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Rethinking strategic leadership: stars, clans, teams and networks

Rethinking strategic leadership: stars, clans, teams and networks Purpose – Most of the thousands of studies of leadership as well as strategic leadership in organizations choose as the unit of analysis the individual leader. This choice runs contrary to the often‐observed fact that organizations have numerous leaders at all levels of the organization – in other words, a network of leaders, which permeates the formal organizational structure. The purpose of this paper is to re‐conceptualize strategic leadership by advancing understanding of: the effects of variations in internal complexity and external turbulence and the effects of choices by the strategic leadership based on those variations. Design/methodology/approach – The paper advocates a network approach to strategic leadership where there is a set of highly dynamic role changes, based on both human and social capital. The typology and propositions in the paper emerged over a period of many years of observation of organizations (direct and indirect) as well as reflection of theories on how strategic leadership actually occurs in medium to large‐size profit‐oriented organizations. Findings – The paper proposes a model of strategic leadership based upon four modes of single actor and shared leadership (stars, clans, teams, and leadership networks). The paper sets forth propositions for the situational appropriateness of each of these four forms and identifies avenues for future research to advance the theory. Originality/value – The paper cross‐fertilizes extant research streams in leadership and strategic management to create a contingency theory of strategic leadership that is closer to what executives actually experience in the workplace. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Strategy and Management Emerald Publishing

Rethinking strategic leadership: stars, clans, teams and networks

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2013 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
1755-425X
DOI
10.1108/JSMA-09-2012-0051
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – Most of the thousands of studies of leadership as well as strategic leadership in organizations choose as the unit of analysis the individual leader. This choice runs contrary to the often‐observed fact that organizations have numerous leaders at all levels of the organization – in other words, a network of leaders, which permeates the formal organizational structure. The purpose of this paper is to re‐conceptualize strategic leadership by advancing understanding of: the effects of variations in internal complexity and external turbulence and the effects of choices by the strategic leadership based on those variations. Design/methodology/approach – The paper advocates a network approach to strategic leadership where there is a set of highly dynamic role changes, based on both human and social capital. The typology and propositions in the paper emerged over a period of many years of observation of organizations (direct and indirect) as well as reflection of theories on how strategic leadership actually occurs in medium to large‐size profit‐oriented organizations. Findings – The paper proposes a model of strategic leadership based upon four modes of single actor and shared leadership (stars, clans, teams, and leadership networks). The paper sets forth propositions for the situational appropriateness of each of these four forms and identifies avenues for future research to advance the theory. Originality/value – The paper cross‐fertilizes extant research streams in leadership and strategic management to create a contingency theory of strategic leadership that is closer to what executives actually experience in the workplace.

Journal

Journal of Strategy and ManagementEmerald Publishing

Published: Oct 25, 2013

Keywords: Strategic leadership; Distributed leadership; Dynamic role changes; Leadership networks

References