Eco-Leadership, Complexity Science, and 21st Century Organizations: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis

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Throughout the 20th century, the traditional approach to leadership was based on “machine metaphors and machine-like assumptions” (Allen et al, 1999, p. 67; Rost, 1997). Leadership was seen as derived from position, vested in an individual, top-down in nature, and “driven by power for the purpose of control” (Allen et al., 1999, p. 67). The leader and his or her actions were viewed as “more critical than those of any other member of the group” (Wielkiewicz, 2000, p. 335). Those individuals within an organization who were “most competent and loyal” were appointed to leadership positions and assumed responsibility for the organization’s overall success; they provided vision for the organization and direction to followers (Chemers, 1997, p. 11). The focus of leadership studies, then, became to make these individuals better leaders, and, indeed, “much of empirical research on leadership focuses on predicting outcomes that reside at the individual level of analysis” (DeChurch et al., 2010, p. 1069).

Community viability, Climate Change, Natural Resources, and Environment, Community engagement