Week 6: Literature Synthesis
The procurement sector is inundated with poor management and increasing the cost of operations. A major contributing feature for these challenges is that old-fashioned leadership practices, such as linear thinking, failure to adopt innovative ideas, and leader-centricity are still used in logistics and supply chain management. Focusing on a module Leadership and Community, a new framework of leadership has been uncovered. The new framework advocates that leaders should interact with their different communities in their organization, from micro communities, meso communities, the macro communities. Additional literature findings elaborate that strategically managing these relationships results in complexity attributes and that leadership presents diverse themes of facilitation, coordinating information flow, adaptation, visioning, risk taking, and boundary spanning.
Major Arguments from Scholars and Practitioners
In Responsive Processes Thinking, Stacey (2011) argues that micro-level interaction influences macro and meso level coordination through different but similar manifestations. The argument supports her claim in Local Communicative Interaction that systems are complex networks that possess interrelated agents. Stacey (2011) adds that in everyday life, leadership is expressed between communities and that over scale and time, the same interactions develop and influence larger workplace dynamics. Also, in assessing complexity leadership theory, Uhl-Bien et al. (2007) support these claims on the conception that agents that are interconnected in a system impact organizational evolution and outcomes via complex pathways. Thus, uncovering the leadership features that influence community interconnection at multiple levels of an organization is significant to comprehend better complexity leadership.
Stacey (2011) points out that the level of influence (micro, meso, and macro) depends on the connections and interactions between agents existing in a given system. For instance, the micro-level influence occurs between top management and immediate line managers, and between leaders and subordinate staff. The Evolution and information experienced at micro level inform the subordinates-manager interaction in macro- and meso-level influences on a workplace community. Lichtenstein et al. (2006) note that in a community when the employee and formal leadership roles interact, they create a macro-level influence in the organizational course. In turn, these macro-level influences trigger meso- and micro-outcomes. In elaboration, a leader displaying meso-influence as he gives his subordinates support during the adoption of change can directly impact the manner in which the organization integrates the proposed change at the micro level. When the macro, meso, and micro influences align, the proposed change initiative is likely to be adopted and implemented in that community.
Critiquing the Underlying Assumptions Evident in the Articles
In complexity leadership research Schneider and Somers (2006) note that when leaders interact with the community, they display four themes. Leaders encourage convergent and divergent thoughts at the right times, leadership enhances inclusion and collaboration, conflict is managed at lowest levels without escalating the situation, and that leaders nurture the relationship with the organization. However, the authors fail to elaborate on the methodology and approaches that leaders can use to implement these traits at the workplace. These approach conflicts with the meso-model of leadership interaction with the community proposed by Uhl-Bien and Marion (2009) in the bureaucratic forms of organizations. In their discourse, leadership interactions in the community should display the following traits.
One, they ought to engage members into a mutual problem-solving concept. Two, leaders should foster interaction via boundary spanning. Three, leaders should procure resources for the team, and four, a leader should give new meaning to events affecting a team. However, there are no elaborate plans suggested by the author on how groups should be coordinated in their complex systems (Uhl-Bien & Marion, 2009). However, the scholars do not elaborate if the more a leader demonstrates these skills in a community there are any positive impacts with the practical approach. Besides, the findings do not indicate if complexity leaders demonstrate interaction creation and enhanced knowledge flow leading to diverse and strong relationships in communities facilitated by good communication. Also, Stacey (2011) has not examined the enabling or administrative factors in depth making it difficult to have a complete view of the complexities of a community system or how their interactions can be merged.
Extending the Thinking and Application to Procurement Operations
While macro-level thinking and application represent a larger trajectory and strategy of organizational interactions occur over a period of months or years, the meso level interaction occurs within days or weeks. Therefore, applying meso level influence and thinking to my procurement operations will produce smaller time scales compared to macro level approach. As a leader, I will display influence on meso level time scales in my procurement operations to develop short-term strategies, foster agent interactions, and gather resources needed to impact daily supply and logistics operations. As a change agent, I can use this week’s concepts to scale my leadership impact through micro, meso, and macro levels depending on the community I am interacting with. For instance, when organizing logistic deliveries, I can interact with suppliers to impact macro scale decisions and also meso scale decisions to achieve consistent, timely product deliveries.
Structuring effective leadership interaction in the community helps organizations align with their goals and objectives. In complex systems, the various levels of community interactions improve leadership behavior and creates successful organizational operations. Effective community interactions help display efficient leadership characteristics that help keep the organization moving toward macro-level objectives while keeping aligned with organizational values of adaptive leadership behavior.
- Stacey, R.D. (2011) Strategic management and organizational dynamics: the challenge of complexity. 6th ed. Harlow: Pearson.
- Chapter 12, ‘Responsive Processes Thinking: The Interplay of Intentions.’
- Chapter 13, ‘The Emergence of Organisational Strategy in Local Communicative Interaction: Complex Responsive Processes of Conversation.’
- Chapter 14, ‘The Link Between the Local Communicative Interaction of Strategising and the Population-Wide Patterns of Strategy.’
- Chapter 15, ‘The Emergence of Organisational Strategy in Local Communicative Interaction: Complex Responsive Processes of Ideology and Power Relating.’
- Chapter 16, ‘Different Modes of Articulating Patterns of Interaction Emerging Across Organisations: Strategy Narratives and Models.’
- Chapter 17, ‘Complex Responsive Processes of Strategising: Acting Locally on the Basis of Global Goals, Visions, Expectations and Intentions for the “Whole” Organisation Over the “Long-Term Future”’
- Chapter 18, ‘Complex Responsive Processes: Implications for Thinking About Organisational Dynamics and Strategy.’
- Uhl-Bien, M., Marion, R. & McKelvey, B. (2007) ‘Complexity leadership theory: Shifting leadership from the industrial age to the knowledge era’, The Leadership Quarterly, 18 (4), pp.298-318 [Online]. Available from http://ezproxy.liv.ac.uk/login?url=http://openurl.ac.uk.ezproxy.liv.ac.uk/?title=The+Leadership+Quarterly&volume=18&issue=&spage=298&date=2007 (Accessed: 9 January 2012).
- Lichtenstein, B.B. et al. (2006) ‘Complexity leadership theory: an interactive perspective on leading in complex adaptive systems’, Emergence: Complexity and Organization, 8 (4), pp.2-12.
- Schneider, M. & Somers, M. (2006) ‘Organizations as complex adaptive systems: implications of complexity theory for leadership research’, The Leadership Quarterly,17 (4), pp.351-365.
- Uhl-Bien, M. & Marion, R. (2009) ‘Complexity leadership in bureaucratic forms of organizing: a meso model’, The Leadership Quarterly, 20 (4), pp.631-650.
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