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Perspectives on Leadership

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A masters degree article discussing different concepts of leaderships.

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Perspectives on Leadership

  1. 1. MaRi EagarM Phil Personal and Professional Leadership (cum laude) M Phil (HRM) (PPL) A discussion of the concept of leadership May 2004 This report contains 24 pages Report for RAU
  2. 2. MaRi Eagar M Phil (HRM) (PPL)M Phil Personal and Professional Leadership (cum laude) Personal Leadership A May 2004Contents1 The concept leadership in the context of Personal and Professional Leadership 11.1 The characteristics and tasks of the leader proposed by contemporary leadership theories to address leadership problems experienced globally 21.2 The dark side of leadership – the other side of the same coin 51.3 Various examples of attributes of leader per new leadership theory 51.4 Little consensus on how leaders become effective 131.5 Failings of the traditional views on leadership 141.6 Need for new look at leadership theory and practice 151.7 The solution offered by the PPL perspective on leadership 161.8 The concept leadership from the PPL perspective 171.9 The essential difference between traditional leadership views and the PPL perspective on leadership 19Leadership Perspectives
  3. 3. MaRi Eagar M Phil (HRM) (PPL)M Phil Personal and Professional Leadership (cum laude) Personal Leadership A May 20041 The concept leadership in the context of Personal and Professional Leadership “The search for soul is symptomatic of a retreat to old shibboleths. The reason is that it continues to privilege the heroic deeds of individuals – and to that extend it legitimates the age-old division of labour between leaders and followers and all of the worn out baggage that goes with it (leader superiority, follower dependency, an exaggerated belief in the power of one, etc).” A realist view of leadership (Peter Gronn) (Invited paper for the ELO- AusASia on-line conference – Educational Leadership for the New Millennium – Leaders with Soul) (6-22 August) (www.geocities.com/Athens/Styx/7534/LEADER/ELO_gronn.htm)The popular view of leadership mastery is analyse the success oforganisations and individual people (often those in hero type positions) todetermine the particular attributes of their leadership. From that a list ofattributes is collected, and training provided to achieve those qualities. Thesuccess would be measured in terms of external success (such as increasedinfluence and achievement of power) as well as physical success (such asmoney influence). (Smith, D) (2004).This paper will describe the assumptions and potential blind spots of somepopular views on leadership, and then describe the contribution made by thePPL perspective on leadership, which attempts to answer the question: whatdoes mastery of leadership mean to you (Cashman: 1998:19-20).Leadership Perspectives 1
  4. 4. MaRi Eagar M Phil (HRM) (PPL)M Phil Personal and Professional Leadership (cum laude) Personal Leadership A May 20041.1 The characteristics and tasks of the leader proposed by contemporary leadership theories to address leadership problems experienced globallyIn terms of large scale organisational failure in ethics and governance, aswell as the fear of dictator type leadership in countries around the world,more traditional leadership theories have been confronted by contemporaryand holistic leadership models. Leadership is an important study field toaddress what is considered the lack of good leadership in society andorganisations. It is hoped that, through finding the ultimately theory onleadership, the current ethical and other problems experienced withleadership, will be resolved.Traditional leadership theory is based on research done on qualities of whatleaders from various organizations believed are important to be effectiveleaders. There are some limitations when using this type of research ondetermining the qualities of leader. Below some of these limitations arediscussed.Implication of high levels of self-awareness in research on leadershipqualitiesMost of us remember ourselves as much better at what we did, then realityshows. Howard Bloom says in quoting Elizabeth Loftus, that the mind erectscomfortingly false pictures of the self and of the past. (Bloom: 1997:84)This implies that leaders of organizations or those aspiring towardsleadership, would evaluate their own qualities favorably in terms of theabove. Self-awareness and specifically the lack thereof have beeninvestigated and it appears to be an important indicator of employeeLeadership Perspectives 2
