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Über dieses Buch

Relational Perspectives on Leading discusses leadership from a relational and social constructionism perspective as practiced on an everyday basis between people. The book pursues a fast growing, practice-based approach - particularly within the Anglo-Saxon parts of the world - to organization studies and organizational phenomena.




The theme of leading has been discussed and analysed from many different perspectives. To us, the term includes resolving tasks and setting the direction of processes. This book is the continuation of a discussion of the practical definition of leading, with a particular view of leading.
Mette Vinther Larsen, Jørgen Gulddahl Rasmussen

1. Relational Leading

In this chapter we present one way in which relational leading can be understood. There are many approaches to and understandings of what relational leading includes (see Denis et al. 2012; Fairhurst & Grant 2010 Hersted & Gergen 2013; Ospina & Uhl-Bien 2012; Uhl-Bien 2006). We have chosen to base our examination on the researchers and the ideas we believe have grasped some interesting and relevant aspects of the way leading unfolds in everyday settings. Over the course of several years, we have observed how strategic leading is practised in public and private organisations and we have been struck by the connection between how an organisation functions in an everyday setting and the desire for strategic change (Gjerding et al. 2013; Larsen 2014; Larsen & Rasmussen 2012).
Mette Vinther Larsen, Jørgen Gulddahl Rasmussen

2. Leadership in Relational and Distributed Practice: General and Historical Perspectives

This book presents a leadership perspective based on relations rather than individuals. By implication, leadership should not be understood as the effect of a leader’s unique personal abilities. Instead it should be seen as an umbrella term covering a number of specific organisational tasks that are embedded in and developed through organisational actors’ cooperation. Within this relational perspective, however, the formally appointed leader may still be positioned at the centre of the analysis. This chapter is largely based on a perspective that is often called distributed leadership (cf. e.g. Jeppesen 2013; Nielsen 2008) refecting the fact that leadership tasks have to some degree become distributed across the company or institution.
Hanne Dauer Keller, Søren Willert

3. Communication as Relational Practice of Leading

The fact that communication — conscious and unconscious, verbal and non-verbal, formal and informal, local and global and so on — plays a central role in the daily practice of leading is hardly a surprise. Cunliffe has expressed it this way at a seminar in Copenhagen in June 2012: ‘We’re always embedded in the social’, and it is through our communication with one another that we understand and continuously construct reality (Gergen 2009). Leaders spend a great deal of their time at work communicating — in meetings, on the phone, via the Internet and through social media. A brief web search for communication courses for leaders will show that there are many such activities.
Lone Hersted, Mette Vinther Larsen, Jørgen Gulddahl Rasmussen

4. Dialogue and Power

Dialogue and power can be interpreted as opposites, though this need not necessarily be the case. In the following section, we focus on the area of conflict between an approach of dialogue and an approach of power in relations between people in an organisational context. Both approaches are interesting when seen from a relational perspective, as both power and dialogue can be understood as constituent parts of co-constructed social realities. Previously, we have mentioned that people in organisations communicate with each other and co-construct social realities by producing, reproducing and coordinating shared meaning together, and that socially and relationally constructed realities permit collaboration and coordinated action in an organisation.
Marita Svane, Lone Hersted, Pernille Schulze

5. Relational Creation of Leadership Identity

In this chapter we continue to develop the book’s fundamental idea that both leaders and other participants in their organisations are intertwined, whether they wish to be or not, in a web of relations and are continuously positioning one another in dynamic interactions that they create. We view organisations as complex, dynamic, relational landscapes (Shotter 1998) where meaning is constantly co-constructed. Likewise, leading is viewed as something that arises in the presence of employees, other leaders and other participants, and consists of a number of social processes that enable people to work together and coordinate their actions.
Charlotte Øland Madsen, Randi Riis Michelsen, Lone Hersted

6. Leaders’ Use of Maps, Guiding Images and Momentary Meaningful Actions

In the book’s previous chapters, we have argued that people’s shared efforts to make sense of the variability of everyday life and to come up with meaningful actions can help us understand the different local, cultural and relational realities that come together to constitute an organisation. In this chapter, we build upon this perspective, with particular emphasis on the unpredictable incidents of everyday life: How are they understood and handled? How are relationally based attempts to make sense of the unpredictable — and at times the coincidental — part of developing and shaping the organisation?
Søren Willert, Mette Vinther Larsen

7. Developing the Competence to Lead in Everyday Situations

The development and education of leaders receives much attention today. This is, for example, illustrated by the many opportunities for the same that leaders are presented for nearly every day in the media.
Anja Overgaard Thomassen, Jørgen Gulddahl Rasmussen

8. Relational Leadership: Ontology and Practice

The previous chapters can be read as finding new ways to communicate on development of and participation in relational leadership. As researchers, we see this as a part of our practice-based research on leading and as a by-product of research-related philosophical and theoretical perspectives. In this context, we have tried not to fall prey to the temptation to create dichotomies with other theoretical perspectives on science and leadership — that is, explaining our perspectives by contrasting them with those of others. We have also made a conscious effort to avoid giving normative, proscriptive recommendations on how to lead well.
Charlotte Øland Madsen, Jørgen Gulddahl Rasmussen


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