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Über dieses Buch

In view of the rising importance and prevalence of network-based collaboration, this book aims to meet the need for more theory in this area. Theoretically conceptualizing and empirically describing the practice of reflexive leadership in inter-organisational networks, it explores how member organisations approach reflexive leadership and the associated challenges. Examining these questions from wider leadership theory perspectives as well as a tighter focus upon inter-organizational networks, the author specifically explores how reflexive leadership can be sustained and how social and political contexts may obstruct or support its use, acceptance and practice. Based on in-depth qualitative empirical fieldwork in the Swiss healthcare sector, the book offers a novel practice-theoretical model for use in inter-organizational networks.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. The Need for Reflexive Leadership in Inter-Organizational Networks

Abstract
In view of the growing importance of network-based collaboration in both the public sector and private sector, it is quite surprising how little we know about how network member organizations actually practice leadership in the networks in which they are involved. This chapter lays the groundwork for the book, introducing the research question and key research issues in the field, highlighting the relevance of reflexive network leadership for research and managerial practice, situating the book in the recent practice-turn in the social sciences, providing an outlook on the two empirical case studies informing theory building, and summarizing key theoretical and practical implications.
Matthias Mitterlechner

Chapter 2. Theoretical Foundations of Leadership in Networks

Abstract
Research on leadership in inter-organizational networks has remained scant. This chapter reviews the few studies that exist on the topic, deconstructs important basic assumptions, and sheds light on their affordances and limitations. To deal with their limitations, it argues for a reconstruction of leadership in networks from a practice-theoretical perspective, which is able to capture the dynamics of network leadership by conceptualizing leadership action and structure as recursively related over time.
Matthias Mitterlechner

Chapter 3. Reconstructing Leadership in Networks as a Reflexive Practice

Abstract
This chapter provides important conceptual foundations for reconstructing leadership in networks from a practice-theoretical perspective. It introduces basic principles of practice and structuration theory, offers practice-theoretical definitions of inter-organizational networks and leadership, and explores the role and definition of reflexivity in network leadership.
Matthias Mitterlechner

Chapter 4. Methodology

Abstract
This book explores how member organizations practice leadership in a reflexive way in the networks in which they are involved. This chapter provides an overview of the methods used for studying this question. First, it argues why a longitudinal qualitative comparative case study design is appropriate for studying this question. Second, it explains why the healthcare sector, in general, and the two case studies “Peripheral” and “Urban”, in particular, provide a pertinent context for studying leadership in networks. Third, it describes the approach to data collection and analysis. It concludes with reflections about the aim of this research and ethical considerations.
Matthias Mitterlechner

Chapter 5. A Practice-Theoretical Model of Reflexive Leadership in Networks

Abstract
This chapter offers a novel practice-theoretical model of reflexive leadership in inter-organizational networks. The model builds on practice-theoretical conceptions of networks, leadership, and reflexivity. At its core, it proposes that leadership action and structure are in a recursive relationship, assuming a duality rather than a dualism. As such, leading in networks cannot be attributed to the behaviors, traits, and activities of individual “leaders”, nor to certain structural features of a network. Rather, it conceives of leading in networks as a reflexive practice through which actors collectively question traditional inter-organizational practices and explore new ways of coordinating their activities across organizational boundaries.
Matthias Mitterlechner

Chapter 6. Case Study I: Peripheral

Abstract
This chapter describes the practice-theoretical model of reflexive leadership in networks by means of the case study “Peripheral”. Peripheral is a healthcare network in a rural Swiss region, initiated on January 1, 2007. The chapter illustrates how a regional leadership constellation formed a well-integrated healthcare network between 2003 and 2013. Over these years, the leadership constellation successfully coordinated initially fragmented back-office and patient-centered activities among a regional hospital, an outpatient care organization, a thermal spa, and additional regional social services organizations. At the end of the observation period in 2013, the network counted as a pioneering integrated care network in Switzerland.
Matthias Mitterlechner

Chapter 7. Case Study II: Urban

Abstract
This chapter describes the practice-theoretical model of reflexive leadership in networks by means of the case study “Urban”. Urban is a healthcare network in a large urban Swiss region, founded as an association on November 10, 2009. The case study shows how Urban’s leadership constellation attempted to improve the healthcare delivery in the city by coordinating care activities among different outpatient and inpatient service providers. At the end of the observation period in 2014, the outcome was, however, sobering for many network member organizations and stakeholders at the organization and organizational field level.
Matthias Mitterlechner

Chapter 8. Discussion

Abstract
This chapter provides answers to the research question of this book, elaborating on the practice-theoretical model offered in Chapter 5. Comparing and explaining Peripheral’s and Urban’s divergent trajectories, it argues that network member organizations reflexively practice leadership by means of a leadership constellation who establish reflexive spaces, enable reflexive conversations, and exercise power. These leadership actions are recursively embedded in structural properties at the organizational field, network, and organization level. The recursive interplay between structural properties and reflexive leadership action creates virtuous and vicious leadership dynamics. Drawing on this comparative analysis, the chapter discusses theoretical implications, highlighting contributions to literatures on leading in networks, leadership-as-practice, and reflexivity in leadership practice. The chapter concludes with managerial implications for leading in networks.
Matthias Mitterlechner

Chapter 9. Conclusion

Abstract
This chapter summarizes the main insights generated in this book, highlights boundary conditions, and suggests avenues for further research on the topic. Future research could advance the theoretical model offered in this book by using it in other empirical contexts and by expanding the number of analytical levels. It could also shed more light on the role of materiality, care, emotion, play, experimentation and imagination to enhance our understanding of what it takes to institutionalize reflexivity in the practice of leading inter-organizational networks.
Matthias Mitterlechner

Backmatter

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