  5. 5. MaRi Eagar M Phil (HRM) (PPL)M Phil Personal and Professional Leadership (cum laude) Personal Leadership A May 2004satisfaction and performance. Therefore the true success of the effectivenessof a leader needs to also include the impact on followers.When contemporary leadership views are based on interviewing leaders andtheir peers in organisations (to the exclusion of determining the impact theyhave on their employees and the external environment), there is a risk ofoveremphasising qualities or even myth creation about how the leadersbehave or thought they behaved.The implied social construct of leadership – individual powerNoel Tichy and Eli Cohen (2003:5) propose that, without a leader, movementdoes not get started. “Without leaders, good results are a matter of randomchance, and therefore unsustainable.”“… and yet it is the heroic leaders whose faces dominate the covers ofleading business magazines. Quiet leaders are not only quiet in theirleadership style, but they are also rarely heard about in the blare of highenergy pontificating about what makes leaders great.” (Regine, B and Lewin,R) (As quoted in the Learning Organisation, Vol 10: 3-4).In society the concept of the leader at the top of the organisation is still wellentrenched. Examples are that the government in this country is still headedby a president, stock exchange regulations force organisations to appointleaders in particular positions to take accountability for companyperformance, and people often refer to “lack of leadership” when groups areunable to perform adequately.This implies that people cannot operate without an external force or partyproviding direction and input. The implication then is that most people are notLeadership Perspectives 3
  6. 6. MaRi Eagar M Phil (HRM) (PPL)M Phil Personal and Professional Leadership (cum laude) Personal Leadership A May 2004responsible or cannot even become responsible. Leadership is then theprivilege of the few, and not a state of being that can be achieved by others.Gender bias in leadership theory and research around leadershipattributesIn pointing to the way cultural scripts, including subconscious archetypes ofleadership, contribute to a gendered lens, a social constructionist approachexplains the continuing association of men with leadership through adiscursive history in which women lack an archetypal profile (Olsson 2002)as quoted by Su Olsson and Robyn Walker. Olsson, S and Walker, R)(Leadership and Organisational Development Journal, Vol 24: 3The gender bias in traditional leadership theory was researched and thefollowing conclusion made:“No theory exists which fully incorporate feminine aligned practices. During1999 we examined 24 leadership theories commonly taught in leadershipand management courses. The results strongly affirmed that theconceptualisation of leadership theory was formulated through a male lensand was subsequently applied to both males and females.” The synergisticleadership theory (Beverly J Irby, Genevieve Brown, Jo Anne Duffy andDiane Trautman) (Journal of Educational Administration) (Vol 40, Issue 4)(page 2)Although contemporary leadership indicates a different type of leader, theabove gender bias will exist those models too. The leadership models havesimply moved from autocratic father figure to benevolent father figure.Leadership Perspectives 4
  7. 7. MaRi Eagar M Phil (HRM) (PPL) M Phil Personal and Professional Leadership (cum laude) Personal Leadership A May 20041.2 The dark side of leadership – the other side of the same coin There are few authors who reflect on the potential downside or limitations in the altruistic leadership nature proposed by contemporary leadership models. For example, in analysing the characteristics of a transformational leader, would someone like Hitler not fit into that category? (Transformational leaders are those who “broaden and elevate the interests of their employees when they generate awareness and acceptance of the purposes and mission of the group, and when they stir their employees to look beyond their own self-interest for the good of the group.” Bass as quoted by Moshavi et al. (Leadership and Organisational Development Journal, Vol 24: 4)1.3 Various examples of attributes of leader per new leadership theory Author Ideas Reference Willem H J de  Give meaning De Liefde (2003:20) Liefde (emancipate people from bureaucracy)  Embrace the lekgotla culture  Serving leadership  Being human  Social responsibility  Universal leadership Leadership Perspectives 5
  8. 8. MaRi Eagar M Phil (HRM) (PPL)M Phil Personal and Professional Leadership (cum laude) Personal Leadership A May 2004 model using the rainmaker, hunter and creator Jim Collins Level 5 leadership: Collins (2001:36) professional will:  Catalyst  Demonstrate unwavering resolve  Sets standards for building great companies  Apportion responsibility and do not blame external factors Level 5 leadership: personal humility  Demonstrates compelling modesty  Acts with quiet calm determination and relies on Debashis The 9 Insights of New Chatterjee, D (1998:214)Leadership Perspectives 6
