Strengthening Leadership Capability of Not-for-profit Organizations in Australia: An Open-Space Exploration in the ALARA Community

ALARA Action Learning and Action Research Association
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Action Learning and Action Research Journal, 2013, 19 (2), pp. 25 - 39
Issue Date:
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This paper is based on reflections from two ALARA conferences that explored whether four new leadership theories have a role in developing leaders of not-for-profit (NFP) organizations in Australia. The author first invited the attendees at ALARA's national conference held in Brisbane in 2011 to participate in an interactive workshop to explore four new leadership theories authentic, servant, spiritual and relational leadership for the applicability to NFP faith-based organizations providing health and community care in Australia. The workshop was facilitated by the author along with an experienced facilitator who was attending the conference using an Open Space Technology (OST) meeting format to facilitate dialogue between participants utilizing a theme proposed for the meeting. At the start of the meeting the two facilitators briefly introduced the four leadership theories to be discussed. They then described the OST process. Next, participants were asked to announce discussion topics at the village marketplace that was created for the workshop. Groups of participants interested in a particular topic joined the discussion and the person who proposed the topic led the discussion. Summaries of the discussions were collected and posted by the group leaders. A final reflection took place in the open space (a circle of chairs with a space within) at which all the different groups were present. The reflections recorded at the workshop in the 2011 ALARA conference were analyzed and presented at the 2012 ALARA national conference held in Sydney and further discussed with two groups at this conference. The feedback from these two discussions formed the basis for action research cycles with the ALARA community that led to this the paper.
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