times of chaos, by using command and control leadership and hierarchical structures. It is a world where small groups of enraged people alter the politics of the most powerful nations on earth. It is a world where very slight changes in the temperature of oceans cause violent weather that brings great hardship to people living far from those oceans.
It is a world where pandemics kill tens of millions and viruses leap carelessly across national boundaries. It is a world of increased fragmentation Prologue xi where people retreat into positions and identities. It is a world where change is just the way it is. This dramatic and turbulent world makes a mockery of our plans and predictions. It keeps us on edge, anxious and sleepless. Nothing makes sense anymore. Meaning eludes us. Some offer explanations that this is the end of times or the age of destruction.
Whatever your personal beliefs and experiences, I invite you to consider that we need a new worldview to navigate this chaotic time. We cannot hope to make sense using our old maps. The more we rely on them, the more disoriented we become.
Using them, we will journey only to greater chaos. I have discovered insights and explanations about why things are unfolding as they are. I have been inspired to experiment with new ideas and solutions. I feel I am learning how to move more effectively and gracefully through this time.
But I have also discovered how hard it is to surrender a worldview. They described this new world as strange, puzzling, troubling, bizarre, absurd. Suddenly, there is no ground to stand on. Solutions that worked no longer do. The world appears incomprehensible, chaotic, lacking rationality. We respond to this incoherence by applying old solutions more frantically. We become more rigid about our beliefs. We rely on habit rather than creating new responses.
We end up feeling xii Leadership and the New Science frustrated, exhausted and powerless in the face of so much failure. These frustrations and fears create more aggression. We try to make things work by using brute force rather than intelligence and collaboration. It was only when scientists were willing to accept their confusion instead of fleeing from it and only when they changed the questions they were asking, only then could they discover the insights and formulations that gave them great new capacity.
Once this new worldview came into focus, scientists reengaged with their work with new energy. Wonder, curiosity, and the delight of discovery replaced their fatigue and frustration. I am hopeful that we too can regain our energy and delight by looking at the world of organizations through their worldview. I believe their maps are reliable guides to lands of promise, where human creativity, wisdom and courage can be fully engaged in creating healthy and enduring organizations and societies.
You will find maps of many varieties in this book. Some describe specific new science findings in enough detail that, hopefully, you understand their terrain. Others point out less explored places that need further inquiry. Still others are very detailed, drawing deliberate connections between science and organizational life.
And finally, there are records of my personal journey, what I felt and experienced as I brought back questions and insights and applied them in my own work. Like anyone, my own training and world view bias me. I have focused on the scientific discoveries that intrigued my organizational mind and have ignored many others. This is neither a comprehensive nor a technical guide to new science. It recounts, instead, the voyages I took to but a few of the emerging areas in science, those that enticed me.
I was intrigued by three different areas of science: quantum physics, self-organizing systems, and chaos theory. Because I develop the science as I go and relate these three to one another, things will make more sense if you read the chapters in order.
The Introduction and Chapter One introduce all three sciences and the contributions they make to our understanding of the way the world works. These first chapters also provide some initial explanations of sources of order in Prologue xiii the universe and speculations on the fears and conditioning that prevent us from appreciating the way that order is created in living systems.
Chapters Two, Three, and Four explore the implications of quantum physics for organizational practices that have, until now, been derived from the seventeenth-century world view of the physics of Isaac Newton.
Quantum physics challenges our thinking about observation and perception, participation and relationships, and the influences and connections that work across large and complex systems. The next chapters, Five and Six, focus on living systems and some new concepts emerging from biology and chemistry.
These chapters introduce new ways of understanding disequilibrium and change, and the role disorder plays in creating new possibilities for growth. Information, in our self-organizing universe, is the primary resource necessary to bring things into form. New interpretations are required for there to be new forms or new life.
Self-organizing systems demonstrate the ability of all life to organize into systems of relationships that increase capacity. These living systems also demonstrate a different relationship between autonomy and control, showing how a large system maintains itself and grows stronger only as it encourages great amounts of individual freedom.
Chaos theory is the subject of Chapter Seven. Chaos is a necessary process for the creation of new order. This is a world where chaos and order exist as partners, where stasis is never guaranteed nor even desired. I describe several lessons learned form the relationship between these two great forces and how we might think about the workings of chaos in our lives and organizations.
I also explore lessons to be learned from fractals—how nature creates its diverse and intricate patterns by the presence of a few basic principles combined with large amounts of individual freedom. And I offer my own observations for how our human need for meaning serves to bring order out of chaos. I explain what I believe to be the underlying processes in living systems that give them this capacity.
We have spent several decades xiv Leadership and the New Science attempting to change organizations, communities, nations and each other. We have not been successful in these attempts, or they have resulted in troubling unintended consequences.
With so many failures, it seems clear that we need to rethink our basic assumptions about how change happens—for this, life is the best teacher. This new worldview, with its emerging maps and insights, can teach us how to make sense of this world. Much discovery still awaits us, and I hope many more of you will join in. For me, the lens of new science illuminates these two challenges brilliantly.
It allows us to see things that are invisible with the old lens, the deeper dynamics at play in disaster relief efforts and terrorist networks. Once these dynamics become visible, we have the means to respond far more intelligently to these critical dilemmas. This is the promise of a new paradigm—unsolvable problems suddenly become solvable. We must make use of this promise before the world disintegrates into even more chaos. The Epilogue closes the book on a more personal and philosophical note.
I describe my own discoveries about the nature of this journey and the process of discovery. After many years and difficult passages, I feel grounded in this new land, nourished by its ideas, and hopeful about its promises.
I hope you too will venture forth to make your own discoveries, which you will then offer generously to the rest of us. This page intentionally left blank To my mind there must be, at the bottom of it all, not an equation, but an utterly simple idea. How could it have been otherwise? Many of us are troubled by questions that haunt our work.
Why do so many organizations feel lifeless? Why do projects take so long, develop ever- greater complexity, yet too often fail to achieve any truly significant results? Why does progress, when it appears, so often come from unexpected places, or as a result of surprises or synchronistic events that our planning had not considered?
And why have our expectations for success diminished to the point that often the best we hope for is endurance and patience to survive the frequent disruptive forces in our organizations and lives?
These questions had been growing within me for several years, gnawing away at my work and diminishing my sense of competency. The busier I became with work and the more projects I took on, the greater my questions grew.
Until I began a journey. Like most important journeys, mine began in a mundane place—a Boeing , flying soundlessly above America.
This provided my first glimpse of a new way of perceiving the world, one that comprehended its processes of change, its deeply patterned nature, and its dense webs of connections. The altitude only reinforced the message that what was needed was a larger perspective, one that took in more of the whole of things. From that first book, I took off, reading as many new science books as I could find in biology, evolution, chaos theory, and quantum physics.
Discoveries and theories of new science called me away from the details of my own field of management and raised me up to a vision of the inherent orderliness of the universe, of creative processes and dynamic, continuous change that still maintained order. This was a world where order and change, autonomy and control were not the great opposites that we had thought them to be.
It was a world where change and constant creation were ways of sustaining order and capacity. During the past several decades, books that relate new science findings for lay readers have proliferated, some more reputable and scientific than others. Of the many I read, some were too challenging, some were too bizarre, but others contained images and information that were breathtaking.
I became aware that I was wandering in a realm that created new visions of freedom and possibility, giving me new ways to think about my work. I was reading of chaos that contained order; of information as an essential, nourishing element; of systems that fell apart so they could reorganize themselves; and of invisible influences that permeate space and affect change at a distance. These were compelling, evocative ideas, and they gave me hope, even if they did not reveal immediate solutions.
Searching for a Simpler Way to Lead Organizations 5 Somewhere—I knew then and believe even more firmly now—there is a simpler way to lead organizations, one that requires less effort and produces less stress than our current practices. For me, this new knowledge is now crystallizing into applications even as I realize that this exploration will take many years. But I no longer believe that organizations are inherently unmanageable in this world of constant flux and unpredictability.
We are all searching for this simpler way. In every academic discipline and institution, we live today with questions for which our expertise provides no answers.