  9. 9. MaRi Eagar M Phil (HRM) (PPL)M Phil Personal and Professional Leadership (cum laude) Personal Leadership A May 2004 Chatterjee Leadership disciplines  Perception  Self-integration  Heart  Effortless effort  Silence  Learning  Identity  Purpose  Self-mastery James M Kouzes The five practices of Louzes, M and Posner, B and Barry Z exemplary leadership (2003:73) Posner  Model the way  Inspire a shared vision  Challenge the process  Enable others to act  Encourage the heart Birute Regine Third possibility leaders Regine, B and Lewin, RLeadership Perspectives 7
  10. 10. MaRi Eagar M Phil (HRM) (PPL)M Phil Personal and Professional Leadership (cum laude) Personal Leadership A May 2004 and Roger Lewin (Issue year unknown)  Paradoxical ways  Gatherers and community builders  Wholistic thinkers  Wielders of relational intelligenceThe potential impact of turbulence and complexity in modern societyContemporary leadership, when compared to the ideas around leadership asseen through the lenses of the new sciences, such as quantum mechanicsand chaos theory, appears different.Below is a summary of how the new sciences impact on leadership and whatis considered competent leadership. Does this mean that leaders have todevelop these competencies as additional to those listed before? Howpractical would this be in terms of, for example, resources. And is theresufficient evidence to suggest improved performance or are these simplytheory? Author Ideas Reference Navigating complexity: Arthur Battram Be a different thinker The essential guide to  Think relationships complexity theory in business and  Think communityLeadership Perspectives 8
  11. 11. MaRi Eagar M Phil (HRM) (PPL)M Phil Personal and Professional Leadership (cum laude) Personal Leadership A May 2004 management (Arthur  Think networks Battram) (2001: 251 to  Think pattern 257)) management Be a different learner  Be a better listener  Be a volunteer  Be a wider reader  Be a post-modern apprentice Leadership and the New Margaret  Create a process of Science: Discovering Wheatley inquiry into the meaning order in a chaotic world of work (Margaret Wheatley)  Look for invisible (1999: page 152 to 155) processes rather than the things that they engender  Learning to live in a process world  Know what the ‘centre’ feels like  Improve quality ofLeadership Perspectives 9
  12. 12. MaRi Eagar M Phil (HRM) (PPL)M Phil Personal and Professional Leadership (cum laude) Personal Leadership A May 2004 participation through participating in the moment  Quality of attention to the process by which plans and intentions are created Rethinking Leadership Kurt April, Robert  Awareness of (Kurt April, Robert Macdonald, paradoxes Macdonald, Sylvia Sylvia  Awareness of self and Vriesendorp) (2000: 3) Vriesendorp others  Awareness of our vision  Awareness of power and group dynamics The Soul at Work: Roger Lewin and Relationational practice Unleashing the power of Birute Regine through being : complexity science for  authentic, business success (Roger Lewin and Birute Regine)  acknowledging others, (1999)  accountable  attentiveLeadership Perspectives 10
  13. 13. MaRi Eagar M Phil (HRM) (PPL)M Phil Personal and Professional Leadership (cum laude) Personal Leadership A May 2004 The practice of paradoxical leadership through being:  allowing,  accessible  attuned From theory to practice: Charlotte D The quantum skills: using new science Shelton and  Quantum seeing (ability concepts to create John R Darling to seen intentionally) learning organisations (Charlotte D Shelton and  Quantum thinking John R Darling) (The (ability to think Learning Organisation) paradoxically) (Vol 10, Issue 6) (page 3)  Quantum feeling (ability to feel vitally alive)  Quantum knowing (ability to know intuitively)  Quantum acting (ability to act responsibly)  Quantum trusting (ability to trust life’s process)  Quantum being (abilityLeadership Perspectives 11
  14. 14. MaRi Eagar M Phil (HRM) (PPL)M Phil Personal and Professional Leadership (cum laude) Personal Leadership A May 2004 to be in relationship) Organisations and Capra and Five basic shifts in thinking turbulence (Linda S Steindi-Rast as  From parts to the whole Wing) (Empowerment in interpreted by Organisation) (Vol 5, Linda S Wing  From structure to Issue 1) ((page 5) process to understand that the entire web of relationships is intrinsically dynamic  From objective science to epistemic science where humankind is a participant in the creation of the universe  From architechture metaphors to networking metaphor where knowledge emerges through cooperative processes  Defining truth in terms of absolute dogma to defining truth in terms of approximations of interconnectness – truthLeadership Perspectives 12
