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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Me to we: How collaborative leadership culture developed in an organization
by Huffaker, Julie S., Ph.D., Fielding Graduate University, 2017, 610; 10258071
Abstract (Summary)

Today‚Äôs organizations must meet the external and internal challenges of continuous change. Most traditional organizational models, however, are designed for stability, including forms of leadership that use top-down, command-and-control hierarchy to steer direction and work. This study explores an alternative phenomenon observed in practice, collaborative leadership culture (CLC). In CLC, organizations determine where they are going, coordinate work, and sustain commitment through broad participation, collaborative practices, and emergence. Scholars study similar phenomena using different names, including in the emerging area of relational leadership and in constructive-developmental theory, a stage theory of adult development. What has not been well researched is how these forms of leadership develop. The research that does exist emphasizes senior leaders as participants versus taking a whole systems approach. This study explores how CLC develops in organizations, aiming for a multi-level, systemic collection of data.

This research is a single case study that uses critical incident interviews (CIIs) to understand how a 100-person catering company in suburban Chicago, Tasty Catering, developed CLC. The study draws on CIIs with 30 members representing diverse company areas and roles. All participants completed the Leadership Maturity Assessment (MAP), a measure of human development. Participants also completed a preliminary Direction, Alignment and Commitment (DAC) survey intended to understand the extent to which participants perceive leadership outcomes are produced by their current form of leadership. Study findings were captured in a proposed conceptual model of how CLC develops. The conceptual model includes individual behaviors, or levers, that contribute to six organizational drivers that create the conditions for CLC. The data also indicate that complex individual development of members and/or formal authority holders as measured by the MAP is not a prerequisite for developing CLC in an organization. The study presents practical implications for organizations, leaders, teams, and leadership educators, as well as recommendations for future research.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: McCall, Mary E.
Commitee: Barrett, Frank J., Lichtenstein, Benyamin B., Ostrowski, Erek J., Stevens-Long, Judith
School: Fielding Graduate University
Department: The School of Human and Organization Development
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 78/08(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Management, Developmental psychology, Organizational behavior
Keywords: Collaborative leadership, Collective intelligence, Constructive-developmental theory, Generative emergence, Leadership culture, Relational leadership
Publication Number: 10258071
ISBN: 978-1-369-61694-1
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