At the turn of the century, physicists faced the same unnerving confusion. There is a frequently told story about Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg, two founders of quantum theory.
This version is from The Turning Point: In the twentieth century, physicists faced, for the first time, a serious challenge to their ability to understand the universe.
Every time they asked nature a question in an atomic experiment, nature answered with a paradox, and the more they tried to clarify the situation, the sharper the paradoxes became.
In their struggle to grasp this new reality, scientists became painfully aware that their basic concepts, their language, and their whole way of thinking were inadequate to describe atomic phenomena. Once this was perceived, the physicists began to learn to ask the right questions and to avoid contradictions. Even after the mathematical formulation of quantum theory was completed, its conceptual framework was by no means easy to accept. The new physics necessitated profound changes in concepts of space, time, matter, object, and cause and effect; and because these concepts are so fundamental to our way of experiencing the world, their transformation came as a great shock.
The story speaks with a chilling familiarity. Each of us recognizes the feelings this tale describes, of being mired in the habit of solutions that once worked yet that are now totally inappropriate, of having rug after rug pulled from beneath us, whether by a corporate merger, reorganization, downsizing, or personal disorientation.
But the story also gives great hope as a parable teaching us to embrace our despair as a step on the road to wisdom, encouraging us to sit in the unfamiliar seat of not knowing and open ourselves to radically new ideas. If we bear the Searching for a Simpler Way to Lead Organizations 7 confusion, then one day, the story promises, we will begin to see a whole new land, one of bright illumination that will dispel the oppressive shadows of our current ignorance.
It never fails to speak to me from this deep place of reassurance. I believe that we have only just begun the process of discovering and inventing the new organizational forms that will inhabit the twenty-first century. We must learn to see the world anew.
As Einstein is often quoted as saying: No problem can be solved from the same consciousness that created it. There are many places to search for new answers in a time of paradigm shifts.
For me, it was appropriate that my inquiry led back to the natural sciences, reconnecting me to an earlier vision of myself. At fourteen, I aspired to be a space biologist and carried heavy astronomy texts on the New York subway to weekly classes at the Hayden Planetarium. These texts were far too dense for me to understand, but I carried them anyway because they looked so impressive.
My abilities in biology were better founded, and I began college majoring in biology, but my encounters with advanced chemistry ended that career, and I turned to the greater ambiguity of the social sciences. Like many social scientists, I am at heart a lapsed scientist, still hoping the world will yield up its secrets to me.
But my focus on science is more than a personal interest. Each of us lives and works in organizations designed from Newtonian images of the universe. We manage by separating things into parts, we believe that influence occurs as a direct result of force exerted from one person to another, we engage in complex planning for a world that we keep expecting to be predictable, and we search continually for better methods of objectively measuring and perceiving the world.
These assumptions, as I explain in Chapter Two, come to us from seventeenth-century physics, from Newtonian mechanics. They are the basis 8 Leadership and the New Science from which we design and manage organizations, and from which we do research in all of the social sciences. Intentionally or not, we work from a world view that is strongly anchored in the natural sciences.
But the science has changed. If we are to continue to draw from science to create and manage organizations, to design research, and to formulate ideas about organizational design, planning, economics, human motivation, and change processes the list can be much longer , then we need to at least ground our work in the science of our times.
We need to stop seeking after the universe of the seventeenth century and begin to explore what has become known to us during the twentieth century. We need to expand our search for the principles of organization to include what is presently known about how the universe organizes.
The search for the lessons of new science is still in progress, really in its infancy; but what I hope to convey in these pages is the pleasure of sensing those first glimmers of a new way of thinking about the world and its organizations.
The light may be dim, but its potency grows as the door cracks wider and wider. Here there are scientists who write about natural phenomena with a poetry and a clarity that speak to dilemmas we find in organizations. Here there are new images and metaphors for thinking about our own organizational experiences. This is a world of wonder and not knowing, where many scientists are as awestruck by what they see as were the early explorers who marveled at new continents.
