Complexity Leadership Theory: An Interactive Perspective On Leading In Complex Adaptive Systems

Date Added: Oct 2010
Format: PDF

Traditional, hierarchical views of leadership are less and less useful given the complexities of the modern world. Leadership theory must transition to new perspectives that account for the complex adaptive needs of organizations. In this paper, the authors propose that leadership (as opposed to leaders) can be seen as a complex dynamic process that emerges in the interactive "Spaces between" people and ideas. That is, leadership is a dynamic that transcends the capabilities of individuals alone; it is the product of interaction, tension, and exchange rules governing changes in perceptions and understanding. The authors label this a dynamic of adaptive leadership, and the authors show how this dynamic provides important insights about the nature of leadership and its outcomes in organizational fields.