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Leadership research largely ignores the really big issues facing our species, such as climate change, the now rapid growth of new technologies that are already transforming the world of work, and the possibility that an insufficiently reformed banking system will inflict a worse crisis on us than it did in 2008. We also have a proliferation of leadership constructs that often look remarkably like those they are trying to replace. There is much heat but little illumination. The dominant methodologies that the field employs are part of a wider crisis in management studies where many of our claimed results are invalid and/or unreliable, unreproducible and offer little guidance for practice. I conclude that radical changes are needed if we are to play a serious role in improving the world in which we live. Let's take Ken Parry's lead, and make a difference.
Prof. Ken Parry's (1998) conceptualisation of leadership as a social process provoked a shift in the understanding of the processes of influence in the context of achieving adaptation and change in response to changes in an organisation's environment. Reflecting on the state of leadership literature in recent years, we answer Ken's (2013) challenge to broaden our understanding of the positive outcomes achieved by social processes of leadership. Building on Ken's work, we propose a research framework that makes a linkage between the social processes of leadership, positive organisational behaviour, and specifically psychological capital.
After two decades of expanding leadership scholarship and mounting critique regarding dominant leadership theory, there is a need for a radical revitalisation of leadership thinking. A dialogic, humanist and contextualised orientation to leadership, long progressed by Ken Parry charts a direction for this work. But a truly revitalised leadership field must also involve a multi-dimensional and explicitly values-driven approach that places the roles, rights and responsibilities of leaders and followers – and the relationships between them – at its heart.
Leader development has traditionally focused on adults. However, evidence suggests that these efforts are limited to developing and refining skills, encouraging some reflection, and helping the learners plan for the future. The underlying problem is that these are people whose brains are fully developed and relatively set. Hence, adult leader development works with what is already there. In this controversial essay, we argue that leader development activities should instead be directed towards children. Their brains are forming and leader development work will create and shape the leaders of tomorrow. We draw the important caveat that relatively little is known about influencing leadership in young brains making this a fertile and exciting, if challenging, area for leader development research.
The nexus of legacy and leadership is an understudied area. Drawing on the legacy of leadership researcher, Professor Ken Parry, and incorporating several well supported themes of the phenomenon of leadership, the similarities between legacy and leadership are explored. Key themes include followership, sensemaking, change, context, the social influence process, and leadership as artifact.
Ken Parry once asked me why I wanted to take the lead on a particular initiative. This paper summarises the answer I'd like to have given him. Taking the lead is pleasurable in three principle ways: it affirms or modifies self-concept, confirms a degree of control over the external world and promises self-transcendence through relationship with others. The paper proposes three categories: identity, influence and interaction, as the basis of an analytic framework for further research into the pleasures of power.
Mutiny is often regarded as a consequence of dire conditions and failed leadership. This reflection on Ken Parry's work suggests it is neither and much more the consequences of a socially constructed world.
Developing previous work on charismatic leadership by Boas Shamir and Ken, we investigate the contention that followers of charismatic leaders have an emotional connection with that leader in the form of a ‘sense of belonging’ and links to community. We, therefore, investigate whether there is any evidence of a sense of belonging when people describe those they judge to be charismatic. Using a mixed-methods aesthetic narrative approach, we are able to supply empirical support for the existence of such a relationship and to extend the findings of previous studies by incorporating the connection that the leader has with the community, in general, as an important factor in the leader–follower relationship.
While much has been documented about the construction of an individual's personal values, very little attention has been paid to how personal values connect with core aspects of leadership such as purpose, behavior and legacy. Through an expansion of Ken's recent work on this topic, the authors explore the impact of personal values-led leadership. A model of how personal values shape leadership purpose, behavior and legacy is introduced. These dimensions are then illuminated through interview data from senior managers from the financial services sector. The personal value impacts are examined in the context of the literature and implications for organizations and managers are drawn together.
Night School is the 21st novel by Lee Child featuring the action hero Jack Reacher. As the title suggests, the novel performs a didactic function via an organizational comedy. By invoking James Joyce's Ulysses and his use of double plots, we focus our attention on Reacher as a model leader who occupies a middle space between extremes. He rejects type-set mechanistic responses to problems and navigates around the confusion raised through information overload. Reacher's leadership is enacted on the ground and in the moment, taking each new encounter as an opportunity to learn. His style, marked by a healthy distrust of authority and documents, an ability to follow the spirit of the law and staying flexible are all characteristic of a man who is continually aware of his environment, and not side-tracked by metaphysical constructs. The novel's denouement presents an assessment of both Reacher's and our learning.
A panel of eight leadership scholars was convened to participate in a panel at the 20th International Leadership Association Conference to discuss the benefits and the pitfalls of applying authentic leadership theory to the classroom setting. Inspired by Ken Parry's masterful teaching and the authenticity that he displayed in the classroom, this paper provides an overview of the panel's discussion as they grappled with the attractions, the challenges and the risks that are posed to both teacher-scholars and student-scholars in bringing their full selves into the classroom.