In this realm, there is a new kind of freedom, where it is more rewarding to explore than to reach conclusions, more satisfying to wonder than to know, and more exciting to search than to stay put. Curiosity, not certainty, becomes the saving grace. This is not a book filled with conclusions, cases, or exemplary practices. It is deliberately not that kind of book, for two reasons. So little transfers to, or inspires, those trying to work at change in their own Searching for a Simpler Way to Lead Organizations 9 organizations.
In every organization, we need to look internally, to see one another as the critical resources on this voyage of discovery. We need to learn how to engage the creativity that exists everywhere in our organizations.
Second, the new physics cogently explains that there is no objective reality out there waiting to reveal its secrets. This contested leadership played out in alternative discourses, with communities engaging more effectively with the media and essentially determining the leadership outcome.
More conceptually, in summarizing policy entrepreneurship in water management, Huitema and Meijerink emphasize the potential for opposing advocacy coalitions, whereas Ernstson describes competing actor networks and processes of value articulation for urban ecosystem services.
Leadership competencies In the literature we reviewed, it was common for papers to focus on desirable leadership competencies. Competencies refer broadly to personality traits or attributes leaders possess, e. The synthesis papers tend to emphasize more transformational qualities such as vision and charisma. For example, Scheffer et al.
In his analysis of natural resource management policy, Biggs notes that individuals or organizations responsible for change were effective at the policy level, well respected professionally, and known for their long-term commitment to issues of social justice. Attributes associated with negative outcomes include domineering, corrupt, weak or insecure, and inactive or absentee leaders Zulu Our review identified numerous strategies or functions that leaders do, or should, perform Table 1.
For instance, alongside visioning and sense-making, Folke et al. Many studies agree on the key strategies or functions of successful environmental leadership, as indicated by the number of references supporting each one. The literature also emphasizes overarching leadership styles Table 2. Some styles are common to management and organizational sciences, including democratic, transformational, and visionary leadership.
Other styles arguably reflect general principles and concepts developed within environmental sciences, including adaptive, complexity, systems-thinking, and tipping-point leadership.
There is a tendency within the environmental sciences literature we reviewed for authors to advocate rather than critically analyze or test leadership competencies. For example, Black et al. Pagdee et al. Relatively few studies investigate how key strategies such as sense-making or conflict resolution are achieved in practice.
The exceptions are highly insightful. In a study focused explicitly on leadership for innovation, Scholten suggests that individual leaders need to use and bend the rules to achieve the innovative policy change they seek.
Importantly, Meijerink and Huitema suggest that policy entrepreneurs resisting change use strategies similar to those of the ones who promote it.
Links between different competencies such as particular leadership styles and strategies are not evident in either the conceptual or empirical studies we reviewed. Indeed, the empirical case studies, which more closely reflect the messiness of governance in practice, tend not to assign particular leadership strategies or styles to different sources of leadership, e. This reflects the difficulty of categorizing or generalizing which forms of leadership work in particular contexts for particular governance outcomes.
The importance of leadership The literature reports on the importance of leadership in maintaining existing governance processes, e. We considered these types of outcome together. The environmental leadership literature we reviewed commonly reports that leadership is one of the most important factors for effective or successful management. Only a subset of literature critically analyzes how leaders or leadership affect different social outcomes, e.
Leadership is key to success Across the papers we analyzed, leadership is considered to be one of the key requirements for emergence and effective implementation of environmental governance and climate change policy e.
Leaders are associated with the emergence of ecosystem-based water management Biggs et al. The importance of leadership is supported by the large-N studies and meta-analyses, which find that the presence of a leader has a high Pagdee et al. Leadership is often identified as one of a range of important factors and is frequently found to be one of the most important factors. An absence of leadership is also connected to ineffective management outcomes. Fabricius et al. These studies contrast with a few examples showing that the absence or failure of leadership can instead lead to positive outcomes through emergent leadership at other scales, also expressed through ideas of shadow networks that form in response to an undesirable status quo.
Leadership is not a panacea We found that a minority of studies we reviewed report on the contested or negative outcomes of leadership. The quantitative studies that find leadership to be one of the most important factors of success mostly consider a single management outcome or aggregate environmental outcomes Pagdee et al. For instance, Zimmerer et al. In only a few cases are outcomes disaggregated e. Importantly these latter cases report more nuanced, mixed findings about the importance of leadership.
