Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Leadership as co-influencing: A heuristic narrative study of dynamic co-emergence within the leadership relationship
by Graham, Heidi H., Ed.D., The George Washington University, 2010, 192; 3397613
Abstract (Summary)

This study explored the dynamic co-emergence of influence between the leader and an other. Grounded in the scholarship of the science of the mind, complexity, and post-modern leadership perspectives, its purpose was to explore the complexity of leadership from an enactive approach. The holistic approach of the study assumed that leaders were not separate from their environment and that leadership was an emerging, simultaneous, ongoing influence process.

Taking an enactive approach to research, this naturalistic study examined both narratively and heuristically the lived experience of individual participants in a co-influencing relationship. Co-influence was defined as an enactive pattern of leadership that emerges in a dynamic relationship between two people who, as complex adaptive systems, engage in a process of reciprocal relationship building and meaning making that is enactive, complex, and not unidirectional.

Six participants were interviewed using a structured three-interview process. They related biographical stories of co-influence over time and engaged in reflective meaning-making with the researcher. The study found that trust, listening, and creative complementarity were emerging patterns of interaction vital to leadership as co-influencing. The study also found that giving voice to the co-influencing experience through storytelling contributed meaningful specificity to leaders as complex adaptive systems.

Implications for theory, research, and practice include empirical evidence supporting post-modern leadership theories, support for enactive research undertaken using a multidisciplinary and multiscale research approach, and the value of using life stories and reflection to foster self-awareness and development in individual leaders.

This research calls for leaders to put aside the artificial dualism that separates them from those they lead. Leaders are an integral part of the complex adaptive systems they lead. They are most effective as leaders when they embrace the paradox of leading and being led at the same time.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Croswell, Clyde V.
Commitee: Burley, Diana L., Miner-Williams, Denise
School: The George Washington University
Department: Human Resource Development
School Location: United States -- District of Columbia
Source: DAI-A 71/04, Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Educational leadership
Keywords: Complex adaptive systems, Complexity, Dynamic co-emergence, Dynamic coemergence, Emergence, Leadership, Super-leadership
Publication Number: 3397613
ISBN: 9781109696431
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