  15. 15. MaRi Eagar M Phil (HRM) (PPL) M Phil Personal and Professional Leadership (cum laude) Personal Leadership A May 2004 is something humans seek, not something they know1.4 Little consensus on how leaders become effective “There is little consensus about how leaders become effective.” Leadership: A critical construction (Anthony J Berry and Susan Cartwright) (Leadership and Organisational Development Journal) (Vol 21, Issue 7) (page 7) Much of the literature reviewed provides theories about what effective leaders are supposed to be, but very little about how leaders become effective. Most of the leadership development indicates that mentoring and action learning contribute to leadership effectiveness, however, such leader- mentors can only transfer knowledge based on past experience. They would be unable to assist in developing leadership effectiveness in unknown environments. If the environment is thus increasingly unpredictable and turbulent, with little familiarity to all, such leadership development would also be relatively ineffective. There is a danger in assuming that certain attributes of leaders are dominant factors in the success or failure of companies. “A stunning number of articles and books about management similarly confuse the correlation of attributes and outcomes with causality.” Why hard-nosed executives should care about management theory (Clayton M Christensen and Michael E Raynor) (Harvard Business Review: Strategic Resilience) (September 2003) (page 70) Leadership Perspectives 13
  16. 16. MaRi Eagar M Phil (HRM) (PPL)M Phil Personal and Professional Leadership (cum laude) Personal Leadership A May 20041.5 Failings of the traditional views on leadershipFirstly, by focusing on leadership only, more emphasis is placed on the roleplayed by some individuals, thus reinforcing the social belief of abdicatingresponsibility and power to a few. This increases risk of failure, innovationand unethical behaviour, thus increasing the demand for remuneration andtheir importance in society by such individuals. It leads then to regulation oftheir behaviour, such as corporate governance. The increased accountabilityand responsibility of such regulations reinforces the importance of theseindividuals and thus the power and remuneration that they command.The assumption is also that leadership qualities are always employed for thegood of society, neglecting to address the role of similar qualities indestructive behaviour. There is a hidden assumption in contemporaryleadership theory that these qualities can be developed within individuals toincrease their effectiveness.Viewing organisations through lenses of complexity it is unrealistic to acceptthat a few leaders will have sufficient knowledge and diversity to deal withcomplexity and turbulence to sustain their organisations. It is also idealistic toexpect that all leaders would have the time and ability to unlearn experiencesfrom the past and adapt to new learning for an increasingly unpredictablefuture.The silent role of followers in supporting leaders, whether they are effectiveor not, is mostly ignored in the leadership literature I have reviewed. Forexample, when doing a search on the Emerald Text Website (Academicjournals) I found five articles listed under “followership”. Bookshops do notdevote shelf space exclusively to followership literature. This is probablybecause customer would not be too interested in reading about how to beLeadership Perspectives 14
  17. 17. MaRi Eagar M Phil (HRM) (PPL)M Phil Personal and Professional Leadership (cum laude) Personal Leadership A May 2004good followers – thus confirming and keeping their position at the lower endof the pecking order.1.6 Need for new look at leadership theory and practiceThe majority of literature reviewed imply that leadership is the domain ofpeople “at the top” of their organisation/society/community. There is limitedfocus on a holistic model where leadership is a quality and potential that canbe achieved by all human beings.Furthermore, this type of perspective on leadership ultimately absolves therest of the society (the non-leaders) to not learn to be responsible, and thuslimit their growth and development of their potential.When only a few people are responsible and accountable for decisionmaking and when we live in a society with leaders at the top only, we developa blame culture. The caretaking of our society and environment is then in thehands of those few, and the masses are helpless in this structure. We alsoassume that those leaders will be skilled and competent, having sufficientknowledge to make decisions in an increasing turbulent and complex world.The overall result of this perspective is a blame culture and society withoutresponsiveness to their problems.The other burning issue is the interpretation of how to develop effectiveleaders based on the qualities as described by various authors.Organisations send those talented candidates (often spotted because of theirability to influence others already) to expensive programs, including MBAprograms, to develop their leadership qualities. Most of the leadershipprogram will address some aspect of leadership, such as interpersonal skills,Leadership Perspectives 15
