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A Study of the Role of ‘Representative’ Leadership in Stimulating Organization Democracy.

By Martin Clarke


There has been a growing concern among commentators about the disconnection between the apparent increase in the plurality of society, and the relatively limited facets of democracy practised in the corporate work place. Specifically, models of distributed leadership appear at odds with the dominant bureaucratic and unitary model of organizing. In addressing the problem, this article offers a model of Representative Leadership (RL) derived from a political institutional discourse and suggests that in settings of contested plurality, the representation of different organizational constituencies, by a wide range of individuals is central to effective organizing. This model of leadership is explored in the context of data derived from 31 senior managers in five different commercial organizations. Observations are provided about the causal relationships between organization context, managerial cognitions of plurality, personal interest, authority and politics. The potential for RL behaviour to inform future discourse on democratic governance is considered

Topics: democracy, institutional leadership, politics, work identity
Publisher: Sage Publications
Year: 2006
DOI identifier: 10.1177/1742715006068938
OAI identifier:
Provided by: Cranfield CERES

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