Leadership Development as Reflexive Practice

September 2012
This thesis examines Leadership Development in both a corporate setting and an expedition-based setting. The assumptions that are the foundations of current Leadership Development originate, and are informed by, aspects of the natural sciences. These methods are critiqued in terms of usability and applicability in the context of human relating. An alternative approach is investigated based on nonlinear causality and the complex responsive process of relating using the work of Stacey (2003, 2007, 2010), Stacey and Griffin (2005), Stacey et al. (2000). What is explored is the Leader as expert and the ability through communication, decision making, and planning to create certainty. What is problematized is the fantasy that this creates in ongoing day-to-day interactions. The work explores interactions between a leadership consultant/coach and clients in varied domains: the role of the practitioner in the delivery and creation of theory, models, best practices and standard operating procedures; and the reflections of both the practitioner and clients that what is emerging cannot be foreseen


Common Background of Obviousness - Complex Responsive Process as context for leadership development

NOLS Staff Newsletter/ NOLS ( National Outdoor Leadership School)
February 1, 2014
The title I have chosen for this series of articles (Common Background of Obviousness) comes from Fernando Flores’ work and development of The Speech Acts, in particular that for effective communication to occur one of the essential requirements is that each person has the same information and context.
The subtitle (Complex responsive process of relating) describes the method and sets the context both for the narrative nature of this series of articles and how I make sense of the movement of my thinking and practice. Complex responsive processes of relating look at and adopt three ways of thinking about the activity of human beings (Stacey, 2010). First is the work of Mead (Mead, 1934) around communicative interactions. Experienced as a series of gestures and responses, they are seen as a single social action from which meaning emerges. The second part incorporates Elias’ (1978, 1987, 1991) ideas from a sociological standpoint that all human interaction involves the change and movement of individual and group identity at the same time. The ongoing emergence and changing power relation, the iteration of inclusion and exclusion, and more arises out of choices human beings are making based on ideology. (Mead also had similar ideas around the emergence of the self, the social, and ideology). The third part is taken up by analogy from the complexity sciences (Prigogine, 1997) and the ongoing interactions that take place in organizations that exhibit self-organizing properties leading to macro or population-wide patterns to emerge, which are both unstable and stable at the same time.


Involvement and Detachment (Elias, 1987) as a key component of Leading

NOLS Staff Newsletter/ NOLS ( National Outdoor Leadership School)
February 1, 2014
It is late June in the Wind River Mountains of Wyoming and a Naval Academy Leadership Expedition (NALE) is four days into its second ration period....
The narrative of this event is similar in many ways to a short story by Edgar Allen Poe, “A Descent into the Maelstrom” (Poe, 1975), and how Elias then adopts Poe’s story as an analogy in Involvement and Detachment (Elias, 1987). ....
The question that arises is how we are making sense of our experience. This idea of making sense highlights what we are doing in the moment as we are doing it (Talucci, 2012)