  18. 18. MaRi Eagar M Phil (HRM) (PPL)M Phil Personal and Professional Leadership (cum laude) Personal Leadership A May 2004coaching skills, skills for developing and setting vision and strategy, andother qualities that can be measured externally, for example, improvingproductivity.1.7 The solution offered by the PPL perspective on leadershipThe Personal and Professional Leadership perspective as developed bySmith, D focuses not on the attributes of leadership, but more on the qualitiesof being. The PPL perspective attempts to answer the question raised byCashman (1998) of “What does mastery of leadership mean to you?”Leadership is seen as an ongoing journey to lead a more purposeful inner lifewhich is expressed in such a way as to make a positive impact on the worldaround us. (Smith, D:2004) (Classnotes: Personal Leadership).The PPL perspective does not exclude leadership develop to those who havespecial talents and skills in taking initiative or able to influence others throughtheir position or status in society. Instead, it determines that each humanbeing, irrespective of their placing in society, have the ability to masterleadership.The essence of leadership is thus influence over self that create value for selfand others. (Smith, D)Thus, where most leadership theory and practice focus on attributes andqualities that are measured in terms of external success (as indicates bymany of the authors above), the PPL focuses on building internal leadershipin a very structured approach as reflected in the leadership pyramid.Leadership Perspectives 16
  19. 19. MaRi Eagar M Phil (HRM) (PPL)M Phil Personal and Professional Leadership (cum laude) Personal Leadership A May 20041.8 The concept leadership from the PPL perspectiveThe PPL program is based on a structured and holistic approach towardsleadership development, with the focus on leadership from the inside-out.The PPL Pyramid of Leadership and Influence is briefly described belowPersonal leadership (Ethos): Self mastery (Credible leadership)In essence of personal leadership is the essence of self-mastery. This meansbriefly:  becoming connected with one’s inner core (Spiritual Dimension)  Authentic self-expression that adds value to self and others; and  Finding and living one’s purpose in life and thereby finding meaningInterpersonal leadership (pathos) : Relationship mastery (Servantleadership)PPL has as focus discovering the essence of relating to others in view ofthe ever present relationship paradox the dissonance between the Selfand the Other, between self-realisation and building sound fulfillingrelationships, between self-actualisation and self-transcendence. (Smith,D:2004)Thus the interpersonal leadership focuses on managing two paradoxicalanthropological needs within all human beings, namely the needs for puttingyourself and your needs first, and the other needs for social affiliation andbelonging (where you would have to sometimes sacrifice your own needs tobelong to a social environment).Leadership Perspectives 17
  20. 20. MaRi Eagar M Phil (HRM) (PPL)M Phil Personal and Professional Leadership (cum laude) Personal Leadership A May 2004This middle level focus of the pyramid determines that, in other to have goodrelationships with others, you have to have a good relationship with yourself.(Smith, D: 2004)Professional leadership (logos) : Workplace mastery (Competentleadership)The third (and top) level of the PPL Leadership Pyramid focuses onleadership at the workplace with particular emphasis on the importance ofwork for meaningful existence.This perspective on competent leadership differs from traditional leadershiptheory and practice, in that it does not focus on the external influence, butrather on the expression of personal and interpersonal leadership in theworkplace with special reference to finding spiritual fulfilment at work, Findingbalance between the self, one’s principles and values, one’s primary andsecondary relationships and effectiveness in the workplace. (Smith, D:2004)The importance in departure from traditional perspectives on leadership, isthat this professional leadership is applicable for all employees at theworkplace, and not only the appointed leaders or leaders as seen through thetraditional lens.Leadership Perspectives 18
  21. 21. MaRi Eagar M Phil (HRM) (PPL)M Phil Personal and Professional Leadership (cum laude) Personal Leadership A May 20041.9 The essential difference between traditional leadership views and the PPL perspective on leadershipThe traditional (and current contemporary) leadership theory focuses mainlyon attributed of those people considered to have made an external impact intheir organisations or communities. The focus is placed on individuals, aswell as their ability to influence others. This focus on the externalmanifestation of leadership limits leadership in various ways. A majordisadvantage is that leadership is a skill and competence only reserved for afew, and could result in a blame culture with the majority of people believingthey have not ability or capacity to respond to not only their problems orexistence, but also other problems experienced in the world.The PPL perspective is not focused on the external manifestations ofsuccess, and addresses the human being in a holistic and integratedmanner. This removes all barriers of gender, social status and attempt toremove cultural bias through the presupposition of following universalprinciples (instead of manmade values and laws).In essence this means that all people are potential leaders, and that eachhuman being can learn and apply the mastery of leadership.Leadership Perspectives 19
  22. 22. MaRi Eagar M Phil (HRM) (PPL)M Phil Personal and Professional Leadership (cum laude) Personal Leadership A May 2004ReferencesApril, K Macdonald, R and Vriesendorp) (2000:3) Rethinking LeadershipBattram, A (2001: 251:257) Navigating complexity: The essential guide tocomplexity theory in business and managementBerry, A J and Cartwright, S Leadership: A critical construction (Leadershipand Organisational Development Journal) (Vol 21, Issue 7) (page 7)Bloom, H (1997) The Lucifer Principle: A scientific expedition into the forcesof historyCashman, K (1998) Leadership from the Inside Out - Becoming a leader forlife Executive Excellence PublishingChatterjee, D (1998:214) Leading consciously: A pilgrimage towards Self-masteryChristensen, Clayton M and Raynor, M Why hard-nosed executives shouldcare about management theory (Harvard Business Review: StrategicResilience) (September 2003) (page 70)Collins, J (2001: 36) (4) Good to Great: Why some companies make theleap… and others don’tCovey,S (1994:42) The 7 Habits of highly effective people – Powerful lessonsin Personal Change Simon SchusterLeadership Perspectives 20
  23. 23. MaRi Eagar M Phil (HRM) (PPL)M Phil Personal and Professional Leadership (cum laude) Personal Leadership A May 2004De Liefde, W H J (2003:20) Lekgotla: The art of leadership through dialogueGoleman, D, Boyatzis, R and McKee, A (2003: 26) Primal leadership(Business Leadership – A Jossey-Bass Reader) (2003: 46)Gronn, P A realist view of leadership (Invited paper for the ELO-AusASiaon-line conference – Educational Leadership for the New Millennium –Leaders with Soul) Published in 2003 (6-22 August)(www.geocities.com/Athens/Styx/7534/LEADER/ELO_gronn.htmIrby,B J, Brown, J, Duffy, J A and Trautman, D The synergistic leadershiptheory Journal of Educational Administration) (Vol 40, Issue 4) (page 2)Kotter, J P Leading change: The change problem and its solution (HarvardBusiness School Press) (1996)Kouzes, J A Posner, P Z (2003:73) The five practices of exemplaryleadership (Business Leadership – A Jossey-Bass Reader)Lewin, R and Regine, B (1999) The Soul at Work: Unleashing the power ofcomplexity science for business successMcCall, M W (2003: 192) The derailment conspiracy (Business Leadership –A Jossey-Bass Reader)Moshavi,D, Brown, F W and Dodd, N C Leader self-awareness and itsrelationship to subordinate attitudes and performance (Leadership andOrganisational Development Journal) (Vol 24, Issue 7) (page 4)Leadership Perspectives 21
  24. 24. MaRi Eagar M Phil (HRM) (PPL)M Phil Personal and Professional Leadership (cum laude) Personal Leadership A May 2004Olsson, S and Walker, R Through a gendered lens? Male and femaleexecutives ’representations of one another (Leadership and OrganisationDevelopment Journal) (Vol 24, Issue 7) (page 3)Regine, B and Lewin, R Third possibility leaders: The invisible edge womenhave in complex organisations (The Learning Organisation, Vol 10, Issue 6)(page 3 to 4)Shelton, C D and Darling, J D From theory to practice: using new scienceconcepts to create learning organisations (The Learning Organisation) (Vol10, Issue 6) (page 3)Shantideva: The way of the Bodhisattva (Shantideva as translated by thePadmakara Translation Group) (1997: 7)Smith, D (2004) : Personal Leadership A Module – ClassnotesSmith, D (2004) : Personal Leadership A Module – ClassnotesTichy, N and Cohen, E (2003) Why are leaders important? ( (BusinessLeadership – A Jossey-Bass Reader)Wheatley, M (1999:152-155) Leadership and the New Science: Discoveringorder in a chaotic worldWing, L S Organisations and turbulence: (Empowerment in Organisation:(Vol 5, Issue 1) ((page 5)Leadership Perspectives 22

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