Transcending the Power of Hierarchy to Facilitate Shared Leadership
September 25, 2013 Editor 0
Purpose – Although communal forms of leadership are being called for to provide contemporary organizations with more responsive leadership platforms, we can find no compelling description as to how such leadership might develop in a world of hierarchy. The purpose of this article is to fill this void.Design/methodology/approach – Attempting to comprehend the sharing of leadership will require contemplation of unconventional approaches in opposition to the dominant logic associated with conventional organizational leadership. One current example of such unorthodox deliberation is the emerging awareness of the Grateful Dead’s influence on business management and leadership. Accordingly, we examined and interpreted the experiences and expressed beliefs of Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead to offer a conceptualization of how shared leadership could emerge in traditional organizational settings. Findings – Our analysis indicates that Jerry Garcia exhibited aspects of transformational leadership, servant leadership, and authentic leadership that allowed him to influence the environment needed for the emergence of shared leadership.Research limitations/implications – As a single case study, the primary limitation is one of generalizability. We accept the trade-off, however, due to the significant conceptual insights available with a case methodology.Practical implications – Without greater understanding of how shared leadership might unfold practitioners will assume the construct of shared leadership is laudable but naïve. We must begin developing plausible conceptualizations if the notion of sharing leadership is to be taken more seriously in organizations.
Originality/value – We offer a counterintuitive, counterculture conceptualization of how shared leadership could emerge and flourish in traditional hierarchical settings.
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