For example, Cinner et al. Ruttan finds that the presence of political entrepreneurs is correlated positively with water abundance but negatively with water quality in irrigation systems, and is not correlated with any successful outcomes in fisheries systems.
Empirical studies in the United States, Ethiopia, and Malawi show that leadership used as a tool to co-opt power or resources can result in weakened institutions, loss of trust, overharvesting, degradation, and overall management failure Zulu , Fleischman et al.
Wale et al. Further, Galaz et al. As demonstrated by the disaggregated large-N studies, outcomes may often be mixed. In one of the most critically informed synthesis papers, Meijerink and Huitema highlight that in many of their 16 cases of water policy transition, new policies were rarely implemented fully.
Instead, new and old policies often overlapped, with policy entrepreneurs attempting to integrate or balance the two. Leadership in context Although leadership is identified as one of the most important factors associated with beneficial governance outcomes, it is not the only factor explaining success Pagdee et al.
In particular, the roles of institutions Chuenpagdee and Jentoft , Huitema and Meijerink , Gupta et al. In the case of the bamboo tubewells, the District Commissioner was important, but without the artisans and farmers who created the bamboo technology in the first place, and continued to change it, and those who changed market institutions, he would not have had a context or alliance members in which to be innovative.
Nevertheless, the specifics of this wider context are typically not explored in detail in the environmental leadership literature we reviewed, which remains relatively silent on the perceptions, motivations, and actions of followers, the types of institutions that foster desired leadership traits and outcomes, or how leaders shape and are shaped by their context.
In sum, the majority of the environmental sciences literature that investigates leadership finds it to be important in explaining positive governance outcomes. Relatively little analysis differentiates outcomes or explores the negative impacts of leadership.
Even with some studies differentiating outcomes, there are no explicit studies systematically linking different leadership competencies with particular empirical outcomes. Further, how environmental leadership emerges from, responds to, and reflects different institutional and political contexts is not well researched in the field.
We see opportunities for more critical perspectives in future. By this we mean adopting a critical research perspective that challenges taken-for-granted assumptions and normative positions, and is more sensitive to different perspectives on the processes and outcomes of leadership. This discourse underpins romanticized notions of the heroic leader still prevalent in lay and professional analyses of corporate and political leadership today Case et al.
Leaders are thus seen as different, superior, and rare. Individualistic frameworks support a focus on leadership competencies pursued through positivist psychological methods such as personality tests Bolden and Gosling , Carroll et al. This framing of leadership is considered incomplete: it is unable to systematically predict who will become a leader and how effective they will be, and it neglects to consider followers and their motivations Haslam et al.
In response to these criticisms, alternative perspectives consider the relationship between leaders and followers. These perspectives are informed by political science, sociology, and social psychology. Haslam and colleagues provide a full review of these approaches.
Transactional approaches emphasize exchanges of resources, favor, or power between leaders and followers. Transformational approaches view competencies as attributes conferred on leaders by followers, and aim to deduce core leadership strategies that lead followers to want to follow even when the leader is absent. Each approach appears to emerge in response to shortcomings in other models.
For instance, transformational approaches aim to redress the loss of leader agency in contingency models and the implicit suggestion in transactional approaches that followers need to be incentivized or coerced. However, transformational models have a legacy of motivating leaders to undertake significant structural change as a measure of success. The more recent critical turn in leadership studies sees leadership as more radically relational than earlier framings.
It focuses on group processes and is sensitive to context and perspective Alvesson and Svenningson a, b, Ladkin , Alvesson Leadership is understood as something that is practiced rather than possessed Hosking , Gemmill and Oakley , Wood As argued by Carroll and colleagues , the emphasis on competencies, i. The result is little clarity on what leaders and followers actually do in pursuit of desired outcomes like social learning, conflict resolution, and sustainable collective action.
