Changing Leadership in Changing Times II

Publication Type:
Journal Article
The Journal of Change Management, 2021, 21, (2), pp. 133-143
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What has changed in our organizational lives in the past year? Everything and nothing. We now book Zoom meetings, check whether the borders are open in the rare case we travel, offices are often empty due to their health risk, and crisis management is an everyday experience, no longer something written in some document. At the same time, we still hold meetings as we always have, still produce strategies and plans, and still receive considerable advice as to how a heroic leader can save the day (see Sergi et al., 2021, in this issue). While the circumstances we currently experience may result in an opening for new practices to emerge (Uhl-Bien, 2021, in this issue) there is also a need for high-quality scholarship that engages with new conventions and their impact on organizations. Following on from the first part of the special issue Changing Leadership in Changing Times (Alvehus, 2021; Beer, 2021; By, 2021; Clegg et al., 2021; Ford et al., 2021; Kempster & Jackson, 2021; Maak et al., 2021), this second part focuses primarily on leadership as a process, answering the call made by Rost (1993) decades ago to re-focus scholarship on leadership and change (see also, for similar early calls, Hosking & Morley, 1988). Articles in this issue help push forward new avenues for leadership scholarship and practice by challenging us to think primarily through the lens of complexity, plurality and relationality. All of the articles recognize leadership as a dispersed, complex, collaborative, collective and multimodal endeavour, including material elements. Taken together, they bring focus to the human element of leadership as a non-coercive relationship seeking mutual beneficial outcomes (see De Sousa & van Dierendonck, 2021, in this issue), something that is more complex and distributed than how leadership practice has traditionally been understood.
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