Unconventional Leadership

Emergent unconventional leadership denotes the necessity for unconventional thinking in a way which leads to engaging in capacity building of lowers, middles, and uppers as well as opportunities to lead within their own right (Oshry, 2007; Morgan, 2006). Humanism denotes the underpinnings of the very conditions to which humans behave. Throughout time, theorists have evaluated the nature of mankind by utilizing doctrine inherent in dichotomous definitions such as relationships to John Locke or Thomas Hobbes (Nirenburg, 2014). Humankind was either good or evil; in essence either they had to be ruled over or responsibility could be given to them in the form of a social contract (i.e. Rousseau) as a means to imbed civility and lead to individual as well as collective progress (Nirenburg, 2014). Historically, as civilization evolved, echelons in society were apparent and entrenched through centuries of pseudo imperialism and feudalism; regardless of the shifts politically or economically on the spectrum (Gopnik, 2010). For example, in Roman times, the higher levels of society attained advancement on the backs so to speak of the peoples they ruled over. Leaping ahead, the Enlightenment revealed the crux that French society faced as a result of tyranny, over taxation of the poor or working classes, and the seeming hypocrisy of the very institution (i.e. Church) which laid the foundation for humanity to function within (Nirenburg, 2014). Arguably, the system which has been framed hierarchically, has merely beget itself and continues to contribute to the widening gap between the haves and have not’s within developed nations or macro-economically from developing world’s onward (Gopnik, 2010).

This imperialist perspective that was  birthed from the inception of civilization has molded a world that Korten (2006) would argue is more individualist than collectivist, more taking than giving, more narcissistic than altruistic, and as a result precipitates a need not only socially but politically and economically to shift the paradigm in order to preserve our earth for future generations. The latter needs to be engrained in a commitment to the common good and in many ways, community oriented (Korten, 2006). It is within this community approach that is unfettered from big business, solely a profit orientation, andorchestrated with a consciousness of an, “us versus them”mentality, that people can come together and work towards a more sustainable future (Korten, 2006). According to many scholars, this shift in terms of unconventional leadership and management is not only imperative organizationally but must transcend and is reflected in society as a whole (Adler, Forbes& Willmott, 2007). This paper will discuss the merits of shifting orthodox approaches of unconventional leadership and management to more emergent, unconventional, and self-organizing methods while weaving in a discussion of Korten’s (2006) main assertion related to collectivist practices.

Traditional Unconventional leadership: If it isn’t broken, why fix it?

Bureaucratic and hierarchically structured institutions have been mired by tradition, organizational lethargy, and as a result, a lack of trust and autonomy can be prevalent throughout (Harvey & Buckler, 2002). Additionally, Parmar, Freeman, Harrison, Wicks, Purnell, and de Colle (2010) assert that as long as the profit motive and the old adages of stakeholders holds true, leaders and managers alike will have difficulty taking risks, supporting a more collective approach and in some ways will adhere to traditional means of social responsibility. This myopic nature serves to primarily benefit the upper echelons of the organization and at times can lead to disenchantment and a lack of growth orientation from within (Harvey & Buckler, 2002). Within the evolving business landscape resulting from globalization, knowledge sharing, information technology, and the implications of social media, a collectivist approach will serve the greater good more wholly than the status quo as it will allow for uppers, middles, and lowers to harness their strengths and buffer each other’s weaknesses in a bottom up context (Korten, 2006; Oshry, 2007). This level of systems functioning necessitates high degrees of trust, a well-articulated vision, and a common language (Romero, 2012). As a behavioral and subsequently cognitive overlay,Baker, Thorne, Gamson, and Blair (2006) assert that theimplications in terms of unconventional leadership typology, cognition, default behaviors as well as relational factors are important facets to consider in unconventional environments…

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