Practice theories of leadership aim to understand leadership as an everyday process or set of routines Carroll et al. In doing so, they are relational as opposed to individualistic, and take into account both emotional aspects Bolden and Gosling and structural aspects Reckwitz of leadership. Other aspects of the critical turn in leadership studies emphasize the importance of perspective: how different people view the legitimacy of leaders and the success of leadership outcomes Turnbull et al.
Many leadership scholars have argued for wider anthropological Jones , , postcolonial Banerjee , Banerjee and Linstead , , and non-Western Chia , Jullien , Warner and Grint perspectives on the phenomenon. Others have highlighted that leaders and leadership can often be dysfunctional, emotionally charged, and toxic Maccoby , Furnham , Lemmergaard and Muhr We suggest that seeing leadership as a value-neutral process that can be good, bad, or both, depending on perspective and context, offers a new, more critically informed dimension to environmental leadership research.
Assuming leadership In the environmental science literature we reviewed, leadership is too often deployed as a signifier whose meaning is simply assumed.
As such, environmental leadership research is normative and relatively lacking in critical analysis. This is demonstrated in three ways.
First, authors promote rather than test desirable leadership competencies or project desirable but assumed qualities onto leaders. Second, the presence of leadership is typically associated with successful outcomes, variously defined, and the absence of leadership with failures or stalemates. Third, we argue that the language surrounding environmental leadership portrays it largely as an unequivocal good.
This suggests the presence of unacknowledged ideological assumptions within the leadership discourse. Folke et al. In defining the multiple functions of visionaries and champions, Fabricius et al. We noted relatively few studies in environmental leadership that recognized the potential for negative leadership outcomes.
We would add, moreover, that leaders do not succeed or fail overall. Whether or not a leader or leadership is seen to be good, effective, supportive, and so on depends very much on the perspective of the observer or those being led, so leadership can be successful for some and fail for others.
We believe it is important to redress the normative bias in environmental leadership research. The creative edge of environmental leadership research A subset of the environmental leadership scholarship represents the state of the art. Conceptually, Huitema and Meijerink note the possibility of advocacy coalitions, which are well recognized in the political science literature e.
They suggest that opposing coalitions are particularly effective during implementation stages, when shadow networks and formal policy networks interact. Empirically, some key studies consider interactions between sources of leadership and positive, negative, or mixed governance outcomes e. More contemporary leadership studies explicitly consider the perceptions and motivations of followers to help explain leadership outcomes.
This approach is not typically the focus of research in environmental leadership, despite its use in explaining and, perhaps, predicting outcomes. The bulk of research on leadership competencies in the environmental sciences assumes that trust, legitimacy, and affirmation of leaders result automatically from the application of the right normative approach.
Finally, Westley and colleagues recently argued that expanded concepts of entrepreneurship in environmental sciences should replace leadership as the focus of analysis because entrepreneurship can encompass more diverse, more numerous, and more institutionally or contextually embedded change agents.
As such, the research emphasis shifts to the practices of a number of actors at different stages of the process and at different scales in the system. Parallel work on brokers in network theory emphasizes the linking function of leaders or change agents and in doing so recognizes the embeddedness of such actors in social and institutional structures Bodin et al. These conceptual developments are important and need the support of more empirical research. We would add that, in particular, understanding the synergistic and antagonistic relationships among entrepreneurs is key to explaining governance outcomes.
To summarize, the creative edge in environmental leadership research is beginning to critically analyze 1 multiple, interacting leaders, 2 leadership practices and processes, 3 leadership in different contexts, and 4 leadership outcomes from different perspectives. These efforts should be the focus of future environmental leadership research.
Furthermore, we suggest that when studies acknowledge synergistic or contested interactions between leaders and the potential for both positive and negative leadership outcomes, they rarely have considered the views, motivations, and behaviors of followers.
Giving followers a voice is essential for understanding environmental leadership outcomes from different perspectives. Treating leadership interactions, processes, and outcomes as analytical rather than normative concepts will significantly improve the scientific robustness of environmental leadership research.
We can only hint at the rich insight to be gained from contemporary leadership studies. We suggest that environmental leadership research would benefit from closer engagement with disciplines including sociology, social and political psychology, and geography, each of which possesses well-established traditions of critical thinking.
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