The leadership of emergence: A complex systems leadership theory of emergence at successive organizational levels

Lichtenstein, Benyamin B.; Plowman, Donde Ashmos
August 2009
Leadership Quarterly;Aug2009, Vol. 20 Issue 4, p617
Academic Journal
Abstract: Complexity science reframes leadership by focusing on the dynamic interactions between all individuals, explaining how those interactions can, under certain conditions, produce emergent outcomes. We develop a Leadership of Emergence using this approach, through an analysis of three empirical studies which document emergence in distinct contexts. Each of these studies identifies the same four “conditions” for emergence: the presence of a Dis-equilibrium state, Amplifying actions, Recombination/“Self-organization”, and Stabilizing feedback. From these studies we also show how these conditions can be generated through nine specific behaviors which leaders can enact, including: Disrupt existing patterns through embracing uncertainty and creating controversy, Encourage novelty by allowing experiments and supporting collective action, Provide sensemaking and sensegiving through the artful use of language and symbols, and Stabilize the system by Integrating local constraints. Finally, we suggest ways for advancing a meso-model of leadership, and show how our findings can improve complexity science applications in management.


Related Articles

  • Developing an effective organisational structure.  // Times 100 Case Studies;2014, p1 

    The article presents a case study of the operation of plant science business Syngenta Ag of a matrix structure, which involves the cooperation of staff from different departments. The importance of the development of an effective organisational structure is discussed. It offers a description of...

  • Cynicism in the Indian I.T. Organizations: An Exploration of the Employees' Perspectives. Dhar, Rajib Lochan // Qualitative Sociology Review;Apr2009, Vol. 5 Issue 1, p152 

    Cynicism is described as a mind-set characterized by hopelessness, disappointment, and disillusionment, and is also associated with scorn, disgust, and suspicion. This strong negative attitude has infiltrated Indian I.T organizations, and is believed to be responsible for unfavorable...

  • Toward Further Development of O.D. Golembiewski, R. T. // Academy of Management Proceedings (00650668);1971, p183 

    The article focuses on the guiding principles of the development of organizational development (OD). OD implies unique processes and values whose cumulative purpose is to induce profound change in a total organization's culture. A discussion is presented about goals of OD, including...

  • Keeping the Faith: A Model of Cultural Transmission in Formal Organizations. Harrison, J. Richard; Carroll, Glenn R. // Administrative Science Quarterly;Dec91, Vol. 36 Issue 4, p552 

    To study the conditions under which culture can be transmitted effectively in formal organizations, where members of the system come and go rapidly and in large numbers, we develop a model of the cultural transmission process. The model includes the following variables: entry rate and exit rate...

  • The Good, the Bad, and the Ambivalent: Managing Identification among Amway Distributors. Pratt, Michael G. // Administrative Science Quarterly;Sep2000, Vol. 45 Issue 3, p456 

    An ethnographic study of distributors for Amway, a network marketing organization, examines the practices and processes involved in managing members' organizational identification. It shows that this organization manages identification by using two types of practices: sensebreaking practices...

  • BEYOND NAME, RANK AND FUNCTION: CONSTRUALS OF RELATIONSHIPS IN BUSINESS. Tuchinsky, Marla; Escalas, Jennifer Edson; Moore, Marian Chapman; Sheppard, Blair // Academy of Management Best Papers Proceedings;1994, p79 

    This paper reviews research on peoples cognitive construct of social relationships and reports an inductive attempt to discover what representations of business relationships people have. This study is primarily exploratory in nature, but makes some comparison between established dimensions of...

  • A General contingency Theory of Management. Luthans, Fred; Stewart, Todd I. // Academy of Management Review;Apr1977, Vol. 2 Issue 2, p181 

    Recent formal recognition of situational influences on the management of complex organizations has led to an increasing number of contingency models, but a comprehensive and integrative theoretical framework for contingency management has been lacking. A General Contingency Theory (GCT) of...

  • Knowledge, hierarchy and the selection of routines: an interpretative model with group interactions. Lazaric, Nathalie; Raybaut, Alain // Journal of Evolutionary Economics;Oct2005, Vol. 15 Issue 4, p393 

    The aim of this paper is to analyze the selection of routines inside an organizational structure characterized by different cognitive representations and facing hierarchical pressure leading to either truce or conflict. After a brief discussion of the role of hierarchy and the related problems...

  • INDUSTRIAL HIERARCHY AND ABSTRACT LABOR: ON THE MYSTIFYING IDEOLOGY OF PARTICIPATION. Vianello, Mino // International Studies of Management & Organization;Spring/Summer78, Vol. 8 Issue 1/2, p142 

    The article focuses on issues related to organizational sociology and organizational structure. All authors who deal with organization theory sooner or later run into the problem of authority and, consequently, of hierarchy. In spite of differences in approach, the essence of their solutions to...


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics