RCLA Social Change Leadership 04.11.07


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"Shared Leadership in Social Change Organizations: Insights from a Participatory Research Perspective," a presentation by the Research Center for Leadership in Action, April 2007

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RCLA Social Change Leadership 04.11.07

  1. 1. Shared Leadership in Social Change Organizations Insights from a Participatory Research Perspective Leadership Learning Community Creating Space VIII April 11-13, 2007 Baltimore, Maryland
  2. 2. Research Center for Leadership in Action Mission and Key Assumptions “To support change agents by developing new knowledge and implementing innovative tools that help diverse constituents accomplish desired change.” RCLA’s mission is premised on these basic assumptions: • Focus on leadership as a collective achievement • Participatory processes facilitate effective change • Knowledge resides in many sources • Practitioners and academics collaborate to create knowledge
  3. 3. Research Center for Leadership in Action How We Work We produce social-science, practice-based, action-oriented research on multiple dimensions of public service leadership We select research methods that encourage practitioner engagement We create products that are useful both to the academic and the practitioner community Research Goals: • Develop deeper understanding about leadership • Identify the components of successful leadership for social change • Use practice as the source of knowledge • Understand leadership in the context of community-based nonprofit organizations • Consider different leadership models (not just heroic) • Support effective leadership
  4. 4. Leadership for a Changing World Background Ford Foundation’s national recognition program for community-based leadership in the social justice field Goal: Contribute to changing conversations about leadership in the US 17 – 20 awards each year. Five groups: • 91 Organizations and more than 150 leaders (Teams as well as individuals) • $115,000 for program support Partnership (Ford Foundation, Advocacy Institute, RCLA)
  5. 5. Leadership for a Changing World Initial Views of Leadership • We know a lot about “leaders” but very little about “leadership” “Leaders” is about individuals “Leadership” is about groups • Leadership is not about the characteristics of a single person (the “leader”) • Leadership is about group achievement • Leadership belongs to the entire group
  6. 6. Leadership for a Changing World A Participatory Approach to Research • Doing research with leaders rather than on leaders • Using a participatory research model (co-production of knowledge) • Creating activities for co-researchers to observe & analyze their own experience • Making room for leaders to share their experiences and learn from others • Co-producing research products that are useful for practitioners
  7. 7. Leadership for a Changing World Research Design Research Stream Participants of a community in conversation team members make meaning Core research Products with members (co-researchers) Participatory and Appreciative Inquiry In what ways do communities Ethnographic Inquiry: Collective Integration trying to make Looking at leadership social change from the inside •Continuity Up to 3 LCW engage in the Ethnographies work of •Context participants’ leadership? LCW participants make meaning in •In-depth focus/thick communities research team conversation descriptions members with core In what ways Horizontal can academics Narrative Inquiry: Leadership LCW participants Analysis and The LCW participants use Stories and representatives practitioners their own voices to reflect of their communities about leadership and co-produce construct meaning. leadership research and knowledge that Co-Operative Inquiry: Up to 2 groups of Inquiry Reports make meaning Selected LCW is valid and from practice participants Co-researchers (in an inquiry 6-8 LCW useful to both? group) generate participants each meaning/knowledge of leadership in action.
  8. 8. Leadership for a Changing World Research Stream - Ethnography Ethnographies • Offer in-depth and rich portraits of leadership • Locally based ethnographers and awardees negotiate the research questions and design the research in ways that will contribute to the awardees’ organizational objectives and leadership practices. • Each ethnography is unique in its focus, method and writing style. • Some incorporate creative forms, such as photography and video, which are non-traditional forms of representation in research. • They all provide detailed information about the history of organizations, their leadership dynamics, collaborations, transformations and development.
  9. 9. Highlighting Collective Leadership Themes across Ethnographies  Shifting away from lens of individual traits to consider leadership as an ongoing process, co-constructed and supported by social dynamic and organizational norms.  The organizations value inclusiveness, pluralism, respect, dignity, democracy, equity, and a shared sense of struggle.  Collective leadership is a transformative process that exists in communal relationships and is distributed across all levels of the organization.  Equalizing relationship between community members and professional “experts”  Individual relationship building is a key component of collective leadership, which involves building trust through long term, genuine, and compelling engagement with community members.  Engaging community members in the planning process while supporting open communication and respect of differences to develop shared values and vision.
  10. 10. Contact Us Research Center for Leadership in Action Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service The Puck Building, 295 Lafayette Street, 2nd Floor New York, NY 10012 Web: http://wagner.nyu.edu/leadership Email: wagner.leadership@nyu.edu