Non-defining leadership

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to argue that leadership cannot and should not be “defined” but rather considered as a process. The paper goes on to refute the notion that leadership can be defined or fully understood in management terms or associations. The paper then attempts to synthesise the construct of leadership as a system of processes. Design/methodology/approach – The paper compares and contrasts management and leadership to three organisational processes; time, culture and change in order to non-define or synthesise a system of leadership. Findings – Leadership might be more usefully understood as a process of individual and organisational engagement with time, culture and change that differ from management's relationships with these processes. That through these engagements leadership creates organisation whilst management maintains it. Research limitations/implications – The paper does not explore other systemic constructs that might be equally fruitful such as leadership and management in relation to entropy and negentropy. Practical implications – The paper is attempting to demonstrate that organisations may need to create leadership in tandem with management rather than find individual leaders “defined” as able to lead. Originality/value – The paper attempts to consider leadership as a process of interrelationships rather than a separate definable behaviour or competence.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1528-1537
Number of pages10
JournalKybernetes
Volume35
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2006

Keywords

  • Change management
  • Culture
  • Cybernetics
  • Leadership

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